For any golfer, taking their game to the next level requires time, patience, and of course, practice. But those who truly excel will tell you that what they do behind the scenes is even more important than what happens on the links.
It’s why so many golfers — professional and amateurs alike — end up at Carlyle Wellness on St. Simons Island.
There, Phillip Carlyle, D.C., CCWP and BCIM, and Daktota Gette, D.C., along with their staff have the skills to help patients improve their game or even get them back on the green.
“When you look at golf and start pulling up research, golfers like Tiger Woods have been going to chiropractors for years. Tiger said that it’s been as important to his game as practicing his swing,” Dr. Carlyle reads a quote in his office on St. Simons Island.
“In fact, 72% of pro golfers use chiropractic care as part of their standard care on the tour.”
Numerous international studies have continued to highlight the benefits of chiropractic care for golfers. A Brazilian research program followed two groups to discover just how this treatment can benefit players. One group of golfers stretched and received chiropractic adjustments before play, while another only stretched prior to hitting the green.
The results were pretty remarkable.
“The group that got adjusted before hit the ball eight meters or 8.75 yards farther than the other. The other group who just stretched only saw about a half yard improvement,” Carlyle said. “So if you’re that golfer looking to pick up that extra 10 yards, the easiest way to do it is through chiropractic.”
That secret is certainly out in the Golden Isles. Carlyle and Gette start receiving phone calls for appointments ahead of many of the local club tournaments in the area.
“I always know when any club is having its member-member or member-guest tournament, because the golfers are coming in to get their adjustments. They realize that if they want to perform at their peak level, they need to get those adjustments,” he said.
“There are a number of golfers who are in these local tournaments and will set up their adjustments two or three times that week. Some will even come in on Friday evening to make sure they’re good for Saturday-Sunday. It’s amazing the number of times that those are the people who win or place.”
The reason that chiropractic care works so well is because it targets the central nervous system to help players fire on all cylinders. Ensuring that golfers’ bodies are centered and aligned allows the brain to properly send signals to the muscles without any impediments.
“Your brain communicates through the spine to every cell, tissue and organ in the body. So what a chiropractor treats is nerve pressure. You can call it ‘a pinched nerve,’ ‘choked nerve’ … medically, it’s called ‘neuropathy’ or ‘neuritis.’ If you know the name of the nerve, it can be called ‘sciatica,’ for instance,” he said.
Chiropractors refer to nerve pressure as a subluxation. That is when a part of the body is out of place causing impingement of a nerve and decreased communication/function in a particular area.
Carlyle notes that an issue with one part of the body — often in the low back for golfers — can impact the entire system.
“If you have a short in the electrical system in one room, it’s going to affect the whole house,” he said.
“It’s always going to impact something else. We specialize at looking at the neurology. We do a neurological exam to see where the nerve pressure is … then we can look at a X-ray to figure out how to relieve that nerve pressure.”
The repeated torquing of the body seen in golf swings can often lead to these conditions. For amateurs especially, an out-of-sync swing can lead to a whole host of problems.
“There’s a condition called a ‘golfer’s pelvis,’ where their right hip is in front of their left because they keep firing that hip through and torquing their body. So really, it’s a repetitive trauma injury,” he said.
That issue can cause a number of problems — both on the course and off it.
“Rotation by itself isn’t bad but when you pair it with another motion like bending forward you can really injury yourself. When you’re doing that with one foot on the lip of a bunker, that can be where you create serious problems. Most golfers don’t hurt themselves on flat ground on the tee box,” he said.
Regular adjustments can help ensure that the body is primed and ready to go before each round. That, coupled with stretching and adequate warm-ups can go along way toward avoiding injuries, as well as improving one’s game.
“I mean really, you just have to look at what the pros do,” Carlyle said with a smile.