COVID-19: Tips for Safely Returning to the Golf Course

Northwestern Medicine
Orthopaedics April 27, 2020
Attribute to: Mark Demchak, MS, ATC, PES, athletic trainer at the Northwestern Medicine Golf Performance Academy in Warrenville, Illinois
For a .pdf of this article, click here.

What precautions should golfers take to protect themselves from COVID-19?
Precautions should include – washing all club grips and even gloves prior to use, use your own equipment and do not lend it to others, carry sanitary wipes or liquid/spray. Bring your own water to the course and continue to practice physical distancing on the course.

Golf carts will not be allowed during physical distancing. What tips do you have for minimizing strain from carrying clubs?
If you have your own push cart, use it! A push cart is a great way to save your back and energy while walking the entire course. If you don’t have a push cart, I would advise a bag with backpack straps rather than a single strap, making sure the straps fit well and aren’t causing you to strain during carrying them.

If you have been sedentary during physical distancing, how can you prepare for golf?
Trying to avoid upper and lower cross syndrome which arises from non-activity and being sedentary can be challenging. If you have been sedentary during COVID-19 physical distancing, the best thing to do is to get moving in some fashion. Instead of sitting on the couch or chair, utilize a foam roller on the floor and start to loosen up the hips and back. If you have been working from home, take a break every 20-30 minutes to squeeze the shoulder blades together to open the chest up. Work on thoracic rotations, breathing techniques, or stretch your hips using your desk chair as a support. Mobility and stability are key for your golf swing.

What stretches should you do before golf?
Static stretching is great, but not when your body isn’t warmed up. Dynamic movement with active stretching will help you loosen up the most, while also preparing the body to move during the golf swing. Swinging a club a few times and trying to touch your toes won’t cut it! Golf is a dynamic sport, your warm up needs to be also!

What are some common injuries caused by golfing?
Common injuries for golf, especially after a quarantine period, are lower back injuries. A stiff upper body (upper back, shoulders, and neck) and hips can cause the lower back to pick up the slack in rotation rather than being a stabilizer. A high repetition swing leading to back pain can sideline you longer than a quarantine ever could.

Do benefits of golf during this pandemic outweigh the risks?

Golf courses can be one of the more spacious physical distancing activities people can participate in. If golf provides an outlet for stress, or even a change of scenery to help the mental moral, I’d say it’s worth outweighs the risks.

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