Well, spring is morphing into summer; the virus waning; restrictions are lessening; and golf is back. Because of the winter off season and the extended inactivity resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, this may be the longest layoff many golfers have experienced between rounds. Everyone seems eager to hit the links. What are some of things that we should think about before we head out to the course?
Although golf courses are opening, many restrictions may still be in place. Can you take a golf cart? Are caddies available? Can you use a pull cart? These are questions that may alter how you plan to return to the game. If you’re carrying your own bag, you may decide that you really don’t need all 14 clubs. After all, how often do you really hit that three iron? If you’re a little out of shape, you may choose to start out just playing nine holes.
Golf is a game of flexibility, strength, endurance and timing. These skills can certainly deteriorate after a long layoff.
- Flexibility – Start off with some simple flexibility exercises emphasizing your shoulders, neck, and core. Yoga is one form of exercise which can quickly and painlessly improve your range of motion and flexibility. Many classes and golf-specific videos are readily available online.
- Strength – Gentle resistance exercises including free weights, therapeutic stretch bands or machines are good ways to get started. Start with light weight and work up as your strength improves.
- Endurance – If you’ve been relatively inactive over the winter and during quarantine, start a walking program. Again, use your common sense. Gradually increase your distance and pace as your stamina returns.
- Timing – Before you play your first 18 holes, try to hit some balls. If your golf course has a driving range that’s perfect. If not you can even go into your backyard and take some practice swings. Gentle full swings help with your flexibility and your timing. Work on your rhythm as well. Think of the professional golf swings you see on TV—smooth, powerful, effortless, and always in balance. Balance is one of those qualities you can’t overemphasize.
So, the sun is shining, the weather is finally breaking. Get out there and enjoy a fun, healthy, outdoor form of exercise. We hope you remain healthy during your return to the course, but if you do experience an injury, click here to request an appointment with one of our physicians. And remember, don’t take your failures or missed shots on the course too seriously—it’s supposed to be fun!