7 Quick Tips to Avoid Golf Injuries

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golf7. Warm up thoroughly. You’ve been told this before, but nothing makes you heed this advice like an injury on the first day of golf league! You do not need to take the time to hit a bucket of balls, but especially the first couple of times out after a long winter, this is a good suggestion. Otherwise, try a brisk walk or jog, some squats and swings, starting out small and working into something looking more like your drive over a ten-minute period of time. Pay attention to moving your wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, hips, knees, and ankles. Don’t forget to stretch specific injury prone areas you have had in the past as well.

6. Finesse that drive. This is not hitting it out of the park, so muscling the ball is NOT the answer. Work on specific technique that utilizes your trunk/hip muscles, not your arm or back muscles, combined with full rotation and follow through, keeping that eye on the ball. This will not only prevent injury, but will help prevent over-rotation hook shots. Want to improve your distance? Work on core strengthening in the off-season and on your days off, focusing on the obliques and transversus abdominus, gluteus medius and maximus to expand your drive. (See our Build a Better Body series for specific exercises for these muscles).

5. Don’t let the clouds and shade trees fool you. Don’t give your co-workers a great early morning laugh. Remember to use sunscreen every time you golf (including the driving range) - even on the cloudy days.

4. The solution to hooks and slices? It could be all in the hips. Lack of hip and trunk (including low back) rotation will lead to either inadequate or over-compensation in the rotation of your drive. If you know you are tight, do some specific stretches to address these areas. Not sure where to start? Set up a one-on-one injury screening with one of our physical therapists to check out exactly what is going on and what you can do to fix it.

Golfer Swing3. Hydrating with um, not Gatorade. On these hot summer days, keep in mind that golf, like any other sport, requires hydration with an effective hydrating (not de-hydrating) agent, such as water or Gatorade. Watch out especially for the combined alcohol and caffeinated drinks that serve as a double whammy of dehydration on the hottest days on the course. Remember a loss of just 1-2% of your body weight in fluids will lead to reduce performance in any sports, including golf.

2. Use the golfer’s reach to retrieve your ball. It’s as simple as it sounds. Balance your weight on your club with one hand and lift the opposite leg behind you so you can keep your back straight (by bending at your hips) as you retrieve your ball from the hole all 18 times. If your balance is not the best, or if you have a hip replacement, squat or use a golf ball retriever instead.

1. Relax that grip. Gripping the club too hard will not only produce poor shots, it will also lead to injuries to the wrist and elbow tendons from over-use and “arming” your shot. Keep your shoulders, elbows, and wrists relaxed as your swing away, practicing changes in forms on the driving range to improve consistency during course play.