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Back on the Golf Course After a Stroke

Getting back on the golf course after a stroke is possible and it's good for you. Check out these excercises, tips and resources and get back on the golf course this spring.

Many stroke survivors who were avid golfers concede to the thought that they will never get back on the golf course again. When, in fact, playing physical sports, such as golf, actually help stroke survivors get closer to a normal life again.

“Oftentimes, people are reluctant to go back to the golf course with the disabilities that have resulted from their stroke,” says social worker Alicia Owens, Stroke Prevention & Recovery Center coordinator. “Being with 10 other people who walk in their same shoes is very comforting and non-threatening. They find they are not alone.

According to a study by the University in Regensburg in Germany , playing golf had many positive effects.  “All participants did improve both physically and mentally,” noted the leader of the study, sports scientist Tobias Schachten. Apart from the physical improvements, golfing in a group did contribute to the social and emotional well being of the patients.

Before going back to the golf course prepare yourself physically, find adaptive equipment and try to locate a stroke golf group to get started.

As spring approaches, we share a few tips to help you get back out on the golf course.

Walking Training:  Be prepared to do a large amount of walking. Even if you take a golf cart, the walking can take a toll if you are not prepared. Find a gym, recreation center or YMCA that has a treadmill and begin a walking program. Treadmills are a great place to start a walking program after stroke because you can use the rails of the treadmill to help keep you steady. Overtime you can slowly let go of the rails and build you’re your stamina and balance.  Once you have regained your balance you can take it outdoors. Try to start with five minutes and then gradually build up to 20 minutes to prepare yourself for the golf course.

Core Strength:  Physical therapists love the stability ball for stroke survivors for good reason, by simply sitting on the ball and maintaining your balance helps to regain core strength, stabilization and function. Start your stability ball golf training by sitting for 1 minute and gradually increase to ten minutes. Once you can remain stable on the ball for ten minutes try adding a few arm curls with light weights, 5 lbs. or less.  This exercise will help strengthen your core and arms and ultimately your golf swing.

Balancing on One Leg:  Regaining balance is a primary goal for every stroke survivor and it is important in golf and it is suggested that you can practice standing on one leg to improve your balance. Start by using a wall, as close as possible while still being able to raise your leg with a bent knee. You want to be able to lean on the wall if you lose your balance.
Start by bending one knee and lifting that foot inches off the ground. Hold that position for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. Gradually increase the height of the foot lifted and the time it is held.  This exercise will help to regain balance after stroke as well as your ability to shift weight more naturally which will help with your golf swing.

Adaptive Golf Equipment
Many solutions exist for whatever could keep you from enjoying the game of golf. You can find adaptive equipment ranging from golf carts, golf clubs, grips, gloves, dripping devices, tee setters, balance aids, ball retrieval systems and more. Before investing a lot of money in adaptive golf equipment, we recommend you work with a recreational therapist to help assess what you might need.

Stroke Golf Groups
Depending on where you live you maybe able to find multiple stroke survivor specific golf groups. Other areas may have golf programs for those with disabilities. We suggest you Google “adaptive golf”, you city and state to find a local organization. You can also check out national organization such as:

  • Disabled Sports USA, www.dsusa.org
  • National Alliance for Accessible Golf, www.accessgolf.org
  • United States Golf Association, www.USGA.org
  • The Adaptive Golf Foundation of America, www.agfofamerica.com


Do you have a sucess story or tip to share with other stroke survivors? Please email stories or tips to Info@Stroke-Network.com.

By: Stroke-Network.com Staff Writer Amy McCraken

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"Golf is not just an exercise; it's an adventure, a romance... a Shakespeare play in which disaster and comedy are intertwined. ~Harold Segall"

A checklist for getting back on the golf course.

  • Prepare physically. You need to be able to walk 20 minutes comfoartable, have sufficient core strenght and balance.
  • Find proper adaptive equipment. There are many solutions for what ever could keep you from enjoying golf.
  • Join a stroke/disabled golf group. The comradre and patience will make the experience less stressfull and more enjoyable.
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