Becoming a master of the craft requires lots of time, practice, and patience. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows, and many obstacles in between. Unfortunately, the most common obstacles athletes face are injuries.
As a low-impact sport, golf may seem ‘more casual’ in comparison to – let’s say – gymnastics, but in reality, the swings can put an overwhelming amount of stress on the body. And like in every other sport, the majority of professional golfers have experienced some kind of grueling damage to their bodies.
However, you don’t need to be a professional golfer to sustain an injury. Most golf injuries are a result of poor technique, mechanics, incorrect setups and grips, over-practice, and insufficient warming up of the body.
THE MOST OFTEN SUFFERED GOLF INJURIES
First and foremost, golf is a sport that requires lots of thinking. Luckily, we are not able to injure our minds by playing it, but our bodies are prone to damage. So, to avoid any unnecessary damage, it is good to stay informed.
The most common golf injuries are:
- Lower back pain
- Elbow pain or Tendinitis
- Foot pain
- Knee pain
- Rotator cuff/shoulder pain
- Wrist pain
Playing the game unprepared can cause nagging damage that can slow the player down, or even stick you in bed for a few days. In order to avoid any of them, let’s go through several tips which can help you avoid any unwanted accidents.
BEFORE THE FIRST SWING
There is a lot more to golf than just a swing. Believe it or not, good preparation begins even before you arrive at the golf course! Here’s what we mean by that:
- Choosing appropriate golf shoes. Our feet are the foundation of every movement we make. In that sense, players should dress not only for comfort but for protection also.
Choosing a long cleated shoe can lead to digging into the sod and holding the feet planted to the ground. What this can lead to is placing more strain on the knees and feet. To avoid that, choose shoes with short cleats.
- Warming up. Avoiding stretches can only lead to mistakes. Warm up the wrists, forearms, hands, shoulders, and back. Raising the heartbeat for a short while is very helpful, so several jumping jacks can do the body good.
Instead of grabbing the club and hitting the ball as soon as you step on the grass, swinging the club a few times can create a more fluid movement and increase it throughout the whole body.
- Avoiding sun damage. We’ve all learned it from our parents – it’s dangerous to play unprotected in the sun. And it’s true. Weather conditions are one of the main differences between indoor and outdoor golf. Sunburns, dehydration, and heatstroke are nothing to be joking around with.
A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 and up, sunglasses that filter UVB and UVA rays, and a hat with a visor are great tools for preventing heat injuries. In case you experience weakness, nausea, dizziness, fast heartbeats, and confusion – it’s time to call it quits and rest in the shade with a bottle of water.
INCORRECT SWINGS BRING TROUBLE
People often think that it is not that hard and that pretty much anyone knows how to swing a golf club. But – swinging is a repetitive motion, particularly the cocking of the wrist motion, puts strain on the joints and tendons. Even the small muscles around the shoulders are prone to inflammation due to bad swings.
To prevent golf injuries, it is important to understand the mechanics behind the golf swing. This is how to help avoid any damage:
- Implementing a better posture. Slightly bending the knees, spread the feet shoulder-width apart, gently rotated outward. With the spine standing straight, the lower body should be tilted forward, with the hips doing most of the work.
It is advised not to curve over the ball as this can affect the neck and back and strain them.
- Overswinging equals tension. Go easy and stay relaxed. There is no rush – heated thoughts aren’t your fuel at the course. In case you go too hard or too fast, the only thing that can happen is putting too much stress on the joints.
- Fluid moves – from head to toe. The power of a good swing comes from the whole body, not just from a part of it. When force is spread throughout the entire body, ankles to wrists, there is less space for any injuries.
What players often tend to suffer from is tendinitis, sharp pain in the elbow (known as “golfer’s elbow”) caused by a strained muscle inside of the forearm. This happens when too much pressure is put on the wrists while swinging.
STAY IN SHAPE
Strength and conditioning training is key to helping prevent any damage to your body. And by that, it is not needed to bulk up and create a completely different physical image, but maintain a lean physique that can preserve the body and react properly to any surprising movement.
In case you do get injured, it is advised to get the doctor’s help and not take anything besides ibuprofen on your own hand. It is okay to switch between hot and cold compress therapy, but if the pain persists – it is time to seek medical advice.
Injuries cannot be predicted, yet preventing them is more than possible. Creating a simple, although effective routine not only creates spaces for a much more fluid body movement, it helps us save our anatomy from any unwanted harm.
Be aware, train and play smart, and feel the game throughout your whole body!