Here are some useful tips to avoid neck injury and pain while playing golf:
- Start with a dynamic warm up to increase your body's core temperature and the range of motion of your hips and thoracic spine (mid back). Keeping your hips and mid back limber will allow for less stress in your neck.
- Hinge from the hips to avoid tucking your chin. Act as if you have a water balloon under your chin and don't want to squeeze it. This will allow you to keep the natural extension curve in your neck when swinging.
- Limit your shoulder rotation during the backswing. Many golfers tend to over-rotate during their backswing in the attempt to gain more power. This will only put added pressure in your neck and cause inconsistent shots.
- Swing from your hips and not the arms. Initiate the downswing using your hips and keep the upper body loose to avoid added stress in the neck.
- Grip the club lightly. Squeezing the club will create tension in your arms and the shoulder muscles that support the neck.
- Relax your jaw, and do not clench your teeth through your swing.
- If you can't decide between two clubs, club up, not down. Making sure you have the correct club for the correct distance will prevent over-swinging. This will allow you to have more consistent shots without the added stress of trying to "muscle" the shot.
- After a neck injury, return to golf slowly. Gradually increase the amount of shots and holes you play to avoid overuse and another injury. A slow return is a safer return.
- Consult a golf professional to understand your individual limitations. Create a step-by-step plan to address those limitations with corrective exercises and swing correction.