As we come into Summer many people around the United States are excited for one thing – golf season! It’s a time to relax, get a little competitive, and have fun. It’s a place for friends, family, and even business associates to get outside, clear your head, and even test your brain, but what if it was all taken from you due to an injury?
Like a skier getting hurt at the beginning of ski season, a golfer getting hurt at the beginning of Summer is almost like torture. There is something you can do about it though. You can help to prevent those injuries from happening and robbing you of your Summer. How? Well, let’s take a look at our four tips (and three bonus sub-tips) to keep you on the greens (or the hazards, depending on your skills) this Summer.
1. Warm up and stretching
No one can (or should) jump into a full swing right out of the gate. As with any sport, your muscles need time to warm up before going full bore. If you don’t allow your muscles to warm up with a light exercise and stretching, you dramatically increase your risk of injury in every sport, and golf is no exception. To warm up before you hit the course, you should focus on actively working your hips, core, shoulders and neck. Check out these great warm up stretches for golfers from Men’s Health.
2. Make sure your swing is solid
The number one way golfers get hurt is in their swing. This can be from bad mechanics, over rotation, feet getting caught in the turf, bad posture, and more. If your swing isn’t right, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. The golf swing uses many muscles throughout your body and without a smooth swing, you are putting them all at risk of injury. Here are a few bonus tips to make sure your swing isn’t your body’s weakness.
Use proper posture
There may be nothing more important to your golf game than proper posture. For your swing, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rotated slightly outward, and with your knees slightly bent. Hold your spine relatively straight; your trunk should be tilted forward, but most of that movement should come from your hips. Avoid hunching over the ball, which may contribute to neck and back strain.
Let all your muscles work together
Don’t rely on just one part of your body to complete your swing. It’s similar to a quarterback – without properly using his legs and hips, a quarterback will fail just throwing with his arm. As a golfer – the same is true. You cannot rely on over-rotating your wrist or all upper body strength to hit a ball several hundred yards. Your whole body, from shoulders to toes, need to be working together to successfully complete a swing.
Avoid over swinging
A fast, super powerful swing is not necessarily the way to drive the furthest. A successful swing is steady, consistent, and relaxed. Putting all your power behind a single swing opens your joints and muscles up to a significant injury.
While golf probably isn’t one of the sports that first pops into your head when you think of strength training, just like strength training for tennis players, in order to perform at your peak, your muscles need to be able to take the stress that golf puts on them. While you’re not necessarily working to become a powerlifting strongman, strength training will not only help you prevent injuries, but will likely improve your game as well
Carrying the clubs
Though it may seem harmless, lifting and carrying your clubs throughout the 18 holes can take its toll and is a common source of golf injuries. Even though the clubs may not seem that heavy, jerking them out of your car or putting all the stress on one side of your body all day are great ways to suffer an injury. Nobody likes to tell the story of pulling their back while they were getting their clubs out of the golf cart. Be smart about it, as with any lifting, use the strength in your legs, not your back, to lift your clubs.
Now, there is more to preventing injuries than these sport specific tips. We want you to enjoy many rounds of golf this summer and to do so you’ve got to stay healthy! Download our FREE Day-to-Day Muscle Recovery Checklist to help you keep your muscles in top shape for many sunny rounds to come!