Background: Considering its popularity, little epidemiologic literature exists on golf injuries.
Hypothesis: The low back is the most common injury location for golf-related injury. Most golf injuries occur as a result of the golf swing, and occur mostly at impact. The variables age, handicap, practice habits, and warm-up habits are associated with injury.
Methods: A prospective survey over 1 year was used to study golf injuries among 588 golfers at 8 Australian golf clubs. Information collected included golfers' injuries sustained during the year, location of injury, onset, mechanism of injury, and whether injury occurred during the golf swing or at another time. Additional information was sought on the type of treatment received after injury. Logistic regression was used to examine the epidemiologic patterns of golf-related injury and any possible risk factors for the injury.
Results: The overall 1-year incidence rate of golf injury was 15.8 injuries per 100 golfers, which equates to a range of 0.36 to 0.60 injuries/1000 hours/person. Recurrent injuries were most common, while injuries were more likely to occur over time as opposed to an acute onset. The lower back was the most common injury site (18.3%), closely followed by the elbow/forearm (17.2%), foot/ankle (12.9%), and shoulder/upper arm (11.8%). A total of 46.2% of all injuries were reportedly sustained during the golf swing, and injury was most likely to occur at the point of ball impact (23.7%), followed by the follow-through (21.5%). Multivariate analysis revealed that the amount of game play (odds ratio [OR] = 3.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.29-10.75) and the last time clubs were changed (OR = 0.32, 95% CI 0.12-0.86) were significantly associated with the risk of golf injury (P < .05). Other factors such as age, gender, handicap, practice habits, and warm-up habits were not significantly associated with golf injury.
Conclusions: Nearly 16% of Australian amateur golfers may expect to sustain a golf-related injury per year. The injuries in golf are most likely sustained in the lower back region as a result of the golf swing. Based on statistical analysis, only game play and a changing of clubs seem to be significantly associated with risk of injury after adjusting for other risk factors (P < .05). Other factors such as age, gender, handicap, practice habits, and warm-up habits were not significant.