Hitting Off Mats This Off-Season? Do It With Caution.

As the cold weather has moved into KC, most courses have moved their golfers on the driving range to begin hitting off of mats instead of the grass.

This may not appear to be a big deal, however, one of the most common off-season injuries I see are in the wrist/hand. Not coincidentally, it’s often the same time they transitioned their practice time from hitting surfaces off the grass to the turf.

Playing and practicing healthy golf is always a top priority with RobertsPT and why this is an area I wanted to address as you practice this off-season.

Now, the best way to avoid this potentially less-than-ideal scenario of hitting off mats is to rack up frequent flyer miles and head south for the winter in sunny Arizona, Florida, or Palm Springs to continue hitting off real grass…

But for most of us, the turf and mats are our only option…so what do we do to avoid the adverse effects on our body including these flare-ups to our wrist/hand from the excessive forces of the impact from the mats?

A couple of suggestions to keep your body healthy hitting off mats this off-season:

#1 = Improve Your Lower Body Move

When someone has poor lower body mobility, or a poor ability to use their lower body in their golf swing, the upper body (wrist/hand) is forced to work harder and takes on way more stress than it was designed to handle in the swing. By improving your hip rotation and hip turn, you’re already helping to prevent (or improve) any upper body compensations and discomfort.

The best way to see if you’re good on suggestion #1 here is to assess your hip rotation mobility, right now, at home by checking out this home assessment – this is the most important area of your body to work on if you have any type of upper body/upper extremity discomfort or limitation – get to the root cause of your upper body discomfort..not chase or treat the symptoms!

#2 = Modify Your Practice Sessions

  • Limit your total volume of practice time by hitting full swings
    • Decrease the number of balls or time hitting irons
    • Emphasize ‘drill work’ that doesn’t require full impact
  • Alternate irons and drivers more frequently
    • For example, do not hit irons for 45 straight minutes and then finish with the driver (or vice versa)
    • Alternate 10 iron shots and 10 driver shots
  • Practice your full pre-shot routine with every shot
    • This will slow down the interval between shots to allow the wrist/hand to recover from the stress of the forces going through the wrist/hand at impact
    • Most golf injuries are repetitive in nature….so slow down the repetition!

The off-season is a great time to practice on your game and work on your body in the gym. Don’t lose this valuable time by injuring your wrist/hand (or any area of your body) as your normal golf routines change and your body is forced to adapt to something new.

RobertsPT helps educate, equip, and train golfers to play for years to come with less pain and more distance. If you don’t have a trusted Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in golf supervising your plan, I’d be happy to jump on a call to discuss your off-season goals. Call 214-998-9904 or email wade@robertspt.co.

Hit em’ straight,

Dr. Roberts

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Dr. Wade Roberts is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Roberts is the owner of Roberts PT, a golf PT and Performance Center in Kansas City. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. He then earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College. Dr. Roberts is able to provide specialized therapies for a variety of patients but has a special interest in decreasing pain, increasing speed, and achieving longevity in the golf comm

How Do I Gain Clubhead Speed This Off-Season?

Power in golf defined:

Power = Force x Displacement/Time     OR     Power = Force x Velocity
Force = strength
Displacement = mobility or turn or the distance you can ‘ramp’ up your club head speed
Time = speed/impulse

In other words, to increase power or clubhead speed this off-season, you need to either increase your muscular strength, increase the distance over which you can generate that force, and/or you need to be able to do it fast!

Bodybuilders who can lift a lot of weight but can’t lift it fast…aren’t powerful.
Track and field athletes who are super-fast but are not strong…aren’t powerful.
A powerful golfer is strong AND fast.

When I evaluate a golfer, I help them identify which of those 3 components are their main power leak…and if there is more than one, which area is the priority for them to gain power.

You as a golfer need to be crystal clear on where you stand and if your focus this off-season should be more on getting mobile, strong or fast…some of you may lose power in 1 area while others of you may have power leaks in all 3.

As you approach your off-season and you desire to take advantage of the colder months to spend time working on the physical side of golf in the gym, be sure to have a plan that is targeted to what you specifically need! That is how you’ll get results and gain 10-30+ yards over the off-season without even hitting a golf ball.

I meet too many golfers going to the gym and ‘working out’ instead of ‘training’ specifically for a purpose with a plan.

At RobertsPT, we guarantee at least 3 mph (money back guaranteed) with most of our golfers gaining 5-8mph in less than 3 months’ time. How do we get those results? We’re customized to what YOU need after a thorough assessment.

