You’re probably thinking that instructing senior golfers on getting the most out of their game is the same as teaching golfers in their twenties and thirties, but guess what? You’d be wrong, very wrong.
Senior golfers have several different needs and requirements when it comes to improving their game, and coaches and players need to be aware of them. For example, decreased flexibility and strength mean that most senior golfers lose a considerable amount of distance with the driver and their long irons.
Senior golfers tend to think that their best playing days are behind them when, in fact, their best days are still ahead of them. With a little bit of guidance and direction, senior golfers can start to score lower than they ever have.
Simply by focusing on the strengths of their games they’ve picked up during those years of playing golf, their lowest scores are right around the corner.
In this article, I’ll provide simple and practical tips on:
- The mental component of the game
- Improving strength
- Improving flexibility
- Choosing the right equipment
- Tips on increasing distance and
- Taking advantage of your short game
So, although you’re getting into your twilight years, all hope is not lost for your golf game. Some simple coaching tips, an open mind, and a little bit of hard work are all you need to start outplaying and, more importantly, outscoring those younger golfers in your playing group.
Play Your Own Game
It’s often been said that the most important part of real estate on the golf course is the 5 inches between your ears, and in the case of senior golfers, this adage couldn’t be more accurate. Senior golfers have one substantial advantage over their younger playing partners; their experience.
While the younger golfers in the group are becoming emotional over a few loose shots, the senior golfer knows the tide will turn; it’s just a matter of staying patient and not getting in your own way. So when the youngsters are panicking, the senior golfer calmly goes about his business, methodically plodding his way around the golf course, with complete confidence in his own game.
Your best golf can still be ahead by taking advantage of the experience you’ve gained over the last 30-40-50 years. No, maybe you cant drive as far as you used to or stripe a 3-iron 230 yards, but the experience and knowledge you have are much more valuable than distance and power.
Slow And Steady Are The Keys To Better Scores
We all know the story of the rabbit and the tortoise; slow and steady wins out when it comes to golf. Whether you’re young or old, female or male, or a beginner or pro, stable, consistent golf wins out time and time again.
When you’re playing in a group of younger golfers, it’s easy to become intimidated and impressed by the length of their tee shots; this can lead many seniors to try to emulate their more youthful counterparts by bombing it off the tee; unfortunately, this mindset only leads to disaster.
When standing on the first tee, leave your ego behind and focus on the areas of your game that you know will get the job done. For each golfer, these areas will vary; for some, it may be their putting and short play; for others, it may be their bunker play and mid-irons. Let the youngsters bomb it off the tee because, more likely than not, at some point, their drives will start sailing out-of-bounds.
Contrary to what many golfers believe, golf is all about limiting your bad shots and not about your “super” or “hero” shots.” Slowly gathering pars as you plod around the course is the easiest way to end up with a good score in the 80s. Remember shooting in the 80s is an excellent score for any golfer, not just seniors.
So just as you should when you walk into the gym, check your ego at the front door. Focus on your strengths, such as your experience and putting, and keep racking up those pars.
Be Comfortable With Your Golf Swing
Many seniors love the game of golf, and if they’re not out on the golf course honing their skills, they’re sitting at the clubhouse bar watching their favorite players on the PGA Tour. The trouble with this is that senior golfers start emulating Tiger Woods’s golf swing, forgetting that their bodies aren’t up for the challenge.
Now I’m not saying that you give up and forget trying to improve your swing; what I am saying is the reality is your body will not allow you to do the things it did in the past. Your swing is your swing, and if you get comfortable with knowing your ball flight and using it to your advantage, you can still play some outstanding golf.
Every senior golfer has different swing dynamics; some golfers have beautiful rhythmical swings yet never hit the fairway or green, while other golfers have some of the worst swings you’ve ever seen yet continually hit every fairway and green on the course.
There’s an old Chinese proverb, “you can throw a piece of paper on the floor 100 different ways, but it still lands on the floor, ” this same adage rings true for senior golfers and their golf swings. Embrace your age and your swing dynamics; don’t fight them
Eight Tips For Increasing Your Distance
Ok, so you can be forgiven for thinking that you can’t improve your driving distance because you’re in your twilight years. But I’m going to share with you eight simple and practical tips that can help increase and maintain your current driving distance.
Some of these tips revolve around choosing the right equipment, such as golf balls and clubs, while others have a physical component like stretching and working out; regardless, if you want to increase your distance, these tips are must-reads.
