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Disc Golf Tips From a Physical Therapist

Disc golf is a great form of exercise and is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Although it is less dangerous than contact sports, disc golfers do sometimes suffer injuries. Check out this Q&A with Catherine Johnston, PT, DPT – physical therapist and experienced disc golfer to learn how to avoid injury and how to improve your game!

Are there any injuries that are commonly seen in disc golf players?

Sprains and dislocations are the main injuries that you encounter. Discs can leave a player’s hand at over 80 mph! This requires a great deal of coordination and stabilization strength among the spine, the arms, and the hips.

Do you have any tips on how I can avoid injury?

Make sure that you are warming up prior to hitting the course, focusing on stretching your arms and legs, gentle trunk and neck rotation, and big arm circles to utilize the shoulder effectively. This is a sport that demands a lot of torque and rotation so it’s important to practice your technique at a slower speed and gradually build up in intensity with more repetitions.

What muscle groups should I focus on if I want to improve my game?

Obliques/core, lumbar stabilizers, and glutes are a MUST when determining what muscles to target for strengthening. One common misconception with disc golf is that arm strength will get you more disc distance, but this is not the case! The true power comes from your ability to generate torque through your hips and trunk rotation.

How can physical therapy help me improve my game?

Physical therapy can help minimize injury by emphasizing body mechanics, balance/proprioception, and strength conditioning. Disc golf can be hard on the whole body so a physical therapist can also use soft tissue manipulation, manual stretching, and neuro re-education to help optimize movement. We can also build a home exercise program custom-tailored to address any deficits that may be throwing off your disc game.

What’s your favorite course and why?

Diavolo! It is an amazing course that was rated #7 in the world last year. The course is off Tobacco Road in Chatham county and was created and built by the local disc golf community CADL (Capital Area Disc League).

What’s your favorite thing about disc golf?

Disc golf allowed me to stay active and meet some incredible people even during COVID. It is a relatively inexpensive sport that you can pick up anywhere! More shops are popping up in the area such as Fit Inspired Living. Not only do they sell discs but they even offer tips about throwing techniques, nutrition, and ways to stay healthy and fit.