golf fitness tips

Stretching/Warming Up: Tips for Golf Fitness

Tips for good golf fitness and health: Ditch the cart and hoof it

Golf fitness and your health

Golf witnessed a major transition over the last 60 years. In the past, players walked, carried their bag or used a caddy. Gradually, the game has become dominated by golf carts. The use of motorized golf carts transformed the golf industry in a number of ways.

Golf health facts

There have been numerous studies to determine the exact impact a round of golf has on physical fitness. As a society, Americans overall continue to exercise less and become more overweight and obese, despite some recent trends in the other direction.

While golf does not provide high-impact movement similar to other sports, golf still offers an excellent opportunity to maintain your health — if you take advantage of the opportunities for fitness that the game provides.

According to a study conducted by the National Golf Foundation, 34 percent of U.S. population is within a healthy weight, 33 percent are overweight and 33 percent of the population is obese. Among the golfing population, 27 percent of golfers are within their normal weight range and the exact same percentage are obese, 27 percent. Meanwhile, 46 percent of the population is overweight.

Walking the golf course provides many health benefits, and not just from burning calories and and fat, increasing strength and stamina, shrinking cholesterol numbers and heart rates and to lessening stress and increasing brain endorphin production (which makes us feel happier).

golf fitness tips

Golf cart usage

In 1984, 45 percent of rounds were played with a motorized cart. By 2002, cart usage rose to 66 percent and by 2006 increased to 69 percent.

Its estimated that roughly just one-third — or less — of all  rounds walked today. The majority of golfers use a golf cart.

In fact, some areas and courses estimate cart usage is over 90 percent.

According to administrative staff at several golf facilities in Myrtle Beach, Fla., walking rounds there are virtually non-existent. They estimated that 95 percent of rounds played at specific facilities are with golf carts.

However, there are still clubs that promote the original traditions of the game. Some courses restrict cart usage until certain times of the day while others require walking at all times. Clubs that require walking are in the minority.

Older courses were typically built on less than 100 acres and made walking convenient. They usually have short walks between the green and next tee box.

New courses, tough, tend to stretch between 160 and 260 acres where homes and communities are constructed between hole locations. It’s become common for long walks between holes, which puts a strain on some who’d rather not use a golf care. So, we’re in a dilemma where many newer courses are not suitable for walking and others restrict walking altogether.

Annually, the golf industry produces approximately two million jobs and generates more than $75 billion in revenue. Golf facilities are designed to create make money on cart rentals and encourage golfers to ride. More and more often golf courses expect to drive greater profits — and what better way than with mandatory golf cart fees?

golf fitness tips

Calories burned through golf

Many believe walking is more beneficial than riding in a cart, but how effective is a round of golf on physical fitness?

On average, you walk the equivalent of five miles during 18 holes of golf. In addition, a four-hour round of golf is similar to a two-hour singles match of tennis.

A scientific study sought to find out exactly how calories are burned during golf. Walking and carrying your clubs or pushing a cart burned approximately 1,440 calories while walking with a caddy burned nearly 1,250 calories.

On the other hand, those that preferred to ride burned approximately 820 calories. Indirectly, they still walked nearly a mile during the round.

Even players who fail to make it to the course can still burn a few calories playing video game golf. It is estimated a 175-pound man could burn 150 calories playing Nintendo Wii golf for 45 minutes while a 125-pound woman could burn approximately 100 calories in that same time frame.

golf fitness tips

 

 

dynamic golf stretches

Stretching/Warming Up: Dynamic Stretches for Golf

Dynamic Stretches for Golf

A typical golf professional arrives at the course hours before their tee time. And what does the pro do first? He or she starts out simple with stretches to loosen the body up and begin their routine on the practice green.

And you should too.

Formal definition:  Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching very useful in sports such as golf. It utilizes momentum from our body’s form. Static-active stretching helps build strength by in part harnessing the momentum from static-active stretching movements and positions. The important thing to remember with dynamic stretching is that you are not extending or exceeding your normal range of motion as you do the activities. 

