Golfing Tips

The following exercises can be performed at the course in about eight minutes, as well as the last five which you may wish to do at home before getting to the course as they require you lay down to perform them. Also, it is very beneficial to stretch AFTER you have played.

Here are some other tips which may help decrease your back pain while playing:

  • When picking up a ball, bend at the knees into a squat OR use the “golfer’s lift.” The golfer’s lift is performed by using your club as a cane for support. Keep the opposite leg straight, lift your club-side leg behind you and reach down to pick up the ball. This decreases the repetitive strain on your back of picking up balls an endless number of times throughout the day.
  • If you have to lift your golf bag in and out of your car, you must be cautious or this alone will ruin your day. Be sure the bag is close to the door so you don’t have to reach for it. Step close to the car and hold the bag close to your body as you lift it out without bending, reaching, or twisting your back. If your car trunk or truck bed is low, be sure to bend your knees, not your back.
  • If you carry your clubs instead of using a golf cart, be sure to carry the bag close to your body. To decrease the stress being placed on only one side of your body, carry your bag on one shoulder for the front nine, and the other shoulder for the back nine. There is also an excellent product on the market called “The Loop” which you can get at Golf USA or other stores. This will give you two straps on your bag so you carry the weight evenly across your back. The same applies if you use a pull cart, making sure you keep the cart close to your body and do not let your back twist or bend while pulling.
  • If you practice on the putting green prior to your game, be sure to give your back a break after every three or four balls. Stand up, place your hands on your hips, and arch your back COMFORTABLY backward.
  • Give the muscles supporting your back a break every so often while on the fairway. Find a nice size tree while your partner is searching in the rough for his (or her) ball. Bend slightly at the knees and place your back against the trunk of the tree.
  • If your back is aching after a game, try an ice pack for 10 minutes (a large bag of frozen corn or peas works great!). For some, heat works better than ice at relieving the ache, so try a hot shower, hot bath, or soak in a hot tub. A moist hot pack also works well, but make sure it is comfortable on your skin and will not burn.
  • If you are returning to golf after a particularly bad episode of back pain, consider only playing nine holes and be ready to stop if your symptoms return. Consider taking a penalty stroke if the ball is in a lie that will place undue stress on your back.
  • If you experience back pain or spasm while playing, try some of the stretches that follow or give your back a break by arching it back or leaning against a tree. If you continue to play while you are in pain, you may create more injury or even injure other muscles as you compensate for those that are hurting. If your back pain increases in intensity or spreads from your back to your thigh, calf, heel, or your upper back, you MUST STOP PLAYING.

If you follow the above suggestions and are still in pain, please seek advice from your physician who can refer you for physical therapy if it is appropriate. A thorough evaluation can then be made to determine further interventions that will get you on the links and swinging without pain.

Happy and Healthy Golfing!

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