Now that summer is upon us, many people are itching to hit the links. While golf isn’t a high injury sport like some others, there is always the risk of getting hurt if you aren’t careful. According to Coordinated Health Athletic Trainer Christina Coxe, the most common golf related injuries are found int he shoulder, wrist, elbow and back. But, she has some advice on how a little common sense and some “FORE”thought can go a long way toward keeping you injury-free on the golf course.
Before You Tee Up:
- Always warm up before you play golf.
- Trunk rotation stretches as well as stretches for shoulders, arms, elbows, and wrists. Take a few easy practice swings, gradually increasing your range of motion.
- When practicing your swings, start with short irons that require a shorter swing. Gradually work up to your long irons and drivers that require a full swing…this not only will help your golf game, but may help prevent injury as well.
- Don’t forget you sun protection! Use plenty of sunscreen on bare skin, and wear a hat to shade your eyes and protect your face. A typical round of golf takes more than 4 hours to complete, which is quite a lot of sun exposure.
- Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your round…as being in the sun can contribute to dehydration.
On the Course:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Maintain a safe distance away from other golfers.
- If other players around you are swinging clubs, they may not be watching out for you. Give them a wide berth so that you are not accidentally struck by a club.
- Never stand in a place where you could be hit by a ball from another golfer in your group or someone else on the course.
- When your turn is up, be sure there are no golfers in range of your shot…including golfers on a nearby hole. Wait until you’re sure other golfers are out of the way before you hit.
- Despite your best efforts, you may hit a ball in the direction of other golfers. In this case, yell out “Fore!” as loudly as you can. This will let other golfers know that a ball is headed their way. In turn, if you hear someone yell “Fore!” don’t turn your head to look for the ball…instead, cover your head and face as best you can.
- Because you are carrying metal clubs, your risk of getting struck on the golf course is greater than normal. Check the weather periodically and never try to play during a thunderstorm.
- If you hear thunder or see lightning, head for the clubhouse right away. If you can’t find shelter, do not seek cover under trees, which attract lightning. Instead, find a bathroom or structure that has walls, as an open-walled structure will not protect you.
Golf-Cart Safety: Golf carts should only be driven by licensed drivers.
- If you are permitted to drive a cart, read the directions and safety rules. Carts can be dangerous if they aren’t driven properly.
- Stay on cart-paths when possible, and never try to go off-roading. Go slow while going downhill or around turns and keep an eye out for other carts at intersections.
- NEVER hang your feet, legs, arms, or hands out of a cart while it is in motion.
A Few Other Safety Tips:
- Use the right equipment- swinging a golf club can cause blisters, and on hot days sweaty palms can make clubs hard to grip.
- Golf shoes will give you much better traction than sneakers and help you avoid slipping while you swing. Get a pair of shoes with plastic spikes, as most courses will not allow metal spikes.