Professional players focus on other short game areas such as chips, pitches and bunker shots. Next, they work on their full swing at the practice range. Typically, they spend a few more minutes on the putting green before they head to the first tee. There is no doubt they are fully prepared physically and mentally for their upcoming round.

Recreational players often arrive at the golf course with only a few minutes to prior to their tee time. They spend little or no time warming up and the first three or four holes result in a disaster. While you don’t need to go through an in depth routine such as a tour professional, you should spend a few minutes warming up before your round. 

There are several forms of stretching. Static stretching is the most common form that greatly improves flexibility. However, static stretches does little to contract the muscles needed to generate powerful golf swings. Dynamic stretches help improve your range of motion while reducing muscle stiffness.

In addition, research indicates dynamic stretches have a positive influence on performance. Many athletes in other sports also prefer dynamic stretches during their warm up routine.

The following dynamic stretches are useful for golfers:

dynamic golf stretches

Supported Squats

Place a club over your head with your hands on both ends of the club. Your arms should be fully extended up. Stand with your feet shoulder width and squat down until your thighs are close to parallel with the ground.

dynamic golf stretches

Arm Swings

Stand with your feet shoulder width and arms extended out to your sides. Slowly swing your arms back and forth across the front of your body.

dynamic golf stretches

Trunk Rotations

Place a club behind your neck with your hands on both ends. Stand with your feet shoulder width and bend your knees slightly and at your waist. Turn to each side so you get one end of the club directly in front of you with each turn.

dynamic golf stetches

Side Bends

Stand with your feet shoulder width and hold a club behind your neck. Bend to each side and keep your torso straight. Avoid leaning forward or backward, only go to each side.

dynamic golf stretches

Swing a Weighted Club

Practice swinging with a heavy club.  Swinging a weighted club is designed to increase flexibility, add swing speed, increase distance and build muscle. Take a normal set up and make continuous swings forward and backward without stopping.

dynamic golf stretches

Leg Swings

Stand with your feet approximately shoulder width and near an object you can grab for support. Begin by slowly swinging your right leg forward and backward. Switch to the other leg. Your body should remain standing straight up through the leg swings.

dynamic golf stretches

Alternate Toe Touches

Begin by spreading your feet a comfortable distance apart. Lean toward your left leg and touch your left foot with your right hand. You should feel a stretch in your lower back and hamstrings. Repeat the motion for the other foot. 

And try to have fun. Do what you can. Don’t overextend yourself. Maybe, listen to music on earbuds. Relax. Tune out the world a bit. You’re on the golf course!

– See more at: http://blog.2ndswing.com/dynamic-stretches-golf/#sthash.MsZU1ypN.dpuf

static golf stretches

Stretching/Warming Up: Static Stretches for Golf

Static Stretches for Golf

Static stretches are used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. Unlike dynamic stretches, studies indicate static stretches do not improve athletic performance. Rather, static stretches are designed to improve mobility and range of motion.

Make time for these. They work and will help your fitness for more than just golf. 

Stretches are generally held anywhere from 10 seconds or more and require easy breathing while the stretch is performed. The following are only a small sample of beneficial static stretches a golfer can perform.

Static stretching definition: A Static stretching means is one held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretches are the most common form of stretching now in fitness and is great for golf to improve overall flexibility and strength. 

static golf stretches

Standing Shoulder Stretch

Stand with your feet shoulder width and vertically hold a club in front of you. Hold onto the club and bend forward at your waist until your back is parallel with the ground. You should feel a stretch across your shoulders.

static golf stretches

Wrist Extensions

Wrist injuries are the most frequently reported injury for female golfers. Try the following exercise to stretch out the wrist and forearm. Extend your right arm straight out and pull back your fingers with your left hand until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Repeat the motion with the other wrist.

static golf stretches

Knee to Chest

Lie on your back with your neck supported and body extended out. Flex your right knee and slide your foot toward your butt. Place both hands behind the flexed knee and pull your knee toward your chest. Hold the stretch for the appropriate amount of time to stretch your lower back and gluteal muscles. Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

static golf stretches

Double Knees to Chest

Low-back injury is the number one reported injury in golf. The double knees to chest stretch will focus directly on the lower back, the most frequently injured area resulting from the golf swing.