As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, mobility will always be first priority. To see how well you’re able to rotate for a golf swing, TAKE MY FREE HOME ASSESSMENT for an easy way to see where your plan may need to start. If you clear all 4 rotational centers on this home assessment…then you need to focus on either strength or speed work. How do you if you need more strength or speed? Again, you need more information and need to be further assessed.

If you don’t have a trusted Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in golf supervising your plan, I’d be happy to jump on a call to discuss your off-season goals. Call 214-998-9904 or email wade@robertspt.co.

Let’s train smarter…not just harder this off-season.

Hit em’ straight,
Dr. Roberts

Click Here to Set Up a Call

Dr. Wade Roberts is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Roberts is the owner of Roberts PT, a golf PT and Performance Center in Kansas City. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. He then earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College. Dr. Roberts is able to provide specialized therapies for a variety of patients but has a special interest in decreasing pain, increasing speed, and achieving longevity in the golf community.

What are the top 2 causes of low back pain in golf?

  1. Reverse spine angle

A Reverse Spine Angle is any excessive upper body backward bend or excessive left lateral (for right-handed golfers) upper body bend during the backswing. This positioning produces an excessive amount of torque and pressure on the low back on the downswing due to the chest having to travel ‘farther’ and ‘faster’ to get back down to impact. Any time you increase the speed or force forward bending with rotation at the same time…that’s a good recipe for back pain.

2. Early extension

Early extension occurs when the hips and spine of a golfer start to go into extension or straighten up too early on the downswing. In this impact position, your core and gluteal (butt) muscles are in a poor position to properly ‘engage’ and are what we call, inhibited. Similar to Reverse Spine Angle, anytime you have rapid rotation of the body with no core engagement, that’s a good recipe for back pain. This is also the number one cause of a shank as your hips have now actually moved closer to the ball minimizing the space for your hands. 

Ask one of your playing partners next time you golf to take a video of your swing and see for yourself (if you don’t know already) if you possess these characteristics.

How do you improve these positions? Almost always it’s a lack of proper mobility in really 4 areas of your body. I tell my golfers that if you can’t clear a full range of motion here, then your body will ‘work around’ those limitations and often manifests itself as described in the pictures above. I’ve put together a brief video for you to check for yourself at home how well you move in those 3 areas. Check out the home assessment here >>

Playing back pain-free is possible!

Hit em’ straight,
Dr. Roberts

Click Here to Set Up a Call

Dr. Wade Roberts is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Roberts is the owner of Roberts PT, a golf PT and Performance Center in Kansas City. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. He then earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College. Dr. Roberts is able to provide specialized therapies for a variety of patients but has a special interest in decreasing pain, increasing speed, and achieving longevity in the golf community

Do You Swing To Warm Up….Or Warm Up To Swing? A Proper Warm-Up In Golf

The goal of a warm-up: is to prepare the golfer mentally and physically for the demands of a 9 or 18-hole round.

Traditionally, an effective warm-up has also been thought to decrease the risk of injury. While this remains unclear, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that a positive effect may exist. Recent evidence is suggesting, however, that a well-designed warm-up can actually result in a number of physiological responses that can potentially increase subsequent performance on the golf course.

A couple of positive effects and how it relates to golf from a well-designed warm-up:

  • Faster muscle contractions = increased speed –> increased distance
  • Improvements in rate of force development = increased power –> increased distance
  • Lowered viscous resistance in muscles and joints = increased mobility –> increased turn
  • Improved oxygen delivery and blood flow = decreased stiffness to muscles and joints –> increased turn
  • Increased psychological preparedness for performance (Don’t underestimate the game between the ears!)

What should a golf warm-up consist of?

  • Part 1 = 5 minutes of slow aerobic activity
    • The aim of this is to increase heart rate, blood flow, muscle temperature, and decrease viscosity of joint fluids
    • Examples: If your longest walk is from the parking lot to the golf cart and then to the driving range (or worse straight to the first tee) that most likely isn’t long enough. Get creative, take the long way to the clubhouse from the parking lot…walk up a steep hill near the putting green is a fast way to get the heart rate going and blood flow pumping

  • Part 2 = 5 minutes of general stretching
    • The aim of this is to replicate the ranges of motion required for the upcoming activity – a.k.a. full turn
    • In the game of golf, there are 4 areas you need to be able to rotate well in – in this HOME ASSESSMENT GUIDE I go into detail about these 4 areas. A good warm-up doesn’t have to be long if you do it specifically for the game of golf.

