It was 60 degrees in the DMV yesterday. With no snow on the ground I had to peel my rear off the sofa and get the season started. There was one problem. I have been rehabbing elbow tendonitis and a previous trip to the range in early January ended badly and forced me into formal rehab. I’m in the fifth week of a six-week physical therapy stint and it’s going well. I have been constantly dialoging with my physical therapist on how best to accelerate my healing and prepare for the season. The goal is full recovery by March 1st. My daily regimen of exercise the arm, stretch the arm, ice the arm, and remain a couch potato is growing old, but admittedly it’s been working. I’d estimate I’m about 80-85% recovered.
Last week I took a few full swings with the driver in the back yard and experienced some pain so I did not clear myself for full ball striking and worked short game and putting instead. I’m glad I did and my arm is just a little sore today. If you are right handed, left elbow tendonitis can be rough because you brace yourself against a firm left arm during the strike. I need to be really cautious here because a dead left arm could put my season in jeopardy. My guy says to, “let the pain tell you what to do.” If that’s the case, I shouldn’t have played on this for three years and got it treated. Oh well.
Yesterday, I chipped with all my clubs and worked a large variety of shots. With a brace on the elbow, the first five shots elicited some mild pain but it loosened up and felt great for the balance of the session. I was also surprised how sharp I was after expunging whatever left over baggage I had from 2018. I’d love to play next weekend but it’s too soon. It will probably take a couple weeks of range work and maybe some more short game and I should be in action by mid-March.
Have you ever worked through a bout of tendonitis? Got any words of wisdom?
Tomorrow will be the first 18-hole round for me since I sustained the right hip injury on July 7 and I am quite keyed up and a bit nervous. I have eased back into golf activities during the three-week layoff by not doing anything in the first week, focusing on short game practice the second, and playing two nine hole rounds on my little executive course this week. The hip feels good but not great and I’m still a little hesitant to fire them at the start of the downswing. As a result, my timing is off and I’ve been pulling the ball with a slight over-the-top move. To compensate, I’ve gone with a shorter backswing which has promoted good contact, but not solved for the pull.
At the conclusion of today’s nine, I was tempted to hit a bucket of balls but felt that might be pushing it and opted instead to putt. Fortunately, the layoff has not affected my short game and it remains sharp with all clubs and shots. The total reset away from the Stan Utley changes has been a godsend and I am now in love with my Cleveland CG-16 58 degree wedge. It took about six months to get used to these wedges and it’s clear now that when you are a weekend golfer, you must be patient after an equipment change. So is Rory McIlroy a weekend golfer since he changed equipment? He doesn’t play much on the weekends any more. . .but I digress.
So it’s out to Rattlewood tomorrow and it’s a good course for the comeback because the premium is on short game and putting and not great ball striking. Hoping I’m not rushing things but sitting on the bench in the middle of the season is killing me. Hope I’m up to the challenge!
Up until last weekend’s round at Northwest, I had not. Sure, there have been the inevitable aches and pains after the first round of the year when the golf muscles are waking up, but nothing like the combo lat strain – hip flexor issue that be felled me. What’s frustrating is that I stretched and warmed up very well before play, the temperature was in the mid-80s and it was humid. I was very loose and felt great; probably as good as I’ve felt all year before a round.
Northwest is one of the longer courses we play and challenges every aspect of your game. I was cruising along at even par through four holes but had just driven into the right rough on number five. I hit a hard knock down four-iron a little right of the green for my approach, and that apparently was the culprit as I felt the twinge in my hip while walking to my ball. I managed to get up and down for par and then birdied the par-5 6th hole but noticed that I was limping as I made my way to the 7th tee. Still not sure what was wrong, I continued to play hard and parred 7, 8, and 9 to finish the front at 1-under, but noticed on the 8th that the pull in my back started bothering me. It was clear I should have retired at the turn, but who retires at 1-under par at Northwest? I’m usually around seven or eight over on this track with a two-over 74 as my all time best. I wasn’t going anywhere.
I lasted one more hole, with a par on #10 before things got ugly. Unable to put any weight on my right leg, I tried to bunt my way around the back nine and the ball striking and score went to straight to hell. 44 strokes later, I had my usual 7-over 79 and managed to ambulate back to the car.
So here I am on the DL writing this post instead of out playing my early morning 9 holes. I feel a little better because I can take the stairs pain free but still struggle when putting all my weight on my right leg. It’s so frustrating getting injured right in the middle of the season and right in the middle of my best round. I’m already getting antsy and was doing some pain free rug putting yesterday, so I’ll probably head out to the course with just a putter to try and stay with it mentally, but not tempt myself by bringing my other clubs and attempting something stupid.
Has anyone sustained a hip injury playing golf? How long is the recovery period and do you have any recommended exercises for rehab? Please share, thanks!
Sometimes trying to improve my golf feels like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Today was one of those days.
I started off by filming my latest training drill (swinging a weighted club with my backside touching a lawn chair on the backswing and downswing to ensure proper spine angle retention.) All positions looked good – check. I then headed out to the driving range to film some live contact. The bad news is that every shot was a push cut. The good news is that the same miss indicates consistency and the repeatability should be easy to fix, right? Wrong. The film review showed the mistake was the same loss of spine angle I’ve been working all winter to fix. How frustrating. Throw in a throbbing right elbow (tendonitis) and you begin to see the ugliness of this picture.
Next, I moved to the short game area for some work on chipping and pitching technique. Oddly enough, the pain in the elbow was actually worse on these short shots as I tried to keep my hands soft and feel the weight of the club head on the back swing. It even hurt to putt. 😦
So, I’m not giving up by any stretch, but am starting to question what is reasonable with regard to improvement. How much can a guy with a bad elbow and only enough time to hit balls and play on the weekend expect to improve? Any thoughts on this or remedies for golfer’s elbow (I haven’t tried drinking baking soda dissolved in water yet but am close to trying anything), please send them along. Thanks!
Dang! Just spent five days on the short-term DL because of a stupid move during my workout last Sunday. Instead of my final drill where I swing a club upside down, I stupidly switched to a five pound dumbbell. 20 hard swings with that and my lower left back (and left knee) where in pain all this week.
Folks, you gotta be careful with your workouts, especially when introducing new moves. Temper your enthusiasm to experiment and go with what a pro recommends, or at least a fitness trainer.
I’m feeling better after some rest and an ibuprofen diet and am going to give the workout a light go this morning, followed by some short game work on Saturday and a game the next day. Wish me luck and watch yourselves!
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