Golf can be a fun activity and a great excuse to be outside. Like all sports though, anyone can get injured in a variety of ways. Several simple precautions can eliminate much of the risk. If you are injured, stop playing immediately to avoid further injury and see a doctor as soon as possible.
Golf is a physical activity with plenty of sun exposure. Golfers need to hydrate regularly while walking through 18 holes. Water is best for hydration, but energy drinks can help replace lost electrolytes and salt. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and soda as these can cause even more dehydration. Take a drink at the beginning of every hole, and if the course has water dispensers or beverage service, take every opportunity to rehydrate.
To protect themselves from the sun, golfers should wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible. They should also put on sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. For best skin absorption, apply about 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Sunblock is essential even though it can make clubs slippery. Wipe your hands on a golf towel to remove sunblock from your palms. Reapply the sunblock every two hours. Stand under trees for shade when not playing. Wear a hat and sunglasses to further protect from the sun, and to avoid eye damage.
When preparing to swing, make sure no one else is close by so they do not get hit by the club. Help others avoid injury by yelling the traditional warning "Fore" when a ball goes in a direction it should not. Protect your head, and crouch down to protect yourself if your hear "Fore" yelled. Golf groups should wait to play until the group ahead has either finished the hole or is far enough away that a ball could not possibly endanger it. When hitting from the rough, check to see if any branches are close by. Swinging with force could break the club on the branch, or break the branch, causing it to fall.
Lightning can be extremely dangerous for golfers. Leave the course and do not touch the clubs if lightning seems imminent. Because most golf clubs are made of metal, they are excellent conductors. Swinging the club means the metal will be high in the air in an open field, a very attractive target for a lightning strike.
Drive carefully if using a golf cart. Like any moving vehicle, carts can be dangerous and cause injury. Follow all course guidelines when using carts. Do not let children operate the carts; drive slowly and stay away from hazards. Do not overfill the cart with people and bags. Make sure all players have a seat.
Though golf is not a high-intensity sport, it is possible to pull and injure muscles. Stretch both the upper and lower body before the round to prepare for the walking and sudden movement that comes with swinging clubs. Stretch your sides with a reaching lateral side stretch. Stretch the shoulders by putting the right arm in an "L" shape, then bringing it across the body, pulling in with the left arm. Stretch the hamstrings by placing both feet together, bending at the hips and touching the ground.