Golf! What an amazing game. It is a great test of strategy, physical skill, performance, mental focus, and yes, emotional stability. The sport of golf has become very technological as well. I am amazed at the scientific advancements that include computerized ball dimple patterns, titanium club faces, cavity-backed irons with large sweet spots, slow-motion video swing analysis, the golf channel, and more. My father-in-law recently made me a cool custom driver. My goodness, it's like a cantaloupe on stick! I’m hoping if I keep swinging it, I’ll qualify for the 2015 U.S. Senior Open Golf Tournament which will be right across the street from my Sacramento Chiropractic Clinic at Del Paso Country Club. Gear is sure different now and you can spend some serious cash on the latest stuff. I have seen players' bags of clubs that probably cost more than my x-ray machine!
In 1974, before the techno-golf craze really took off, the average male golfer's handicap was 16. Today, with the newest and latest, the average male golfer's handicap is now 16. That's no typo. It is still 16. A 16 just won't qualify you for the Open! I recently learned that, yes, these new technologies do allow golfers to hit the ball a fair amount further…
... further into the woods, the next fairway, or worse, into the windshield of that Hummer on Watt Avenue! The problem is, despite the new techno-golf aids, some things have stayed the same. You probably guessed that it's you. Yes, you, the golfer.
I spent some precious time awhile back at a continuing education conference sponsored by the California Chiropractic Association. Like other professionals, I have to attend a number of hours annually to keep my license active. Being the astute and caring doctor that I am, I chose to attend the most academic and practical six-hour session available. If was "Preventing, Diagnosing and Treating Golf Injuries: I know what you're thinking but the answer is “no,” I did not get credit for playing 18! It was hard-core classroom and practical training.
The session was offered by a PGA golf professional named Jeff Blanchard, who also happens to be a doctor of chiropractic. He taught us a great deal about how golf is truly an athletic event and that, of course, most golfers need to be in our offices if they are to avoid injury and improve their ability to perform. It seems that the root cause of most golf injuries and poor performance is lack of golf-specific flexibility (secondary to spinal restrictions and soft-tissue adhesions), poor posture and of course, a faulty golf-swing. For example, one absolutely must have well-functioning sacro-iliac and hip joints to have any hope of a decent swing.
Speaking of the golf swing, it requires a great deal of exertion. In baseball a good Major League pitcher throws the ball about 90 miles per hour. The average golfer swings a club about 90 miles per hour as well. Like baseball, golf is a lot of "hurry up and wait." The golfer often steps up to that first tee, not warned up, and expects to drive the ball like Tiger. That 90 mph swing takes a huge effort, since the average golfer achieves approximately 90 percent of what's called "peak muscular activity" when driving a golf ball. This is the same intensity as picking up the amount of weight that one can only lift four times before total fatigue.
The average golfer will strike the ball an average of 50 times a round with comparable intensity. This golf game is not for sissies! It's rough out there and if you're going to get that handicap lower than 16, you have to get in shape.
That is the secret to qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Senior Open! To get in shape, one might turn to a book or approach that is focused, like most are, on body-building, where the primary goal is power and strength. However, it is much better to train like an athlete and use an exercise program that improves the integration and synchronization of whole body movement.
Remember, it's flexibility, posture, and a proper swing that are essential. It is also important to have joints that actually work! If your game is not what you'd like and that $4,000 bag of clubs doesn't seem to be of much help, it might be time for a functional evaluation with your friendly neighborhood chiropractor.
As for me, I’ll be well qualified in terms of age in 2015, but I’m about an 18 handicap these days. So, if I’m not playing across the street in the 2015 U.S. Senior Open, I will definitely be taking care of the players, coaches and fans during the event.
Keep Swinging !
(c) Gregg Anderson, D.C. / Sacramento Chiropractor 2013
Gregg Anderson, D.C. / Sacramento Chiropractor 2013