Getting your golf game in gear? As spring creeps closer, many are fondly eyeing the greening grass, looking forward to getting back out on the links. But is your body ready for that first eighteen holes?
If you think about it, playing golf can be very physically demanding – rotation and compression, power and torque traveling through the body. Because of the fascial connections weaving throughout the whole body, restriction and limitation in one area can affect our ability to move freely somewhere else, making our game harder than it needs to be, setting us up for strain or injury.
An imbalance in the pelvis, in particular, can really limit our ability to move through the rotation of the swing. If one hip is shifted forward, for example, our center line is already slightly pivoted, shortening our range of movement through the rest of the rotation. That shift forward can also produce lines of tension through the legs and low back, restricting the flow of the body through the swing and affecting the movement through the upper body. This can make the whole swing less fluid and powerful.
Not only can existing restrictions in our bodies affect our golf games, but golfing itself can produce strain patterns and injuries by the time we get to the nineteenth hole. Say the words, ‘golf injury’ and most people would probably think of ‘golfer’s elbow’ – inflammation affecting the tendons and musculature around the side of the elbow, where the muscles of the forearm attach to the upper arm. This is often seen if the grip is imbalanced, but can be produced by other torques and tensions in the upper body as well.
As with many physical activities, the key to optimal performance and good recovery is always that ounce of prevention. Consulting with a professional instructor can help you correct inefficient movement patterns before they cause further strain, while adequate stretching before and after your game reduces the likelihood of injury. Regular bodywork, too, will help open up restrictions in the fascial system and allow you to get a full, easy range of motion. Getting your body aligned and in balance before you grab your clubs will help prevent injury and lead to a more fluid, powerful swing.