I want to start by saying I am not calling out any particular program, coaches, trainers, golfers etc.
All of the following are my observations of working the Tchefuntca Invitational Collegiate Tournament the last few days. For this tournament I provided training support, so I got about 5 minutes with each girl that I worked with which was a big change of pace from what I am used to. I really enjoyed the experience and being able to get out of my comfort zone a bit. I am thankful to coach Matt Luther of the Host South Alabama Jaguars for the opportunity.
College golf is always tricky because most of the time you are dealing with limited budget and personnel. You are also dealing with players getting use to the college experience and foreign players who are just trying to adjust to a new life so far from home. Plus, these are still all just kids.
On the women’s side especially, you tend to have a lot of golfers who don’t really have a big strength and conditioning background, so for a lot of the fitness stuff, this is their first exposure to it. This is not only my observation but feedback from coaches as well. This is why I love working with juniors, so I can hopefully help them build their movement, strength and knowledge base well before they get to the college level. Therefore, making the job of the programs much easier.
Let’s start with what I noticed:
1) With most of these girls the primary complaint was low back pain. Coincidentally the majority that complained of this also presented with hypermobility (too much mobility) and a fair amount of strength limitations, which is a common observation I have seen in female athletes. Yet all of these girls came in wanting to be “stretched out”
This is a common feeling to feel tight as your body’s way of trying to create stability or tension when you don’t have the strength to do so. Constantly stretching a hypermobile athlete is not the answer. While we did a few movement-based exercises to warm up most of my time was trying to educate around the need to get stronger especially in their individual areas of weakness.
2) There were a lot of chronic issues that went unchecked IMO. I’m not going to give any examples since I don’t have permission but there were a few chronic issues that had gone on for years with band aid approaches (stim, taping, heat/ice) being the only treatment and no proper assessment and treatment approach being performed IMO based on the information I received. . Also ,rep and load management could probably be better approached with these athletes based on my experience. Again, this is not finger pointing at any individual or school as dealing with student athletes can be a complicated thing it is just an observation.
3) A couple golfers had recent surgeries and were cleared to play despite having some continued pain and physical limitations. A few 4-5 months out with significant weaknesses on the surgery limb. Again, keeping a golfer off of the course is not always as easy as saying you aren’t ready but in my experience a lot of athletes at the high school and college levels are cleared to play by an ortho even though physically they are not ready, and they aren’t given any real plan to get them ready. This can increase the risk for future injury, continued pain or a lengthier recovery then needed.
4) These girls are really, really talented. Watching them beat up on the guys I play with regularly from the same tees in the college am event on Sunday, was fun to see.
In the end everyone that I interacted with from players to coaches were pleasant to deal with and it was a great experience. I point out these observations hopefully to bring them to light for golfers, coaches, parents and players out there to keep an eye out for and for them to be able to become advocates for good care and proper training at all levels of sport.
Get Strong, Hit Bombs, Play Forever.
Dr. JP Guidry DPT TPI