Posted Mar 29 2012, 11:37 AM by Cathy Erickson
Spring came early to Minnesota this year. There are dozens of golf courses open in the Minneapolis area and even some up in my neck of the woods. Granted, the grass is still brown, and some mornings are still in the 30's, but we've seen record highs multiple times in the last few months and all of the snow has been melted for a few weeks now. You can sense the spring fever everywhere!
Usually, my first real spring golf fix is parking myself in front of the TV for the Masters. I can't wait for the azaleas and chirping birds, along with Jim Nantz's welcome. But the weather changed things...courses were open and it sure seemed like it made sense to be out there. So a friend and I planned to head south until we found decent weather and a tee time last Saturday.
By about 9:45am we were on the first tee of our first round of the year. By about 1:00pm, I could barely walk. What had come so naturally to me every year up until this year was to just to head out and play golf...I'm not much of a practice range person, but I do usually take a few swings before teeing off. But what was different this year was that I didn't curl this winter...and let me tell you, I realize now that curling kept a lot of my golf muscles busy for the winter. And even though I wasn't a complete couch potato this winter, I certainly didn't take the time to make sure I would be "golf ready" this spring.
It's 5 days later and I'm still in pain. And that is of my own doing, too. After going birdie, par, par, I took a swing and it just didn't feel right (the shot didn't look good either!). But I shook it off, thinking I was just a little tight, and I was euphoric about being on the golf course...in MARCH! By the time we made the turn every swing hurt (sometimes every step hurt). But a combination of my frugality (I paid for this round, so I can't quit) and the idea playing through the pain would help (what?) made me keep going.
By the end of the round my mid to low back was screaming and my shoulders were tight as all get out. I hit half shots with only arms the last 5 holes so scoring was pathetic at best. But still, I was thinking I would be able to play on Sunday. HA!
That night, with ice packs galore, I just kept feeling worse and worse. The next day I knew there was no way I'd be swinging a club, and I was dreading the 3 hour ride in the car. I felt bad for my friend and offered to ride in a cart in case he still wanted to play somewhere, but thankfully the weather was cooler than we expected and he was happy to head home, too.
It wasn't until the next day that I had to come to grips with my stupidity...had I just stopped golfing when I first felt that twinge of pain I probably would have been able to swing a club the next day or at least been able to stretch and assess. But instead I kept repeating the same thing that caused the pain, over and over for another 3 hours, just compounding the damage I had already done.
I see now how much I took for granted about what it takes to make a golf swing. And I am really taking to heart all of the Mindi Boysen videos and blog posts that explain how important it is to stretch and practice before going out to play golf. For as much as I really want to be on a golf course right now (and try out my new Nickent driver with a UST V2 HL shaft that showed up at my door yesterday!), I know that I need to be careful and recover first. Ice, hot tub time, stretches, some pain pills, and patience are my recipe for the next couple of weeks, even as I see temps sneaking into the 60's and hear the golf course calling my name.
I'm a believer that God sometimes has to send us trauma in order for us to stop, look, and pay attention to what is around us when we sometimes take things for granted or get distracted. And God knows that not golfing would be VERY traumatic for me! I was ignoring my health, and that's not smart. The good news is, we're still ahead of the calendar so if I stay smart, take it easy and get well, it's still going to be an early golf season for me!
If you have any good low back stretching exercises, feel free to post them here.
Filed under: Spring, Masters, Golf, Cathy Erickson, stretch, patience, back pain
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