Local News

Golfers Take Swing At Pain-Free Game

Posted August 8, 2003 2:29 a.m. EDT

— From Pinehurst to the mountains to public courses, millions of people hit the links each year in North Carolina.

While doctors cannot improve a player's game, they can make sure it is pain-free.

"I'd probably say 70 percent are back injuries, but you also get elbow injuries and some knees as the golfers get older," said Jaime Holt, a physical therapist at WakeMed. He started SportFit Golf, a conditioning program to prevent golf injuries.

Holt said stretching could prevent many of the problems he treats.

"At least a good five minutes of stretching and warming up before they hit their first ball on the range or driving tee," Holt said.

Jim Epps is an avid golfer who has had two knee surgeries to treat severe pain.

Epps uses a golf club with a fan to improve flexibility and range of motion. Both are common problem as golfers get older.

"This is strengthening, too, because you have some wind resistance," Holt said.

Younger golfers usually need to strengthen their stomach muscles -- that is where all the power comes from.

"You look at Tiger Woods -- he's strong throughout, but his trunk is extremely flexible and strong," Holt said.

Holt said improving flexibility and strength not only reduces the risk of injuries, it can also help a player's game.

"I'm not going to guarantee that they'll shoot lower, but they will be able to enjoy playing a little better," he said.

Epps said his swing is stronger and he hardly notices the pain in his knees. Now all he has to do is work on his mental game.

"The main thing that you deal with to improve your game is right here," he said pointing to his brain.

To find out more about golf physical therapy, call (919) 350-4178.