Person shakes experiencing tremors while holding golf club.

Parkinson's Tremors & Other Obstacles on the Golf Course

Some days you know, before you even get out of bed, that it is just not going to be one of your better days.

With Parkinson’s disease (PD), those days occur with no rhyme or reason. The night that you got little sleep can be followed by a great day. Other days, for no reason that you can determine, your symptoms are worse than ever, your meds don’t work and you just can’t get anything done.

Talk to anyone with PD and you will find that most of us are having more bad days than usual. Our lives have been so disrupted by recent challenging times that there is no normal anymore. After 5 months of restrictions, there seems to be no end in sight. We work hard at finding ways to be socially connected to others while staying at home. But we are getting tired of all of those Zoom meet-ups. The novelty has worn off and it just doesn’t replace getting together in person.

Increased stress can lead to more tough days

Currently, in California, we are under increasing stress as our governor places more restrictions on us almost daily. In addition, the continuing political unrest in the US seems to be spiraling out of control in some cities. Here at home, after 6 weeks of helicopters overhead and sirens blaring on a daily basis, at times many of us feel like we are in a war zone. PTSD anyone? It certainly seems like it could be.

So those random days when you just know you should not get out of bed start to make more sense. Sunday was one of those days for me. I could feel it before I even got out of bed that morning. I was stiff and just felt off. My tremors were worse than usual and clearly were going to be with me all day.

I struggled through my online yoga class one Sunday morning. It was hard to concentrate on pretty much everything I tried to do all day. Late afternoon, Mr. Twitchy and I had planned to play 9 holes of golf. I got a new set of clubs on Thursday to replace my pre-industrial revolution clubs I had been using for so long. These new clubs were supposed to make me a superwoman on the golf course, so I was looking forward to this.

Trying to play golf with Parkinson's

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that I have been a life long tennis player and rarely played golf more than 3-4 times a year, much to Mr. Twitchy’s dismay. Golf was frustrating for me. As one golf instructor told me, I was swinging the golf club like a tennis racket. That doesn’t work in golf. This year, because tennis was not an option for so long, once our club re-opened the golf course, Mr. Twitchy saw the opportunity to get me on the golf course. We started playing 9 holes in the late afternoon a couple of days a week.

Getting out on the golf course a couple of days a week definitely helped me hit the ball better and more consistently, that is, until Sunday. I started out ok, but it was clear that my tremors were going to be with me the whole time. Sure enough, it got worse and worse. I could hardly hit the ball. We finally gave up after 8 holes. I just could not go on anymore.

The tremors lingered another day. Two days later, I was feeling much better. Hopefully my next outing on the golf course will be more successful.

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