The days are warming up (minus a polar vortex coming this weekend). This is the time when a lot of people pine to get outside. Many people would have started already at a local driving range. Golf coaches would be busy getting people ready for their golf season and courses opening up.
We’re a little behind this year, and I know people are disappointed they aren’t out golfing already.
Heck, I even found a golf ball in my suburban backyard, likely from my neighbour a couple doors down with a net set up.
I guess they missed!
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has been talking about getting the golf courses ready, and it really does feel like its SO CLOSE!
What many people will do is go from “zero to 100”. This means working from home, maybe walking a bit, sitting a lot to hitting multiple buckets at the range and golfing a few rounds a week.
We need to make up for lost time…right!?
It may be tempting to jump in to golf right away with both feet.
You run the risk of injury by doing too much, too soon. Our body’s are strong and resilient. Our tissues adapt and strengthen to stresses placed on them when it’s done in incremental ways. It really is amazing how we adapt!
Get your body ready now.
Allow your body the ability to adapt and be ready for the volume you will be asking of it in the weeks and months to come. The last thing you want is to start and then have to stop due to a sudden or overuse injury.
As a Physio who works in Oakville, I treat beginner to high level golfers who run into similar issues, often for similar reasons. By adding some of these suggestions in, you may even find that your golf game will thank you!
Here are some tips to help you get ready for your golf season:
This may seem self explanatory, BUT…
Even if you take a cart out on the course (which I hope you don’t if you don’t need to), you will do a fair bit of walking. Having a couple days a week where you increase your steps is a great idea. It’s also helpful to walk in locations that may replicate a golf course. Walking on grass. Walking on hills. Walking on slight angles. Maybe add some farmer carries close to home. Why don’t you take your gold bag to a local field and pull your cart / bag or carry it?
A golf course would not be fun if it was made of flat concrete slabs, so why would you walk on it for long distances to get ready for golf?
Strengthen your hips
As Chubbs in Happy Gilmore said: “It’s all in the hips. It’s all in the hips. It’s all…”.
Your hips are where you get your power in all sports. I like to think of the hips being a window to your general functioning as well. They help you get in and out of a car, up and down off of the floor, off of the toilet….As well as drive a heck of a golf ball. Whether it goes where you want to is another story.
I like to break this down into general hip strengthening and sport specific strengthening. Both are valuable but general strengthening will lay a foundation.
Think bottom of the pyramid.
Strengthen your core
We want a strong core to help with the rotation that our hips and torso are coordinating. We want that core to make sure we’re in control of all of that power and torque. We want to rotate, but in a controlled way! Specific core strengthening can help this and keep you balanced.
Strengthen your grip (muscles)
A common issue I treat golfers for in our Oakville clinic and now virtually through telehealth in Ontario, is “golfers elbow” and other strains of the grip muscles. This can be through over-gripping and even even you bury your club. It is also a “too much too soon” situation and a fatigue type of strain. Working on the muscles that surround your wrists and elbows will help increase their resilience….but don’t forget about the shoulders and core endurance as helping as well.
It’s all connected!
Mobilize your spine
You want a certain amount of stiffness that strong muscles allow around the joints. We’ll call it controlled stiffness. But you also want a consistent available range of motion in your shoulder girdle, thoracic spine / torso, and hips. Simple mobility work most days can ensure that you maintain or regain this ability.
That nice controlled rotation helps transfer that power your hips have created.
Mobilize all of the above areas!
Self care and recovery of all of the above is so vital for injury prevention AND performance in Golf. It doesn’t have to take a long time but it can be a simple and efficient program. Stretching and moving through full range of motion for the hips and low back helps maintain mobility.
Self-massage techniques using mobility tools on the glutes, back, and forearms are nice to try prior to mobility and stretching work.
If you’re looking for a specific program to tackle your weaknesses and prepare you for golf season we’re here for you a Palermo Physiotherapy and Wellness. Our physical location is in Oakville, Ontario but we are now able to treat patients virtually via telehealth physiotherapy anywhere in Ontario. This service is covered by most insurance providers, but we suggest checking with your own provider /plan.
Contact us to book an online session. Hopefully we will be open soon for in person visits as well.