After a long winter, spring is finally in the air as indicated by the warm (summer-like) temperatures last week. While your mind may be ready to play golf (and other outdoor activities), however, it is important to remember that without proper warmup and preparation, the risk of injury can increase substantially. PGA professionals benefit tremendously from sport science, physical therapy and fitness programs on tour year round. Amateur golfers in northern climates require diligence and planning to prepare for the game after 4-6 months off to avoid injury.
Muscle strains, ligament sprains, neck and LBP is prevalent in the early season for golfers, especially for the amateur. The reasons are many: general deconditioning after winter inactivity, poor golf swing mechanics, excessive practice, inadequate warm-up and poor flexibility and conditioning. The very nature of the golf swing can create great stress on the body, especially after time off.
PRESEASON TIPS FOR GOLF
Keep Fit and Trim
year round with light to moderate weight training, aerobic exercise, stabilization and flexibility exercises and good nutrition.
Walking – Begin a walking program as the first step to a comprehensive preseason conditioning program for golf. Start 1 mile for a week, then 2 miles for 2 weeks, then 3 miles.
Walking 18 holes on a golf course is the equivalent of a 5-7 mile walk. It keeps you fit, flexible and avoids the jarring of the bumpy cart. Taking a caddie is optimal. However, carrying your bag requires careful planning. Use a “Sunday bag: or ultra-light bag with a stand and double straps; remove extra balls, unused clubs and umbrellas to lighten the load. Arch your back and extend backwards with the club after every shot. If using a pull cart, push rather than pull, when not walking downhill.
Core Tips- A Strong Core is Critical for a Healthy Golf Swing
Core Stabilization Golf Exercises – Abdominal/Core Strengthening can be performed sitting on balance ball or standing on discs while doing biceps curls, shrugs, rows, lats, and leg extension. Contract abdominal muscles and keep balance while using arms and legs. (Photo 1)
Golf Swing on Discs – Backswing
Tie a light resistance band (red) to a golf club at the top of the grip. Tie the other end to a door knob. Stand with feet shoulder width apart on discs or pillows. Slowly turn into backswing – hold 3-5 seconds- slowly release to starting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times. (Photo 2)
Golf Swing on Discs – Follow-Through
Same as above for backswing but perform in follow-through motion.
Take a Golf Lesson – learn the mechanics of a proper swing for less stress on your body from a PGA golf professional. It can make the difference!
BE SMART – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY - If the arm, leg, neck or back pain is severe, long lasting or causes radiating pain, tingling or numbness into your legs, consult your family physician to determine the best course of action before you continue playing golf.
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM