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  • Writer's picturePiotr Solowiej

Golfing (and living) better

By no means am I a golf expert. I know as much about golf as I know about rocket science. Put fuel in a rocket engine and thrust launches the rocket into the sky. For golf, muscles are the engine that lead to flight of the ball. The more force muscles produce, the farther the ball flies when hit.

That is a gross oversimplification of both scenarios. Hitting a golf ball far, let alone accurately, is not just about strength. Technique, equipment, skill, and environmental conditions all play a role.

Part of me really hates mechanical analogies about the human body. Such comparisons can lead to nocebic (opposite of placebo) consequences, so I don't use them carelessly. In many important ways, the human body is different from machinery. But when a person comes to me wanting to return to golf after a bout with cancer and they are having a hard time getting around the house (before getting out of breath), struggling to stand from the toilet without the use of their arms, barely able to get the golf bag out of the trunk, and feeling generally unsteady when walking, then guess what? We're going to work on their "engine."

No magic club or perfect tail wind will consistently turn a 100 yard drive capacity into 200. The problem is lack of strength. The answer: get stronger.

This person's journey was blown off course many months ago after receiving a bleak diagnosis. His life since has involved significant effort and many times discomfort, but in working together there was a mutual understanding of the goal: he wanted to play a full 18 hole course with his buddies. Last week there was a major moment of triumph:

He shot a 38 on a 9 hole course. A personal best by 4 strokes. Again I don't know too much about golf but taking four swings off a round is a hell of a progression. Not to mention creaming his buddy...

He was so excited he drove right to my office after the round was over to tell me.

There is still work to be done but I couldn't be happier for him. It's easy to buy into a plan of care when you get immediate results. Building strength is nothing like that. It often takes weeks of serious effort before you get a sign the work is having any effect. I'm proud of him for sticking with it and it's starting to pay off.

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