Improving Your Golf Game with Orthotics

Exercise programs have been developed to maximize the effectiveness of the golf swing and to minimize injury risk, and the golf industry has made various innovations in golf club design to address these factors and improve overall performance.

It has been hypothesized that strengthening the muscles used during the golf swing may contribute to increases in power and club-head velocity (CHV). Another premise is that if pedogenic function can improve, balance may also improve, resulting in improved function of the rest of the closed kinematic chain. Thus, an improved golf swing may be an outcome.

To further investigate this latter assumption, 12 experienced golfers participated in a study evaluating the effects of orthotic intervention on CHV before and after nine holes of simulated golf. Subjects wore custom-made, flexible orthotics daily for six weeks, and CHV measurements were taken using an electronic device that measures club speed as the golfer swings.

Custom-fit, flexible orthotics contributed to an approximate increase in CHV of 3-5 miles per hour in experienced golfers. For reference, a five mph increase in CHV translates to approximately a 15-yard increase in ball air distance. Additionally, orthotic use appeared to reduce the effects of fatigue associated with nine holes of golf, suggesting the potential for more consistent golf performance.

The authors recognize the limitations to this study, in that it only researches a special sample of golfers and a specific set of orthotics. “Therefore the trends identified here are reserved for only orthotics that were actually tested in this study…”

Stude DE, Gullickson J. Effects of orthotic intervention and nine holes of simulated golf on club-head velocity in experienced golfers. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, March/April 2000:23(3), pp168-74.