Begin by lying on your back with your neck supported and body extended out. Flex both knees and slide both feet toward your butt. Place both hands behind your thighs and avoid too much bending in your knees. Pull both knees toward your chest and shoulders and lift your hips up off the floor. Relax and slowly extend your legs back to the original position. 

static golf stretches

Cat and Camel

The cat and camel stretch focuses directly on the upper back. Begin by getting on your knees and place your hands on the ground. Extend your arms forward and lower your chest down to the floor. Exhale out and extend your shoulders while you press down on the floor with your arms to produce an arch in your back. Hold the stretch and then relax.

static golf stretches

Quad Stretch

The quad stretch focuses on the middle- and upper-quadriceps muscles. Begin by standing and hold onto an object for support. Grab your left foot with your left hand and pull your heel toward your butt. Hold the stretch and return to your original standing position. Repeat the stretch with your other leg.

static golf stretches

Triceps Stretch

The triceps stretch focuses directly on the triceps. Begin the stretch by standing and place one hand behind your back and the elbow in the air. Place the other hand on the elbow and pull towards your head. Hold the stretch and repeat with the other arm.    

static golf stretches

Butterfly Stretch

The Butterfly stretch targets the inner thighs and groin area. Begin by sitting on the ground in an upright position. While sitting both soles of your shoes should be together.  Spread your knees apart and pull your feet toward your groin so you feel a stretch in the groin and inner thighs. Keep your lower back straight to perform the stretch correctly.   

static golf stretches

Hamstring Stretch

Stretch your hamstring by lying flat on your back with your legs extended out. Raise one leg and place your hands around your thigh. Keep your leg extended out while your other leg still lies flat on the ground. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and then lower your leg. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.

static golf stretches

Cross-over stretch

The cross-over stretch targets the hips and gluteal muscles. Begin by resting your head on a pillow or rolled up towel. Position both of your feet flat against a wall while your hips and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Cross your left leg over your right thigh. Position your right hand over your left thigh and pull it down to the floor. You should feel a stretch on the outside of your left hip. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.

maar01_fitness_oxygen

Stretching/Warming Up: Breathing Techniques for Golf

Breathing Techniques for Golf

Anxiety can be defined as an adaptive response associated with tension and uncertainty of facing a new situation or unpleasant experience that causes worry and can affect sleep, appetite and ability to concentrate. Furthermore, the fear resulting from anxiety can become extreme, debilitating and totally paralyzing. The ability to stay relaxed is crucial for success in any sport. 

Maybe that’s especially true with golf, for most of us at least. 

breathing techniques for golf

On the golf course, there are countless potential distractions that allow the opportunity to develop anxiety and lose focus. In fact, coupled with unrealistic expectations, many amateur players fall apart during a round of golf. Players can develop the ability to control their emotions before every shot. While many players experience anxiety before the opening drive or a crucial putt down the stretch, the goal is for players to avoid anxiety and cope with relaxation techniques. Staying relaxed will not guarantee success, however, it is a physical and mental state that offers a greater likelihood of success. 

Successful athletes believe they will achieve success. The ability to relax in a stressful situation is a valuable coping skill on and off the golf course. Research suggests relaxation strategies to be effective and necessary for achieving performance excellence.

The following breathing techniques are designed for participants to learn and experience muscle mind relaxation strategies. Experience the different techniques and find the most beneficial technique to reach a state of relaxation in the body and mind.

