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Opinion & Analysis

Are golfers wasting their time icing injuries?



Even in a world of “doctors used to say it was good for you, now they say it’s bad,” this one is a shocker: The doctor who coined the acronym RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) in 1978 has decided that the (complete) rest and ice are not beneficial to treating injuries.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin, whose RICE treatment plan has been the standard method of dealing with sports injuries for more than 30 years, recently published a blog post that says, in part:

When I wrote my best-selling Sportsmedicine Book in 1978, I coined the term RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) for the treatment of athletic injuries … Ice has been a standard treatment for injuries and sore muscles because it helps to relieve pain caused by injured tissue. Coaches have used my “RICE” guideline for decades, but now it appears that both ice and complete rest may delay healing, instead of helping.

You can read the entirety of Dr. Mirkin’s post here.

This information is significant and could represent a paradigm shift in the treatment of sports injuries in general and golf-related injuries in particular. Simply, reducing inflammation was previously seen as essential to healing. Now Dr. Mirkin and others view inflammation as vital to the healing process. Certainly, there is a gross parallel here with allowing your body to fight off infection vs. antibiotic overkill. As I am not a doctor, however, I’ll leave it at that.

Returning to the matter at hand, as anti-icing advocate Josh Stone of Stone Athletic Management writes: “A shift in paradigmatic treatment is on the horizon. Exercise is heating up and ice is melting down.” By “exercise,” it seems, Stone means load bearing and rehabilitation (alternated with rest) is the advisable course of action. In another post on his website, Stone gives the example of an athlete with a stress fracture to the leg whose been advised to wear a non-weight bearing boot. Stone’s remedy? “An intricate balance between rest and mechanical loading of bone to obtain optimal healing”

In keeping with this idea: Generally, Dr. Mirkin’s advice following injury is as follows:

  • Stop exercising immediately.
  • If possible, elevate the injured part to use gravity to help minimize swelling.
  • If the injury is limited to muscles or other soft tissue, a doctor, trainer or coach may apply a compression bandage.
  • Ice may be applied to reduce pain, however, it’s pointless to apply ice more than 6 hours after injury.
  • If the injury is severe, follow your doctor’s advice on rehabilitation.
  • If the injury is minor, you can usually begin rehabilitation the next day.

The entirety of the new direction of treatment following Dr. Mirkin’s study may only be apparent only to the most progressive doctors, kinesiologists, trainers and exercise physiologists. It is clear, however, that if Mirkin’s current suggestions catch on in the same way as his directions in 1978 did, your rehab and treatment for injury (golf or otherwise) won’t involve anything that lives in the freezer.

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  1. leftright

    Apr 30, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Icing an injury, especially an acute tendonitis, mild muscle injury or a joint that has been over extended works quite well. I have been observing results for 4 decades and despite the good doctor’s turn around it is still preferable to doing nothing at all. I can even say, observable results from non-iced to iced injuries will take longer to heal and can actually cause chronic conditions. Instead of RICE, maybe another acronym like NIE would be better, NSAIDS, Ice and elevation. Compression usually does not work and if done incorrectly will cause more injury and swelling. ACE wraps are more for mild immobilization than compression anyway. To do away with ice in a sports environment, especially at a higher level of play is tantamount to negligence and assuredly will cause exacerbation of conditions in the long term. This article reminds me of the “Sugar Blues” book that came out in the 70’s that ended up not being worth the paper it was printed on.

    • Dean ATC

      Apr 30, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      There are so many things wrong with this post….I don’t even know where to start. So I’ll do it this way…

      1. Compression DOES work; and it’s even more effective when used with exercise

      2. Compression will NOT cause more injury and swelling (seriously, where did you come up with that one?)

      3. ACE wraps don’t immobilize anything (and unless something is fractured, there is really no reason to completely immobilize anything)

      4. The only thing ice is good for is mild analgesia. That’s the only reason I use it on my athletes. After 24 hours… more ice.

  2. Dr. G

    Apr 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Stone gives the example of an athlete with a stress fracture to the leg whose been advised to wear a non-weight bearing boot. Stone’s remedy? “An intricate balance between rest and mechanical loading of bone to obtain optimal healing”

    Any physician not recommending nearly complete offloading for a stress fracture is beyond ludacris. Should that stress reaction turn into a frank fracture due to a lack of informing a patient that it is a possibility with “loading of bone”, the physician will find themself in a sticky situation. Wait 4-6 weeks, observe films along with signs and symptoms, then move on with loading.

