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Physiotherapy and Golf

If you are a golfer please read why physiotherapy is important for you and your golf.

Mark Brennan MCSP MMACP Physiotherapist

Golf is one of the most technically demanding sports on the body.  There is an intense demand on the flexibility, control and strength of the body, all in a relatively short space of time, that is a golf swing.  This combined with walking, on average, over 4 miles (when playing 18 Holes) up and down undulating or even hilly terrain makes golf a physically challenging sport.

Equipment vs your body

We spend lots of time focused on the equipment we use, whether it be the latest driver or the difference between regular or stiff shafted irons and these often don’t come cheap.  However, we often neglect the most important piece of equipment we have and one that can’t be traded in, our own body!

The whole body is used in golf and therefore making sure all areas are working as they should is important for injury prevention. Keeping injury free and on top of your body maintenance can also lead to enhancements in performance and allow you to get the most out of your coaching lessons with your golf professional as well as generally feeling fitter and healthier.  Often positions in your swing can excessively load parts of the body that will eventually not tolerate the load anymore, and can become painful and inhibiting.

How can I help my body?

Keeping a general good level of fitness is the most basic way and is helpful not only for golf but also for general health. This great video on you tube™ says it perfectly


Golf is very much a one sided repetitive sport so counteracting this by rotating the body in the opposite direction is a good way to help reduce this effect on the body.  This can be done by making a few left handed practice swings during a round or after every 10th ball on the range (for a right handed golfer).  I refer to these as posture breaks, where you use a different posture or movement to the one you are used to or repetitively doing.

Warm up

Warm ups before you play are essential, and to me there is no excuse for not warming up before a round or warming down after a round. It usually only takes 5 to 10 minutes and can even be done at home before you get to the course, if you are worried what your mates might say! It will prepare your muscles and tendons for what is ahead, allow you to swing to your potential from the first tee, and help your brain focus for the round ahead.  Miguel Angel Jimenez is often joked about for his warm up routine (the cigar is optional but not recommended!).

However I say fair play Miguel, no wonder he is still playing competitive golf late into his golfing career.  Below are some examples of golf stretches for before and after a round or a practice session.

Upper and mid thoracic rotation stretch

Upper and mid thoracic rotation stretch

Assume the golf posture and with the club across your shoulders make a full shoulder turn until you feel a SLIGHT stretch. Hold for 45 seconds and repeat to the opposite direction. Repeat 3 times each side.  This stretch can also be done with the club lower in your mid back and hooked under your arm pits to make sure you work both the upper and lower thoracic spine.

You will get more from a lower intensity stretch that is held for longer than a hard stretch. It is also safer.


golf Posterior shoulder joint stretch

Posterior shoulder joint stretch

Assume the golf posture, pull your left arm across your chest (for a left handed golfer your right arm). Feel a slight stretch and hold for 45 seconds.  Repeat three times.

You will get more from a lower intensity stretch that is held for longer than a hard stretch. It is also safer.


Hip rotation stretch

Hip rotation stretch for golfSit on a chair or bench, bring your left ankle up onto your right thigh. Gently push your left knee down towards the floor and lean your body forward until you feel a gentle stretch on the left buttock/hip area.  Hold for 45 seconds and repeat 3 times on both legs. If you feel pain in the groin stop. You will get more from a lower intensity stretch that is held for longer than a hard stretch. It is also safer.


The stretches above should not cause any pain. If they do do not continue and consult your physiotherapist or healthcare professional.

A golf specific assessment from a physiotherapist/healthcare professional (with an interest in golf performance and rehabilitation) will evaluate your flexibility, movement control and strength.  It is a very specific way for you to prioritise what is most important for your game. This is also very helpful if you have a history of injury to help highlight how your swing may be contributing to the injury and to assist in your long term management of the problem with corrective exercise and sometimes manual therapy. Here at Redbourn physiotherapy I specialise in assessing golfers from an injury prevention perspective with a specific golf screen and exercise programme and specific physiotherapy when someone has a particular injury.

For information on the golf specific physiotherapy screening please contact the clinic on 01582 794441.

Good Golfing.

Mark

Mark Brennan MCSP MMACP is a musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapist who specialises in treating golfers with injuries and screening for injury prevention.  He currently practices out of a clinic in Redbourn, Hertfordshire www.redbournphysio.co.uk