Sighing with Exhalation

Sighing with exhalation begins with each individual inhaling slowly and then holding their breath for 10 seconds. Allow the tension to build and then exhale through the mouth.  Athletes should feel tension leave the body and learn to relax with this breathing technique.

Rhythmic Breathing

Rhythmic breathing occurs with each individual inhaling for a count of four, holding for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four and then pausing for a count of four before repeating the sequence.

1:2 Ratio

The 1:2 ratio is a variation of rhythmic breathing. Individuals take a deep, full breath and then exhale slowly. Inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of eight. The next breath should be slightly longer, inhale to a count of five and exhale to a count of 10. Then inhale to a count of six and exhale to a count of 12 and so on. 

5-to-1 Count

A 5-to-1 count is another form of rhythmic breathing. Athletes begin by visualizing the number 5 and take a slow, deep breath with full exhale. Next, visualize the number four, and repeat the breathing cycle. Between each number athletes should focus on becoming more relaxed. Complete the cycle going down to the number one. 

Concentration Breathing

Concentration breathing is the last breathing exercise. Athletes specifically focus on the rhythm of each breath. Each inhale and exhale is specifically designed to think about relaxing and the next inhale or exhale. The idea is to remove any distracting thoughts and only on breathing rhythm.

So, go on and experiment with the different breathing techniques and determine which may be the most beneficial relaxation breathing exercise.

The ability to relax will help reduce anxiety and increase performance.

penha-longa-golf-resort-activities-jogging

Stretching/Warming Up: Is Running Good Golf Training?

Is Running Good Golf Training?

The thought of running to increase golf performance is a controversial topic. While running leads to aches and pains after a run, many feel it potentially leads to significant injuries later in life. Scientific studies are available to support and negate the benefits of running.

running for golf training

Many professional players have utilized running in their training program.  In fact, Justin Leonard trained and finished a marathon in Dallas, Texas. Nick Faldo used jogging to stay in shape, and Tiger Woods routinely starts his day with a 3 -mile speed run or 7-mile endurance run.

The following golf fitness tips show the potential benefits of how running can improve your golf game:

Endurance

The average golf course is approximately 5 miles in length. The majority of recreational players use a cart when they play golf.   Many competitive players are required to walk when they participate in a tournament. A player participating in a 4 day tournament must navigate 20 miles of terrain in addition to any hills and difficult weather conditions. While playing a round of golf does not require the same amount of endurance as a marathon, it golf does require mental and physical endurance to play at a high level. 

Endurance allows you to finish a round mentally sharp while still hitting solid golf shots. A running routine will help you finish mentally and physically stronger. For example, develop a training program where you run 3 miles four times a week. It should only take around 25 minutes and you will be amazed how fresh you feel at the conclusion of your round.

Mental Edge

Bear Bryant, Alabama’s legendary football coach, once said, “I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.”

Every athlete tries to develop a mental edge in an attempt to reach their peak performance. Running, or any other training program, can help a player feel invincible. A difficult training program might help a player build confidence and rely on that experience in a pressure situation. Suddenly a 5-foot putt might not seem so difficult when they pushed past barriers in training. A difficult training program will build mental toughness. 

In addition to the physical benefits, research indicates runner’s euphoria is a psychological benefit created from running. While the time and intensity required to reach a running high varies between individuals, it relieves stress and creates a happier and more relaxed individual.

Physical Fitness

Running is one of the most efficient exercises to lose weight. Combined with a healthy diet, you should definitely notice a leaner appearance and improved feel. Running is one of the best aerobic exercises for your heart and lungs. Research indicates the health benefits of running are tremendous, which include boosting your immune system and decreasing the risk of heart attack. 

Fitness sets the ceiling in golf. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to think a player in better physical condition has more potential for improvement. Better conditioned players are less susceptible to injury and physically able to implement improvements to their golf swing. 

