SIMPLE GOLF EXERCISES YOU CAN DO ON THE GREEN TO PREVENT INJURY
Sport (n): An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.
Golf commonly has this misconception of not being a sport, but if you’ve ever played, it clearly requires this unique combination of physical exertion and skill. Suffice it to say, golfers are athletes too!
As with any athlete, if the proper preparations aren’t taken, there are injury risks. The average golfer will repeat a swing pattern thousands of times in a season as they attempt to perfect their skills and improve performance. This repetitive activity is a major factor for the most common injuries seen in golfers.
And injury can occur not just during the act of swinging the club, but also everything in-between. For example, did you know that golfers will, on average, walk 5-6 miles (~3mi with a cart) on each course? Add that to the act of bending over and picking up heavy club bags, you have a lot of opportunities to tweak a muscle or two.
Common injuries include:
- Low Back Pain
- Lateral Elbow Pain (Tennis Elbow)
- Medial Elbow Pain (Golfer’s Elbow)
- Shoulder Pain
- Joint Pain
While many golfers end up in our PT office following an injury on the green, there are quite a few ways physical therapy can help keep golfers out of this painful predicament to begin with. For example, our clinic performs Golf Evaluations in which we will review your swinging motion and form to highlight areas of strength and weakness. Ultimate we’re looking to strengthen muscles that are perhaps less ready to bear more extreme levels of exertion and also correct any discernable problematic motions. Following the Golf Evaluation, a custom stretching or strengthening program is developed for the golfer to improve or maintain play. This is why you will commonly find PTs on staff with professional golfers.
In the meantime though, see below for a series of simple exercises that you can do on the golf course to reduce your chance of injury. In the following video, avid golfer and Personal Trainer Adam Dutille brings you through a series of stretching and strengthening exercises as designed by Becca Swope, PT. Please enjoy!
Golfing Exercises to Prevent Injury
Print out this quick reference guide (doublesided) that can fit into your scorecard!
- Hamstring stretch – Place one straightened leg in front of you or on an elevated surface such as your cart. Slowly lower your body by bending the opposite knee and leaning forward at the waist until you feel a stretch on the backside of front leg. This stretch can also be performed from a sitting position.
- Calf stretch- Place one slightly bent leg forward with your back leg remaining straight, heel planted on the ground. Move your center of gravity forward until you feel a stretch in the backside of the back leg. You can place your hands straight ahead against your cart for additional balance and leverage.
- Upper Body Rotations – Hold your club at each end in front of you with arms slightly bent. Push one arm back while keeping the shoulder and elbow at 90 degrees. Hold the stretch and then rotate the torso to repeat on the opposite side. Start in small ranges and gradually increase motion.
- Bent Over Upper Body Rotations – Perform upper body rotations exercise as described above/previously but bend forward at the waist.
- Shoulder extension – Standing straight, hold your club behind your body with hands clasping opposite ends of your club. Extend the club evenly back and away from your body to create a stretch.
- Cross arm stretch – Use one arm to pull the opposite elbow horizontally across the body. Hold the stretch and then repeat with the opposite arm.
- Hip flexor stretch (lunges) – Lunge one leg forward keeping your torso straight (use your club for balance) until a stretch is felt in the upper part of the back leg. You can increase the stretch by placing your front leg on your golf cart.
- Standing back extension – Feet shoulder-width apart, hands on small of the low back, bend backwards into your hands. Make sure that as you perform this extension, you lift up tall through your torso and contract your core. The stretch can be deepened by moving pelvis forward while extending backward.
- Wrist flexor stretch – Extend one hand out perpendicular from the body with the elbow locked and palm up. Grasp the fingers with your other hand and pull them down and back towards the body until you feel a stretch in the forearm. Repeat with the opposite arm.
- Wrist extensor stretch – Extend one hand out perpendicular from the body with the elbow locked and palm down. Make a fist and then grasp the knuckles with your other hand. Push your fist down until you feel a stretch in the top of the wrist.
May your drives be straight and down the fairway
May you avoid the rough
And when your balls fly over water
May they land only in soft, green stuff.