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Bouncing Back to the Game You Love

It really doesn’t matter how well you play golf.

Dr. Stephen Steele

Dr. Stephen Steele

What matters most is that you are able to “play golf,” the game you love. Playing golf helps people feel good. My mother introduced me to the game and I was quite a competitor as a young adult. We played a lot of golf together and she would always say, “doesn’t it feel good to just get out and walk?” Well, she was right. And when you are suddenly injured or find yourself facing a surgical procedure, those feelings get scrambled and life can suddenly become overwhelming. At that point, it doesn’t matter how well you play, but how quickly you can bounce back to the greens.

Allow me to share a story about Ruby, one of my golf students. She explained to me one day that her favorite pastime is golf, and that her doctor suggested she consider giving it up to protect the remaining discs in her back. Ruby chose spinal surgery instead, and spent several months in physical therapy after her operation. When she returned for her annual check-up, she asked about the possibility of playing golf. Fortunately, her spine surgeon indicated that with the proper professional assistance and training, Ruby would be able to return to the game she loved.

I work with professional athletes, doctors and executives, all enjoying retirement in the beauty of the desert. Most of them have had an injury, surgery or are trying to overcome their pain. They all have one goal in mind: to return to their life’s passion as quickly and safely as possible.

Unfortunately, there is no commonly agreed standard on when and how to return to golf safely after an injury or surgery. Attending doctors need to make that call. Sports medicine specialist and former Eisenhower Medical Center Chief of Staff, Dr. Stephen Steele, with whom I’ve had a professional relationship for nearly 15 years, recently attended a golf fitness seminar sponsored by the Titleist Performance Institute. He has also been taking golf lessons since last spring and I asked him to comment on how his experiences as a golf student have changed the way he helps his patients return to the game. “As a student of golf, I now realize how important it is to have a trained eye look for swing faults and help you work to correct them,” states Steele. “It gives me confidence to know that working with a trained professional will give my patients the best chance of continuing golf despite their medical or orthopedic problems.”

Recovering at the right pace and with the right professional guidance is key to getting you back to the game you love and minimizing the risk of re-injury.

Patty Curtiss is a Certified Athletic Trainer, LPGA ‘Class A’ Member, founder of Golf Rehab and co-founder of Bounce You Back in-home care. Her unique Golf Rehab program currently operates at the College Golf Center on the COD campus. Patty can be reached at 760.578.640,, or

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