Golf season is upon us. We are all anxious to tweak our swing and practice at the range. I want to touch on a theme I’ve been seeing and steer you clear of any future aches or pains.
When you change your body (more mobility, strength, or stability) and you tweak your swing to account for you newfound ability, you need to watch volume. By volume, I mean how many balls you hit at the range and rounds played. Your muscles and connective tissues haven’t moved in this new way before, so it needs time to adapt. The most common issues I see are at the hip, low back, and shoulder.
You’ll always have “bad” swings when learning a new idea. As you may have experienced, changing your swing may totally ruin your game for a bit until you get used to it. So all of those learning swings can have an impact on your body. For example, let’s say your instructor wants you to stay lower through the swing and not lift up the upper body too early. It may take some practice to get the lead leg stable enough to support your efforts. This can cause the hip to have some confusion in terms of what muscles are needed to stabilize the movement. I’ve seen IT band tightness and deep glute tension (which could be a number of things, including piriformis tension).
Here are a few ways to keep healthy while changing things up
Week 1 of new swing change: 30 range balls, 10 minutes of soft tissue work before and after
Week 2: 50 range balls, 10 minutes of soft tissue work before and after
Week 3: 75 range balls, 5 minutes before and after soft tissue work
Keep playing rounds to a few times a week at most, or not at all until you get the swing down.
Epsom salt baths at night. Add 2-3 cups of epsom salt and soak for at least 20 minutes.
When I say soft tissue work, I mean foam rolling, massage, and stretching tight areas. I would recommend foam rolling all the major muscle groups, and find your hot spots. Once you know the areas, you can get right to them and focus primarily on those areas.
Here are some ideas on where to start: