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Lower Back Pain Is No Joke, But It’s Preventable

How to Avoid the Most Common Golf Injury

Lower Back Pain Is No Joke, But It’s Preventable

Golf is a unique sport because you can often participate even if you’re not as physically fit as you once were. That said, golf isn’t always an injury-free sport. Low back pain is the golf injury you’re most likely to sustain. Luckily, it can be avoided.

The following tips will help.

Warm Up

Golf may not seem as intense as a sport like football or hockey, but you still need to warm up before playing. Loosening your muscles helps to prevent discomfort. Practice these basic exercises to prep your muscles for a few hours on the course:

  • Hold the club behind your neck, one hand on each end, and rotate your torso to stretch your neck.
  • Pull your knees towards your chest a few times to stretch out your hips.
  • Keep your hamstrings loose by bending down and reaching towards your shoes.

If you’re having trouble with these stretches, or they don’t seem to be effective, getting direct access to physical therapy could help. A few sessions with an expert could help you learn how to properly stretch before golfing to avoid lower back and other injuries.

Practice Your Swing

Golfers apply torque and torsion to their lower backs in order to generate sufficient club speed when swinging. This puts strain on the lower back. That’s why practicing a swing regularly is important. You want to emphasize smooth motions. Additionally, researchers have found that attempting to mimic the “X-factor” swing of professionals (in which you attempt to maximize rotation of your shoulders relative to your hips) may result in injury.

Maintaining proper balance while swinging also helps protect your back. Keep your knees bent and shoulder width-apart, while maintaining a straight spine.

It will take practice to develop a smooth swing, but it’s necessary. Doing so will keep you comfortable while also improving your overall performance while playing.

Get the Right Golf Bag

Lifting heavy items incorrectly or repeatedly can result in low back pain. In other words, your swing isn’t the only part of your game you need to optimize if you want to avoid discomfort. You also need the right golf bag.

Don’t use one you have to set down on the ground every time you’re ready to take a swing. Get a bag that has a stand, so you don’t have to lift it up repeatedly throughout a round.

Don’t Make Assumptions About Age

It’s easy to assume low back pain is something only older golfers need to worry about. However, the X-factor swing described above is often more likely to cause certain injuries in younger players. They tend to have more muscle mass than older generations, which puts significant pressure on their spines during the swinging motion. They may also be more likely to apply excessive force. Even if you’re a younger golfer, you should keep these tips in mind. Doing so will also help avoid injury as you get older.

Again, golf is the type of sport you can play well into old age. You’re more likely to be able to if you avoid low back pain. Remembering these points will help you stay out on the course for years.

SOURCE:  Golftipsmag

Do you know what the word “condor” means in golf?

Who Knew?

A “condor” is term given to a hole-in-one on a par 5.

It is almost as rare as two hole-in-ones in a single game of golf.

How awesome would that be to make a hole in one on a par 5?

 Welcome to Five Ponds, almost golf season…

Mickelson — the Golden State Star

Phil Mickelson ties tourney record with 5th win at Pebble Beach

With plenty of sunlight and no drama, Phil Mickelson finished off a 7-under 65 to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Monday and match the tournament record with his fifth victory.

Mickelson had a three-shot lead over Paul Casey with two holes to play when it was too dark to finish Sunday night — no matter how hard Mickelson lobbied to keep going — because of delays from rain and a hailstorm.

Casey’s only hope was for Mickelson to make a mistake on the closing holes, and there was little chance of that.

Mickelson was at his best on a course he loves. He drilled a 7-iron into 8 feet on the par-3 17th and made par, and then played conservatively up the par-5 18th and finished with a 6-foot birdie for a three-shot victory.

He matched the low score of the final round while playing in the last group, turning a three-shot deficit into a three-shot victory. Mickelson never came close to making bogey and won for the 44th time on the PGA Tour.

He finished at 19-under 268 and joined Tiger Woods as the only players to surpass $90 million in earnings.

Casey finished with a birdie that was worth $152,000 because he wound up alone in second place. He also won the pro-am with Don Colleran, the chief sales officer for FedEx.

Even so, it was the fourth time Casey took a 54-hole lead of at least two shots into the final round on the PGA Tour and failed to win. There wasn’t much he could do to stop Mickelson, who at age 48 looks just as tough as when he won his first PGA Tour event in 1991 when he was still at Arizona State.

Mickelson tied Mark O’Meara’s record with his fifth victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach, the first one also a Monday finish in 1998 because of bad weather, with one big difference — that Monday finish was more than six months later in August.

Mickelson argued that he could “see just fine” on Sunday evening, moments after sunset with two holes remaining. Casey said there was no way to finish and they had to return Monday morning.

