Golf is an excellent challenge, physically as well as mentally, and it's also a great social activity.
Golf is a safe sport but injuries can happen. Following these tips can keep golfers safe on the course.
Safe Golf Gear
To help prevent injuries, golfers can:
- Use a golf glove (or two) to keep the golf club from slipping and to prevent blisters.
- Wear golf shoes to prevent slipping. Get a pair of shoes with plastic spikes, as most courses don't allow metal spikes.
Before Teeing Up
Before playing golf, it's important to:
- Get a sports physical before starting any new sport.
- Check the weather. Never plan to play during thunderstorms. Lightning is very dangerous on the golf course.
- Warm up and stretch before playing.
- Take some practice swings. Start with shorter clubs to practice swinging. Then, build up to the longer clubs.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater and wear a hat.
On the Course
To stay safe during play, golfers need to:
- Be sure everyone else is a safe distance away before they swing. This includes people nearby who might get hit with the club and people farther away who could get hit with the ball.
- Stay away from other golfers who are about to swing.
- Stay out of the way of the ball.
- Yell "Fore!" if they hit a ball in the direction of other golfers. This will let the others know to watch out for the ball.
- Take cover behind a tree or a golf cart if someone yells "Fore!" If that's not possible, players can cover the head and face with their arms.
- Drink plenty of water during and after play.
- Take time off to rest between rounds of golf to avoid overuse injuries.
- Follow the lightning precautions below.
Golfers carry metal clubs and are usually walking in open space or near trees. So their risk of getting struck by lightning is greater than normal.
If a thunderstorm comes or an alarm for lightning goes off:
- Golfers need to stop playing right away and go to the clubhouse or a designated lightning shelter or bathroom.
If players can't get to the clubhouse, they should:
- Drop their clubs and move away from them.
- Move away from the golf cart.
- Stay away from trees and water.
- Find a low-lying area, and keep a safe distance from other members of the group. This makes them smaller targets for the lightning.
To use the golf cart safely, players should:
- Have only licensed drivers drive the carts.
- As much as possible, stay on cart paths and never try to go off-roading across bumpy terrain.
- Drive straight up and down hills, and take it slow while going downhill or around turns.
- Look out for other carts where cart paths intersect, and never let anyone hang feet, legs, arms, or hands out of a cart while it's in motion.
Reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date reviewed: March 2019