Are the "Yips" In Golf An Orthopaedic Problem?

Are the "Yips" In Golf An Orthopaedic Problem?

Are the Yips in golf an orthopaedic problem?


Here’s the scenario: you are lining up a putt. The same putt you’ve buried thousands of times. You could do this with your eyes closed. You got this. You know it’s in.

But, as you are following through on your putting motion, your hand spasms and you shank the ball badly.

What the heck?

You shrug it off. But then, two holes later, the same thing happens!

Oh no.

You’ve got the yips!

What are the Yips In Golf?


When we refer to “the yips,” we are talking about a spasm (completely involuntary, of course) that happens when a golfer is putting. It totally comes out of nowhere, but it can become a major recurring problem. Putting is hard enough as it is without having to worry about “losing control” of your swing.

Although this can happen in other sports (think of the highly-publicized example of the baseball catcher who suddenly has problems throwing the ball back to the pitcher), it most frequently happens to golfers.

Why, after years of playing golf completely unafflicted by this condition, do the yips occur?

The Yips Are an Orthopaedic Issue


So are the yips an orthopaedic issue? And why does this occur?

In essence, the yips come from using the Small Muscles in the hand and wrist for putting rather than the big muscles of the shoulder.

So, although some people may put this in the category of “performance anxiety”, technically it’s an orthopaedic issue. 

Many have also called the yips a focal dystonia, or an involuntary contracture of small muscles.

what’s the solution for the yips?


I wish orthopaedics had the ultimate solution for the yips. Unfortunately, we don’t!

Golf luminary Gary McCord has said that you need to stay “one step ahead of the psychosis” of putting, whether that’s by going left hand low, claw, anchor, or other ways to trick the mind.

So if you get the yips, hang in there. Just try to work through it.

While it’s technically an orthopaedic issue, you need to use mind over matter to defeat it! 

Good luck! See you out there!

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