Time For An Upgrade
If you’re playing a driver or a set of clubs that are more than five years old, you’re probably ready for an upgrade. Technology these days moves fast, and the driver and clubs you’re using now are probably heavy and limiting your distance. You can swing faster with lighter clubs, which equates to increased distance and the bonus of reduced injury. Now that’s a win-win.
New Golf Balls
If you’re playing one of the balls that the pros use, like the Titleist Pro V1, then you’re limiting your distance. You need a low compression ball that compresses at a much slower swing speed and thus provides you with more distance. Playing with low-compression golf balls can transform your game and turn back the years.
- Power; Playability; Distance
- High energy react core; Maximizes distance off of the tee
- Soft ionomer cover; Responsive soft game performance
Learn To Hit A Draw
Many seniors play with a fade, which means the ball flight is from left to right for right-handed golfers. One of the best ways to increase your distance is by learning to hit a draw. By drawing the ball from right to left, you can gain between 10 to 15-yards off the tee, which is nothing to sneeze at. This tip does take some time and requires plenty of hard work on the practice range, but once you can master the draw, you’ll wonder how you ever played without it.
Experiment With New Grips
Do you want even more distance? Try moving your grip to what we call a “stronger” grip. This means your right-hand moves clockwise for right-handed players, placing your right hand underneath the club’s grip. This “stronger” grip can really add some extra distance, especially coupled with your new drawing ball flight.
Hit The Gym
I’ll keep this next tip short and sharp. If you want to maintain or increase your driving distance, make the gym your new best friend. Lifting weights and performing cardio three times a week will increase your distance and have the added benefits of improving your overall health and well-being and significantly reducing your chance of serious injury.
Don’t be afraid to use tools such as medicine balls or swing weights. These tools help you increase your strength and power, and the best thing is they require very little technical expertise and are relatively cheap. Swing weights, for example, simply fit directly on your club, making it heavier; You can use swing weights as a training movement or a warm-up before the round. Swing weights also indirectly improve your flexibility and can significantly increase your joint mobility, leading to increased power and distance off the tee.
- Package included: 2 x Golf Weight Rings.
- Metal and Rubber
- Soft polymer coating prevents the swing weight from scratching your clubs
- Each ring adds 5 oz. of weight to the club head
- Warm up your muscle, Increase your flexibility, strength, distance and control
Stretching is the easiest way to increase your distance and, again, has the added benefit of improving your health and reducing the chance of injury. You don’t need to perform Olympic-style stretching routines or attend hot yoga five times a week. 15 minutes a day performing basic stretches like hamstring, lower back, and hip stretches is all you need.
Finding The Correct Shaft Flex
The flex of your shaft can play a significant role in determining how far you’re hitting off the tee or from the fairway with your long irons. The best way to check if you’re using suitable shafts is to book a session with an expert club fitter. Pro shops and golf shops have state-of-the-art software to measure and assess your driving distance and swing efficiency. You’ll be amazed at just how much distance you can gain by playing with the correct shafts.
Tips To Improve Putting For Seniors
As you get older, one of the first things to go is your ability to maintain soft hands on those short and delicate three-footers. If you watch the PGA Seniors Tour, you’ll see many players putting with long-putters or side-saddle putters. These putters anchor to your body, taking away the possibility of shaky or jerky hands, which can cause havoc on shorter putts.
Many seniors at my home golf club use anchor putters, and to be honest, the vast majority of those golfers have raved about how much of a difference it has made to their confidence and putting stroke. Because they can now putt confidently, they seem to be making a lot more putts, and many have reduced the number of times they three-putt during their rounds. Make sure you take the time to choose a putter that suits your game.
Ever notice how the great putters like Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw hold their finish? Well, this expert tip can do wonders for your putting, particularly as you get older. By holding your finish, you eliminate any jerky movements and mitigate the chance of “stabbing” at the ball, which many amateur golfers, not just seniors, are guilty of.
Next time you’re on the practice green, try holding your finish regardless of how good or bad you’ve hit the putt. Holding the putt increases your feel and provides you with instant feedback.
Ten Bonus Tips For Senior Golfers
Besides the tips I’ve already outlined above, here are ten bonus tips that are easy to implement and, more importantly, have tangible and real results out on the golf course.
