Tips to play better and stay healthy on the golf course

Many people consider golf to be a low-impact sport, but a good game can put big demands on your body, which can easily lead to injuries.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of, recently met with Dr. Bradford Parsons, an orthopedic surgeon at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City, who gave him some tips on how to stay healthy on the golf course.

“Go out and walk before the season,” Parsons said. “Get your stamina and your cardiovascular fitness up a little bit, so you can handle it. Build up your flexibility of your trunk, or what we call the core.”

Parsons said golfers should know their limitations.

“If you have back problems, or you have arthritis of the leg, knee, hip, or shoulder, and you know that golf is going to put those things at a potential for getting worse or causing pain, then prepare,” he said.

Parsons said you can use a golf cart, instead of carrying your bag around.

And, always take the time to ‘loosen up:’ Arrive a little earlier to the range, hit some balls, make sure your body feels right, take the time to stretch and if you have a problem – bring out the ice.

Alvarez asked Parsons if people should get a pre-golf season physical.

“That’s probably not a bad idea,” Parsons said. “Especially if they have a heart condition, or something that puts them at significant risk.”

Parsons added you should always listen to your body – playing through the pain can end your season fast.

“Pain that radiates and goes down the shoulder and down the arm, or elbow pain that goes down into the hand or back pain that goes down into the leg, that can be more serious,” he told Alvarez. “And if these are persisting after a couple of shots, it's time to take a break.”

Want to reduce the risk of golf injuries? Consider taking lessons with a professional. What you learn may even help shave strokes from your score.