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Returning to the Game: How to Bounce Back After Injury

By Abby Parsons, PGA
Published on

Nelly Korda of the United States catches a ball on the 11th green during a practice round prior to the 77th U.S. Women's Open Championship at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club on June 01, 2022.Getty Images

A professional golfer is used to the spotlight; however, being the No. 1 Player in the World and returning to the center stage after an injury is not a scenario that many experience. World No. 1 Nelly Korda, is stepping back into the competitive field this week in the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, North Carolina with an injury in her rearview mirror. 
The best way to come back to the game of golf after an injury is to be more cautious than you would consider extremely cautious. Golf is a sport with sometimes strenuous body movements, and repetitive body movements at that. When you think you are ready to get back into the swing of things after healing, be sure to double check with your medical professional to confirm your return.
During the healing process, have check-ins with your body and your medical professional to ease back into the game. Start with your short game – putting, chipping and slowly getting into pitching. Be tentative with a full swing (50% effort) and when you have the final confirmation from your doctor - return to your regular routine.
Coming from personal experience, it does you no good to test the limits of your body. Hiding an injury to make sure you still play in your local league, or taking some standard pain-relievers to get through the Member-Guest will only hurt you in the long run.
Unfortunately, we cannot all be Tiger Woods and win a major championship with a ruptured ACL.
Knowing the extent of your injury is just as important as healing the injury itself. A lot of golfers brush injuries off as “I’m just sore from the other day,” rather than being attentive to the pain at hand. If you want to continue booking those golf trips of a lifetime, make sure your body is ready for it. 
Since golf is an individual game, your body is the only one you can count on to create the result you are looking for. Just because you are injured, does not mean it will immediately stop you from improving. Your mental game is just as important as your physical game, and there are ways to keep your mind on a routine while your body is healing
Write down goals for your golf game, but also for your recovery. Set milestones for yourself that will be as gratifying as finally straightening that drive out on the range. It will make the recovery go by faster, and your mental game will be at a strong point when your physical game starts to make a comeback.
All eyes will be on Nelly Korda this week as she comes back from her own injury. And with it being a Major Championship week, it will be quite the return to the game.