Reinhard-Karl Üblacker (51) has been playing for two years and wants to become a professional

Bad Griesbach, 26 October 2022 – Golf is fun and healthy – is that really true? After all, the golf swing is one of the most difficult moves in the sporting world. The back is heavily stressed. A sore point, especially for older people. You can not teach old dogs new tricks. A well-known saying. Is that true – especially when it comes to golf? Is it still possible to learn difficult movements at an advanced age? “Of course!” says Reinhard-Karl Üblacker. At least from his personal experience. “Hole-in-One Reinhard”, as he calls himself, started playing golf at the age of 49. In the summer of 2020. And with a clear mission: He wants to be a golf pro within four years.

Golf is on the rise. After the numbers of active golfers in Germany stagnated for a long time, they have been on an upward trend for two years. More and more people are reaching for golf clubs. As of 30 September 2021, the green sport recorded growth of 3.5 percent compared to 2020, according to data from the German Golf Association (DGV). One of the newcomers is Reinhard-Karl Üblacker from Mühldorf. Born in Austria, he is on the fairway or on the range every day to improve his technique and become more experienced. Because he wants to be a pro. A challenge for the body. But the 51-year-old masters it with flying colours. In the meantime, he has downplayed his handicap index to 10.3. Next year he wants to go on the Pro Golf Tour. This is a series of tournaments that includes not only pros (short for professional golfers), but also newcomers to the professional field and top amateurs who want to break into the playing pros realm.

How is your back?
I don’t have any back pain from golf. On the contrary, my back is in good shape.

How quickly did you find your golf swing?
Basically, it depends on the sporting goal. If I want to be an amateur golfer, I can try my first golf swings on the course quickly and after getting my handicap. Regular coaching lessons are useful to improve your technique and to be able to execute more precise and longer shots. In my case, with the goal of becoming a pro, the swing is broken down into individual parts that are then later put back together. Each individual component is trained with different exercises and fine-tuned to ultimately result in the perfect swing. We’ve been working on this for a year now.

How does your body react to the almost daily stress?
Overall there are no drawbacks. Of course, it’s normal for minor complaints to arise from time to time. You make movements that your body didn’t know before. But that wears off pretty quickly. Thanks to regular visits to my physiotherapist and massages, I have no pain at all. I can’t complain. On the contrary: I’m physically fit like never before.

What do you do for your body to get it fit for golf?
Very important: No golf without warming up! I have mobilization exercises that I can do at home. In my case, there are also training sessions that strengthen my muscles, which are particularly important for the golf swing. Don’t overdo anything, then the body stays in the game.

What do you say about the fact that older people find it harder to learn something new?
I think that’s normal and shouldn’t be a reason not to start golf. There are so many advantages to golf… they should be the priority! It doesn’t matter how long it takes to hit a ball well. Beautiful nature, fresh air, exercise, physical activity, concentration, mental thinking and much more are good reasons for keeping the body fit, regardless of age.

Can you recommend starting golf at 40+?
Definitely. Whether at age five or 50: Anyone can start golf at any age. There are no restrictions here. I am the best example of that. I got my proficiency certificate at the age of 49 and now I still want to go on the tour. I don’t think about my age, but about my abilities, which make this goal possible even at my age. What’s sure is this: Anyone who has ever tried golf and found pleasure in it will never let go of the club.

Thank you for the interview.

About Reinhard-Karl Üblacker: The 51-year-old Austrian (born in Amstetten/Lower Austria) wants to become a professional golfer within four years. However: He only started playing golf about a year and a half ago. Now he trains every day for his goal. He will be supported by Denis Prössel, pro at the Quellness & Golf Resort Bad Griesbach and himself a former tour player, as well as European Tour physiotherapist Artur Frank. Reinhard-Karl Üblacker can join the Pro Golf Tour at any time. It runs all year round in Europe and North Africa, but entry requires a handicap of less than 3.4. This is currently being worked on. Because one thing is clear: “I want to play as soon as possible.”

Expertise of Artur Frank: Artur Frank is an alternative practitioner (“sectoral alternative practitioner”) and sports physiotherapist. He also looks after the golfers on the European Tour (“Consultant European Tour”); among others he has already treated golfing greats such as Bernhard Langer and Tiger Woods. Artur Frank runs his own practice (AF Medical) in Plattling near Deggendorf in Lower Bavaria and knows about the complaints of golfers.

What injuries and ailments do golfers complain about?
Golf is booming and with it the number of golf-specific sports injuries. In contrast to other sports, golf players succumb less often to direct injuries. Rather, “muscular imbalances” are the most common cause of sports injuries or overuse injuries. The latest studies by the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine examined 700 golfers (i.e. the number of members of an average golf club; amateurs and professionals) aged between 10 and 80 years at five different locations over two seasons. There was no significant difference between women and men in terms of severity, structure and duration of the injury. Of the reported golf-specific injuries, 17 percent were independent trauma and 83 percent were overuse injuries.

Overuse means the pain was avoidable?
Yes. Through proper warm-up, work-out and stretching. Golf is no more dangerous than other sports if the golfer properly prepares his musculoskeletal system for the sport-specific strain.

What can you do if you get pain while playing golf?
Pain is always a sign that something is wrong. Under no circumstances should this sign be ignored or muted by self-medication. The golfer should have these symptoms clarified by professionals.

What do golfers have to pay attention to so that pain does not arise in the first place?
Golfers need muscles that are prepared for the sport. We need strength, endurance, flexibility and good coordination. All parameters that can be improved through appropriate training.