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Tel 01903 230066
As a keen golfer, the last thing I want is not to be able to play. Poor weather is one thing, but when the sun is shining and pain is stopping you from getting out ripping your drives and sinking those 20 foot putts, life is miserable.
With that in mind I have put together a list of nine tips, which should help you get out there when time and the weather allows.
Like sitting at a desk, golf is NOT a natural activity. Whereas the fresh air is invigorating and good for the heart, golf often stresses us physically and mentally. Twisting and bending put a huge load on the spinal discs and large strains on most of your joints and muscles. We also tend to forget that the vast majority of us are leisure golfers and that the extraordinary turns and speed of the top pros are NOT what we should try to emulate.
Here is the list in more detail:
1. Do not stretch before sport
Yes, golf is a sport and stretching beforehand can actually decrease performance
and increase the risk of injury. Scientists think stretching may decrease the resting
tone of a muscle, deadening its sensitivity and making it less able to respond to
sudden bursts of activity. It may also stop the muscles from protecting a joint from
getting overstretched. In one study a group of sprinters who stretched before the
timed run ran more slowly. Other studies have not conclusively shown that pre-
2. Do warm up before sport.
Whereas stretching is discouraged walking straight from the boot of your car to the
first tee is not recommended either. Give yourself about half an hour from boot to
shoot. Warm up by 30 seconds of light jogging on the spot. Circle your hips (1).
Gently swing your arms all the way round in both directions (2), and then cross and
stretch (3). Do some gentle rotation swinging you arms (4) and then some full rotations
holding a club behind you neck or upper back (5). Turn your head fully from side
to side. Perform slow practice swings holding two of your shorter clubs then faster
swings with one club. Repeat all of the above 10-
3. Get fit to play golf, do not play golf to get fit
Do not fall into the trap of your only way of getting fit. The golf swing is too
complex a movement for that and it doesn’t really increase the heart rate enough
to be of benefit -
We do need to exercise between trips to the golf club. Brisk walking is helpful but other stamina building exercise such as swimming is good as it works the shoulders as well. Tennis, badminton and squash are good too.
4. Strengthen trunk and shoulders muscles
The core stability muscles get a lot of good press and rightly so. The core muscles are the deep trunk muscles between your rib cage and your waist. They provide support in the same way that a support belt does but in a more flexible and dynamic way. If lycra is not your thing there is no need to go to Pilates classes. Simple abdominal exercises are good enough. There are plenty of good books on the subject. Just make sure that you go easy to start with, preferably on the floor or on a mat. Doing exercises on a labile surface such as a gym ball is slightly more advanced but it is very effective and tunes the muscles quickly. It’s fun too!
Shoulders and upper back muscle are often overlooked when it comes to golf specific exercises. Weights are can be expensive and the exercises can quickly get boring. Do have a go with a flexi bar. These simple exercises work on the control, flexibility and strength in the shoulders and back. Just a few minutes a day can really make a difference.
5. Do flexibility exercises
Flexibility and control are more important than brute strength in golf. The design
of the joints in the lower back does not allow for much rotation, so this mainly
takes place in the mid-
Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent at improving flexibility. If you do not fancy classes
6. Use brains not brawn
Very rarely does force alone hit the ball much further. Technique is paramount and
only a qualified golf pro should teach you. Do not rely on tips and advice from friends
and family members they rarely have the eye to spot where the problem really lies
and how to correct it. A few lessons followed up by practice can take a lot of the
strain out of the game. Poor technique means loses you more distance than brute force
will ever gain you. Over-
7. Wear orthotics if needed
Insoles can improve swing speed and improve distance research has shown by supporting
even slightly flat feet, which causes over-
8. Wear a hat
Oh, I hate wearing a hat but whether it is summer or winter it can be an important addition to your trendy golfing attire. If you get cold your body will try to preserve heat by decreasing the blood flow to your arms and legs reserving it for the more vital internal organs. Your carefully warmed up muscles(!) will lose oxygen and nutrition and are more likely to pull and tear. Wearing a hat helps preventing heat loss through your exposed head.
During the summer your hat will help protecting you from the full force of the sun, stopping you from overheating and dehydrating. 2% dehydration equals 20% loss of performance, which handily leads us to the final item.
9. Take a drink onto the golf course and drink it. Also bring a snack.
Sipping a drink during your round helps maintaining hydration levels (see item 7). It does not need to be fancy sports drinks; squash or plain water will do just fine. Maybe also take a cereal bar, a banana or some nuts with you to keep your energy levels steady.
Using the above tips will reduce your chances of needing our help but should you
have any aches and pains that are causing problems with your golf or any other aspect
of your life, or if you just want a preventative check-
Jan Olsen DC
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