    • Em

      Apr 30, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Ludacris? You mean ludicrous? You ain’t no Dr.

      • Chris

        Apr 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm

        Ain’t? Do you mean are not? I love the grammar battles.

      • Travis

        May 1, 2014 at 8:44 am

        Maybe he’s talking about the rapper… so perhaps he means “beyond controversial”.

  3. Alex the Athletic Trainer

    Apr 29, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Ben, first of all please refrain from calling us “trainers” we go to school for 4-6 years to become a certified athletic trainer from an accredited program at an accredited university as opposed to “trainers” who take an online class and teach people how to lift. Secondly, I have been following this article for a while now, and have done a lot of research on my own. Ice is important to help with pain management as well as to keep inflammation at a manageable level. I agree that icing after 24 hours is more or less a placebo/band aid for what is going on. Rehab is the only thing that will help to repair the damage done from an acute injury.
    There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, but ice is not the enemy like Dr. Mirkin and his followers like to portray.

  4. The Dr

    Apr 29, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Just take an anti-inflammatory medication instead, as long as you are not allergic. But – ice is definitely good for concentrated, directed use onto the area immediately inflamed by impact.

    But lets not bring up bone fractures into this mix – you’re confusing different issues there, entirely. No amount of ice is going to HEAL bone fractures. It will, however, still alleviate some of the pain in the area surrounding the bone fracture IF there is any inflammation of the muscle or tissues.

    Reducing inflammation is the issue, and ice is OK for those who do not want to ingest any kind anti-inflammatory medication.

    • Dean ATC

      Apr 30, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      But that gets to the central question around this entire issue….which is why do we want to stop inflammation? Somewhere along the way we have gotten it into our heads that inflammation is the devil. When in fact, it is necessary for healing. It is our bodies natural reaction to injury and illness… it’s obviously supposed to occur (our body is pretty smart). Yet we want to ice and take NSAIDS and intentionally stop our bodies natural healing mechanism. Makes no sense.

  5. Chris

    Apr 29, 2014 at 10:44 am

    While I agree that sharp, sudden injuries may not benefit from ice (ACL, torn muscle, dislocated shoulder) I think it is important to understand that ice treatment can be greatly beneficial to long term injury prevention.

    If someone has tendinitis, but still wants to play the sport that is causing the tendinitis, frequent icing will keep the inflammation at a manageable level allowing the athlete to continue to compete. For example, you’ll see most basketball players icing their knees after a game. Similarly baseball pitchers will ice their entire throwing arm after an outing. Again, this helps control the inflammation and pain to allow the athlete to continue to be healthy and effective throughout a long season.

    • Joe

      Apr 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      It is becoming more common for pitchers to limit their icing. More influence is coming from Japan, where pitchers don’t ice their arm and have far fewer arm injuries. Correlation is not causation but it has been noticed. Active stretching and heat are becoming en vogue.

      • leftright

        Apr 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm

        I would be more inclined to cite genetics versus treatment of chronic arm conditions, especially in pitchers at the professional level. Another thing that contributes is the way young people are taught to play the game versus Japan. A study, maybe by one of those educated trainers trying to get his MS or PhD. would provide more insight into Japan versus the US pitchers.

  6. Pete

    Apr 29, 2014 at 10:28 am

    On most occasions the bullet: Stop exercising immediately is struck over and the round or what ever payed scheduled tennis court or alike is exploited to it’s full extent. Unless one cannot do anything but roll in pain and agony.

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Opinion & Analysis

Paige Spiranac explains her decision to pose for the 2018 SI Swimsuit



During the PXG 0311 Gen2 iron launch event, I caught up with Paige Spiranac to talk about a variety of topics including her advice to young girls in the golf world, how her life has changed since becoming a golfing celebrity, her relationship with PXG, her decision to stop playing professional golf, and she explains why she wanted to pose for the SI Swimsuit issue.

Enjoy my interview above!

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Opinion & Analysis

Bag Chatter: An Interview With 36 Golf Co.



Bag Chatter is a series of interviews that spotlights brands around the golf industry and the people behind them. We’re looking to make this a regular thing, so please comment and share through your medium of choice. If you have a brand and are interested in participating in these interviews, you can email for consideration. This interview is with Jay Vogler of 36 Golf Co (Pictured above caddying for business partner Chevy Mayne).

