Freshly trimmed fairways, rolling greens and strategically placed water obstructions are key elements to the common outdoor summer playground known as a golf course. Whether you’re an avid athlete or a weekend warrior business executive who’s looking to get some relief from your daily desk jockey job, the low impact sport of golf can still put a toll on your body if you don’t prepare appropriately before a round and respect the importance of proper recovery after you play. Incorporating massage into your summer golfing routine can help you play like the pros, while enjoying many games this season of 18 holes.
Smooth, Strong Swings Come from Relaxed, Flexible Muscles
Golf is a complex sport that requires a degree of strength to power a drive down the fairway, as well as a level of finesse and accuracy to smoothly chip and putt your ball into the hole. The success of both types of swings, though, is reliant on having loose, flexible upper body muscles in your neck, shoulders and arms.
“It’s important for golfers to focus on keeping their upper body loose by making sure that their shoulders are down and back,” explains Rhonda Immergluck, massage therapist at Elements Palatine. “They also need to focus on breathing through their diaphragm so they’re standing up straight as they walk the course and remain steady during their swing.”
“Massage can help golfers with their game by getting the blood circulating and flowing through their muscles,” continues Immergluck. “This helps to loosen everything up so you can remain loose when you’re going for that swing and so that you’re not stiff after a game.”
Loose Lower Body Leads to Increased Stamina, Longevity
While much attention is paid to a golfer’s swing, the sport also requires a strong, solid foundation to ensure an accurate and powerful stroke on the ball. If you walk the course like the professionals, then your legs can experience extra strain and pain if they’re more used to sitting under a desk every day and aren’t as used to being physically active. Immergluck suggests that golfers incorporate daily activity into their routine, like walking regularly when they aren’t on the course, as well as stretching and drinking enough water, to ensure that your legs can withstand completing 18 holes of golf without getting fatigued, cramped or even injured.
“Going from sitting at your desk all day to suddenly playing 18 holes of golf can put your body’s muscles into shock,” warns Immergluck. “It’s like going from zero to sixty and your body doesn't know what to do. Regular exercise to get your heart pumping, even if it’s just walking or light lifting, as well stretching before and after your golf game can make a big difference in keeping your legs strong and injury-free throughout the season.”
Dial in the Mental Game to Meet Your Golfing Goals
When golfers step up to the tee box to drive their ball as far as they can with pristine accuracy, they require mental clarity, focus and attention unlike any other athlete. One second of distraction can make the difference between hitting the fairway or landing your ball off course into a sand pit or water area. Massage can help golfers prepare for the mental component of the game by allowing you to turn everything off while you’re relaxing on the table and clearing your mind from any stress that may be hanging around since your last golf game.
“The mental part of golf is a huge component to the game,” explains Immergluck. “Massage can be a great tool for golfers to just stop everything, relax and focus only on their breathing. This can help golfers get their minds to where they’re supposed to be either before a tournament or after.”
If you’re looking to take your golf game to new levels this season, or just want to enjoy a weekend game or two without feeling sore for the rest of the week, it can be helpful to include massage into your overall approach to golfing. “The best approach is to see your therapist before your next round of golf to prepare your muscles for the game,” suggests Immergluck. “Then, follow up after the round for a deeper sports massage with stretching to help enhance and speed up your muscles’ recovery period. In both cases, you’ll notice a difference in how your mind and body feels on and off the course.”