Free Golf Workouts, Nutrition Tips and Performance Psychology Secrets From The Renegade Golf Coach

Stiff Necks And Your Messed Up Golf Swing

by Coach Stephen on


It’s happened to all of us, right?

You have a great round of golf planned for a weekend morning, and wouldn’t you know it… you wake up with a stiff neck.

Damn, that puts a crimp in your morning, your mood and definitely your golf swing.

Now that scenario presents a clear, albeit extreme, example of how lack of mobility in your neck can limit your ability to rotate your torso, and consequently have a devastating affect on your ability to generate power.

That sucks, eh?

But I’m here to tell you that even without the really tight and painful neck of “sleeping wrong” the night before, the more subtle lack of mobility in your cervical spine (that has become “normal” to you) is absolutely leaching away the power of your golf swing little by little, day in and day out.

How To Tell If You’ve Got A Problem

For maximum performance, you want to be able to rotate your head 90 degrees, both left and right.  This essentially means that you would be able to have your chin almost directly over your shoulder.

If  you cannot do this without undue strain or pain, then there are several potential consequences… none of them good:

Reduced length of backswing and follow-through

Early Extension

Swaying or Sliding

Loss of power and distance

Frustration, disgust, and a real golf buzz-kill

How To Fix It

You can begin with some gentle stretching of your neck muscles.

Please note that I said GENTLE! Vigorous and aggressive is not the way to go with the small muscles of the neck.

Although we are looking at your cervical rotation, I recommend that you include gentle stretching for the neck from different angles.

Rotational Neck Stretch

Side Bending Neck Stretch

Neck Side Flexion Stretch

Flexion Neck Stretch

Neck Flexion Stretch


Extension Neck Stretch

Neck Extension Stretch

Each of these stretches should only be held for 15 seconds, 1-2 times on each side.  Each time you exhale, get a sense of your neck muscles gently lengthening.

And did I mention to error on the conservative side? 🙂

You can see that in my Best 5 Minute Golf Swing Warm Up Video, you’re actually warming the neck up in a rotational fashion.  The cool part about that warm up routine is that you are moving your torso under your neck, which is really the same thing as rotating your chin over to your shoulder.

Other Considerations

Your Pillow

I mentioned the scenerio of waking up in the morning with a pain in your neck.  This is often the result of not using the correct pillow for the kind of sleeper you happen to be – back, side,  or stomach.  WebMD offers some solid advice on choosing the best pillow for you.

Chairs and Desks at Home or Work

Chairs and desks can wreak havoc on your back, shoulders and neck.  Upper Crossed Syndrome and Forward Head Posture are reaching epidemic proportions worldwide.  These postural deviations limit your rotational abilities and eventually cripple you and your golf swing.  Check out The Golfer with the 42 Pound Head for a more detailed explanation and SOLUTION to this issue.

Although I’m often called a “Pain in the Neck” (and the backside), I hope this post will help you to loosen your neck and GET AFTER OLD MAN PAR!

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Rick P January 15, 2013 at

Benn missing your posts. Good thing I finally started your folders workout. Loving it!! Though holiday messed me up so just jumped back a week. Lot more to many of the exercises than they look like.


Coach Stephen January 15, 2013 at

Rick – always good to hear from you. I was on hiatus for 6 weeks, but will be back to regular posts and lots of exciting new projects coming up.

Please continue to keep us posted.

Mike Boulware January 15, 2013 at

Dear Coach,
I look forward to your e-mail. Every exercise you suggest has helped me be more flexible and I thank you.

Coach Stephen January 15, 2013 at

Mike – you are certainly welcome! Lots more on the way. Tell us what you need and we’ll help in any way we can.

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