Golf & Arthritis

By Robert Preston
Older golfers can suffer from painful arthritis on the course.
Older golfers can suffer from painful arthritis on the course.

Arthritis is a condition that commonly affects the elderly, in which joints of the body experience painful inflammation. Playing golf provides positive benefits for arthritis sufferers, but it can also exacerbate arthritis' symptoms. Simple things, such as using a lower compression ball, can make a big difference in your enjoyment of the game.


There are benefits to walking a golf course, instead of riding in a cart. Regularly walking several miles over hilly terrain can result in possible weight loss and an increase in good cholesterol. Additionally, repeatedly swinging the club helps to stretch the muscles and joints of the upper body, resulting in increased mobility and range of motion.

Ball Selection

Playing with the right golf ball can also have benefits for arthritis sufferers. Using a softer ball can reduce the likelihood and severity of the pain experienced upon impact. Arthritis sufferers should use a soft ball designed for seniors.

Club Selection

Just as the seemingly minor difference between a hard and soft golf ball can make a difference, so too can using graphite shafted clubs. Steel shafts don't do as good of a job of dispersing the vibrations of the club as graphite shafts do. In addition to being lighter and easier to swing, graphite shafts cause less pain for arthritis sufferers.


Sneakers provide less grip on the grass than golf shoes with plastic spikes, but they also have more cushioning, making them great for minimizing pain during a round. Another helpful hint is to replace your grips with midsize or jumbo grips designed for arthritis sufferers. Golf with arthritic hands find the larger grips easier to hold, and these grips are cushioned to absorb vibration.


While all golfers should stretch before a round, for a golfer suffering from arthritis it is particularly important. A regular 10-minute stretching routine before you play is a good way to minimize the effects of swinging a golf club on your joints.

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