IT HURTS FOR A REASON – GOLF INJURIES. (PART 1)
Luther Blacklock Master P.G.A. Professional
I’ve been teaching people how to play golf for nearly 45 years. In that time, I’ve observed several things that create injury and pain in golfers. Some only manifest after several years – here is an example to start my list:
#1 – “PRACTICE-BALL BAG STRAIN.” When I started to play golf aged 14, I practised every day until I became an Assistant Professional. There were very few days that I didn’t hit 300 to 500 balls whilst a Junior at Cradoc Golf Club; a lovely course nestled in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Armed with my Sand iron, I would flick the golf balls into my Practice Ball Bag. 10 years later I had an RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury); not in my right wrist, but my left wrist that carried the weight of the bag. Repeatedly, my left wrist snatched to collect an errant flick of a ball. I still see many Juniors doing this – the ideal alternative is to use a “CLIKKA” Ball Tube Collector. The chances of a youngster taking this advice is between slim and none but at least I tried!
#2 – “GRIP, WRIST & FOREARM TENSION”. Remembering our schooldays, we used to get “Writer’s Cramp” during exams. This seemed to only occur in the Exam Hall, not whilst writing normally. The simple reason for the cramping sensation, was the pressure of the Exam, causing us to hold our pens too tightly.
Similarly, gripping the golf club too tightly can aggravate strains and injury. The impact created by taking a divot is relatively harmless if your muscle tone is relaxed. Tense wrists and forearms don’t absorb the impact, leading to “Golfer’s Elbow” – a very painful condition that often needs a cortisone injection to overcome it.
“A tense muscle is a slow muscle, and it’s a disobedient one”. LCB 1984.
Imagine playing darts or snooker whilst gripping too tightly. You need to have supple wrists and forearms if you are going to release a dart accurately. Again, tension in a cueing action, will cause missed pots and distance control. In Golf, it is essential to be disciplined at Address – be careful that discipline doesn’t turn into tension!