Injury - Spine

By Golf Fitness MagazineJanuary 8, 2009, 5:00 pm
Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Recently, I was speaking with two good friends, both avid golfers who also happen to be interested in golf-related fitness. Interestingly, we were having the conversation due to their concurrent back injuries. Although their injuries were vastly different in nature, recovery, and impact on their golf game, I realized that I was advising them on similar pre- and post-golf exercises. I was inspired at the moment to write an article highlighting pre-/post-golf exercises to help prevent or reduce back pain and injuries.
It must be noted that back injuries are very complex and treatment should be individually. Since there are no cookie-cutter or one-fits-all injuries, there is not a cookie-cutter treatment. I often cringe when I hear someone say that he or she threw my back out and then treat it as a non-event. They often only rest before resuming all activities, without paying any attention to treatment or prevention of future back problems. Many of my patients, when describing their medical history, list years of on and off back pain with either no or inadequate treatment. A mute point, but so often I wish we could go back in time to that first injury and set them on course to lessen or potentially prevent their current situation.
Taking care as I step off my soapbox (I dont want to injure my back!), the moral of the story is to take care of your back. Dont ignore little pulls or strains or throwing your back out; dont rush through your gym workouts ignoring your core for those muscles that make you look good; and most of all, dont skip that pre/post golf (or any sport) warmup or cooldown - it serves a very important purpose.
Now that Ive pleaded my case for focusing on your back and core, let me add that the following exercises are not meant for everyone. There are almost an infinite number of core-strengthening exercises. If you have had any back injuries in the past, a physical therapist will thoroughly examine your spine and provide specific exercises to meet your needs. I would advise you to attempt the following exercises as a warmup/cooldown to start with. If you have any pain, symptoms or questions or as you progress past these exercises, please seek advice from a PT to tailor exercises or treatment to your needs.
Abdominal Brace
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your lower abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button and ribs into your spine. Try to keep your legs and upper body relaxed to focus on abdominal contraction. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10-15 times. Once this becomes easy, advance to Abdominal Brace with Leg Lift (as pictured). While drawing your abdominal muscles tight, slowly raise one leg 1-2 inches off the floor. Hold several seconds and alternate legs with the focus on the abdominal muscles maintaining your back flat on the floor.


Side Plank
Lie on your side with your knees bent and your elbow propped underneath. Keep your shoulder, hips, and knees in one line. Tighten your abdominal muscles and rise up so only your bottom elbow/forearm and knees are on the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5-10 times on each side. Once this becomes easy, advance to Side Plank with Knees Straight (as pictured). Again, tighten your abdominal muscles and lift so that only your bottom elbow/forearm and foot touch the ground.


Hip Lift
In quadruped position (on your hands and knees) draw your abdominal muscles tight. Unweight one leg from the ground by raising that hip 1 inch. Do not shift your weight to the opposite side. Hold 5 seconds and repeat 5-10 times on each side.


Rotating Lunge
Perform a walking lunge by dropping your back kneecap toward the floor. Try to keep your ear, shoulder, hip, and knee in one vertical straight line. While lunging, reach forward across your body with that arm, focusing on maintaining your abdominal muscles tightened. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

It is always important to stretch your main muscle groups. Specifically for golf, you want to stretch your hips, hamstrings, calves, low back, mid back, and shoulders. There is an abundance of information available on stretches, and I advise you to try several of them to find the stretches that best meet you needs.
Erin Booker, MPT, MTC, CSCS, is a GFM Advisory Team Member and Clinic Director for Physiotherapy Associates in Ocoee, Fl. For further information on Erin, log onto
EDITORS NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFMs team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site for more information.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.