Background Golf is a popular sport played worldwide. The majority of professional golfers work as teaching professionals based at golf clubs. All professional players spend numerous hours on the golf course, placing themselves at increased risk of injury. There have been no recent, large studies investigating injury patterns among male and female professional golfers.
Objective To investigate the frequency, types and mechanism of injury sustained by male and female professional golfers and to compare injury patterns between touring and teaching professionals.
Methods Injury data was analysed from 526 professional golfers recruited through the Professional Golfers Association database. A web based survey was conducted focusing on injury frequency, location and mechanism and any subsequent time or income loss.
Results 70% of the study population were full time teaching or club professionals and 5% were full time touring players. Overall 66% had sustained an injury during their professional career and 31% had injured themselves within the last year. There were no significant gender differences (x2=0.25, P=0.62). The most frequently injured sites were lower back (44%), wrist (44%), elbow (23%), neck (20%) and shoulder (19%). Men were 2.5 times more likely to sustain a lower back injury than women (OR 2.53). There was no relationship between the number of hours spent playing golf and likelihood of injury (x2=17.30, p value=0.16). Most players took time out from playing golf (72%) and received physiotherapy following injury (83%).
Conclusion The majority of professional golfers will sustain an injury at some point during their career. The back and wrist are the most commonly injured sites. There were no differences in the frequency or types of injury sustained by touring and teaching professional golfers.
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