Final Thoughts

The majority of today’s golf professionals believe physical fitness an essential part of their golf preparation. While it is an individual preference whether a player chooses running as a method to improve their game, players should at least utilize some form of training program.

Some individuals may feel there are other golf fitness tips and better strength and flexibility programs for their specific health needs. However, running will help you become a better golfer. How can improving your overall health not be beneficial for your everyday life, let alone your golf game?

 

Golf Psychology 101

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Psychology 101

Golf Psychology 101

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Psychology 101

Eliminating Scorecard Fear; Plus the 2013 U.S. Open, Justin Rose and Yoda

One of our golf pro writers gives us a pep talk — an a healthy dose of sports psychoanalysis.

So how does fear relate to golf?  What is it about golf that makes us so scared? 

Most of us don’t even know that we are scared of something in golf. But we are. It’s happened to me. I’ve seen it in thousands of my students. We have what I call “Scorecard Fear.”

Scorecard Fear is when the fear of taking too many shots on a hole or ending up with a large overall score drives you to feel nervous, anxious, angry and frustrated.

You think too far in advance of your score. You play scared golf. You try to guide your ball instead of focusing on the target. 

In high school, I took golf a little too seriously and got mad when I didn’t do well. In college, I realized that I didn’t do well at times because I was scared. I was scared of how I played, what other people would see in me, and I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I had Scorecard Fear. 

I let a dumb number on a piece of paper control how I played. I was too concerned with the outcome. 

You can’t control outcomes, only probabilities. 

What does that mean? It means that you don’t know how things will end up.  So, no need to focus on a perfect outcome.

Instead, do something to help the outcome. Give yourself a chance. 

The reason we have scorecard fear isn’t that we are embarrassed about a high number. It goes deeper. We believe that somehow the high number is a reflection on our character.  That we are not good enough. 

You can watch the Golf Channel, read Golf Digest and take lessons that focus strictly on lowering your score. But someday that learned skill may deteriorate. Eventually, you’re just not as good as you used to be. 

But you still have character. You still have your values. 

It doesn’t matter if you win any golf tournaments. It doesn’t matter if your score goes down. It doesn’t matter if you beat everyone in your group. It doesn’t matter if you have a bunch of trophies. It doesn’t matter if your swing is flawless. 

What matters is that you really enjoy doing something. What matters is who you are. What matters is your character. 

“As he prepared last week at Lake Nona for the 113th U.S. Open, Justin Rose did more than beat balls, work out and review his game plan for Merion. He watched a YouTube download of “The Empire Strikes Back.” The scene that sport psychologist Gio Valiante wanted Rose to absorb was Yoda’s famous discussion with Luke Skywalker. “I wanted him to know he was ready,” Valiante said Sunday from his home in Orlando. “That he was finally mature enough to come into his own.” — Golf Digest, June 2013

 

Golf Swing Impact Practice

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Swing Impact Practice

Golf Swing Impact Practice

Stretching/Warming Up: Golf Swing Impact Practice

Using the SKLZ Smash Bag

A golf pro uses a “Magic Black Bag” to teach proper impact position at the bottom of the swing.
We used this bag for about 10 swings. Then we switched back to a swing without the bag. Within a couple swings, she felt what it was like to have her hands in front — and make solid contact.

One of 2nd Swing’s golf pro swears by swing practice by whacking with what he calls “The Magic Black Bag.”

A few years ago, I had a lesson with a woman who was having trouble making proper contact with the ball. She’d hit behind it, she’d top it, but rarely did she make a good solid strike. So, I broke out my magic trick bag.

Actually, I broke out an impact bag. An impact bag is a footstool-size bag that can be filled with any soft object (a soft object that can take a wallop because you are going to swing a golf club at it).

Since I teach adjacent to a jail, I naturally use inmate raincoats to fill my impact bag, which is a SKLZ Smash Bag. The premise behind this teaching aid is to show my students the proper impact position at the bottom of the swing. For example, when using irons, I want to make sure that my students’ hands are in front of the club head when they make contact.

