Why You Can Still Play Golf During Pregnancy

Mother and Top 50 Coach Katie Dawkins has had three babies and knows all too well how to swing when expecting

Playing golf during pregnancy is totally fine but everyone is different so seek advice if you are concerned.
(Image credit: Lauren Prince)

Golf during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a natural state for a woman, our bodies are designed to carry babies and give birth. Go back in time and women carried on as a means to survive, actively doing what they would normally do. If you are pregnant you CAN still play golf.  

US based golf instructor Trillium Rose says, “As I got bigger, I was like, here we go, I’m still doing this. I just carried on doing what I’d normally do. I was flying on all cylinders heading into my third trimester only to have a scare which wasn’t golf related, but it did force me to stop playing. My advice is to listen to your body and do what feels right.” 

Each pregnancy is different, Top 100 US instructor Trillium Rose carried on as normal coaching daily.

Trillium Rose

(Image credit: Trillium Rose)

Every single pregnancy is as individual as the mother who is carrying her baby. Physically and mentally each case is different. Continue to play golf at your own pace, in your own way and as your midwife advises, and never feel you must play if you aren’t 100% comfortable doing so.

In your first trimester you do lack energy, you are growing a little human after all. Often dizzy spells can cause issues when bending down to tee up or retrieve the ball. You can lack motivation at this stage due to sickness and sheer exhaustion, but things tend to improve from week 14.

Instagram sensation Lauren Prince, aka @guiltyofgolf has been playing for two and a half years, she is 27 weeks pregnant and cannot imagine life without golf. “There was no way that I was going to give up my newfound passion and leaving my clubs in the cupboard for the next year or so. I want to show women they can still play while expecting. Getting out in the fresh air helped with my sickness in the early stages,” says Lauren.

Joints loosen during pregnancy so ensure you keep the swing compact to avoid overstretching

Lauren Prince

(Image credit: Lauren Prince)

Trillium, who is based at a private members club in Washington D.C says surprisingly, “I’ve only had one pregnant pupil in all my time as a coach. “Is this down to the perception that pregnant women shouldn’t or can’t play golf? 

People immediately assumed that Lauren would stop playing golf when she discovered she was pregnant and comments like, ‘It’s such a shame you’re so early on in your golfing journey and now you have to stop’ shocked her. “I’m not going to stop, golf is my happy time, why would I stop? I played two charity days in a row last week. During 18 holes I snacked every 30 minutes. I’m really enjoying it and pleased that I can keep going and get the steps in. I’m playing well, just struggling with my driver as I’m swinging it further back,” she says.

Joints loosen up quickly in pregnancy thanks to a flood of hormones and you’ll be more flexible and at risk of over extending your swing. Keep it compact to avoid overstretching and getting into bad habits such as over-swinging then casting

It goes without saying that if you are keen to play golf whilst pregnant then stay hydrated and be aware of loo stops, avoid the middle of the day when it’s hot. If it’s cold, wear layers and don’t put your body through excessive stress. Common sense should prevail. 

Around week 16, you gain a surge in energy levels and the bump is manageable. When it comes to technique, there is no reason to change how you swing the golf club. You need to maintain an athletic posture so you are tipped from the hips. This makes room for your growing bump.  Your centre of gravity is lower and extra weight can stabilise you. You may find that your strike actually improves. My impact position is at its best in this trimester down to that little voice in the back of my head saying, ‘Ease off the hit a little.’

I swung the club far more within myself. Ladies European Tour player Liz Young achieved some great finishes on tour whilst expecting, while Catriona Matthew won an LPGA event at 5 months pregnant! 

Liz Young was still playing in LET events at 7 months pregnant

Liz Young was still playing in LET events at 7 months pregnant

(Image credit: Tristan Jones)

As you enter the final trimester you may slow down a fraction and feel heavier and awkward. Adopting a less tipped posture allows for a more comfortable set-up position at this stage. Transferring your weight becomes more limited. You’ll need to club up as your swing speed will be slower.  

From a practical point of view, there are challenges. Teeing the ball up. Twinges whilst swinging. Baby booting you while you putt for par. Tipping over and counterbalancing - one leg goes back, while you go forward works best to get the ball out of the hole. After being on my feet for too long I developed attractive ‘cankles.’ At 32 weeks I needed to stop. By baby number 3, I stopped at 30 weeks, as I knew what was coming and wanted to hold energy back in reserve. 

Bending over to get the ball from the hole begins to get tough

Bending over to get the ball from the hole begins to get tough

(Image credit: Lauren Prince)

Lauren has struggled to find golf maternity wear. “I’ve got a wardrobe of lovely golf clothes but I can’t wear any of them. I’m now on two pairs of trousers and the good old hair tie trick (hair tie looped around the button for extra stretch). You have to be inventive and buy stuff you’ll wear again.” The FootJoy watercolour skort has a super stretchy waistband and is a few inches longer. High waisted leggings from Famara are spot on over your bump and paired with a gilet you can cruise around the course in comfort. It’s a case of shopping about and being adaptable. Shoes that provide extra support and comfort such as Skechers Go Golf Pro 2 are essential in keeping achy soles at bay.  

Golf is certainly great for pregnancy. It gets you out in the fresh air, keeps your stamina up ready for the birth and the pacing about at night. It’s a marathon ladies, but such an amazing one and golfing is great preparation for that. 

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth Golf Club she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.