Mickelson, seen shaking his head when the horn sounded Sunday night, said he thanked Casey on Monday morning for holding his ground because it was fair to both of them.

“Sometimes I get in my own bubble,” Mickelson said.

Scott Stallings finished Sunday night with a 66 to finish alone in third.

Mickelson won on American soil for the first time since the Phoenix Open in 2013. He won that summer’s British Open at Muirfield and last year’s Mexico Championship.

He will return to Pebble Beach in June for the U.S. Open, where he made his pro debut in 1992. The U.S. Open remains the final piece missing for him to complete the career Grand Slam, though Lefty was quick to caution that this week had no bearing on this summer.

Pebble Beach was so soft that balls were plugging in the fairway when they landed. And while the fairway lines already have been brought in to be much narrower than usual, the rough was light.

“It’s nothing like the course we’ll see,” Mickelson said. “I’ll deal with that in six months.”

For now, he was glowing over another victory that keeps him as relevant as ever. Along with five titles at Pebble Beach, he ties Woods and Billy Casper — all three native Californians — with his 14th career victory in the Golden State.

SOURCE:  ESPN

Tips for a more solid swing

Keep The Lead Hip Firm For A Solid Swing

For More Power, Avoid Sliding Toward Target
One of the most prevalent issues that I see with my students, is sliding the left, or lead hip (right-handed golfer) too far toward the target in the downswing.

Most of us, when we first started playing the game, were told to hit against a firm left side. When the left hip moves well past the left foot, there isn’t a whole lot of firmness. And, there isn’t a whole lot of rotation. And without rotation, power is dramatically reduced.

Here is an analogy that might help put you back on track:

Maybe you have a fenced-in back yard with a gate. If you don’t, humor me and just pretend that you do. If the post that the gate is attached to is straight up and down, the gate opens and closes perfectly. If the post is tilted, good luck with the gate. Same with your golf swing. At impact, if the left hip is over the left knee and left ankle, forming a straight vertical line, your right hip will rotate perfectly just like the gate. If the left hip slides past the left foot, rotation is diminished along with power and accuracy.

Here is a drill to help you get the hang of it:

Stand in a doorway with the outside of your left foot touching the door jam. Cross your arms across your chest. Make a backswing turn and then a through swing turn. During the latter allow your left hip to move laterally just enough to make contact with the jam. That amount will put you in a vertical left leg position, the perfect place for maximum lead hip rotation. And hip rotation translates to more power, which we all want.

John Marshall is a two-time American Long Drivers Association super senior national champion and five-time RE/MAX World Long Drive finalist

SOURCE:  Golftipmag

Girl Power in Golf

Who Knew??

Long before Annika Sorenstam competed in the 2003 Bank of America Colonial, Babe Zaharias became the first – and only – female golfer to make the cut at a PGA TOUR event, shooting 76 and 81 during the first two rounds of the 1945 Los Angeles Open.

Who is your favorite female golfer?

 Welcome to Five Ponds, almost golf season…

Everyone will be watching Ho-Sung Choi this week

Ho-Sung Choi and his swing gyrations already have everyone’s attention at Pebble Beach this week

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Ho-Sung Choi was so excited to talk to the media Tuesday afternoon at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am that he ran from the player hospitality tent to the media center, a lengthy jaunt, when he could have just waited for a shuttle ride.

“It is my first time here in the United States, so I can’t even put into words how incredibly happy and grateful I am to have this opportunity here,” he said through an interpreter.

When the likes of Aaron Rodgers, the All-Pro quarterback from the Green Bay Packers, requests to be paired with the late-blooming Korean sensation, it’s safe to say that the excitement is mutual. America is ready to embrace him.

Choi might not speak much English, but he is the undisputed World No. 1 in body language. His pirouetting, leg-kicking golf swing, a cross between the Gary Player walk-through and an Olympic ice dancer – called a “fisherman’s swing” in some circles – has caught the attention of golfers and fans the world over.

“I’m actually fascinated clearly by his swing and the way that he … moves around,” said former world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, who won here in 2017. “But I would almost say funniest … the most entertaining videos I’ve seen were actually some of his putts where he’ll spin the way he wants the ball to start moving around and then when it goes in he’ll give one of those kind of fist pumps and it’s just, it’s really entertaining.”

It also has been pretty effective. Choi, 45, is a two-time winner on the Japan Tour, having won most recently at the Casio World Open in November, and he is No. 194 in the Official World Golf Ranking. But it’s his penchant for natural showmanship with his homemade swing that made him a perfect fit for a sponsor exemption – adding another layer to an event famous for its inclusion of celebrities and entertainers.

Comedian Bill Murray once spun around an old lady in a bunker here. This guy needs no assistance, corkscrewing himself into a pretzel after most shots.

