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Working through winter woes crucial for golfers of all caliber

Written by Clark Stork
Tanner White (right) works with a client at 1621 Club in Regina.

Most golfers in Saskatchewan and many parts of Canada are forced to take long breaks from the game over the winter, the long layoffs can have consequences more than high scores if you aren’t prepared.

Injuries and ailments can derail a golf season with one swing if you aren’t prepared when you tee it up for the first time.

Tanner White is a certified physical trainer at 1621 Club in Regina. White has a degree in Sport and Exercise Science from West Texas A&M and he’s also a Level 3 certified Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) professional. White works with golfers all year round at the Queen City fitness facility. He told Golf Saskatchewan that if you don’t stay physically active over the winter months issues can easily occur during the early part of the season.

“Far too often, especially in Saskatchewan you have people that golf all summer and they become sedentary over the winter and then it warms up and they are just itching to get outside,” he said. “The first warm day of the year they go try and smash drives, right? That’s where some injuries fall.”

White said the number one injury he sees daily is lower back issues. He said joint ailments are quite common in the wrist and elbow regions. Abdominal injuries are also frequent for players who don’t take the proper precautions. He said some people are more fortunate than others and don’t have to put as much work in during the offseason, but that group isn’t completely off the hook.

“You can have someone who is in fabulous shape and their body is not going to make a whole lot of compensation, but you can have someone that has no back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, they know their body will move to produce a golf swing. That’s where I come in, I try to help them become more efficient with their body,” White said.

Preventing injuries goes back to being physically active during the long winters in Saskatchewan according to White. He said there are ways to alleviate back pain during a round if you do feel some discomfort. White cautioned people need to use proper methods of stretching.

“For there I’d recommend people stretching their hip flexors. Generally, people assume they need to stretch their hamstrings to help with their lower back but it’s the opposite,” he said. “You need to stretch the front side of your hips and strengthen the back side. Getting down on one knee and pushing your hip forward from your bottom knee, that’s going to help lengthen those hip flexors and alleviate the back pain.”

White added that the older generation, he said 65 plus should be much more cautious about how they deal with aches and pains. He works with that age group at his club too and focuses on their core areas to keep them safe and healthy on a course. He also has clients from across all levels of golf skill. He said their training regiments stay along the same lines.

“The 20 handicapper, like I worked with this winter, we’ve went through the proper steps and now their body is in a decent place so they can start working on their power and increase club head speed. That goes right back to the scratch golfer as well, I work with a tonne of scratch golfers and honestly, we stayed down in that level one where we are continuing to get that body more mobile and efficient. We’re slowly trying to get more into that power factor,” White explained.

White also cautioned against people practicing exercises that don’t work for a golfer. He said its positive people are being active over the winter but it’s important to work the same muscles used in golf.

“When it comes to golf, our body move in three plains of motion,” White said. “The exercises most people do in the gym generally are in one plain of motion. If they are doing it a lot they are hurting themselves more than benefitting themselves. If you are looking to get into a golf focused regimen then I would highly recommend someone who understands what the body needs to do to help connect the dots between a golf swing and a body.”

For golfers not located in a major market such as Regina or Saskatoon and don’t have access to a trainer or professional White recommends the 1621’s Instagram or the TPI website. He said they both include videos, tips, blogs, and other excellent information pertaining to golfers of all levels.

White provides much more insight in his interview with Golf Saskatchewan’s Clark Stork that you can hear below.

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