• Mayo Clinic Minute: How to prevent golf injuries

The PGA's first major championship of the year, the Masters, tees off this week. And whether you're a professional golfer or a beginner, many players can suffer injuries. Dr. Sanj Kakar, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon, says overuse injuries are common on the golf course. He has tips on how to prepare for play so you can enjoy a healthy golf season.

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A good golf swing looks effortless, but playing without proper preparation may cause injuries.

“I try to break it down into the four Ps. The first ‘P’ is posture and physical conditioning.”

Dr. Kakar says strength and flexibility can help prevent lower back, wrist and elbow injuries.

“Work on some basic stretching …”

... moves that loosen your back, hips, shoulders, arms and wrists.

“The second thing is to have proper mechanics.”

Take a lesson with a PGA player. Proper mechanics can help you avoid issues such as …

“… thumb arthritis or tendonitis.”

“The third thing is to practice for a purpose.”

Don’t go out and hit hundreds of balls. Focus on one skill for a shorter amount of time.

“The fourth thing is proper equipment.”

Be sure clubs are the right length, and the grip is wide enough. Don’t use old, steel-shafted clubs, because new clubs have lighter graphite shafts and are better shock absorbers.

These are just some of the easy preparations to help make your golf season injury-free.

Dr. Kakar also says that most amateurs would benefit from having cavity-backed irons, which are more forgiving than the bladed type of irons used by better players.

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