By making a normal swing into the impact bag, your swing automatically stops at the bottom when you hit the bag. From this position, we can look where your hands are in relation to the clubhead.

Let’s put in simpler terms:  You swing and the bag stops you. Then, you check out where you’re at.

Or better yet, get a teacher who knows what they’re doing to help you out. Back to the woman with the not-so-good contact. We used this bag for about 10 swings. Then we switched back to a swing without the bag. Within a couple swings, she felt what it was like to have her hands in front — and make solid contact.

Within one lesson, she realized her potential because of this “Magic Black Bag.” Now, I’m not saying that this will work magic for everyone. But, it would be worth a try if you have trouble making solid contact.

 

2nd Swing Golf Tips Series with ’96 PGA Champ Mark Brooks: Warmup, prep and “don’t just slap it”

Stretching/Warming Up: 2nd Swing Golf Tips Series 1 with ’96 PGA Champ Mark Brooks

2nd Swing Golf Tips Series with ’96 PGA Champ Mark Brooks: Warmup, prep and “don’t just slap it”

Stretching/Warming Up: 2nd Swing Golf Tips Series 1 with ’96 PGA Champ Mark Brooks

Warmups, pre-round prep and “Don’t just slap at it”

2nd Swing is proud to partner with PGA Championship winner Mark Brooks in the first of an ongoing series that features first-hand golf advice from a true champion and gentleman PGA pro. This special collaboration will touch on everything from basic warmup techniques, lesson guides and course strategies to what life on the Tour is really like — all the way to some of the latest equipment reviews.

(See below: Brooks is still very much active on the Senior PGA Tour. In fact, on Memorial Day weekend 2014, he finished tied for fifth at the 75th Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores Golf Club, Benton Harbor, Mich. Brooks completed the fourth day 6-under par overall and shot a 65 on the final round. Colin Montgomery won by ending 13-under par.)

FORT WORTH, Texas  –  Even before you get to the clubhouse, it’s a good idea to start limbering up and getting ready with a purpose for the day.

Grab a couple clubs and swing them in a circular motion. Bend your back before and after you get in the car.

One of the things I work on is trying to be loose. As we get older, I think being stretched out becomes more important. Get your hamstring limber. Your shoulders, everything. Make sure it all works. At least it makes you feel like you’re ready to take a shot.

The first half of the warmup session is just warming up — literally — and then reiterating in my mind whatever I’ve been working on.

For instance, in that department I try to hold onto one good simple swing thought in my mind.

And then the rest is more traditional and getting ready for that particular golf course, that day.

Start with the sand wedge

I recommend warming up on the range first with what swing was working best for you last time you were out. Begin with a heavy club near the bottom of the bag. I prefer the sand wedge.

So that way, your practice plan is not so random for you when you get out. You have an idea of what you’re going to be doing before you arrive at the course. That’s important. It’s a foundation to help build your game around.

One thing I like to do is concentrate on my swing path, and take some small cut shots at first. Try to balance it out between your strike attempts. That’s key.

If your tendency is to swing inside out — as it is in my case — as the season goes on, that bad habit will be to swing even more inside out.

Use the sand wedge with a stick or club to angle your swing opposite of your negative tendencies — a bit. Don’t go overboard. If you slice, hook the ball on purpose. If you have a hook it, slice it.

Devote about 80 percent of your warmup time to counterbalancing your swing.

It sucks, but here I am been playing Tour golf for over 30 years and working on the same problem I had 30 years ago. So I try really hard to neutralize my swing path and just chunk it out there sometimes.

Don’t just slap it out there

The golf industry today is filled with club manufacturers who claim to build a club that’s more forgiving on miss-hits. Frankly, I’m tired of all that talk. (That being said, I’m not out here with wooden clubs either.)

