Tiger Woods falls to the ground after hitting a shot (click on CBS sports)The sports world's attention recently has been focused on the back pain experienced by Tiger Woods at the 2013 Barclays PGA tournament. The following advice may help you improve your swing and save your back. If you-have a bad back don’t ride a motorized golf cart. You will be much better off walking, using a caddie or pulling a handcart. Riding in a golf cart or automobile can bring about back problems because the entire weight of the upper body and torso rests on the pelvis. In addition, golf carts often give an extremely jolting ride. What is ironic is that a bad back may actually lead to a smoother, more grooved swing. A back pain sufferer should try a short back swing with a gentle follow-through. An all-out swing, particularly when one lifts his head to follow the course of the ball, is a known cause of acute back pain due to the torque placed on the spine. Other tips for golfers with sore backs:
- Get to the course in time for a loosening up exercise. For example: Holding a club across the shoulders, rest your arms over the ends of the club. Then, with legs spread slightly, gently twist from the waist. This exercise will loosen spinal muscles and encourage early motion in the joints of the vertebrae. Follow this with warm up shots, starting with high numbered clubs and working down to the driver.
- Avoid starting a round when you feel chilled. Keep your back warm with a jacket or sweater.
- If overweight, try to trim off excess pounds. People who are slim, well muscled and athletic tend to have fewer back problems.
- Use caution in hitting from uneven lies and avoid hitting shots that require a “digging” stroke, as from heavy sand or high grass.
- In retrieving the ball from the cup, bend with the knees rather than from the waist.