Talk to me about 36 Golf Co. What are you guys all about?

We’re all about getting people out to the course, having fun and not taking golf too seriously. We’re trying to create a brand for people who love the game, but aren’t necessarily trying to turn pro. The whole idea started when I was walking through a hockey shop and saw all these hockey lifestyle brands and I was like, “Why doesn’t this exist in golf?” We’re mainly targeting the 18-35 crowd; folks that kind of have a laid-back approach. We think it doesn’t matter if you wear cargo shorts and a T-shirt as long as you’re respecting the game and taking care of the course. It’s more important to replace your divots, repair your ball marks and keep up with the pace of play than it is to wear a collared shirt.

There are a lot of people launching brands in the soft goods world these days (clothing, towels, head covers, etc.). As a result, that world can be a little crowded. What makes 36 Golf Co. different from everyone else out there?

Our corner of the market, if you will, is trying to create a community of people who see the game the same way we do. We want to see the game grow, especially among the millennial age group. We think participation is lacking in that demographic, and we want to play a part in making the game a little more accessible for them. We want people to connect over our attitude toward golf. If you see a guy walking down the street wearing a 36 hat, we want you to think he’s approachable and he’s down to hang out and talk about golf and life without being pretentious. We’re out there to lower some of the barriers to entering the game.

Since I know you’re all about growing the game, what do you think it needs? What do you think is the biggest “problem” with golf that’s keeping people away from playing it or trying it?

I think perception is probably the biggest thing honestly. I picked up the game five years ago when I was 22 and I came from skateboarding and snowboarding. When I got into the game, a lot of people make a weird face and were like, “You play golf?!” It’s totally a perception thing, but once you get past that, it’s just such a fun game. From the first time I flushed a 7-iron at a driving range, I was hooked, but a lot of people don’t even get that far. We’re just trying to lower the barriers to the game and put a community out there.

36 Golf Co. “The Looper” Meshback Hat

If you could change one thing about the game of golf, what would you change? It doesn’t have to be something in the USGA rule book necessarily.

Obviously, I would get rid of dress codes. That’s my big bugaboo with the game. If I was just going about my daily life, I wouldn’t be wearing pants and a collared shirt and I think a lot of people would be in that same boat. If we let people come as they are, I bet participation would go way up. Appearance, respectfully, only matters so much. You can wear a collared shirt and still be a jerk and not repair your ball marks.

When you got the idea to start this company, how did you actually go about making that happen? Did you just google shirt suppliers or something? What was that process like?

Yeah, I pretty much spent the first month on Google looking for suppliers. I have a design background, so we did the design and the website ourselves, so that was good. Finding the right suppliers who were willing to work with us and had quality stuff was difficult.

What’s the biggest road block you’ve experienced with 36 Golf Co.? Launching it, marketing it, logistics, billing, whatever…

Starting a business in general was just…so much to take in. It’s overwhelming. Accounting, problems with suppliers… but if you don’t just start it then you’ll never know. I know it’s a cliché, but you gotta start somewhere. It’s not that any one thing was so difficult. It was just the amount of things that come your way.

36 Golf Co “The Sniper” Snap Back Hat and “Fleck” T Shirt

What are you most optimistic about with 36 Golf Co? What’s got you excited these days?

We just went to a show this past weekend in Toronto, and we just met a lot of people who really seemed to get what we were about and were excited to be a part of it themselves. That’s what gets you excited; when people really understand your vibe and want to be a part of that community and rep your brand for no other reason than it resonates with them. That’s what it’s all about.

Let’s play a game. Imagine golf was like baseball and you got to pick a “walk-up song” when you got to the first tee. What song are you going with?

Haha. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jurassic 5 lately, so we’ll go with “What’s Golden.” I feel like that’d be a pretty good hype song.

If you could only play one course for the rest of your life, which one would it be? It has to be a course you have played before or have access to, though. Don’t just say Augusta.

There’s a little course called Bathurst Glen just north of Toronto. I used to work there, but it kicks my butt every time I go. It’s a friendly spot, which I enjoy. I struggle playing really nice golf courses. They kind of stress me out.

Chevy Mayne of 36 Golf Co. in the “OG” T Shirt and “Frost Delay” Snapback Hat

It’s kind of old news, but I’ll ask the following since it’s right up your alley. What was your take on the LPGA dress code announcement last year?

