Staying Active: Golfing

Tips to Enjoy Golf and Avoid Injuries

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Golfing is seen by most to be a leisure sport, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without risks.

“In general, a lot of the golfing injuries are due to the some of the loads players placed on the upper extremities and some of the rotational things that you get in your back,” said Dr. John Watkins of St. Lukes Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.

The heavy hitting and over swinging can cause those problems in the back.

“There’s a lot of torsion involved repetitively that you’re swinging the golf club. So sometimes you can get some overuse in the soft tissue, what we can muscular, skeletal pain related to the chronic torsion in the back,” said Watkins.

And just like in golf, you’re not out of the woods if you’re not a big swinger. As doctor Watkins said, it can be all in the grip.

“That can be overuse inflammation, like tendinitis and that can occur in the shoulder, that can occur in the elbow. Some of that’s due to the grip and what players do with their hands to control the ball,” Watkins said.

To help prevent these kinds of injuries, golfers need to find a way to loosen up.

“Proverbially a lot of people say hey, I’m going to go warm up and hit a bucket of balls. It’s not just a way to kill a bit more time, it actually is very beneficial,” said Watkins.

Dr. Watkins has some tips to getting the most out of that bucket of balls.

“Start with some short irons and kind of loosen things up, get the blood flowing and get the muscles to loosen up so you have better flexibility. And then go from your short irons to your longer woods and drivers and things like that,” Watkins said.

After taking a few swings to stretch it all out, it’s time to hit the course.

“By the time you’re actually ready to go on that first tee and really unleash one, the bodies loosened up and prepared,” said Watkins.

So before teeing up on hole 1, grab a bucket of balls and take a few hacks. To stretch out the body and get those bad shots out of the way.