Too much, too quick? Golfing after Lockdown

By Emmet Kennedy, Chartered Physiotherapist 

I wrote a blog at the beginning of lockdown in March highlighting that most running related injuries are as a result of people doing ‘too much, too soon, too often’. This means asking the body to handle more running demand than it is capable of dealing with, without adequate recovery, resulting in cumulative strain leading to tissue damage. The same issues apply to golf injuries…

The majority of golf injuries are as a consequence of overuse and cumulative strain not from an acute one off incident. Golf facilities have been open after lockdown for a couple of months and it is now that we are starting to see some issues crop up as a consequence of that. Understandably people have been very keen to play given the long layoff. Spells of good weather, long evenings and perhaps the furlough scheme have also afforded people more opportunity and time to play. This situation has meant that some people have maybe played much more golf than they would have in the past, after a spell of not playing at all. This is a scenario that is high risk for picking up an injury.

Most golf injuries we see are lower back related (up to 50%). Playing golf with a sore back is not fun and enjoyment is one of the key reasons that we play. Back pain can also significantly impact on the rest of our day to day life. The last thing we want is to play loads of golf in a short spell, get injured and then miss a large chunk of the rest of the year.

Here are some tips and strategies you can use to mitigate the risk of getting injured and to help if you are currently in pain;

• Track the number of balls you hit in a week and try to avoid large spikes in that number over the following weeks. We use a 10% increase in running mileage for runners, consider a 10% increase in number of balls hit for golf.

• Warm-up. Most golfers don’t perform a suitable warm up. 10 minutes of simple exercises may reduce your injury risk but also improve your performance in terms of club head speed.

• Undertaking 20-30 minutes of trunk/ hip mobility and core/ leg strengthening exercise up to twice a week may half your risk for picking up a golf injury.

• Have 2 days off a week as a minimum from playing golf or hitting balls to give your body appropriate recovery time.

• When practising, limit the number of explosive/ high force shots (e.g. driver) you hit and instead have more focus on wedge play and putting.

• Try to have a baseline level of fitness. Spending a number of hours on your feet is not to be underestimated and the fitter you are the more robust your body will be.

• In our experience, golfers can benefit greatly from Pilates based strengthening and mobility exercise. We currently have an extensive timetable of online Pilates classes and are offering a free 1:1 induction.

Our clinic at Kingsfield Golf Centre has now reopened, so if you would like to discuss an issue you have then please do not hesitate to get in contact. If you would like to know more information about the services we offer in general then the website is a useful resource. One thing I’d like to highlight in particular is our new booking system, which makes making an appointment or booking classes easier than ever before https://lifefitwellness.connect.tm3app.com.