People just need to learn to hit the ball more solidly. The quality of the strike is still better on many of these golf clubs when you hit it in the center of the face. It’s just that basic.

That’s where people should be concentrating their hits, on the center of the face. I know it sounds simple enough, but the message is getting lost somehow nowadays.

Let’s quick go back to the beginning now. An easy drill with a sand wedge, or any other iron just about, is just putting your feet as close together as possible.

Work on your center of balance and clubface aim and rhythm. Then hit up to 100 balls with that particular position and focus in mind.

If you hit 100 shots like that in one day, then it’s better than slapping the ball all over the face and maybe hitting five good shots out of 100.

Stand out here and work on your balance and your rhythm because without good balance, you’re not going to hit good shots.

And no matter how big the clubhead is, you still need to find the center of the face. Don’t let the technology and design do the work for you.

After the sand wedge, I usually hit the rest of my wedges on a consistent basis. From there I switch it up. Time permitting, I will practice every other club in bag each day, such as 6-iron, 8-iron, 4-wood and a hybrid on a Tuesday. And, then I start again on Wednesday with my wedges and move on to my 5-iron, 7-iron, and then maybe move into my 3-wood and driver. I will sometimes switch it up just a bit, depending on what needs work, but I try to maintain a routine otherwise.

Occasionally, the golf course I am playing may require more mid- to long irons, or maybe something else, so then I’ll spend time on them or another club I anticipate using a lot.

One thing I’ll do is use my rangefinder in combination with the wind to try and gauge my shots — just to get a feel for what’s going on that day on the course in front of me.

And, of course, if you’re not putting well, put in the time. Always make time to practice putting.

Let’s face it, it’s more fun hitting big shots. However, most players neglect the putting part, despite it making up between 40 percent and 60 percent of your strokes.

There’s no shortcuts in golf really. Remember that — and don’t forget to at least try to have fun.

Golfer’s Elbow

Stretching/Warming Up: Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s Elbow

Stretching/Warming Up: Golfer’s Elbow

Prevention, symptoms and treatment advice for one of golf’s most-common ailments

Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, causes pain and inflammation in the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the bone found on the inside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is often compared with tennis elbow. Although the injuries are similar, golfer’s elbow occurs on the inside of the elbow while tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow.

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is less common than tennis elbow, however, both are a form of tendonitis. Similar to many golf injuries, golfer’s elbow is typically the result of overuse. However, anyone who creates a repetitive motion with their wrists or clench their fingers is susceptible to developing golfer’s elbow.

Examples of everyday activities include: writing, typing, hammering, painting and wrist curls at the gym. The pain associated from golfer’s elbow can last anywhere from a week, month or even a year depending on the severity of the injury. Healing time is compromised without the proper amount of rest. In addition to overuse, golfer’s elbow is also stems from poor strength and flexibility. Limited flexibility often prohibits the wrist from moving in a 90-degree motion, increasing the likelihood of injury.

Symptoms

Several symptoms are common with golfers elbow. Pain, tenderness and weakness occur on the inside of the elbow and extend down the forearm. Stiffness is generally common and pain extends into the wrist, hand and inability to clench a fist. Pain is worse through gripping activities. Swelling often occurs with a numbness and tingling sensation that extends down the forearm, hands and fingers.

Treatment

Swelling is a common reaction to golfer’s elbow. Therefore, anti-inflammatory medications are used to control pain and inflammation. Regularly applying ice is recommended to help control pain and inflammation. In some cases, cortisone injections are used to alleviate pain. Stretching and exercise are beneficial to help control symptoms of golfer’s elbow. However, make sure the injury is healed, if you are still experiencing pain there is a chance to aggravate the injury and prolong recovery time. Applying pressure and deep massage to the specific area will help improve circulation.

Although golfer’s elbow is relatively easy to diagnose, people should seek medical attention. Rest and ice help give the injury time to heal. Many opt to use a brace to help alleviate pain surrounding their elbow. The brace will apply pressure on the muscles below the elbow and help relieve the pain caused by golfer’s elbow. There are several different brace that will help reduce the pain and not affect range of motion.

