Golf After Hip Replacement: 5 Tips to Get in the Game Quicker

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Looking to golf after a hip replacement? Read on for our best golf tips from a golf professional to get you in top golf shape.

Golf can be harsh on the hips, and for some dedicated golfers, a hip replacement is the only way to enjoy playing the game again. Hip replacement surgery isn’t fun; it takes some recovery time, and you certainly will have to put the clubs down for a while. 

However, I’ve taught many students who have had one or even two hips replaced, and they have become even better golfers than they were before their surgery. 

Here are some of my best tips for golf after a hip replacement and a few words of caution to ensure you don’t slow down your progress.

Medical Disclaimer


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How soon after a hip replacement can I play golf? 

Most doctors recommend that you wait twelve weeks to start playing golf again. However, this is something that will depend on the individual. Sometimes, it could be longer than twelve weeks and others that could be closer to ten weeks. 

If you are eager to get out on the golf course, the key is to follow all recommendations from the surgeon. Do not over-extend yourself too early; go to physical therapy, do stretches, and follow all your doctor’s advice.

Enough studies have been done that these doctors know how to get you back out on the golf course again; all you need to do is listen! 

How to Work on Your Golf Game After a Hip Replacement

Once you have your hip surgery, you will be in recovery mode. It’s completely normal to be a little anxious about the downtime you have.

Luckily, there are still a few things you can do to ensure that your transition back into the game is more successful. 

Don’t Discount the Importance of Your Golf Mental Game

Quote by Fred Couples, "When you're prepared your confident. When you have a strategy, you're more comfortable."

The mental game of golf takes a lot of work. It will take at least twelve weeks for those new to the game to have a handle on the mental aspect.  

I highly recommend investing in a few great golf books for the mental game. You can read through them and choose individual strategies that work best for you. In addition, you can work towards a mental approach that you will use the next time you can play golf. 

So many players stand on a tee box and think negative things about where the ball will go. For instance, “don’t slice,” “please don’t ruin this round,” or “Keep it out of the water.”

When you study the mental game, you can change those thoughts to things like “you will hit this in the fairway” or “do what you know how to do.” Anyone who has played golf for many years will tell you that these strategies are very powerful. 

Practice Your Golf Grip 

While you may be unable to swing a golf club, nothing states you can’t hold one. It’s the perfect time to work on your golf grip.

Here’s a short video that we did to help you with this. In fact, even skilled golfers may pick up some tips from this.

If you are a newer player that is still uncomfortable with hand positions, there are grip trainers out there that can ensure you are going to get comfortable with the proper grip. 

Set Personal Golf Goals

Set goals for yourself while you are recovering from your hip replacement surgery. Chances are you will be able to get back out there with as much power, accuracy, and distance as you once had. Some golfers find they play better as they are no longer in pain. 

Showing a Jack Nicklaus quote on the importance of the golf mental game with a golf course aerial photo in the background.

I highly recommend playing some mental rounds of golf. In your mind, start on the first tee box of your home course and focus on the different shots you will hit to shoot your best scores.

You may find that you have been managing the course entirely incorrectly, and switching the mindset is all that you need to do. 

Additionally, if you are a beginner, this is a great time to learn course management strategies.

5 Important Tips for Your Golf Swing After Your Hip Replacement

showing a lady golfer practicing her golf swing on the driving range.

Many golfers can return to the same swing after a hip replacement. They work on making sure they are not in a poor position, according to the doctor, and then they go for it.

Here are some tips for putting together the best golf swing to avoid hip pain and encourage the best movement after a hip replacement. 

1. Start Slow, Don’t Swing for the Fences Right Away 

I would highly recommend starting slow the first few times you put a golf club back in your hand. Spend some time hitting a few chips and pitches and takes some swings with a mid or short iron. 

Don’t try to swing for the fences with your driver when you get the all-clear to play golf. 

Not only do you risk hurting yourself, but chances are the results will not be precisely what you want them to be. These mishits are discouraging and may make you think your golf game will never be the same. This is not the case!

It takes some time, and the best way to do this is to ease into the process of your golf swing to avoid hip pain.

2. Open up the Toes 

One of my favorite tips for the golfer recovering from a hip replacement surgery is to open the toes a little bit at setup.

Instead of standing with your feet entirely square to the target, rotate them slightly open. 

When you do this, you take a little bit of pressure or tension off of your legs, and it results in a much easier movement on the backswing as well as the downswing. 

3. Allow for Rotation

Some golfers are under the misconception that rotation in golf is a problem. However, most doctors will recommend that you allow the hip to rotate back and through the swing as well. 

If you choose a swing thought that tries to create more tension in the hips, you could do some damage. For some players that I worked with, feeling a slight over-rotation or wider turn was the best choice until the hip was entirely healed. 

This is especially important on the side of the swing where the surgery was done.  

4. Your Heels May Need to Move 

When you are working on creating torque in your golf swing, it’s generally not a great idea to let the left heel come up off the ground in the backswing. However, after a hip replacement surgery, you will want to allow for any release of pressure that you can. 

Sometimes by letting this left heel move just slightly, the overall rotation is improved, and there is less pain in the swing. 

The same goes for the follow-through when you should allow the right heel to rotate fully forward. 

5. Experiment With a Golf Cart and Walking 

Golf After Hip Replacement, ride in a nice golfcart as shown.  Gentleman sitting in his cart with a beautiful sunset.
Golf After Hip Replacement: Try a Golf Cart vs Walking

Some golfers find that getting in and out of the golf cart is more painful than simply walking around the course. If you find this to be the case, start by walking nine holes and invest in a really excellent golf push cart (or a caddie). 

In addition, whether you are walking or riding, make sure to choose high-quality golf shoes. If the golf shoes have good traction and stability, you will lessen your chances of slipping while on the golf course. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you feel a bit encouraged to return to the golf course after your hip replacement. Many golfers choose to have this done in the off-season so that there are fewer days of golf missed.

If you have an off-season where you live, you may return to the golf course in better shape than any of your playing partners. The key to remember here is that golf after a hip replacement can be just as good (if not better) than golf before a hip replacement. 

FAQ on Golf After Hip Replacement

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about playing golf after a hip replacement. Remember to talk to your doctor about any specific questions and your personal status after your surgery. 

Should you change golf swing after hip replacement?

After a hip replacement surgery, it is a good idea to take a little pressure off the hips in your swing. This can be done by turning the toes slightly out at setup. This allows for more rotation without restricting the turn and causing pressure on the hips. 

How do you swing a golf club after a hip replacement?

After a hip replacement surgery, take it slow and make smaller swings that allow for hip turn and even a little sway. You can always work on tightening the hip rotation once your hips are healed. In the beginning, just be lenient and allow for a little extra turn and not so much movement in the other areas of the game. 

How long after hip replacement can I swing a golf club?

Most doctors are going to recommend about twelve weeks of recovery, including physical therapy, before you head out to the golf course. If you have some incredible healing times, it could be sooner. However, you must have clearance, or you could do real damage to the work that was done. 

What 3 things should be avoided after hip replacement surgery?

After hip replacement, try to avoid crossing your legs in the golf cart, bending over to tee the ball, putting pressure on your leg, and trying to create too tight of a turn. 

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Brittany Olizarowicz is a Class A PGA Professional Golfer with nearly 30 years of experience. Many of her teaching years were spent training senior golfers. In recent years, Britt's career has moved to golf writing, where she shares her knowledge with a global audience. Britt is still a scratch golfer and enjoys playing golf with her husband and two young children several times a week.

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