18514 N. Dale Mabry Highway - Lutz, FL 33548 - Telephone: 813-968-9411 - Fax: 813-963-2407


Dr. Mike Radice

The Most Important Piece of Equipment in Your Golf Game – YOU!

Beginning golfers, low handicappers, and most everyone in between often times take for granted one key element when we play golf – maintenance of our own bodies.  We make sure the clubs and grips are ready; we even check the spikes on our shoes to make sure they aren’t worn out.  But we tend not to think that way when it comes to shoulders, knees, core strength and balance, among others.  Proper “upkeep” of the components of our physiology important to golf often lags behind.

When I speak to golfers, I usually hear something about stretching before a round or practice range session.   But when I press for how long they actually stretch, it’s really only a minute or two (if that).  Warm-up swings are great, but should not be mistaken for a good 5-10 minute stretching routine as a way to “loosen up”.  Try to concentrate on shoulder and neck range of motion stretches as well as hamstrings, oblique abdominals and low back stretches to properly ensure good muscle readiness for the repetitive golf swings.  There are many good sources for specific stretches (including our office, a personal trainer, or even online), and be sure to ask healthcare professional if you have any questions, limitations, or concerns.

Beyond stretching (which can be done even if you’re not golfing today), strengthening key body regions relevant to the golf swing can not only improve your game, but will definitely help prevent injuries.  Again, shoulders and low back strength play a key role in a good golf swing.  I also find it very important to work hard on strengthening your core to maximize trunk rotation.  Rotational forces play a huge role in the golf swing, adding power and distance to your game.  Maybe those extra 10-15 yards don’t have to come from a new $500 driver, but from strengthening the core, low back, legs and shoulders.  The last area I recommend to my patients who golf is to work hard on improving balance.  There is a lot of weight shift and moving parts in a golf swing and our balance plays a key role in bringing the swing back to where it started at address.  Add in uneven terrain and fatigue later in the round, and you can see where training for increased balance and stability would be of benefit.  Wobble boards, bosu ball exercises, even standing on one leg for 30 – 60 seconds can all help improve balance and body control.

Florida golfers face particular problems on the course, even in the “cold” months.  Those being the effects of the sun and high temperatures we’re exposed to in a 4 – 5 hour round of golf.  Proper hydration and fuel are keys to helping with muscle fatigue and with proper brain function for coordination (as in the golf swing).  Bring enough water/sports drink with you and consider refilling the bottle or cup at each opportunity on the course and in the clubhouse.  For those who’ll have a beer or two as they play, don’t be afraid to mix in a bottle of water or three to keep from dehydrating.  Protein snacks release more slowly and are good sources of “smart fuel” for the body to sustain your energy levels.  Prepackaged bars are simple and easy to bring in your cart for the round.  Finally, sun exposure is very serious business to even the most casual golfer.  Proper sunscreen (applied more than once) and proper headwear are considered “musts” when it comes to protecting yourself from all manner of skin conditions.  It’s not worth risking serious health problems because “the lotion gets on my grips and in my eyes”.  This advice is not limited to golfers; tennis players, gardeners, runners, and anyone else out in the sun for extended periods should take this to heart.

The golf swing, and by extension your golf game is helped by improving the moving parts with focused stretching and strengthening.  Proper hydration and nutrition during the round keeps our bodies from fatigue.  Protection from the sun just makes sense.  By maintaining yourself at least as well as the rest of your golf gear, you should be able to enjoy this unbelievably frustrating, maddening, and awesome sport for many years with better play and less injuries.

18514 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz, FL 33548
Tel: 813.968.9411  |  Fax: 813.963.2407

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