It has been a long and snowy winter and avid golfers are anxious to dust off the clubs and get their game in gear in time for club opening. Just as the pros emphasize good practice habits for effective play, the same strategies are important when it comes to staying pain-free this season.
The following tips are even more important if you already have a history of pain or injury, especially in the lower back, shoulder and elbow, as these are the most common areas affected in the golf game.
Pay attention to pre-season fitness: Adequate strength, flexibility and endurance prior to starting your actual golf practice will allow your body to tolerate your practice regime.
Review correct setup posture: The proper spine angles, combined with correct shoulder and lower body position, will allow the rotational speed of the golf swing to be properly generated by the body. For instance if the small inward curve of the lower back (lordosis) is flattened at setup, there is an increased pressure within the discs, which can be extremely injurious when we add rotation and speed during the swing. The same problem can occur in the neck if the head is excessively bent forward at address.
A large bucket of balls hit with your driver make a bad combination: Many injuries occur because of repetitive forces. Just as the professionals stress the importance of efficiency in practice, the same applies to you. Vary club length to alter the stresses on the spine and extremities, and hit only as many balls as is needed to groove your technique while not applying forces that can create injury.
Be aware of those around you: Aberrant balls on the driving range are not uncommon. Each year serious head injuries occur as individuals are in the path of unplanned ball flight. Respect those around you as well and be sure that your path ahead is clear before you hit the ball.
Listen to your body: Sudden or gradual onset of pain should not be ignored. Stop practicing and have the area assessed if a short period of rest/ice does not resolve the problem.
This post originally appeared on the Therapeutic Mobility website at http://therapeuticmobility.ca/2011/03/preseason-golf-tips and was reprinted with permission.
Heather Tennant, B.Sc.(P.T.), CAFCI, established Therapeutic Mobility in 1996. In addition to her practical experience, Heather has pursued advanced training including: chronic pain techniques, orthopaedics and manual therapy, acupuncture, sports injury and complex injury rehabilitation. Therapeutic Mobility is the exclusive FITforeGOLF affiliate clinic in the Simcoe County Region, providing professional and recreational golfers’ key programs to recover from and prevent injuries, while improving power and swing techniques.