  • Part 3 = 10 minutes of hitting balls
    • What’s the best order of clubs to use or how many balls should you hit to be ‘warmed up’?
    • While this varies from person to person depending on many factors, a general rule of thumb is 7,7,7
    • 7 shots with a wedge-9iron, 7 shots with a 7-5iron, and 7 shots with a 3wood-driver
    • Why 20+ balls?
      • Maybe this is experience talking, but after watching a lot of golfers hit balls on golf simulators and Trackman, most golfers hit their ‘average/top’ club head speed between balls 20-30.
      • Very few players, regardless of how in shape they are, can step right up and reach the higher end of their club head speed without an appropriate amount of swings

  • Part 4 = 5 minutes of chipping and putting
    • You know this is where the strokes add up…chip a few to get your feel going and then putt a few to get the speed of the greens and boost your confidence in seeing a few putts go in

**(Note: a warm-up should end no more than 15 minutes before the start of the first swing)

Take Home = You can do the math…but YOU HAVE TO GET TO THE COURSE EARLY.

  • This takes discipline
  • We’ve all done it where we’re flying out of the office or house to catch a tee time. Obviously, life happens and you’re going to go from ‘trunk to tee’ every now and then. But don’t make it a habit. Discipline yourself and your game to get to the course early
  • 10:00 am Tee Time Example
    • 9:50 – 10:00 – Show up to the first tee to check in/get the bets lined up
    • 9:30 – 9:50 – Complete Parts 2-4 in the practice area (Note: Parts 3 and 4 can be reversed based on preference)
    • 9:15 – 9:25 – Park, 5 min of aerobic activity, golf shoes on, check-in, go to the bathroom, get your clubs, etc.

So on your next round of golf, try showing up to the course 45 minutes minimum before your round of golf. Be ready to go on the first tee, not the 5th after you’ve ‘loosened up’.

Click Here to Set Up a Call

Dr. Wade Roberts is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. Dr. Roberts is the owner of Roberts PT, a golf PT and Performance Center in Kansas City. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. He then earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College. Dr. Roberts is able to provide specialized therapies for a variety of patients but has a special interest in decreasing pain, increasing speed, and achieving longevity in the golf community.

“How Do I Get More Turn in My Golf Swing?”

By Dr. Wade Roberts

This is perhaps one of the most common questions I get from golfers about their game as it relates to the physical side of golf.

The golfer will often say, “Wade, I’m not making a big enough or efficient turn and it’s killing my consistency and distance. I need some stretches to help improve my flexibility.”

It’s at this point that I reassure them that they’re in the right place and that there are a lot of things we can do that will improve their turn.

However, this golfer is making a bold assumption…that their lack of turn they may be feeling is because of muscle tightness and that stretching will help improve it….Sounds reasonable right?

It does if, in fact, it’s the muscles that are what’s tight and that stretching is the most effective remedy.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of different reasons why someone may not have good ‘flexibility or mobility’ in their body.

To name a few, it could be due to:

  • Joint limitations
  • Neural tension
  • Fascial tension
  • Trigger point activity
  • Hypertrophy
  • Scarring and fibrosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Guarding
  • Overload
  • Fusion
  • Inflammation
  • Ischemia

While I don’t expect you to know what each of these means, the point is, there are multiple reasons why a person can have a limited range of motion in a particular part of their body.

The Key: Know the underlying problem that’s limiting YOUR mobility.

I can’t emphasize enough that only once you know the underlying cause of your limited mobility, can you be prescribed an effective ‘flexibility’ routine. Some mobility problems cannot simply be solved by exercise or stretching alone.

Specific to stretching, it may feel good when you’re done, and it may in fact be the right intervention for you, but that’s only if that was determined by a thorough evaluation to sort through all the potential problems listed above. Otherwise, you may not ever make a lasting change, chasing your tail stretching over and over again, never realizing your full potential for a complete turn in your swing.

Getting to the root cause of why someone is lacking the mobility to make a good turn in their golf game, fixing it through whatever appropriate intervention is warranted, and then following that with a good stability/strength routine afterwards to hit the ‘save’ button on your gains in motion, is one of the most common things I do.

Do you think something is limiting your turn? Let’s get you on a path to success with a targeted, golf-specific mobility program put together by a Doctor of Physical Therapy and TPI Medical Professional.

Hit em’ straight –
Wade

Click Here to Set Up a Call

Dr. Wade Roberts is a contributing writer for Central Links Golf. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology. He then earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Lynchburg College. Dr. Roberts is able to provide specialized therapies for a variety of patients but has a special interest in decreasing pain, increasing speed, and achieving longevity in the golf community.