Stretching/Warming Up: Senior Golfer Tips
Maintaining balance, overall fitness and practicing regularly with a pro are keys to staying on the links well into your golden years
Golf maintains its popularity since many players with reasonable health have the ability to play throughout their entire lives. In fact, I have seen players still playing well in their 90s — while others create a lifelong goal of shooting their ages.
It has been reported seniors over the age of 50 comprise nearly 33 percent of the golf population. Unfortunately, physical challenges and injuries occur more regularly as we get older, such as weight gain, loss of strength, flexibility and arthritis… just to name a few of the common health problems associated with age.
The National Institute on Aging concluded that adults lose about 10 percent of body strength by the time they reach 50 and 12 percent to 18 percent by the time they reach the age of 65. So it should be no surprise seniors are searching for more distance due to the loss of strength, flexibility and clubhead speed.
Similar to most golfers, many seniors begin to over swing in an effort to make up for lost distance. Increasing swing speed will certainly help hit the ball farther, however, it does not guarantee more distance. Every 1 mph of swing speed equates to 3 yards of distance.
Seniors need to swing as hard as they can and still maintain perfect balance throughout the swing. Missing the sweet spot on the club face causes a dramatic loss of distance. Therefore, players need to create solid contact and maximize their swing speed for longer and straighter shots.
Seniors searching for additional distance should focus on balance, tempo and impact position. Tempo directly influences balance throughout the swing. Practice maintaining a smooth tempo and slow take-away to help ingrain an effortless swing. Once your arms and body work cohesively together, you will produce a consistent tempo, maintain balance and ultimately improve impact position.
Practice hitting half and three-quarter shots with your feet together to learn how tempo and balance complement each other. If you swing too fast, you will lose your balance.
Fitness Increases Potential
Gary Player should serve as a role model for every golfer! Player has focused on personal health and fitness his entire life and is currently in amazing physical condition even in his late 70s.
Seniors should consider a strength training and stretching program to improve their overall physical fitness. Improving strength and flexibility will allow seniors to hit consistent and longer shots, and most importantly, help prevent injuries. Visit your doctor, trainer and golf professional to develop a realistic plan to improve your health and golf swing.
Visit Your Local PGA Professional
Schedule an appointment with your local PGA golf professional for a club fitting session and lessons. Lighter equipment, such as lightweight graphite shafts will promote faster swing speeds and longer shots. In addition, the correct shaft flex, kickpoint and ball will improve ball flight and carry distance.
Seniors with arthritis should try an oversize grip. The oversize grip is more comfortable and avoids placing extra pressure on the hands and fingers while they wrap around the grip.
Practice with a Purpose
Productive practice will help keep your skills sharp. Approximately two-thirds of your score will be within 100 yards of the green. However, the majority of golfers spend two-thirds of their time hitting drivers and full swings. As you get older, a loss of distance will result in fewer greens hit in regulation. Focus on the shots around the green that will directly correlate to lower scores. Keep your short game sharp to off-set the loss of distance. A loss in distance does not mean you lose the ability to chip, pitch and putt.