KAPALUA, Hawaii – While not a contact sport, golf’s longevity has its own issues and problems. As players age, their games transition, some handling the aging process like a fine wine, continuing to get better like Kenny Perry or Vijay Singh. Others find that golf becomes a struggle as they age.
Steve Stricker found out how the aging process can just zap your strength when you’re not looking. This fall in Madison, Wisc., Stricker took seven weeks off after the Ryder Cup.
Passing his days sitting around or hunting, Stricker didn’t notice the loss of strength on his left side until one morning.
“I woke up one day with a neck problem and I hadn’t been even hitting balls or working out or doing much of anything, “ Stricker said. “All of the sudden I lost a bunch of power in my left arm and tingling and it felt terrible for about two weeks.”
Stricker described his general health as cruddy over the seven weeks, but the neck pain provided the impetus to address the problem.
Stricker started getting some therapy and then got an MRI right around Christmas time to address the neck problem, but the general feeling of malaise still needed to be addressed.
“I wake up every morning just like everybody else sore back or whatever,” Stricker said. “So I figured I’m not getting any younger and if I wanted to continue to play then I’m going to have to do some things.”
So Stricker asked the doctor about starting a fitness routine.
“Everybody I talked to said I’m about three years too late in starting,” the 43-year old Stricker said. “It’s been over done.”
Stricker always did some different exercising on his own, but now has decided to get some help, utilizing some of the physio guys on tour. The plan is to take it really slow with his workouts since he has not been in such a regimented program before.
Playing this week, Stricker has not experienced any issues and doesn’t feel the neck has affected his game with the possible exception of losing a little length off the tee.
“When I first came back it effected my game a little bit in December,” Stricker said. But it’s getting better.”