Returning to golf after an injury can sometimes be tricky. One of the more common mistakes we see golfers make when trying to gelt back to golf after an injury is simply jumping right back in, resulting in doing too much too soon.
When you take a step back and think about the type of injuries that occur to golfers, you tend to see a pattern.
Some of the most common golf injuries we see are:
- Low back pain
- Elbow tendonitis
- Wrist pain
- Neck pain
All of these golf injuries predominantly occur from overuse or poor workload management, rather than an acute injury.
Anyone that golfs knows how easy it is to go to the driving range and just swing away. It’s very easy to take 75+ swings in a really short amount of time with no warm-up. Just get out of the car and start hacking. Golf is also a sport that many recreational golfers play occasionally. It’s not uncommon for someone to go weeks without swinging a golf club, and then play several rounds in one weekend.
Many golfers think trying to get back to golf after an injury is like turning on a lightbulb. Even though poor workload management was likely a key factor in sustaining their golf injury, once they start to feel better they return to golf at the same workload and overload the healing tissue again.
How to Return to Golf After an Injury
The key to returning to golf after an injury is building a gradual plan to return that slowly applies load. You want to avoid needing to speed up and slow down the process.
Many golfers think this means they need to do less. But remember, quantity is just one part of the workload equation for golfers. Frequency and intensity are also important.
Luckily, a workload progression is easy to do if you break down the different components of the game of golf. You can easily break golf down into both “distance” and “finesse” shots. Distance shots are obviously full effort, but finesse shots are often partial effort. You can also do the same with different club lengths.
Here’s a great video of an interview I did with Mike Scaduto. Mike’s our golf specialist at Champion PT and Performance. He and I got together for a big presentation on golf injury rehabilitation and performance training for my Inner Circle. We talked about the different types of golf injuries, evaluation process, performance enhancement, and how to collaborate with local golf pros and swing coaches. Inner Circle members can check out the entire presentation.
I wanted to share this portion of the presentation on how we build a return to golf program after an injury. I thought it was really helpful.
Here’s Mike and I talking about how to get back to golf after an injury:
How to Build a Return to Golf Program After an Injury
So, remember, when trying to get back to golf after an injury, there are a lot more things you can do to build up to your full golf swing. The key is making sure that you understand how to manage the workload progression.
Here are a couple of options of return to golf programs as an example of how we would build up the volume and intensity, while controlling the frequency:
- Day 1 – 20 full swings
- Day 2 – 20 finesse swings
- Day 3 – off
- Day 4 – 30 full swings
- Day 5 – 30 finesse swings
Or another option could be:
- Day 1 – 20 finesse swings, 10 full swings
- Day 2 – off
- Day 3 – 15 finesse swings, 15 full swings
- Day 4 – off
- Day 5 – 15 finesse swings, 20 full swings
Those are not specific to a certain injury, but I think you can see how we manipulate the workload to get back to golf after an injury and use that as a baseline to build your own return to golf program.
The only other thing I would add is that it is always a good idea to collaborate with a PGA professional or golf swing coach. Check out our podcast episode we did with Adam Kolloff and the golf professionals at Pure Drive Golf about how we collaborate on golf rehabilitation and performance programs.