How to Improve Your Golf Game, and Enjoy It
Improve Your Golf Swing with Hydrotherapy
Golf Digest fitness advisor, Randy Myers insists there is one thing golfers must do before they play – “You need moist heat.”
So is hot water (not the kind of hot water Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods have been in recently) the secret to improving your golf game?
According to experts, it may be. Top golf and fitness experts are increasingly pointing to heat therapy as one of the best treatments for a variety of game related injuries and one of the best ways to keep yourself loose – resulting in better play. So amateur weekend player, 19th hole networker, or golf pro; hot water could not only be the ticket to bouncing back from the pain, but actually improving your game too. So, what are the best practices for applying heat therapy?
Improve Your Golf Game, Reduce Injury, and Recover with Moist Heat
The Fitness Editor of Golf Digest says “Warming up the muscles needed to play will help reduce the chance of injuries and also help you swing better.” Moist heat is the fastest way to warm muscles, and can be easier and more enjoyable than warming up with a hard work out before hitting the fairways.
For many golfers, the damage to their bodies is already done. Many amateurs and veteran pros alike are already feeling the wear and tear of years of swinging away.
Physical therapist, fitness trainer for the PGA Tour, and professional advisor, Ralph Simpson is another big fan of heat for golfers. Simpson’s heat treatments are applied for “that nagging lower-back pain many golfers deal with”, and in the “later stages of rehab.” This helps golfers to treat day to day stiffness and to recover from more serious long-term injuries.
Without preventative measures and timely treatment, even the casual golfer may be doing serious damage without even recognizing it. Elbow tendonitis, medical epicondylitis, tennis elbow, rotator cuff disorders, and repetitive strain injury are all terms professionals use to refer to what golfers know as the notorious Golf Elbow. Golfer’s Elbow occurs simply from the strain of repetitive play. Eventually overuse creates small tendon and muscle tears. The resulting inflammation, buildup of calcium deposits, and scar tissue can cause restricted movement, stiffness, ongoing pain, numbness, and even weakness.
Similar injuries and damage can be suffered in a golfer’s knees and lower back. Athletic Edge warns that left unchecked and untreated recovery can extend to 6 months. This compares to just a few weeks for those applying appropriate management techniques.
In a recent blog extensive medical statistics and scientific testing proved the benefits of Using Heat Therapy to Reach Your Fitness Goals and enhancing performance.
Heat therapy increases blood flow to injured joints, alleviates pain, and actually promotes healing. This can improve a golfer’s game through increased range of motion, more strength, and suffering less down time.
4 Best Practices for Using Heat Therapy to Help Golfers
Medical and athletic professionals agree on several best practices for applying heat therapy:
- Using moist heat is effective due to water’s conductive capabilities so apply directly to muscle groups with a bath, hot tub, or at least a moistened towel.
- Hot water is as important before exercise to prevent injury as after to recover
- Applications of moist heat should be in 15 to 20 minute increments, as needed
- Heat should not be directly applied to fresh injuries or open wounds to prevent swelling or increased bleeding
Types of Heat Therapy
There is more than one way to apply heat for great golf results. According to The Merck Manuals, options include “using a heat pack; soaking your elbow in warm, moving water, such as in a hot tub; using infrared heat or heated wax; or applying a medicated heat rub.” However, Ralph Simpson warns that creams like Bengay are generally not enough.
Golf Digest advisor Randy Myers is adamant that moist heat is critical and also lists “shower, steam room, whirlpool” as choices. He also comments that “several Championship Tour players have added a stretching program”, while in hot water, providing yoga like benefits.
WebMD is also a supporter of moist heat, and exercise under warm water, and recommends repeating “2 or 3 times a day to reduce the risk of permanent stiffness in the joint.”
Alternative & Complimentary Therapies
Heat is not the only option for treating golf injuries, specifically Golfer’s Elbow. However, many of the alternatives suggested by industry professionals and medical practitioners may be unattractive. Others could potentially be combined with heat therapy to deliver superior results in less time.
13 alternative therapies and treatments:
- Steroid injections
- Surgical intervention
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Technique correction
- Elbow braces
- Electrotherapy; laser treatment, ultrasound
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Sports massage
- Soft tissue massage
- Isometric exercise and Active Release Treatment (Dr. Ben Kim)
- Deep massage and heat therapy (Ben E. Benjamin PhD)
There are many possible combinations of the above therapies, treatments and performance enhancing practice for Golfers. The most recommended consistently appears to be massage and moist heat. These both combine in a hot tub or spa.
Optimal Heat & Massage Therapy for Golfers
A hot tub or spa is the best therapeutic solution for golf related conditions, and can enhance performance, but what is the optimal solution for putting it into practice?
Fortunately, for pro golfers on tour, it is highly unlikely any hotel or resort listed in Golf Digest or among Conde Naste’s Top 25 places to stay would come without a full spa or at least a hot tub.
Similarly, avid golfers looking for a new golf community ought to find most are blessed with at least one clubhouse hot tub. These include Wisconsin Dells 27 hole Championship golf and ski resort, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, PA, and the Trump National Doral and infamous Blue Monster course.
Still, there are a number of reasons having a hot tub at home is a smarter choice:
- Running to the community clubhouse 2 to 3 times a day isn’t for everyone
- Finding room to exercise and stretch in a communal spa can be awkward
- You won’t be a celebrity golf target with paparazzi wanting to get you in trouble
- Tiger Woods’ new home of course has a hot tub
- It sure beats the cost of heading off to the natural hot springs for hot water therapy
- Ability to fully personalize your hot tub and massaging spa jet configuration
A Hot Tub at Home – A Hole in One for Serious Golfers
Golf and fitness pros are adamant about the necessity, and advantages of hot water therapy for recovery, injury prevention, and maximizing performance on the greens.
Pro Golfers, along with their families, wives and friends all love hot tubs:
- Paulina Gretzky, who graced the cover of Golf Digest’s May 2014 issue, has posted pictures in her hot tub
- Tom Gillis and Kyle Dobbs are both advocates of using hot tubs before play
- Pro Golfer, Val Skinner has been featured by the Golf Channel on the benefits of hydro-massage and hot tubs
- Tiger Woods’ new home sports a very impressive hot tub spa, which is presumably helping as Tiger recovers from injury
- LPGA pro golfer Brittany Lincicome touts the benefits of hydrotherapy both at home and on the road
Besides, the added benefits of stress relief and improved mental focus, having a hot tub at home is clearly one of the best ways to apply heat therapy and gain an edge on your golf buddies.
So if you’re into golf in a big way or even just as a hobby you can preserve your clubs by reducing golf rage, keep the paparazzi at bay, and up your game with a highly customized hot tub at home.