I am NOT Tiger Woods
be honest: none of us are Tiger Woods and even more of us aren’t
even Happy Gilmore. The only thing we can relate to Tiger is a love for
golf, and our only relation to Happy is a homemade golf swing.
Tiger wins more major championships, wins more money, and embarrasses
more opposing professionals, he attracts more beginners to the game and
subjects them to hours of frustration, and more importantly, hours of
While we wish
we could crush the golf ball with the relative ease and simplicity the
pros do, few of us have the time or money to take regular, or even
sporadic golf lessons. Unfortunately, improper golf swings and poor
overall technique lead to a worse golf game and possible chronic back
pain in many participants. The question we all ask is: “How can I
become a better golfer and eliminate back pain at the same time?”
Chiropractic Association (ACA) offered several simple solutions to
lower the handicap in your game -- and to keep your back from becoming
a handicap of its own.
Buy new equipment: Sure, your spouse won’t agree with spending
your Christmas bonus on a new set of titanium golf clubs that will sit
in a corner for weeks, maybe months on end. However, using 5'7" brother
Bill’s clubs won’t mesh with your 6'4" frame. Don’t
let the clubs determine your swing and posture. Playing with short
clubs is asking for back problems.
Take lessons: Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to golf.
Even a few lessons can straighten your swing, and at the same time keep
your back straight. You should be standing up straight at the end of
your swing, not twisted and contorted.
Wear orthotics. According to Dr. Greg Rose, member of the ACA and
co-founder of the National Golf Fitness Society, “An orthotic can
improve the entire body’s balance and stability, which translates
into a smoother swing,” Rose said. While you may look goofier
than your buddy with tennis shoes, the orthotic will support your arch,
absorb shock, and increase coordination.
Avoid metal spikes. Soft spikes allow for better motion. Besides,
metals, while adding stress to your lower back, also tear up the
Warm up before each round. Although you’re just going to stand
and hit a stationary ball, you still should stretch and warm up your
muscles before each round. Consulting a chiropractor will alert you to
your tension areas, and help you loosen up your body.
Pull, don’t carry, your golf bag. If you prefer to ride in a
cart, you should alternate it with walking from hole to hole, because
continuous bouncing will aggravate your spine. Carrying a bag for an
entire round can lead to disk problems, nerve irritation and shrink
Don’t neglect lefty. It may sound strange, but it is advised that
every few holes you take a few practice swings with your other hand to
keep your muscles balanced and even out the stress on your back.
Save the celebrating for the 19th hole. Alcohol and cigarettes cause
fluid loss, and dehydration causes early fatigue, so with that
combination you might be in the clubhouse by the end of the front nine.
Not drinking water causes fatigue, which could force you to compensate
by adjusting your swing and promote injury risk.
Don’t be Sergio. Mr. Garcia got lucky last year with the shot he
saved from between a root and a tree. Don’t press your luck. If
you strike a root or rock on mid-swing, you risk injuring your wrist,
which is no excuse for a poor game. If you find yourself between a rock
and a hard place, take a drop.
-- Andrew Tufts --