“I know sometimes after I’ve hit the ball I sometimes will the ball to go in the hole and in my mind I feel like that helps the ball go in the hole, so I’m going to keep doing that this week,” Choi explained. “And I feel like in my mind the way I move my body, sometimes it feels like I have remote control that wills the ball to go in the hole, so I’m going to keep doing that, because I feel like it helps.”

Choi is hardly self-conscious about how he looks on his full swing. He was happy to demonstrate it during his press conference, standing up on the dais to show the full move. The swing, he noted, was even wilder in his earlier years than it is now. It was born from hitting a shot out of the rough and following through with his whole body, something Tiger Woods has done routinely when he goes for extra speed from heavy lies. Choi, who averages about 280 off the tee, figures he gains an extra 10 yards from the pronounced action.

“I personally love my swing,” he said. “I didn’t start golf until I was in my late 20s, so technically I didn’t take any lessons growing up. But regarding flexibility or anything like that, I might not have as much compared to the other tour players, but I do what I can with what I have. And also with the advancement in technology and with how far these players are hitting it nowadays I needed to find my own unique way to get that extra distance. And by hitting it hard and by swinging hard I was able to swing the way I do right now, so that might result in to how I’m swinging it.”

It also results in delight from those who watch it.

“Yeah, I think it’s great. I think it’s unique, for sure. Nobody swings a golf club like that and I’ve never seen anybody move that way when they swing a golf club,” said U.S. Ryder Cup player Tony Finau. “I think it’s great for the game, and obviously he’s playing with Aaron Rodgers this week. And I was just with Aaron this morning, and he’s excited to watch him play. I mean, how is that not really cool for our game to have someone like him wanting to play with someone like Ho-Sung Choi? So that’s, I think he brings some excitement to this tournament. And as players it’s really cool to see someone that that’s different and that unique of a golf swing.”

Some guys would cut off their right arm to have a chance to play golf professionally. Choi cut off his right thumb.

As he tells the story, he went to school to specialize in a job in the fishing industry. When he was 23, he accidentally amputated a portion of his right thumb with a chain saw. (Somewhere Greg Norman is cringing knowingly.) Though the tip was reattached, Choi’s right thumb is shorter than his left. But from that mishap started his long road to an unlikely golf career. About two years after the accident, in 1995, he got a part-time job at a golf course. He said his responsibilities included “anything from from cleaning locker rooms to stocking vending machines, to taking the coins out of the vending machines. On hot summer days I would be the one responsible for putting the cold ice towels inside the locker, inside the ice boxes for the players.”

When the course opened a new practice area, the owner encouraged employees to learn the game. From these humble beginnings, a star was born – and the Internet sure helped. Everyone recognizes Choi, who actually will partner for three rounds with actor Chris O’Donnell. Rodgers and Wisconsin native Jerry Kelly, one of several Champions Tour players in the field, are paired with them. They are in the celebrity rotation, meaning Choi will likely get his share of airtime during Saturday’s CBS telecast from Pebble Beach.

Good thing he’s not shy – and that his real strength, he said, is his mental game. He doesn’t care what others think. He just wants to play.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said when asked about how others might view him. “My only goal is to give it my all and to play my best when I’m on the golf course. I’m just not worrying about what other people say or do and just focusing on my own game.”

Before he left the dais, he was asked to demonstrate his swing one more time. He was only too happy to oblige, and he was so focused that once he was finished, he left behind his cell phone.

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

Controlling your club face

An Easy Accuracy Tip For Consistency

Stare down the ball: Not with your eyes, with your clubface

Every bad result in golf can be traced back to a root cause. If you’re struggling to hit accurate drives, the issue is a lack of clubface control.

Many amateurs start their backswings by whipping the driver way inside the target line and opening the face. From there, they re-route the club on a looping path that comes into the ball from outside the target line—the classic over-the-top move—with an open face in relation to the path. You can guess what happens next. The ball slices right of the target. If by some luck or last-second adjustment they can close the face, the ball flies on a straight line but left of the target. How many times have you heard another golfer get frustrated after setting up to hit a drive that flies left to right—and presumably in the fairway—only to see the ball go dead left and into the trees?

If a round of golf for you is constant guesswork of where the ball might end up, you can improve your accuracy if you fix the cause and control the clubface better through impact. It starts by making a better takeaway. No more whipping the club inside. Instead, pretend the clubface has vision, and its job is to swing back while keeping its eyes on the ball. In the photos above, my club starts squarely behind the ball and does not rotate open in the takeaway. Copy this move. I want you to keep it staring at the ball as long as you can when you take it back.

What you’ll find is that this gets you to make a backswing where your club, hands, arms and body all turn together. This is the type of synchronized movement that allows you to control the clubface.

