Playing Golf While Pregnant
How to play golf while pregnant, according to LPGA star Paula Creamer
Everyone’s pregnancy is different, and everyone’s body is different, so before we move forward, make sure you get clearance from your doctor before playing golf. If you’ve been given the green light to play, you’re going to find that playing golf while pregnant is a bit different than what you're used to. We chatted with Paula Creamer, who gave birth to her first child in January of 2022, about how her game changed during her pregnancy, what she did to handle symptoms on course and how she adjusted her game to fit the changes to her body. Creamer’s experience could help you have a better time playing golf while pregnant, too.
Don’t be afraid to take a cart
“At the very beginning, I was pretty tired just walking. When you're playing professionally, obviously you walk every day, whether it's practice or in tournaments, but being able to pace that was something I had to really listen to, because I want to be out there 10 hours of the day, but there's something that's obviously a little bit more important going on inside of your body,” Creamer said. “So, I would say the biggest thing for me was just listening to when I was tired, to not push it as much.”
To help combat the dip in energy, Creamer would take a cart when she practiced instead of walking. If you usually carry and still want to walk, try taking a push cart.
Your swing is going to change
Obviously, your midsection is going to get bigger when you’re pregnant. It’s also common for your chest to increase in size, too. With both of these changes, your swing doesn’t have a choice but to change.
Creamer felt her obliques become engaged more than they normally would when she was playing pregnant.
“Before being pregnant, I could really feel my abs being engaged,” Creamer said. “Playing while pregnant, it's a lot harder to feel those muscles, so it feels like you’re hitting it so hard and far, but I lost a ton of distance being pregnant. And I think it's because I don't have that ability yet to engage in my abs.”
As your game changes, so should your strategy
When Creamer lost distance, she focused on accuracy. “If you're not hitting it as far and you're hitting it left or right in the rough, it's just so much more difficult. One, it's not easy playing out of the rough, but two, you're farther back,” Creamer said. “Playing professionally out on tour was, 'Just keep the ball in the fairway. Keep the ball in the fairway.'”
The loss of distance also prompted Creamer to spend more time on her short game. If you’re losing yardage off the tee, around the greens is a great place to make up shots.
Pay attention to your setup
“I had to really work on my posture just because I either wanted to go too far forward on my toes or too far back on my heels. Finding that equal balance is something that I've had to really work on,” Creamer said.
To find the correct balance, Creamer did drills barefoot to get a real sense of where the pressure was in her feet.
“It's hard sometimes to feel it with your golf shoes on,” Creamer said. “Just stand straight up and down and practice shifting your weight back and forth.” Feel how the pressure in your feet changes when you weight is back, when it’s centered over your arches (as it should be at address), and how it feels when your weight is forward. Remember what it feels like when your weight is centered and replicate it when you’re over the ball.
Creamer said for her, it was important to pay special attention to her balance when she played late in the day.
“For me, I got pretty swollen, serious water retention,” Creamer said. “So my feet, by the end of the day, they're either really tired or they're swollen.” The swelling made Creamer more likely to lose her balance, so the later in the day she played, the more she had to pay attention to where her weight was at address.
Get your snacks lined up
“Hydration is key,” Creamer said. “Getting enough water, but even electrolytes, fruits, things like that, because sometimes you just don't want to eat or nothing sounds good to you, but you definitely need to stay hydrated.”
Creamer found the best way to manage her energy and hunger on-course was to eat small meals and snack frequently.
“Having snacks on the golf course is very important. Eating every couple holes, whether it's an apple or a protein bar,” Creamer said. “I like rice cakes with peanut butter.”
Finding a good protein bar was key for Creamer’s ability to sustain her energy. “The last thing you want to do is eat a candy bar at the turn,” Creamer said. “You definitely want to be prepared.
Trust what your body is telling you
“Part of being pregnant is learning your limits and listening to your body, which, quite truthfully, I've never really been the best at,” Creamer said. “So, this has been an eye-opening experience because it's not just about me anymore.”