There are always golfers like this. A golfer who says that Spartan practice is the only answer to a new best score, a golfer who only plays the ball like a machine saying that it is a waste of time to warm up, and a golfer who sweats on the practice mat even in the middle of winter and is happy. If you are such a person, be sure to check it out.
Seo Kyung-mook (65), professor emeritus at Chung-Ang University Hospital, who introduced ‘golf medicine’ for the first time in Korea, said, “It should be a practice of hitting about 10 balls per club, putting the club down, stretching lightly, then changing the club and hitting 10 more.” He emphasized, “It is highly likely to cause problems later on by frantically hitting the ball for an hour at the practice range.” This is a story that golfers who are determined to practice intensively this winter to achieve their target score should bear in mind.
“As anyone who has been to a driving range in the US knows, they give you a basket with 50 to 100 balls for 3 to 4 dollars. Even if you play with it all day, no one touches it, so you can practice comfortably. However, most places in Korea are limited by time, so they are busy hitting the ball as soon as it comes up. That’s why overuse causes strain on the body. It is difficult to hope for an environment like the one in the United States, so each of us should take our time and relax while practicing.”
The second life that started after the 800km pilgrimage to Santiago
Professor Seo, an emeritus professor at Chung-Ang University Hospital, specialist in rehabilitation medicine, certified sports medicine, and certified physician in geriatric rehabilitation medicine, got a new title as head of sports rehabilitation center at Seoul Bumin Hospital. After retiring from office in August 2022, he has been working at a new job since November after going on a trip sent by his family to commemorate his retirement.
Professor Seo, who recently met at the Seoul Bumin Hospital Sports Rehabilitation Center, said, “Around April 2022, the director of this hospital contacted me to have a meal. I was curious about what was going on because I wasn’t someone I knew originally, but he suggested that he want to develop sports medicine.” “The hospital facilities and equipment, the motivation of the therapists, and the director’s willingness to support were certain, so the moment I came to the hospital, I decided ‘I have to work’. I retired at the end of August, prepared to come here in September and October, and started working right away. Setting up a golf swing analysis room at the center was also decided after discussing opinions with the hospital director.”
If the 30 years spent at a university hospital are Act 1, the challenge at a new job in your mid-60s is Act 2. In the intermission between Acts 1 and 2, the professor flew to Spain. He completed the pilgrimage to Santiago by bicycle. “He took pictures of Santiago because his family sent him a trip because he had worked hard. Having ridden a mountain bike (MTB) for 15 years, I thought it would be meaningful to run with it. It was also on my bucket list.”
After joining a club that was going around Europe, he ran a total of 800 km. I pedaled from 6:30 in the morning, did laundry and personal maintenance in the evening, and repeated the same day the next day for two weeks. “There were some people in their 70s in the group, but it was August, so it was very hot, but they didn’t budge. They came from Georgia, so I thought, ‘This is great stamina’, ‘There are so many hidden masters’.”
Professor Seo said, “Golf is a one-way sport, so just playing golf can’t actually benefit your health.” It is good to do endurance exercise for around 40 minutes a day.” “There is also a report that patients with degenerative arthritis have improved their knee condition after riding a bicycle, so it is worth recommending a bicycle, and hiking will help you play golf for a long time in good health,” he explained.
Static golf, if you know it, is it a dangerous exercise?
“Golf is a sport with moderate to high risk,” emphasizes Professor Suh. Since it is a sport where there is no physical collision with the opponent, the risk would be very low, but it is not true. Of course, it is less than contact sports like rugby, American football, and soccer, but it is explained that golf, which is a non-contact sport, is also a sport that requires more attention than expected. “You may think that it is dangerous to hit a ball that is lying still, but you cannot ignore the stress that builds up in your musculoskeletal system because you are hitting the ball in the same position over and over again. It means that there are risks such as golf elbow, back pain, shoulder, knee, and flank pain, and tendon and ligament rupture. To put it simply, golf is a sport that can make you look fine on the outside but have bone problems on the inside.” In terms of frequency of injuries, lower back pain, golfer’s elbow, wrist, finger, and shoulder in that order. Among the golfers who visited Professor Seo, most of them complained of spinal pain, followed by elbow pain.
In particular, regarding golfer’s elbow, which golfers often hear and experience, Professor Seo said, “Treatment must be completely different depending on whether it is inflammation or partial tear. In the case of simple inflammation, it is dramatically improved with steroid treatment alone, but if it is not a rupture, it will recur 100% even if it is temporarily improved.”
Professor Seo said, “Tennis has a forehand and a backhand, so the parts of the arm used are relatively diverse, but golf is easily exposed to overuse syndrome because the action is performed in almost the same direction from the driver shot to the putt.” There is a big difference between playing golf and playing golf without knowing it. A sufficient warm-up before the round and a sufficient cool-down process after the round are actually essential in golf.” He said, “It is important not only to diligently follow the warm-up exercise guided by the caddy, but also to meticulously stretch the back, shoulders, and arms before and after. Running in place is also very good for warm-up,” he advised. “If you have a golf course where you can practice shots, it is best to hit a total of 20 to 30 items from pitching wedges to irons and drivers in the range before entering the round.”
