Man Down

Welcome back to the madness I call the Three Off The Tee blog. I hope you are enjoying the stuff on here to date including my latest blog which is a product review for the Go Kart Mk II golf trolley. If you missed it you can still catch up with it here

I was hoping to update you on "The Quest". For those that have stumbled across these ramblings for the first time (and you are so welcome) I am playing off 12 (course handicap 12.7) and have a dogged belief that hidden (sometimes very well hidden) inside is a single figure golfer even at the aged of 50 something and "The Quest" (short for the Quest For Single Figures - who wants to type that every time?) charts my highs and lows in pursuit of that single figure nirvana. Unfortunately as the title may indicate, things haven't quite gone to plan.

I am currently out injured. I have sciatica and struggling to work more than a few hundred yards without the back going into spasm and getting a shooting pain through my left leg into my calf which then cramps up. Clearly not conducive to golf. As I type this I've been out for five weeks and things are still not going well.

So lets start with a question. Have any of you suffered from sciatica and if so what did you do to get rid of it. At present I am doing daily stretching exercises (courtesy of my occupational health department - a benefit of working at a hospital) and on Naproxen (a strong anti-inflammatory) and Coedine (for pain relief). On the advice of my GP I have been using ice and heat on the affected spot and in particular the calf area. On the advice of occupational health and our departmental physiotherapists (another benefit of working in ICU) we are treating the piriformis with exercise and massage. I have been lucky enough to have a physio session with my occupational health and that has begun to make some solid progress. Let me know either in the comments below or via my social media links (on the front of the blog) how it affected you and your golf, your treatment and how long you were out for.

Sciatica - a pain I wouldn't wish on anyone. Please don't ignore those niggles like I did

So what happened? Well I'm not sure if I am brutally honest. I had been feeling a few twinges but put that down to middle age. I was playing a competition as a two ball (our third having retired after nine holes). I got as far as the seventeenth and WHAM, shooting pain and I really didn't think I could put another foot in front of the other and that I'd have to get a buggy off the course. I couldn't though as I still had a card to finish marking (and my playing partner was going along rather nicely) so somehow got down the last (and hit my drive of the day). After that I went home in agony and it went downhill from there.

Being stubborn (or simply stupid) I gave it a week off and then went to the golf club to do some chipping and putting. No big swings so what could go wrong? Well after no more than ten minutes of course it went into spasm. Really badly. It took me fifteen minutes to get the 100 yards from the putting green to the sanctuary of the locker room. Even there the pain was savage. Lesson learned!!

So there you go - Man Down. Its hugely frustrating as the weather has been warm and the course has looked stunning. Everyone has been coming in and saying how good (and quick) the greens are and it is looking the best it has ever done. So much for my rain dance every weekend. After my sojourn onto the putting green I've learned my lesson and been doing the exercises, taking the medication and doing whatever it takes to get back. I am lucky to have had a physio session and some additional exercises to work on to sort the problem areas out. Naturally "The Quest" is now on the back burner, maybe on hold now for 2021 (but fear not I have a winter programme with the teaching professional I have used for a few years and I trust implicitly). I have had a few lessons this year (check Doctor Golf To The Rescue and Repeat Prescription - Doctor Golf) and the annoying thing was there was forward progress being made.

Not quite the post I was hoping to bring you but there you go. Its not all woe is me and perhaps there is a hidden benefit here. Aside from the adage of "beware the injured golfer" which clearly isn't possible at the moment, the break has the potential to press the reset button. My short game had been moving forward but still too many thoughts on the course with that. The swing changes from the lessons were bleeding in but again there too many thoughts on the course. Once I can get back to hitting balls I can build up slowly with a clear mind, and simply unleash the inner single figure golfer. I am hoping to return to work next week (maybe looking at a phased return) and once this happens I can start to build up slowly with a bit of short game, a few swings and maybe two or three holes. Slowly slowly though. Can't go straight from nothing to everything in one hit

I also organise the Saturday morning roll up, so I've been going up each week (when competitions haven't been on) to meet my friends and sort the cards and money out for the winner and second place (and handicap cuts accordingly. I was a little bored so I'll leave you with a few pictures I took from the 18th green recently.

Thank you as always for taking the time to read my nonsense. It really means a lot as does all your feedback and comments. I thought it was important to update you (well those that give a damn) as to where my golf was and to a certain degree explain the lack of content around my golf. Sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth and while I wouldn't wish the pain I've endured on anyone, as I said it isn't the end of the world and in fact may be a blessing in terms of resting and recharging my golfing brain.

If and when I get back to it, there are more product reviews to come including a golf ball review if and when I finally get back onto the golf course, some exciting stuff in the pipeline (hopefully some of which I hope I can get you involved in) and of course more updates as I try to fulfil "The Quest". For now I'll bid you adieu and I'll be back soon with another blog. Thanks for reading and enjoy your golf - and don't ignore those little niggles. They can be a warning of something bigger lurking.

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