Returning to Golf Slowly

As I return to golf after 4 months of treatments, I am finding that my game has plenty of rust needing removal. This is expected and I welcome the challenge of playing at a higher level before the end of the season. However, on advise of my Oncologist, it is important that I return to playing slowly and not to overly exert myself and create an unwanted setback on my recover. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done when we are talking about golf!

I absolutely understand the requirement to manage my energy levels. So that is why when I played 3 times last week. I slowly, snails pace slow, introduced more diversity in what I did on the course. To start with, I used a cart and the first two outings only carried my gap wedge and putter. I did this to ensure I did not try take full swings and cause an injury to muscles not used in quite some time.

Slowly working towards playing 18 holes of golf!

I played only 6 holes during all outings. The first two times, I actually left after the 6th hole and went home for a nap. During those times the temperature was perfect and there was no sun. The sun is a challenge because of all the treatments, I am more susceptible to sunburn than before. I chipped and putted for a total of 12 holes. The longest I hit the ball was 50 yards. I ensured I did not take anything more than a 3/4 swing. As it turned out I was mentally more refreshed after these short outings than anything else. Yet, I continue to caution myself to go slow and enjoy the limited time on the links.

My last outing was a bit more intense. I stayed on the course for all 9 holes. I sat in the cart for 3, chipped and putted for 3, and played 3 full holes. The 3 full holes are short and provided an opportunity to swing fully without trying to smash the ball. As a matter of fact, I was over clubbed by 2 for every shot. So, I only took 3/4 swings at most. The important aspect for me was that I was able to stay out for the 9 holes even though I spent 3 of then sitting in the cart. It was wonderful to be on the links for sure.

An interesting thing happened when I played 6, 7, and 8 holes at Osprey Links. After 4 months off, I ended up paring all three holes. It was a great feeling as I was on in regulation and two putted each hole. The most interesting part was that I was not swinging hard on any shot. This is something surprised me at first, but after I thought about it not really.

Hitting controlled strokes is always the best way for me to play golf. The moment I try to over swing, my game is lost. Now, I would suggest that I was under swinging a bit too much moving forward, but the principle of staying smooth and under control is not lost on me. I think moving forward there is a lesson here that I need to explore. However, in the meantime, the slow turtle speed path to recovery will not change. Eventually, I will have the energy to play an entire 18 holes, it is only a matter of time.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

2 thoughts on “Returning to Golf Slowly

  1. I found that the short 6 weeks of rehab I went through a couple of years back for bursitis in my shoulder ended up helping my game. I used to have at least of couple of swings a round that failed because I was over swinging. I knew better, yet I still did it even when the thought was there before standing over the ball. Now, I can’t remember the last time I kicked myself after a shot because I allowed myself to do that.

    That tip I mentioned the other day from Anika about being able to hit a distance with multiple clubs I had heard many years before that shoulder issue hit me. I’d practiced it on the range and used it occasionally on the course. But it wasn’t a go to kind of thing. It was something I only did when I felt I had to be creative like hitting under a branch or something. But for 6 weeks while I was going through my rehab, I was using it almost exclusively due to necessity. And that ended up helping me.

    I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but I don’t seem to get myself into the same thought processes I did before which caused me to over swing. 6 weeks of total immersion into hitting softer shots seems to have cured that because I am more likely to club up than put myself into a position where I might over swing.

    As to under swinging, I only feel I have that issue when I’m pitching or chipping today. Judging from last weeks game, I’d say it’s time I did some more practice on that part of my game. I left myself too far away from the flag a few times in the last couple of weeks games. Last week I think that cost me my first par game. I didn’t let it get to me. The greens weren’t great either time with one week being uncut due to rain and the other having the greens freshly sanded, speed control was tough both times. But I still left feeling that was the cause of missing my goal again. But we both have lots more games in us. We’ll reach our goals someday in the near future and set new ones.


    • Kevin,

      You response is very timely. I am heading to the links this morning and I will have to remember to club up and swing easy. At this moment, it is all about managing my energy to play a full 9 holes. It is a slow process, but one I will embrace. I do not need any setbacks. Thanks for the advice.

      Cheers Jim


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