Ideally, it should return to the ball facing your target, and your shot will fly straight. Even marginal improvements in clubface control will reduce the dispersion of your off-line hits. You’ll be in play a lot more often. — With Ron Kaspriske

MY TRICK FOR HOLING ALL THE SHORT ONES
You’ve probably heard someone tell you to keep your head still when you’re on the green—especially if you’re trying to hole a short putt.

The advice is well intended. The less you move, the less chance you will twist the putterface open or closed and miss the putt. No steering! Unfortunately, locking down your head can add a degree of tension and prevent you from making a confident, relaxed stroke. Since we’re on the subject of vision on this page, I’ve got a better way to help you control the putter as you make your stroke. Instead of thinking about keeping your head still, your swing thought should be keep my eyes still. You’ll notice right away that it has the same effect of minimizing body movement, but it doesn’t add extra tension to the stroke.

David Leadbetter, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs 32 academies worldwide.

SOURCE:  Golfdigest

How much is too much to pay for a round of golf?

Who Knew??

Charging $500 for an 18-hole round, Las Vegas’ Shadow Creek Golf Course is the United States’ most expensive public course. Known for its celebrity sightings, the Tom Fazio-design is regularly ranked as one of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest.

How much is too much to pay for a round of golf?

Enjoy our winter rates…

Rose & Scott reach milestones in golf – side by side

Justin Rose, Adam Scott hit $50M milestone together

Justin Rose won at Torrey Pines. Adam Scott challenged him to the final hole. And thanks to that 1-2 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, both surpassed $50 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour.

It’s a feat achieved by only five other players. These days, it’s little more than a monetary milestone.

But it was fitting they did it together.

Born 14 days apart in July 1980, they have been great friends since they tussled in South Africa at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in January 2001. Both were 20. Scott made a 4-foot birdie putt on the last hole to beat Rose and win for the first time as a pro. Oddly enough — or maybe not — Rose won his first professional title a year later in the same tournament.

What makes the timing so appropriate that both joined the $50 million club on the same day is that their PGA Tour careers effectively began together, with a little help from the men who now run the PGA Tour (commissioner Jay Monahan) and the PGA of America (chief executive Seth Waugh).

Waugh at the time was CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, the title sponsor of a new tournament that had the Tiger Woods Foundation as the charitable arm. Monahan was hired as the tournament director.

“We gave them both exemptions,” Waugh said Tuesday from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was caddying for his son in a PGA Tour Latinoamerica qualifying tournament. “Adam was pretty obvious. Jay called me and said, ‘Let’s talk about exemptions,’ which I’d never done.”

Monahan mentioned using a special exemption for international players on an English kid who had had a good British Open, turned pro and missed 20 consecutive cuts before getting his career on track. Waugh already was aware he was talking about Rose, who had won on three tours (Europe, South Africa, Japan) the previous year.

And then Waugh really got to know him.

“We get to the pro-am draw party Wednesday night at the statehouse in Boston,” Waugh said. “It was a formal deal. Mitt Romney was the governor, and we’re all giving our suit speeches. There’s this tall kid by the seafood bar eating shrimp and looking lonely. I walk up to him and said: ‘How are you doing? Are you Justin Rose?’ I said, ‘What are you doing here?’

“He said Deutsche Bank was nice enough to give him an exemption and he thought he would come up and thank somebody,” Waugh said. “He was staying all the way in Providence. I said, ‘You just did.’ But that’s Justin. No agent, nobody telling him what to do. He ended finishing third. And the rest is history.”

The history between Scott and Rose was just getting started.

They have piled up victories around the world, amassing long streaks of winning. Scott went 14 consecutive years with at least one victory worldwide and has 27 for his career. Rose won Sunday for the 22nd time worldwide, extending his streak to 10 consecutive years with at least one victory, including his gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

They now are neighbors at Albany in the Bahamas, both married with two children.

They each have won one major, which they won consecutively.

Scott finally delivered Australia a green jacket when he won the 2013 Masters. Rose sent him a text message of congratulations, which prompted this famous reply from Scott: “This is our time.”

Two months later, Rose won the U.S. Open at Merion.

He had practiced the week before the Masters with Scott in the Bahamas, even played a couple of rounds together.

“I took his money both times,” Rose said.

And then Scott won the Masters, which made the text exchange really hit home.

Indeed, it was their time, and they kept going. Scott reached No. 1 in the world in the spring of 2014. Rose reached No. 1 in the world late last summer, and the Englishman extended his lead atop the world ranking with his two-shot victory at Torrey Pines.

Waugh still thinks about that Monday afternoon at the TPC Boston, where Scott and Rose spent the entire week together, at restaurants and on the leaderboard. They have won so much and done so well that money doesn’t define them.

In this case, it was simply a reminder of where it all began.

SOURCE:  USAToday