4 Keys to Feeling Good Playing Golf This Summer

Spring is here, and Summer is right around the corner, which means many of you will be hitting the links! Whether a scratch golfer or a “duffer,” we want to help you keep your golf game at its best and prevent unwanted injuries. We’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide that will help improve your golf performance.

As with any sport, poor technique can cause you to overstrain your muscles, resulting in a potential injury. A recent study has shown that over a two year period, 60% of golfing pros and 40% of amateurs experienced some injury during a game.

Another critical point to note is that most injuries result from overuse, which is entirely preventable.

Follow the easy steps below to keep your body performing at its best!

woman playing golf
back pain from golf
1. Check Your Movement

Whether you’re an avid golfer or only take part in the occasional round with friends, it’s good 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.
  • It would help if you watched for any indifference in your rotation from one side to the other. This quick test should quickly reveal any imbalances and guide you on 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. A brisk walk or jog, followed by stretching the muscles used in your swing – the back, shoulders, neck, and forearm could be a good warm-up. 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. It would be best if you were 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 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 warm up for at least 10 minutes before playing golf doubles your risk of injuring yourself.

Following these steps ensures your body is warm and less prone to injury. Once you’ve 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 significantly impact your muscles. 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 surprisingly common and is caused by “fat” shots or hitting the ground with the club. There’s also tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, caused by over-swinging with the dominant hand. Poor swing mechanics can increase strain on the joints and become more familiar with age or increased play frequency.

These elbow injuries can be prevented by carefully stretching the upper body before a golfing session. Strengthening the surrounding upper body muscles is ultimately the best way to keep these injuries at bay!

Shoulder pain is also common from poor golf technique. During those big swings, the subscapularis, pectoralis, and latissimus muscles are all affected. 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
  • Numbness
  • A pre-existing injury that seems to be aggravated
  • Swelling
  • Searing joint pain
  • Tenderness
  • Tingling

It’s important not to ignore these early signs of an injury because the longer you wait, the worse it may become. Our fantastic team of physiotherapists is 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 Today!

If you experience an injury, please book an appointment with one of Innovation Physical Therapy’s experienced physiotherapists by calling one of our six clinics throughout Edmonton including Riverbend, Belvedere, or Namao.

Innovation Physical Therapy is here to help you love getting better!