News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 18, 2008

Rub of the Green: Exertion of excessive force common cause to golf injuries

Bob Arnett

Anyone who has played numerous rounds of golf over an extended length of time is probably no stranger to golf-induced injuries.

Being the world’s best golfer has in no way prevented Tiger Woods from sustaining a physical breakdown as he chases his major objective, which is to be the best golfer in the history of the sport.

It would appear at this juncture, that injuries might be the only roadblocks in his path. In past years, a rule regarding how hard you swung a golf club should not exceed 75 percent of your total strength.

Anyone who has observed Tiger unwinding into a tee shot must realize that if he’s not utilizing 100 percent of his inherent strength, there’s an optical illusion involved.

Many doctors, through the years, have declared that swinging a golf club may cause a number of injuries that affect the spine, elbows, wrists and knees.

Back problems have plagued so many golfers that a different method of instruction is now employed. Back in the final half of the 1900s, golfers were taught to follow through the shot until the body resembled a backward “C” for right-handed players. Holding the head back while firing the hips through the shot was the suggested form.

Now a swing that features a straighter, stand up position through impact to the swing’s conclusion is the form most instructors recommend.

At any rate, as long as Woods insists on unloading on many shots as he has done in the past, there may well be more injuries ahead for him. An injured knee may be just one of a variety of physical problems he may incur.

Actually, Woods’ coordination is phenomenal. It would seem impossible for anyone to swing as hard as he does and still meet the golf ball so squarely, but the fact remains, many injuries may await the golfer who employs a swing that exceeds the force his body can withstand.

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As a high school golf coach for 26 years, it was always important to have my team entered in as many quality golf tournaments around the state as possible. The Brownsburg Invitational has been an excellent tourney played through the years at courses such as Golf Club of Indiana, Deer Creek, Saddlebrook, West Chase and Cool Lake among others.

Jim Andrews, a Terre Haute native, was the Brownsburg golf coach who hosted the annual competition, which was played on a corresponding Saturday each year.

Naturally, it was hoped that the weather would cooperate in that at times a dozen teams or more would make the trip to the tournament site, but, sadly enough, when it came to Andrews’ Brownsburg Invitational weather conditions could be defined as bad, worse or worst.

It seemed that cold, rain or wind, and quite often, all three at once plagued the majority of those invitationals. One tournament contested at Deer Creek began on a cloudy, cool morning with a slight wind blowing. Ninety minutes later the wind was howling, a hard rain was pelting and a bone numbing cold had settled on all the players.

Like most coaches, Andrews didn’t want to cancel the tourney since no make-up dates were available. To make matters worse, parents were screaming at Jim to halt the tournament. South’s Chris Cassell came into the pro shop and held up his blue fingers and said, “Coach, I couldn’t write any scores down for the last three holes. I can’t bend my fingers.”

Finally, the tournament was called. Parents and coaches scurried about to find sweaters and jackets for the shivering players.

At another Brownsburg Invitational played at West Chase, two matches had already been cancelled due to ice-cold weather. Andrews left it up to a vote among participating teams. When they voted to play, it was winter golf and the event was completed.

To say those days are “warmly” recalled would be a falsehood of gigantic proportions.

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Terre Haute is one of the most golf friendly venues in the entire country with many “hunts” available to players of all abilities. Here are some more surnames of players who have been captains or choosers in their respective games. They include: Verostko, Ikerd, Roscoe, Cassell, Fossi, Toney, Snodgrass, Kiburis, Myers, Griffin, McCalister, Bukovack, Bekkering, Roman, Cain, Clements, Robertson, McConnell, Verdeyen, Thome, Elliott, Royer, Hess, Cartwright, Shassere, Atkinson, Joseph and Schneider.

Others are: Adamson, Wagle, Stockberger, Payne, Lantz, Thompson and Bosc. Did we say Bosc? Oh yeah, we did and would have been negligent had we not included a player who has club championships at Elks Fort Harrison and Rea Park in his resume, not to mention a Lawrenceville Amateur title as well.

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• Tip of the week — It pays to put an extra sweater or a windbreaker in your bag regardless of how warm it might be when you hit the first tee. At times the weather may drop many degrees in a very short period of time. You can always peel off a sweater, but you can’t add clothing if you haven’t planned ahead.

Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.

Bob Arnett can be reached by e-mail at