Last week was a big week as far as my progression/healing goes. For the first time in as long as I can remember I managed to play two days in a row. And, I actually pushed it to get in holes three days in a row.
Last Wednesday I played 18 with a good friend at Riverside without any significant pain. By about the 15th hole things started to get a little tight, but all in all it was a solid pain free performance and another encouraging sign.
The next day another fellow golfer texted me in the morning wanting to know if I was up for joining him for an afternoon 9. I had woken up feeling pretty good (no pain when standing up for the first time or while doing normal stretches and exercises) so decided to go for it. The day was a lot like the day before, but since it was just nine holes there wasn’t any tightening up of the lower back and I felt good through the whole round. I was interested in continuing, but decided it best to leave on a good note instead of pushing it. So, after 27 holes in 24 hours the back was doing pretty good.
Both or those rounds were during the afternoon when it was over 100 degrees. That kind of weather can wear you down and be dehydrating, but the good thing is that I think it helps keeps the muscles loose. Not sure if I could play 2 or 3 days in a row if it was 40 degrees out, so I’m thankful for an overly hot summer for at least one reason.
Same story about a friend’s text the next day. It took me a while to decide this time, but eventually broke and agreed to play another afternoon round. This time it was at Heron Lakes and we were hoping to get a full 18 in.
Through the first 13 or 14 holes things were going well and Gerardo (I have teed it with him quite a bit and he knows my swing) noticed that my swing was starting to get back in shape. He was there during a few of the last injured rounds I played he had seen, and acknowledge, the difference the pain was causing in my swing. Back in April during the last round I would fall down every once in a while when the wrong something was tweaked in the follow through. During this round he noticed that my swing was improving, but that I was still truncating the follow through to about three quarters as well as kind of bending at the waist with my right leg after impact. I think that is a mental thing as it doesn’t really hurt right now, but my mind remembers the pain and until I can truly trust a pain free swing I think there will be some compensations. It will just take some time to build that trust.
One good thing is that the ball is starting to go back on line. For a while there the only thing I could manage was an over-the-top all arms slice. Now I aim to the right thinking I’m going to slice the ball, but then it goes straight and even has a little draw here and there. This is another thing that will take a little time to build the confidence needed to aim where I know the ball is going to go. These are all good signs.
I am still not practicing, though, as the repetition of hitting balls is most likely the worst thing I can do right now. Especially off of mats and Riverside has been mats only all summer due to the heat.
As for the exercises which people have asked about. I have a short warm up in the morning where I get the blood flowing through dynamic stretching. I don’t do much static stretching right now as what I want is painless mobility and I find dynamic warm ups help loosen up the muscles while getting the blood flowing.
After that I have a core workout with an exercise ball where I do a number of different exercises which I can’t remember the names of but were all part of a workout routine that PT Shawn Dailey built for me a few years back. I also have thera bands and have a few resistance exercises which have been helping. That is what I have been doing and I have seen progress so am sticking to it.
If all goes well I should be able to get in a couple more rounds this week. Just don’t want to push it as I would hate to revert to a month or two ago. I definitely could feel it (not too bad, but present) both Saturday and Sunday after the three days of golf in a row. Even today, Monday, I could tell it was best to avoid swings so am waiting until tomorrow to give it another shot and see what happens. One day, week, month at a time.
Thank you all for being patient with me, this is most definitely a frustrating period. Just trying to see the silver in it all.