With the golf season getting into full swing, the fairways are becoming busy with people teeing off and looking to improve their game. Golf is a unique sport where you can appreciate gains and skill improvement, no matter what age you are. In order to maintain long term participation and success in this sport, it’s very important to listen to your body and always continue to learn. Here are some simple tips that can help you perform at your best while preventing potential injury.
Warm up and stretch
Before you even touch a club or hit the driving range, you should spend time with simple dynamic stretches like lunges, trunk rotations, and side opening stretches. Stretching and warming up increases blood flow, prepares your body for the range of motion, and can prevent injury. Warming up can even involve a brisk walk to loosen up the body and to establish mental focus. Considering the duration and bodily stress involved in a round of golf, it’s important to start off loose and have muscles that are prepared to endure the full 18 holes.
Keep your eye on the ball
It’s natural to want to see where the ball went or the distance that it traveled. When we do this, we tend to look at the ball’s destination before we’ve even hit the ball. This dramatically reduces accuracy and can cause injury. Something as simple as missing the ball can result in unwanted strain or impact on the wrist if you hit the ground, or tension in the lower back if you miss the ball altogether. Focusing on the ball until impact will increase your accuracy and limit your exposure to potential injury.
Use your whole body
When you are teeing off, it can be very tempting to want to blast the ball with all of your might. With this in mind, we tend to overemphasize the use of our arms and upper body. A balanced and strong shot will come from a strong foundation from your lower body and knees, with the power coming from the rotation of the core and hips. This energy can then flow from your lower to upper body. A single swing encompasses the use of the whole body throughout the full swinging motion. Away from the green, it’s important to remember to incorporate core exercises if you are looking for gains on the fairway.
Use a push cart
Using a golf cart to get around the course can be a luxurious option that provides a break between holes. However, it removes the opportunity to incorporate light cardio as you move from hole to hole. This light exercise can help keep your muscles active and loose throughout the round. The problem is, carrying a golf bag can become quite awkward as the weight is unevenly distributed throughout the bag. Even bags equipped with ergonomic straps can be tedious to put on and off, which can lead to compensation or injury. Fortunately a push cart delivers a solution that doesn't strain your back, and still allows you to get some cardio in between holes.
Keep your focus, and fight fatigue
On the surface, golf is not a fast paced sport like hockey or basketball. Even though it’s not as intense, it still takes a toll on your body. Fatigue can result in poor posture, an ineffective swing, and incorrect use of your muscles. Because of this, it’s easy to regress and forget to use proper form, exposing yourself to injury. Also, by keeping hydrated and fed, you give yourself an opportunity to focus and perform at your best.