The golf doctors are in the house
October 30, 2009
For golfers who are burdened by various physical ailments, this may be the perfect time of year.
Bothered by your lower back? Niggled by your gimpy knee? Torn about your troubles with your rotator cuff?
With the golf season closing down, there’s no time like the present to see if the doctors can do something about these and other common golf ailments. After all, you have all winter to recuperate from elective surgery or other procedures.
In addition, you don’t have to worry about what taking time off from the game will do to your handicap. Your scores won’t count until next April, so you can take an appropriately slow and gentle path toward a full recovery.
If you’re wondering how your body managed to hurt itself in what is alleged to be a gentle sport, there are several published guides to help, along with advice on what to do about it.
Here are some golf books devoted to golfers’ health and fitness that might be useful. I’ve reviewed most of them in past columns.
Larry Foster, M.D. is an orthopedic surgeon, who published Dr. Divot’s Guide to Golf Injuries in 2004 (Dr. Divot Publishing; $19.95 SRP).
For each common ailment, such as wrist injuries, Dr. Foster sketches out the basic anatomy of the bone and muscle groups involved.
Then he details how the injuries are most likely to occur and the common treatments used by surgeons and other health care professionals in resolving the complaints.
He then describes some of the practical techniques that could help some golfers avoid serious injury altogether.
Bill Mallon, M.D. wrote The Golf Doctor in 1996, and it’s still available in paperback (Macmillan; $14.95).
Doctor Mallon played on the PGA Tour for a few years, and for many years wrote the “Ask the Doctor” column in Golf Digest Magazine.
In addition to chapters devoted to several golf-specific injuries, such as to the back, the shoulders, and the legs, the doctor also provides an extensive set of exercises for golf that should help reduce the chance for further insults to our aging frames.
You should also check out The Golf Doc, by Ed Palank, M.D. (Jones and Bartlett; $19.95).
Doctor Palank goes over similar territory regarding common physical injuries to golfers, with various exercise protocols to combat the risk of serious troubles.
He also devotes chapters to more specialized topics, such as the special considerations needed for diabetic golfers, or those with heart conditions.
There’s a special segment on automated external defibrillators that should help convince club members to make sure these life-saving devices are readily available on their golf course.
If you don’t need surgery, but do feel the need to be in better shape by next spring, here are two other practical guides.
Clay Harrow’s Golf Fit (Andrews McMeel; ($12.95 SRP) is aimed at increasing golfers’ strength and flexibility, by using a series of golf-specific exercise routines.
If the members of your regular foursome volunteer to pick your ball out of the cup because they’re tired of the usual wait, this book’s for you.
In a similar vein, you should take a look at sports medicine specialist Dr. Vijay Vad’s Golf Rx—A fifteen-minute-a-day program for more yards and less pain (Gotham Books; $27.50).
Doctor Vad’s prescriptions include a wide range of flexing, stretching, and movement practices that should be very useful for golfers looking for ways to stay active during the off-season.
A bunch of us participated in the season-ending tournament at Shawnee Country Club on October 24, and I really liked the format.
On the par 4s and par 5s, each four-member team played the normal scramble. For the par 3s, however, the golfers played their own balls, and the two best scores counted toward the total.
This arrangement kept everyone involved in the match, which doesn’t always happen in a scramble tournament.
I think it might also be fun to play this way in a two-against-two pairing. We’ll see.