Playing Surface Matters in Golf Injuries

Although golf is not considered a strenuous sport, about one-third of recreational golfers sustain an injury each year.

And about two-thirds of golfers over age 50 suffer some type of golf injury.

Sports medicine doctors know that golfers who return to action after a long layoff are at high risk of an injury.

Overstretching a joint or muscle may result in a sprain or muscle pull, causing many miserable Mondays after that first weekend back to golf.

Topping the list of golfer’s injuries are the back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and knee.

To prevent back injuries, strengthen the abdominal muscles with crunches (bent-knee sit-ups).

Shoulder raises with light dumbbells help prevent shoulder problems.

Squeezing a small rubber ball with each hand strengthens the forearms and helps protect the elbows and wrists from damage.

For the knees, strengthen the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh (leg extensions) and the hamstring muscles in the back of the thigh (leg curls).

New research presented on June 2 at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting and the 2nd World Congress on Exercise is Medicine suggests that golfers recovering from or prone to injury should limit playing or practicing on natural grass.

Andrea Fradkin, PhD, an associate professor of exercise science at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA, says “certain parts of the body may be subjected to greater forces on natural grass, increasing the potential for injury or re-injury.”

If you’re coming back to the links after an injury, first head to the driving range to hit balls off the mat easily a few times to get your muscles used to swinging again.

At home, develop a daily stretching routine.

Spending just a little time stretching regularly will give you an edge over your golfing buddies and consistently shave a few strokes off your scores.

It also helps insulate you from a further injury.

Golfers should concentrate on stretching the trunk, shoulders, and hamstring and calf muscles.

For the trunk, place a club behind your head, rotate and hold for 20 seconds, then turn back and hold again for 20 seconds.

For the shoulders, stretch one arm across your body and hold for 20 seconds, then repeat with the other arm.

For the hamstring and calf muscles, do toe touches for 20 seconds at a time.

Once you have recovered from an injury, before you play warm up, stretch, then hit a bucket of balls on the driving range, progressing from short irons to longer clubs.

After you play, go through your stretching program.

One good stretch in each area will prevent soreness the next day.

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