Playing golf safely
with advice from Daniel Butler, HFS
Spring is in the air, and people are making their way back to the driving range and golf course after a long winter break. Time away from any sport can lead to injury as a result of bad form and weakened muscles; here are some things to keep in mind before you lace on your cleats.
Daniel Butler, a personal trainer at the Take Charge Fitness Program, a wellness facility run by Clinton Physical Therapy Center, (a Physiquality network member in Clinton, Tennessee), says, “Everyone’s golf swing is different in various ways, but the one thing they all have in common is the use of the hips to rotate the body.” This is why it is imperative that golfers strengthen the muscles surrounding the pelvic girdle, or the hips: the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and, to a lesser degree, the quadriceps.
He also recommends strengthening the core, which will improve stability and balance while reducing soreness in the shoulders and back. This is particularly important as the most common injury or problem for golfers is low back pain.
Possible exercises to strengthen such muscle groups include:
When you head to the golf course, Daniel recommends allowing enough time before your round to properly stretch and warm up. He advises, “If you’re walking, take the time to stretch the hips and calves every three to four holes. If you’re riding, take a few minutes at the turn to stretch the hips and hamstrings.”
As for what not to do? Daniel cautions against trying to be too aggressive with your swing or trying to hit out of a heavy lie. This often leads to over-rotation and back injury. And, as with any sport, avoid overdoing it and practicing too much. He notes that because the golf swing is a highly technical movement, it wears out your body, and tired muscles are at a greater risk for injury.
Daniel Butler has been a personal trainer for almost 10 years at the Take Charge Fitness Program, a wellness facility run by Clinton Physical Therapy Center, a Physiquality network member in Clinton, Tennessee. A former Marine, Daniel holds certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine as a health fitness specialist and the Arthritis Foundation as an aquatic instructor, and he will complete his B.S. in health administration this fall.
For further reading, look through our selection of articles on golf, in addition to the below links:
A strong core is a good foundation for any athlete. Physiquality, April 2, 2012.
Massachusetts General Hospital Sports Physical Therapy Service. Step up/down exercise. YouTube.com, November 11, 2011.
Keffer, Joe. Hip abductor muscles exercises. Livestrong.com, March 6, 2011.
Gillanders, Robert. Forward lunge leg exercise. APTA on YouTube.com, January 3, 2011.
Foley, Sean. 4 steps to save your back: Take off the stress and play golf pain-free. Golf Digest, March 2010.
Minimizing golf injuries. Kern Physical Therapy.
How to prepare for your golf game. Physiquality.
Help for golfers with low back pain: University of Pittsburgh research. Medical News Today, July 22, 2005.