The best exercise for golfers is golfing.
– Bobby Jones
I love to play golf and work with fellow golfers. While playing in a tournament with my friends I had lot’s of questions about aches and pains that seem to affect every golfer. They asked what are the most common problems I see and how to deal with them. While I can’t talk about every condition I see among golfers and each treatment, here are some common problems and a what I believe is key to preventing them.
- Back Pain – poor posture causes mechanical stress or often disc related problems with your back.
- Golfer’s elbow/Tennis elbow – an inflammation of the tendons attached on either side of the elbow. I see tennis elbow more commonly in golfers.
- Shoulder pain – Several conditions such as rotator cuff tendonitis, impingement, or tears can lead to shoulder pain.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – from repetitive stress in the hands causing numbness and pain.
- DeQuervain’s tendonitis – inflammation of the tendons at the base of the wrist that control the thumb.
- Trigger Finger – causes the finger to lock up from a swollen flexor tendon catching in its sheath.
- Knee Pain – there are many conditions that affect golfers including torn meniscus, ligament tears, and osteoarthritis.
Golf is a great sport for a life time but it takes some maintenance to keep your body pain free over time. Stretching may be better than practice for enjoying a pain free game. Most players need to make some time to stretch before playing or even spending time on the range. No ones body wants to be torqued and twisted without a little warning. While many players arrive right before tee time and take off to play a fifteen minute stretching routine can make a big difference.
You can’t stretch enough!
Warm muscles are more elastic allowing better stretching, walk to the range to get your heart rate up a little for a warm up. I like to work from head to toe so I remember to stretch the whole body. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds. Don’t bounce or stretch to the point of pain.
- Neck – turn your head each way and hold
- Shoulder – hold your arm across your body and pull your elbow
- Chest – hold a club behind your back and push your chest out
- Wrist – hold your elbow locked out and pull your hand down then up to stretch the forearms
- Core muscles – hold a club over your head and bend to each side as far as you can and hold
- Back – toe touches are great for the lower back. Go as far as you can but don’t bounce!
- Hamstrings – place your foot on a bench or cart and lean forward toward your toes
- Calves – Lean towards a cart or tree and put your heel behind you on the ground then move your pelvis forward. You should feel the calf muscle stretch.
What about after the round? The clubhouse is a great place to relax and retell the stories of your round but after you’re done a hot shower and a few more stretches should prevent the next day stiffness and keep you ready to play again.
Enjoy your golf game more by keeping your body in shape to play with simple stretches before and after you play! If you have trouble with any of these conditions from your golf game let’s work together on getting you back to your game. Hit em straight!