Stay on the Green and out of the ER

Golf injury risk may be reduced with proper preparation through strength training and stretching


Spring is tee-off season for many golfers. But before you hit the green this spring, ease into the swing of things and prepare your body for those 18 holes.

It's always better to prevent injuries than to fix them once they've already occurred. One of the best ways to get ready for golf season may be to do strength-training and stretching exercises, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Gabriel Elias Soto, MD, AAOS spokesperson and orthopedic surgeon, told the AAOS Newsroom, "During a game of golf, significant stress is placed on the same muscles, tendons and joints as a result of the repetitive swinging motion used throughout the sport. Golfers can perform simple exercises during the off-season to help build up forearm muscles, strengthen lower back muscles and prevent injuries.”

According to the AAOS, most golf injuries are the result of overuse. More than 114,000 people were treated for golf-related emergencies and injuries in 2013, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The AAOS recommends a few simple exercises to improve your physical conditioning and get you ready for the game.

For instance, squeezing an old tennis ball for five minutes at a time may strengthen your forearm muscles.

Wrist curls may also strengthen your golfing muscles. To do this exercise, lay your forearm on a flat surface with your palm facing up. Choose a dumbbell weighing less than one pound. Lift the weight by letting it rest on the end of your fingers and slowly rolling it toward you and into the palm of your hand. Do 10 reps with your right hand and 10 with your left. You may increase the weight of the dumbbell as your strength improves.

Reverse wrist curls may also prepare your for the motion of golf. Again using a lightweight dumbbell, place your palm facing down. Lift the weight up and down using your wrist while limiting the motion of your forearm. Do this exercise 10 times with each hand.

The AAOS also recommends wall squats. Standing with an exercise ball between a wall and your low back, bend your knees slowly and hold this pose for five seconds. Straighten your knees and do another squat, this time raising both arms in front of you.

Yoga and Pilates, exercise programs that focus on abdomen strength and flexibility, may reduce the risk of injury in golf as well, according to the AAOS.

Don't forget to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.