4 Keys to Feeling Good Playing Golf This Summer
Spring has officially arrived, which means many of you will be hitting the greens! To keep your golf game at its best, and to prevent any unwanted injuries, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide that will help improve your golf performance.
As with any sport, using poor technique can cause you to overstrain your muscles, which can result in a potential injury. A recent study has shown that within a two-year period, 60% of golfing pros and 40% of amateurs experienced some kind of injury during a game.
Another important point to note is that most injuries result from overuse – something that is completely preventable.
Follow the easy steps below to keep your body performing at its best!
1. Check Your Movement
Whether you’re an avid golfer or only take part in the occasional round with friends, it’s a good idea to test for strains and asymmetries in your body. You can easily do a self-test by:
- keeping your feet planted and facing forward,
- rotate to look over your shoulder on each side.
You should be watching for any indifference in your rotation from one side compared to the other. This quick test should quickly reveal any imbalances and give you guidance regarding which areas to pay extra attention to during the next steps.
2. Increase Mobility With Targeted Stretching
Create a simple golf routine that allows you to warm up before a game with 10 to 20 minutes of low-intensity activity. Something like a brisk walk or jog, which is followed by stretching the muscles that are frequently used in your swing – the back, shoulders, neck and forearms. Be sure to gently stretch each area and hold it for 10 to 20 seconds.
After, try some golf specific warm up exercises and slowly move through a swing, back and forth. You should be balancing each movement on either side of the body, followed by practising shorter shots on a driving range.
A perfect way to stretch and condition your mid-back is with the half or full “rainbow stretch”. To perform this stretch, lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and arms stretched out to the side. Gently rotate your entire trunk to bring one arm over your body and across to meet the other arm, as if you were tracing the arc of a rainbow above you. Go as far as you are comfortable and then repeat on the other side.
Moving the body through a full golf swing can also strain the lower back, so stretch it out with a similar move: stay on your back and twist at the hips, letting your leg fall out to each side. This will release any tension there and allow for more fluid motions.
Research has shown that failing to warmup for at least 10 minutes before you play golf doubles your risk of injuring yourself.
Following all of these steps ensures your body is warm and ultimately less prone to injury. Once you’re finished with your game of golf, go through a similar set of exercises to cool down.
3. Be Mindful of Common Golfing Injuries
It comes without surprise that the most common golfing injury is to the back. Those explosive and extensive rotations during a golf swing have a huge impact on your muscles. In order to prevent back injuries, focus on a full rotation of the lead hip as you finish your swing and keep your range of motion as full and smooth as possible.
Another area of the body that is prone to injury is the elbow. Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis is also surprisingly common, and is caused by “fat” shots, or hitting the ground with the club. There’s also tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, which is caused by over-swinging with the dominant hand. Poor swing mechanics can increase strain on the joints, and also become more common with age or with increased frequency of play.
Luckily, these types of elbow injuries can be prevented by carefully stretching the upper body before a golfing session. Taking the time to strengthen the surrounding upper body muscles is ultimately the best way keep these injuries at bay!
Shoulder pain is also common from poor golf technique. The subscapularis, pectoralis and latissimus muscles are all affected during those big swings. Avoid the prolonged carrying of heavy golf bags to protect your shoulders, and don’t forget to stretch before and after each game.
4. Get Help if Pain Persists
Regular stretching and exercises that promote balance between the left and right sides of your body will help you avoid injury; however, sometimes injuries still happen. Here are some warning signs that signal it’s time to see a physiotherapist:
- dramatically reduced range of motion
- feelings of weakness
- pre-existing injury that seems to be aggravated
- searing joint pain
It’s important not to ignore these early signs of injury, because the longer you wait the worse it may become. Our amazing team of physiotherapists are expertly trained to pinpoint any problem areas, and provide you with the ideal treatment plan. Contact us today and let us help you get playing your best golf game!
Book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists by calling one of our 6 clinics located throughout Edmonton & Sherwood Park including Riverbend, Meadowlark, Belvedere, Namao, Sherwood Park or our newest clinic in West Henday.