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It's never too early to get ready for golf season

The PGA Tour has kicked off for 2011. Pros in Hawaii aren't battling 10-foot snow drifts such as we have in the Northland. It may be difficult to accept but our golfing will become a reality in just a few short months. Local experts agree that no...

The PGA Tour has kicked off for 2011. Pros in Hawaii aren't battling 10-foot snow drifts such as we have in the Northland. It may be difficult to accept but our golfing will become a reality in just a few short months. Local experts agree that now is the time to start preparing for par.

Nemadji Golf Pro Mark Carlson suggests golfers start early to prepare themselves for the upcoming season.

"In the past, pros like Hogan and Player used to swing weighted clubs to help maintain flexibility," Carlson said. "Now, there are specific programs to help maintain physical conditioning.

"Phy-Ed is a local gym that offers a specific golfers program that I participate in. Or, take a few golf trips during the winter", Carlson comments with a smile.

Heaving a snow shovel or wrestling with a snow-blower may constitute Northland strength training, but Jim Rauzi, physical therapist at the Center for Muscle and Joint Therapy in Superior, also recommends flexibility training.

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"Think of your pet," Rauzi said. "Every time they get up or lay down, they stretch. In the winter, our muscles shorten and are tighter. Golfers should work on stretching the muscles in their mid-backs and hips."

Together, with physical therapy assistant Debbie Merrick, the center will be offering a special "Golfers Clinic" in April, aimed at helping golfers prepare for the season and reduce injuries that accompany those that hit the links without pre-conditioning.

For those golfers that just have to swing a club throughout the year, but can't travel to Arizona every weekend, PGA Pro Eric Carlson offers a local alternative on Tower Avenue in Superior.

The Twin Ports Golf Studio offers instruction and indoor golfing for the enthusiast. Golfers can choose just to hit balls or can avail themselves of professional instruction backed by video analysis.

"Ball striking usually comes back early in the season, but the short game finesse takes a bit longer after the winter layoff," Eric Carlson said. "Usually this is due to poor mechanics and small muscle group atrophy."

Brian Gustafson of Duluth recently visited the studio for a lesson. Gustafson commented that he wanted, "To play on the correct fairway."

Ryon "Fast Eddie" Carlson, golf teaching pro, was contacted at his winter teaching location in Chandler, Arizona, and commented that flexibility is the key to jump-starting the 2011 golf season.

"Work on your flexibility throughout the winter season and your game will be weeks ahead when the courses open in the Northland," Ryon Carlson said.

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As cliché as it sounds, the experts agree; conditioning and flexibility are the key to help prevent injuries and to be ready for par when the snow clears for the 2011 golf season.

Paul Stein writes an occasional column for the Superior Telegram, including "PGA Tour" (Paul's Golf Adventure Tour)

Related Topics: GOLFHEALTHSUPERIOR
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