The golf world has awakened from its annual hibernation. Soon the pageantry and drama of the Masters Tournament will capture our attention and that’s when most of us really start to think about our own golf seasons ahead. The winter was so mild in St. Louis this year that the most hard-core golfers probably were able to get in several rounds; but for most everyone else, we’ll soon be standing on the first tee, ready for the first stroke of the season. Maybe this will be the year we finally put it all together on the course—or maybe not. The difference could be in the way you get ready for that first swing. Are you in top shape?
Craig Marcacci, PERSONAL TRAINER, CMFITNESS.COM
● Recognize that 75 percent of all golf-related injuries occur in the lower back. In order to avoid these injuries, you need to be flexible in three key areas: the shoulders, the core and the hips.
● Stretch your shoulders by using an overhead reach with your club in your hands. The stretch should include movements that loosen up the rear deltoid muscles.
● Stretch your hips in a standing position by crossing one leg over the other while keeping both legs straight and gently reach down to your toes.
● Stretch your core (mid-section) by using a rotating trunk stretch and side bends.
Greg Barker, TPI-CERTIFIED GOLF PERFORMANCE TRAINER, NUTRIFORMANCE
● The biggest mistake most golfers make is not going to a driving range before they start their round, especially the first one of the year.
● At the range, determine your distance for each club, use enough club for each shot during the round.
● Practice your short game at the range. Don’t just pound balls with your driver.
● Take a lesson or two with an instructor and consider a golf swing analysis. Over time, patterns creep in to the swing that can be very detrimental. There are reasons the best players in the world still have swing coaches.
Casey Breslin, PHYSICAL THERAPIST, 20 MINUTES TO PAR
● Strengthen the torso muscles that surround the spine to help prevent low back injuries. These muscles, also known as the core, include the obliques, the abdominals and the low back.
● Do wrist and forearm exercises to prevent injuries to the wrist and a condition called ‘golfer’s elbow.’
● Beware of strains in the rotator cuff muscles. Your lead shoulder is most susceptible to rotator cuff strain. For a right-handed golfer, that would be your left shoulder. Overuse is the most common cause of rotator cuff strains.
● Knee and hip strength are often overlooked. Keeping your hamstring muscles flexible will help you avoid knee and hip strains.