Golfing For Seniors: Best Tips and Tricks To Improve Your Game
Golf is a great sport for keeping you young. It’s a relatively low-impact, low-injury game that you can play alone or in a group, in a league or a tight-knit foursome or your spouse. It’s accessible for people who may have mobility issues, and for seniors looking to be more active. It’s a great way to spend time outdoors getting the blood flowing.
Golfing has shown to have mental benefits, as the problem-solving involved in golf strategy activates your frontal cortex and increases blood flow to your brain. There’s no feeling quite like the endorphin rush that accompanies a long birdie putt dropping into the hole! Golf and some other recreational activities are helpful to destress.
Whether you’re a long-time golfer looking to maintain your level of play or a recent retiree who’s just taking up the game later in life, conventional golf wisdom may not apply to your situation. Stiff backs and joints that aren’t as spry as they used to be, may limit your hip and shoulder rotations. As you get older, your swing speed will likely slow down and you’ll need to make adjustments.
Much like a power pitcher who learns to be more cagey and location-based later in their career, like Pedro Martinez, senior golfers can make some basic changes to improve their game and keep scores low.
1. Bend Your Arm
One lesson that’s been drilled into young golfers since time immemorial is “keep your left arm straight.” And for good reason: the left arm staying straight keeps your hands high and helps drop the club into the slot on the downswing with fewer moving parts. As you get older, keeping your arm straight through the backswing becomes abbreviated, reducing clubhead speed. As your backswing gets shorter, try bending your left elbow (or right elbow, if you play left-handed) to help lengthen your swing and generate more rotational energy on the downswing.
This works not only on regular full-swing shots, but also on sand shots. Many seniors have trouble generating the clubhead speed required to splash the ball out of the sand, so a little bend of the elbow will help increase the centrifugal force of the clubhead and provide that extra speed you need.
2. Play the Proper Tees
This really applies to everyone, but seniors especially. So often, good players ruin their scores and their moods by playing from the wrong tees. Golf course architects design landing areas for certain yardages, so if you’re not able to hit those landing spots from the back tees, you should try moving up a tee box or three. You should be hitting the same club as a scratch golfer hits on par 3s, so if they’re hitting a 9-iron from 155, you should be playing a 105 tee where you’re also hitting a 9-iron.
Golf’s recent “Tee It Forward” campaign focused on the fact that there’s no shame playing from the forward tees because it makes the game more fun. The most fun, stirring part of golf is standing over a birdie putt and watching it go in. If you’re playing from tees that are too far away to hit the green in regulation, you’re cheating yourself from that feeling!
3. Try a Long Putter
As you age, you may notice a slight loss of fine motor control. While that doesn’t affect your full swing as much because of the rotational force of the clubhead, it can wreak havoc on your putting. So what if the USGA says that anchoring your putter is against the rules? Unless you’re playing in tournaments, there’s nothing stopping you from trying out a belly putter or a broomstick that you anchor to your chest. It’ll lower your scores and make the game more fun.