“Dear, The Golfing Doc; I have some weekend golf trips planned this summer. My buddies and I will be playing 36 holes a day. Any suggestions on how to survive this? Thanks. Austin G., Seattle, WA.”
Whether you are a frequent golfer or just a weekend warrior golfer, the summer has arrived and it’s time to play lots of golf! The weather doesn’t always cooperate here in the Pacific Northwest, but who cares, right? As long as the rain isn’t too heavy, why not hit the links or travel to a sunny destination.
Over the past few weeks, patients have been coming into the clinic with a variety of injuries after going away for a few days and playing multiple rounds of golf. The majority of them have gone away for a quick 2 or 3 day golf vacation and played up to 36 holes per day. That’s fantastic, but a lot of golf, even for a good player or someone in shape.
So is it okay to play that much golf in so little time? Well, that all depends on your physical health and conditioning. If you are in good health and your cardiovascular fitness is good too, then playing multiple rounds of golf for a short period of time is okay. I would expect you to develop some muscle soreness and joint stiffness, especially if you don’t normally play this amount of golf on a regular basis. The discomfort you would develop would be similar to that of going to the gym after a hiatus from your normal routine.
Where golfers face a problem is when they play a lot of golf in a very little time and they are not in shape. Either they have not been maintaining or working on their fitness levels or they have not prepared their body to withstand this amount of golf. If you are out of shape, you may be able to play 36 holes a day, but your chances of hurting yourself or suffering from aches and pains after your trip is high. The unfortunate thing is that if you hurt yourself, you may not be golfing again for quite some time.
My best recommendation for withstanding these multiple rounds per day is to train for it– and to take care of yourself during the process. When it comes to training for it, it can be as simple as improving your cardiovascular levels. If you are planning on a golf trip several weeks away, start hitting the treadmill or some sort of cardio machine. In addition, do some basic strengthening exercises to help condition your muscles.
Also, if you have any predisposing injuries, get them treated before you go on a weekend warrior golfing event. The best case scenario is that the problems are resolved, or are at least minimized, to prevent further injury before you go.
Once you are actually on your trip or in the process of playing multiple days in a row, one of the easiest and best things you can do to help your body recover is to stretch. This will help reset and cool down your muscles. Stretching will also help improve your circulation and help flush out the lactic acid and soreness that naturally develops with exercise. Other things you can also do are to stay hydrated, rest when you can, eat healthy foods, and if you irritate something, ice it. If you have a foam roller, bring that too.
As always, if you develop an acute injury; ice, rest, and seek medical advice. The season is still early so don’t burn yourself out now. There is plenty more golf to play this summer!