You can tweak your back at any time, no matter how young you are. And for those of us who have a few years of fairways under our spikes, the chances of experiencing lower back pain while golfing increases with age.
Because of that, pros like Lee Trevino, Rocko Mediate, and Freddy Couples have all needed back surgery, while Tiger Woods experienced back pain for years before undergoing four surgeries and miraculously coming back to win the Masters last year at 43.
Driving a golf ball, even with a classic swing, puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the lower back. The twist and torque you apply give the ball distance as you transfer your arm motion to your legs. Our backs may be able to handle the stress during an optimal performance, but a few golf tips can help make sure.
1. Warming Up and Practice
First, before you play, do some stretches to limber yourself up. If you want, place a club across your shoulders and slowly twist right to left, increasing your pivot as you go. Then stand facing forward again and bend gently, left side, right side. After a minute or two, put the club to use with some short, easy swings. Stretching your hamstrings will help your legs before you start doing any putting.
You’ll find River’s Edge the best golf course in Central Oregon, and one of the reasons is the ample practice facilities. So, your second tip is to give yourself time to practice before you tee up on the first hole.
As for the greens, I won’t tell you to get a long putter – although Bernhard Langer was an early user and is currently (again) leading the PGA Champions Tour in earnings at 63 years of age – but your putting stance and the pressure it puts on your lower back is substantial.
While you set up, you will be bending over the ball and getting in the perfect state of mind. That’s easier if you are fit and have a strong core, but another great tip is to make sure you’ve got a little bend and flex in your knees. Still, the further you bend, the more stress there is on your lower back. Fortunately, a golf pro can help you with your stance and choosing the right length putter for your body type.
2. Don’t Kill the Ball or Yourself
Golf’s a mental game, too, so play within your abilities and your physical condition. Instead of trying to kill the ball, take a moderate swing, which will alleviate stress on your back while also improving your accuracy. You’ll find you can give up a few yards on your drives because you’ll stay in the fairway and out of the traps!
Over the years you’ll want to make some adjustments to your movements and your game, and regardless of your age, if you do have some lingering issues, see a doctor so you can keep playing well into the future!