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Golf Injury Prevention

By Bert Bradford, DC

The beautiful weather and the Masters on television made one thing clear last week -- golf season has arrived.

How many of you show up, hit a bucket or two of practice balls and then hit the course? No warm up, no stretching. In the United States an estimated 27 million people play golf and they incur a reported 13 million golf-related injuries a year. In other words, there’s a one-in-two chance that you’ll injure yourself playing golf this year.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons behind these injuries. The average golfer swings his club at 90 mph. The average tour pro swings his club at 115 mph.

Paul Chek, in "The Biomechanics of Golf," said, “Amateur golfers achieve approximately 90 percent of their peak muscular activity when driving a golf ball. This is the same intensity as picking up a weight that can be lifted only four times before total fatigue.”

The average golfer needs more than 100 strokes to complete a round. Half of these involve swinging at full force. Combine this with the fact that most amateur golfers have poor flexibility, postural problems and poor swing mechanics. When you add all that up, it's no wonder so many injuries occur.

So what can you do to prevent golf injuries?

It is vital to stretch before hitting any balls. Stretch your wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, mid and lower back, knees and ankles. It is also important to remember that muscles, tendons and ligaments shorten without use and stretching. Before hitting any balls take 10 to 20 light, slow practice swings. If you feel any sore spots, you’ll know which area needs more stretching.

Stretching adds flexibility to your swing mechanics allowing you to hit further and with greater accuracy.

Next time, strength conditioning.

Dr. Bert Bradford is a practicing chiropractor with 19 years experience in chiropractic and physical therapy.
Issue 3.16: April 17, 2008