Oh man. I was like, “What the hell are you thinking?” You know, when they said that I was showing it to my girlfriend who’s a non-golfer and she was like, “I don’t understand what the problem is.” It’s not like they’re wearing thongs or something. Obviously, I think that golf needs to be tailored to welcome people into the game, and I think that sent the wrong message.

Lastly, what do you guys have in the works? Let us know what’s coming from 36 Golf Co.

We have limited resourced with just two people, but we have tons of plans. Our main products right now are our hats, which are mainly modern styles. You know, snapbacks and flat brims. We also have T-shirts and quarter zips available. All of that is on our website at We will be getting some golf shirts in soon, which we are calling our “collared T-shirt” this spring, so that’s going to be the most exciting launch for us in the near future. Follow us on Instagram @thirty6ix_golf_co and on twitter @Thirty6ix_golf to keep up with our brand and join our community.

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Opinion & Analysis

How valuable is hitting the fairway, really?



Hitting more than 50 percent of fairways has long been considered a good goal for amateur golfers. The winners on the PGA Tour tend to hit 70 percent. I have long maintained, however, that it is not the number of fairways HIT that matters. Instead, it is the relative severity of fairways MISSED.

Think about it. By the one-dimensional Fairways Hit stat, every miss is the same. A perfect lie in the first cut is exactly the same as a drive in a hazard… or even OB. There is nothing in the 650+ PGA Tour stats about this. In all, there are 60 stats in seven categories that relate to driving performance, but none about penalties! Like PGA Tour players don’t make any?

Let’s see exactly how important the old tried-and-true Driving Accuracy (Percentage of Fairways Hit) really is. To test it, I used two data clusters: the 2017 PGA Tour season (14,845 ShotLink rounds) and my database for the average male golfer (15 to 19 handicappers – 4,027 rounds).

For the graph below, I started with the No. 1-ranked player in the Driving Accuracy category: Ryan Armour. He certainly was accurate by this measure, but why did he only rank 100th in 2017 Strokes Gained Off the Tee with a barely positive 0.020?

Next I looked at the actual top-5 PGA Tour money winners (J. Thomas, J Spieth, D. Johnson, H. Matsuyama and J. Rohm), the 2017 PGA Tour average, and all PGA Tour players that missed the cut in 2017. We all know the significant scoring differences between these three categories of players, but it’s difficult to see a meaningful difference in the fairways hit. They’re not even separated by half a fairway. How important could this stat be?

For those that have not tried, our analysis includes Strokes Gained and Relative Handicap comparisons. That enables users to easily differentiate between FIVE MISS categories below based upon severity. The final three categories are what we consider to be Driving Errors:

  1. Good lie/Opportunity: One can easily accomplish their next goal of a GIR or advancement on a par-5.
  2. Poor Lie/Opportunity: One could accomplish the next goal, but it will require a very good shot.
  3. No Shot: Requires an advancement to return to normal play.
  4. Penalty-1: Penalty with a drop.
  5. OB/Lost: Stroke and distance penalty, or shot replayed with a stroke penalty.

As we are fortunate enough to work with several PGA Tour players at Shot by Shot, we have access to ShotLink data and can provide those clients with the same valuable insight.

Let’s see how the frequency and severity of driving errors relates to the above groups of players (removing Mr. Armour, as he simply helped us prove the irrelevance of Driving Accuracy). The graphs below display the number of Driving Errors per round and the Average Cost Per Error. Note the strong and consistent correlation between the number and the cost of errors at each of the four levels of performance.

Finally, the average cost of the errors is heavily driven by the three degrees of severity outlined above (No Shot, Penalty, OB/Lost). The graph below compares the relative number and cost of the three types of errors for the average golfer and PGA Tour players. The major difference is that PGA Tour players do not seem to have a proper share of OB/Lost penalties. I found only TWO in the 14,000+ ShotLink rounds. While I accept that the most severe faux pas are significantly less frequent on the PGA Tour, I also believe there must have been more than two.

Why so few? First and foremost, PGA Tour players REALLY ARE good. Next, the galleries stop a lot of the wayward shots. And finally, I believe that many of the ShotLink volunteer data collectors may not actually know or care about the difference between a Penalty and OB/Lost.

Author’s Note: If you want to know your Strokes Gained Off the Tee (Driving) and exactly how important your fairways and the misses are, log onto for a 1-Round FREE Trial.

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19th Hole