Golf is an excellent challenge, physically as well as mentally, and it’s also a great social activity.
It might seem silly to put golf and danger in the same sentence, but injuries can and do happen. Golf balls and golf clubs are very hard objects that can cause considerable damage if they strike you, and golfers need to be aware of the dangers posed by everything from lightning to repetitive stress injuries.
To learn how to stay safe on the golf course, follow these tips.
Why Is Golf Safety Important?
As sports go, golf is pretty safe, but there’s always potential for injury. The golf swing puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your back and your joints, particularly if you are prone to swinging too hard or your technique isn’t the best. Back pain, elbow tendonitis, and pain in the shoulders, hands, and wrists are all common golf injuries.
Less common but more serious injuries can happen if someone gets hit by a golf ball or club. Though it’s extremely rare, people have actually died from being hit by golf balls. And then there are golf-cart mishaps: Golfers have been known to get seriously injured when golf carts are driven in a hazardous manner or if they dangle their feet or hands out of a cart while it’s moving.
Fortunately, most traumatic injuries can be avoided by using common sense and following the rules.
Before You Tee Up
Always warm up by taking a light walk, jogging, or doing jumping jacks before you play golf. Do trunk twists and other stretches to help loosen up your back, and be sure to stretch your shoulders, arms, elbows, and wrists. Take a few easy practice swings, gradually increasing your range of motion.
When practicing your swing at the driving range, start with wedges and short irons that call for a shorter swing. Gradually work up to long irons and woods that require a full swing. This not only will help your golf game, it will also go a long way toward preventing injuries.
If you will be playing on a sunny day, use plenty of sunscreen on any exposed skin, and wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your eyes and protect your face. A typical round of golf takes more than 4 hours to complete. You will be out in the sun the entire time, especially if you walk the course instead of riding in a cart. Sunburns are no fun, and neither is dehydration, another problem you might encounter on hot days. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your round.
The above is an excerpt from the article, “Safety Tips: Golf.” For more information please visit www.kidshealth.org.