In the various trouble shot situations that can be encountered in golf, the risk of various injuries is also hidden. Prof. Seo emphasizes that if you hit the roots of a hard tree incorrectly, you may receive a shock of about 2 tons. In this case, it is inevitable to suffer simple injuries such as wrist ligament damage. So, Professor Seo said, “If it’s a round between close friends or family, it would be good if they could tolerate moving and hitting in a very difficult trouble shot situation.” Then, “It would be a different story if it was a game between high-level players, but otherwise, it would be nice to set local rules, such as omitting play in dangerous situations, and play ‘angoljeul-gol (safe golf, fun golf)’ that doesn’t focus too much on the score.” suggested.
The path of a ‘golf doctor’ discovered in New York
Professor Seo is one of the top authorities in the field of sports medicine in Korea. Among them, he is a ‘golf doctor’ who is particularly versed in golf. His books (‘Rejuvenating Golf’, etc.) are also mainly about golf. He has published a series of golf columns in the JoongAng Daily and is also a member of the selection committee for the top 10 golf courses in Korea.
Training in New York in 2000 became an opportunity to jump into golf medicine. He was training for a year through a visiting professor program. “I went to the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and there was a golf swing analyzer. I was like, ‘This is fun’. It was a time when the swing analyzer itself was not common, but since it was in the hospital, it was even more amazing.” After carefully analyzing the swing, an in-depth and three-dimensional diagnosis and prescription that has never been seen anywhere is made, such as ‘sway occurs because some part is weak’ or ‘there is pain in this side, so this kind of swing can increase injury’ there was.
“There was a long line of golfers feeling uncomfortable somewhere. Beyond injury treatment, the process of helping me find a swing that suits my body and enhancing my sense of the game was taking place.” After returning to training, Professor Seo attended the American Society of Golf Medicine to obtain data, increase experience, and secure a network. After that, he created the Korean Society of Golf Medicine in Korea and ran the society at his own expense.
When he started taking care of golf-related injuries in earnest, he introduced prolotherapy from the United States and caused a great sensation. It is an injection therapy that relieves pain caused by tearing or stretching ligaments or tendons. Professor Seo recorded a ‘complete success rate’ of 85% during more than 15,000 procedures over 20 years. It drew attention as a way to strengthen tendons and ligaments from the root without using steroids for injection drugs. It was even reported on terrestrial news, and there were times when patients from all over the country flocked and reservations were delayed for five years.
Afterwards, Professor Seo actively participated in lectures for other doctors to publicize this injection therapy. He said, “Now, prolotherapy has become established in Korea as one of the treatments for musculoskeletal pain. To fight the enemy of pain, you need a variety of weapons, and it feels rewarding to propose and use one of them.” 안전놀이터
300,000 patients with golf-related pain… “I feel a bigger mission” I
started playing golf around the end of the 1980s when I was a military surgeon. He became his lifelong companion after having fun on ‘Combat Sports Day’ every Wednesday. Professor Seo, who has hit the best score of 2 under par twice and has also experienced a hole-in-one once, said, “If you reach the age suit (recording an 18-hole score equal to or less than your age) over the age of 70, you will achieve all three dreams as an amateur golfer. It’s like doing it, so I need to manage my physical strength better.”
According to Professor Seo, in Finland, after the government sponsored and watched a round of public golf courses for the elderly for five years, many health indicators such as cardiorespiratory function and cholesterol levels improved markedly. However, the condition of ‘walking while pulling a cart’ was added. Professor Seo said, “Walking is the best exercise for seniors, but ‘fun’ must be included in it to be sustainable. He said, “If the opportunity arises, my daughter-in-law will also learn golf, so it would be nice if four people, including my wife and son, could enjoy a round.” Professor Seo’s daughter-in-law is Jang Hye-jin, who won two gold medals in women’s archery at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Professor Seo attended international competitions such as the Olympics and Asian Games as a member of the Korean Sports Association’s medical committee, and during this process, he was introduced to Jang Hye-jin as his son’s mate. Professor Seo is immersed in the fun of video calling with his recently born grandson.
According to recent golf demographics, the number of Koreans who play at least one round a year reaches 6 million. Professor Seo said, “There are reports that about 600,000 people, or 10% of them, are maniacs, and 50% of those 600,000 people suffer from large or small injuries.” It means that so many people are suffering knowingly or unknowingly, and in other words, there is a huge market for a doctor like me.”
“I feel anew that I am a very lucky person to have been working for such a long time combining my favorite sport and my profession, medicine. Seoul Bumin Hospital will strive to become the center of golf medicine and the diagnosis and treatment of golf-related injuries. It would be nice if it could help the development of golf in Korea.”
◇Guidelines for healthy golf -In the
practice range, hit only 10 balls per club and stretch in between intervals -Guided by the
caddy before the round, warm up, loosen up the waist, shoulders, and arms and run in place
-Pitching wedge to driver 20~30 at the driving range Hit a dog and go round
– Endurance exercise for 40 minutes at least 5 days a week, cycling/climbing is recommended