Improve Your Golf Game and Protect Your Joints

​Many people who play golf not only enjoy the game but are looking for some exercise without the joint stress. Surprisingly, golfing can be hard on your joints. Follow these five tips to improve your golf game and protect your joints.

Warm up before your golf game

Most people will jump right into a game of golf without warming up. Cold muscles and tendons mean increased joint pain and decreased flexibility. Warming up will allow you a greater range of motion and less pain on the golf course.

Stretch after you warm up

Tight muscles will decrease your range of motion and can cause increased inflammation. After you do a light warmup, stretch out your muscles. This should help increase your range of motion and prevent further joint pain.

Correct your posture to protect joints

Correct posture will protect joints, especially those in the neck, back, hips and knees. Poor alignment means extra stress on joints that are trying to keep you in line. Correct posture should help you avoid pain that can be distracting to your golf game.

To correct your posture, imagine a string is pulling you up from the top of your head. Tuck your pelvis in so that your stomach muscles aren't relaxed and overextended, and pull your shoulder blades back.

Relax your golf swing

Good golfers have consistent, easy swings and not necessarily fast swings. Swinging the club too hard and fast may result in stressing your joints and hurting your game. Work on a confident, strong swing that won't suddenly jolt your joints and muscles and gets you consistent yardage.

Consider Pilates and yoga

Pilates and yoga are low impact workouts that will increase your flexibility and the stability around your joints. The Arthritis Foundation found that just two yoga classes decreased pain and swelling for those with rheumatoid arthritis. By preventing pain before you get to the golf course, you can concentrate on your game instead of those aching joints.

For more information about joint services at The Christ Hospital, visit

​Dr. S​haftel is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with The Christ Hospital Physicians and specializes in hand surgery.