Avoiding golf injuries

Back pain and golfer’s elbow are two of the most common injuries suffered by golfers.

  • Jun. 29, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Back pain and golfer’s elbow are two of the most common injuries suffered by golfers. When you consider the spinal rotation that goes into a golf swing and the fact that the speed of the club can reach 160 km/hour, it’s easy to understand that golf puts significant biomechanical stress on the body.

Follow these tips to improve your game and prevent the pain.

1. Every golfer should include strength-training exercises in their routine. Strengthening all major muscle groups is essential to maximizing your performance. Core body strength and flexibility help breathing and oxygen flow, as well as preventing injury to your back. Muscle is also an important shock absorber that helps prevent strains and sprains.

2. Warm-up and cool-down both before and after your game for 20 minutes. Include gentle stretching and range of motion exercises, as well as a brisk walk or gentle jog to loosen the muscles and joints.

3. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your game. Once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate. Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.

4. Use a wheeled golf cart for carrying heavy clubs. If you must carry your golf bag, use both shoulders straps. This will spread the weight across a greater area. If there is only one strap, alternate sides frequently.

5. When wheeling your golf cart, push rather than pull.

6. Golf requires long periods of standing. Frequently alternate your weight from one foot to the other or rest one of them on your golf bag or cart.

7. Make sure you have the proper shoes for your type of feet. Golf shoes with short cleats are the best.

8. Adopting a golf swing based on your physical and biomechanical capacity is important. Amateurs are usually better off adopting a classic golf swing, which enables the hips to turn nearly as much as the shoulders to minimize spinal twisting.

9. Lastly, have fun. The right attitude is good for your performance and your overall health.


Prevent shoulder injuries:

Shoulder injuries in golfers are common due to the repetitive nature of the swing. To reduce shoulder pain:

• Shorten the backswing slightly. Instead of ending the club head at the 3 o’clock position, stop at the 1 o’clock position.

• Strengthen your shoulder, scapular, chest , and back muscles. Your chest and back muscles are large and generate the power in the swing.


Brad Williamson is a chiropractor at Focus Chiropractic  in Maple Ridge.