Alignment Is Critical
Making sure you’re aligned correctly is something every golfer, not just seniors, should regularly check. Simply laying down two clubs is probably the easiest way to ensure correct alignment. That being said, I prefer dedicated alignment sticks that are lighter than your clubs and have specific markings to help with your alignment. Using alignment sticks also eliminates the chance of damaging your clubs by accidentally hitting one on your downswing.
- A Great Golf Training Aid: The alignment sticks are designed with pointed tips that are there to get grounded in your alignment and help improve your swing path and aim so that to hit the ball rightly.
- Versatile Training Tool: With these aiming sticks, you can practice your stance(shoulders, hips, and feet aligned), let you maintain the correct golf swing posture. Used for ball alignment, full swing, short game, putting, suitable for both indoor or outdoor.
- Folding Design: Includes 3 sections of measuring 122cm/48inches full length, 17.5inches length after folding which make it easily fit in a golf bag for compact space-saving in size.
- Lightweight Material: The training sticks are made of high-quality resistant and lightweight fiberglass and are not easy to break. Each stick weighs only 91g for effortless carrying.
- Perfect for Beginner Players: Make sure that you are parallel to your alignment stick and always point it toward your target, the golf swing trainers are important for beginner players who want to perfect their swing form and help improve their aim.
No More Cold Hands
There’s nothing worse than trying to put with freezing cold hands, and unfortunately, as you get older, this problem is quite prevalent. One of the easiest ways to remedy cold hands is by buying a pair of golf gloves specifically designed to keep your hands nice and warm.
Keeping your grip nice and loose is an excellent way to get a little more distance out of your shots and significantly improve your “feel” when the club contacts the ball. Now, this tip is not to be confused with the “stronger grip” I outlined earlier. Here, I’m referring to holding the grip softer in your hands by imagining the grip is a baby bird.
The Ten Finger Grip
The ten-finger grip is not the most well-known grip going around, but it can help senior golfers who may be losing their grip strength. The ten-finger grip is not for everyone, and it will take some time to get used to, but it can be beneficial for some senior golfers as it allows them to use all their fingers to grip the club.
Maintaining Correct Posture
As we get older, our bodies start to give out, and the area that tends to give out first is our knees. When your knees become weaker, you tend to hunch over when addressing the ball. Taking some time out each day to stretch and perform a few exercises can do wonders for your knee pain and improve flexibility. You can start by doing three sets of 10 bodyweight squats daily, being sure only to go as low as your knees allow.
Getting to the club early and performing a good workout is absolutely paramount for any senior golfer. An effective warm-up should consist of doing some light cardio such as the stationary bike and spending 10 to 15 minutes on the practice range, hitting a few balls with each of the clubs in your bag. Warming up will increase your distance and improve your flexibility and help keep your joints mobile and lessen your chance of injury.
Master Your Short Game
Mastering your short game requires time, hard work, and dedication and if you’re looking for ways to lower your score as you get older, improving your short game is the sure-fire answer. As a senior golfer, the vast majority of your practice time should be spent chipping and putting on and around the practice green. If you can get “up-and-down” consistently, your scores will improve dramatically.
Get Rid of Your Long Irons
Long irons are challenging for any golfers to hit, especially seniors who have lost their ability to swing freely and quickly. Senior golfers are much better off getting rid of their long irons and substituting them with hybrid clubs or fairway woods like the popular 5 and 7 woods. Hybrid clubs and fairway woods are easier to hit and allow senior golfers to get the ball airborne quicker and with less effort.
Take Advantage Of Your Experience
This is the one significant advantage all senior golfers have over their younger counterparts; experience. We all know that life experience is invaluable, and the same rings true on the golf course. All of those years of playing and experiencing the ups and downs of 1000s of rounds of golf give you a distinct advantage over the rest of the field.
When the younger players are losing their cool, getting angry, and more than likely “spitting the dummy,” the senior golfer can sit back and watch them self-destruct. Use your years of golf and life experience to stay calm in the eye of the storm and shoot the best scores of your life.
Practice Your Bunker Play
Aim to spend at least a minimum of two to three practice sessions in the bunker each week. Getting up-and-down out of the bunker will not only impress your playing partners but will improve your scorecard too.
The 18th Hole
Well, that’s a wrap on this comprehensive guide to improving your game as you move into your twilight years.
Hopefully, you’ve learned some tips and gained some confidence knowing that there are things you can do to improve all areas of your game as you get older.
Remember, most of the tips in the guide are easy to implement and provide tangible results that are clear for you to see. So embrace your age and start looking at it as a colossal advantage rather than a disadvantage.