Hey golfers, how do you get around the course? Do you ride or do you walk? If you walk, what do you do with your clubs? Somebody has to get those clubs around the course and assuming you don't have a caddy (human or electronic) that means you! Then the choices come down to pull, push or carry. The choice you make can actually affect your ability out on the course and how you feel when the round is over.
With the traditional pull cart the upside is you don't have to carry the weight of the clubs but the downside is the position your body is in while you walk. Let's say you pull the cart behind you with your right hand. As you walk along, the weight of the cart and it's contents are essentially pulling the middle of your body via your arm into a right rotated position. Yet your lower body and your head are still facing forward in the direction you're walking. This rotary torque can over time lead to many painful conditions and negatively affect your swing. In all a push cart is a more benign option. Push carts are easily maneuvered with the cart immediately in front of you with either or both hands with an upright well balanced posture and no rotary torque created. So you get the upside of the pull cart and no downside other than it being a large weight to get in and out of the trunk. It doesn't help your confidence on the first tee if you strained your back just getting the clubs out of the car so be careful with your body mechanics.
Now let's talk about the mules out there that carry the clubs themselves. A bag full of 14 clubs and all the goodies we hold in there can weigh a lot. A reference from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reports the average weight being 28 lbs. Not a huge weight in and of itself but that feels a lot heavier about six miles and 13,000 steps later after 18 holes. The energy required to carry those clubs is significant. Also significant is the difference between the energy cost of carrying the bag with one strap or two. Studies comparing the most efficient way of carrying babies for mothers, large back packs for soldiers and golf bags for golfers have all shown the same thing. Decreased perceived exertion, decreased oxygen consumption, decreased heart rate and increased comfort were all reported with the two strap model. So for us to play our best out there lets remember if we want to use a cart use a push cart and if we want to carry our clubs put a strap over each shoulder with a good symmetrical posture. The energy you save will prevent wasted shots due to mental or physical fatigue and you'll feel a lot better too.
If you find yourself too tired to play 18 or if you need to carry Ibuprofen in your bag consider giving us a call. At Peak Sports and Spine physical therapy we can help you be more physically prepared to handle the rigors of the game, hit it farther and enjoy it more, so the 19th hole can be for remembering those great shots not for nursing sore muscles.