Ready to break out the golf clubs and hit the course? Before you do, check out these tips on how not to injure yourself this spring.
After being cooped up all winter, you’re probably raring to go and hit the golf course the first warm day of spring. But if you rush into golfing, you may find yourself in a lot of pain.
“If you’ve been inactive all winter and you go and golf 18 rounds of golf, you might feel fine during your golf game, but the next morning you may find you can’t get out of bed,” says Moez Rajwani, a chiropractor based in Ontario and a member of the Ontario Chiropractic Association. “I tell my patients that you have to be doing something active in the winter — anything that keeps you physically active so you maintain flexibility and strength,” he says. In addition to the golfer who’s been inactive all winter, he notes that there’s another type of golfer, the one who doesn’t typically play but who will participate in the occasional charity tournament.
To stay injury-free, Rajwani has these suggestions:
Do a general warm-up
Get to the golf club early and work on some cardio to get your blood pumping.
Do some golf-specific exercises
Stretch your lower back and shoulders, and do some range-of-motion stretches. Go to the driving range and practice a few strokes to help you get into the rhythm again.
Play with people at your level
“You’re not going to have your best game in April,” he says, noting that in the spring, it’s about having fun and not competition.
Ease back into it
You’re excited because it’s warm out, but don’t launch into three rounds of golf immediately. “Ease into it gradually,” says Rajwani. “If your goal is to play all summer, then pace yourself.”
Be sure you’re using the right club for you
If you picked up your clubs at a sale, you may have scored a great price, but you should make sure that they’re the right clubs for you. Pay attention to your stroke, and have an expert check your club length. If it’s too short, you’ll stoop down and stress your back, and if it’s too high, you’ll compress your back. “Your club is an extension of your body, and just like your shoes, you have to find the right fit,” he says.