Tee Box TIPS: Stretching makes golf good for bad backs

Mike Dero doing the child’s pose in yoga.

Mike Dero doing the child’s pose in yoga.

Everyone has a back, and just about everyone over the age of 40 has some type of back pain or stiffness.

I work with golfers every day whose swings are limited by pain and stiffness and they don’t hit the ball as far as they would like to – all because of bad backs.

I’m not a doctor so I’m going to start by saying if your back is chroni­cally bad, get some good medical help, but please don’t just keep doing less and less and hoping your situation will improve.

I hit the 60-year-old threshold and my back started giving me some problems that made golf impossible, so I knew I had to add stretching to keep doing what I love.

I asked some smart medical people, researched online and experimented until I found three exercises that made getting out of bed in the morning and hitting the golf ball a pain-free experience without all the old-man groaning sounds.

The first exercises I found were the McKenzie stretches that help lower back pain and sciatica. When I do these five-minute exercises my back feels much better all day.

Mike Dero is a PGA teaching professional. He can be reached at dero@swspotlight.com

Mike Dero is a PGA teaching professional. He can be reached at dero@swspotlight.com

Another easy exercise that everyone should do every day is the yoga child’s pose, or resting pose. The child’s pose is a problem for people with bad knees but will be a stretch you’ll almost crave after you do it for a week.

People who do yoga and tai chi will laugh at the simplicity of these beginner stretches, but believe me, they will help your golf and your overall well-being. I do these stretches during commercials when I’m watching TV at night because three to five minutes twice a day is enough for me.

There is a saying in golf, “Turn your back one more inch and gain 10 yards” but more important, when your back doesn’t hurt, every aspect of life is better.

There is a myriad of excuses for not stretching but the most common one is “I have bad knees.” While it may be true, there are great back stretches that can be done while lying flat on your back. So, unless you like daily pain and less mobility, start slowly with easy stretches and reverse the direction that age and injury put on all of us. Stretches are easy to do, take only five minutes, improve your golf and relieve back pain. No excuses. Get started.