Prevention

Strengthening the forearm muscles is a common method used to help prevent golfer’s elbow. The repetitive motion of gripping the club too tight or the club striking ground can aggravate the injury. Two simple exercises such as squeezing a ball or wrist curls can help strengthen the forearm muscles and prevent injury. Squeezing a ball will help build forearm strength and can be done from the comfort of your home with nearly any kind of ball that will easily fit in your hand. Switch hands after a few minutes. Wrist curls will also strengthen the forearm muscles. Use lightweight dumbbells to avoid creating an injury.

 

Senior Golfer Tips

Stretching/Warming Up: Senior Golfer Tips

Senior Golfer Tips

Stretching/Warming Up: Senior Golfer Tips

Maintaining balance, overall fitness and practicing regularly with a pro are keys to staying on the links well into your golden years 

Golf maintains its popularity since many players with reasonable health have the ability to play throughout their entire lives. In fact, I have seen players still playing well in their 90s — while others create a lifelong goal of shooting their ages.

It has been reported seniors over the age of 50 comprise nearly 33 percent of the golf population. Unfortunately, physical challenges and injuries occur more regularly as we get older, such as weight gain, loss of strength, flexibility and arthritis… just to name a few of the common health problems associated with age.

The National Institute on Aging concluded that adults lose about 10 percent of body strength by the time they reach 50 and 12 percent to 18 percent by the time they reach the age of 65. So it should be no surprise seniors are searching for more distance due to the loss of strength, flexibility and clubhead speed.

Similar to most golfers, many seniors begin to over swing in an effort to make up for lost distance. Increasing swing speed will certainly help hit the ball farther, however, it does not guarantee more distance. Every 1 mph of swing speed equates to 3 yards of distance.

Seniors need to swing as hard as they can and still maintain perfect balance throughout the swing. Missing the sweet spot on the club face causes a dramatic loss of distance. Therefore, players need to create solid contact and maximize their swing speed for longer and straighter shots.

Improve Balance

Seniors searching for additional distance should focus on balance, tempo and impact position. Tempo directly influences balance throughout the swing. Practice maintaining a smooth tempo and slow take-away to help ingrain an effortless swing. Once your arms and body work cohesively together, you will produce a consistent tempo, maintain balance and ultimately improve impact position.

Practice hitting half and three-quarter shots with your feet together to learn how tempo and balance complement each other. If you swing too fast, you will lose your balance.

Fitness Increases Potential

Gary Player should serve as a role model for every golfer! Player has focused on personal health and fitness his entire life and is currently in amazing physical condition even in his late 70s.

Seniors should consider a strength training and stretching program to improve their overall physical fitness. Improving strength and flexibility will allow seniors to hit consistent and longer shots, and most importantly, help prevent injuries. Visit your doctor, trainer and golf professional to develop a realistic plan to improve your health and golf swing.

Visit Your Local PGA Professional

Schedule an appointment with your local PGA golf professional for a club fitting session and lessons. Lighter equipment, such as lightweight graphite shafts will promote faster swing speeds and longer shots. In addition, the correct shaft flex, kickpoint and ball will improve ball flight and carry distance.

Seniors with arthritis should try an oversize grip. The oversize grip is more comfortable and avoids placing extra pressure on the hands and fingers while they wrap around the grip.

Practice with a Purpose

Productive practice will help keep your skills sharp.  Approximately two-thirds of your score will be within 100 yards of the green. However, the majority of golfers spend two-thirds of their time hitting drivers and full swings. As you get older, a loss of distance will result in fewer greens hit in regulation. Focus on the shots around the green that will directly correlate to lower scores. Keep your short game sharp to off-set the loss of distance. A loss in distance does not mean you lose the ability to chip, pitch and putt.