“If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play at it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.”
– Bob Hope
At 42, Tiger Woods won at the East Lake Golf Club on the 2018 PGA Tour championship, beating Billy Horschel, a player 11 years his junior. After a string of injuries and with the majority of major golf championship winners being in the region of 31-35 years old, Tiger beat the odds on the course. If there’s one thing that we can learn from this win, it’s that, with determination, you can certainly keep your edge – despite your body working against you.
We’re not saying that you can defy the laws of nature and, as you age, your performance will naturally deteriorate. This blog post won’t provide a magic answer to prevent this from ever happening but it will certainly help to advise on what measures you can take to slow this down, helping you to enjoy your time on the green for longer. Read on to discover 4 handy and actionable golf tips for seniors looking to keep the edge in their golf game.
Enjoy Your Game More by Knowing Your Limits
It can be hard to recognise our own limits, especially when we’re used to performing to a certain standard. As we get older and our performance slips, frustration and stubbornness can often creep in, getting the better of us. The best thing you can do is let go of that obstinacy, listen to your body, and adapt your game play to your ever-changing limits.
The first of our golf tips for seniors is to be realistic about the relationship between your physical ability and the conditions of the course. If a course is hilly or has a lot of forced carries, you’ll tire yourself out quickly, ultimately having a negative impact on your game. When you get older, difficult courses present a challenge with very little reward. There’s also no shame in leaving the tips behind and playing the forward tees.
Take the weather into consideration. Golf may be regarded as a year round sport but this flexibility changes when you get to a certain age. Older bodies are biologically sensitive to the cold, a fact of life that we can’t combat. Choosing to play in the cold not only has an effect on your mobility but also on your enjoyment of the game, therefore defeating the true purpose of the sport.
Remember that the most important thing is to actually enjoy the game. If you relax and have fun, chances are you’ll find you play better, ditching the duffs and pulling in the pure shots.
Master Your Swing
Many say that a strong swing needs power and flexibility, so what does that mean for those of us that aren’t as strong or flexible as we once were? Many senior golfers who struggle with rotation automatically revert to the “Merry-Go Round” swing where the arms swing straight in the backswing and finish high in the follow through. If you particularly struggle with rotation or find yourself doing this, try rotating your back foot outwards around 20-30 degrees.
A natural part of ageing is a reduction in our physical strength but you’ll be amazed by the difference a good grip can make on your swing. The best way to improve your grip is to rotate your hands slightly clockwise on the club. If you’re not sure on the correct angle, start by taking your stance and place your club in the normal position for swinging. Next, take your right hand and lay the back of it on your right thigh. Finally, bring your hand back up to the club and that’ll be the angle that you want your hand on the club to ensure a tight and strong grip.
Although you might not be able to get the distance you once did, if you master your swing in relation to your physical ability then you won’t be far off the green after teeing off.
Keep Fit and Always Warm Up
You’ve heard it before – “always warm up and stretch before any physical activity” – but how many times have you received and then ignored this advice? Well, ignore no more; this seemingly obvious tip will make all the difference to your play.
Always get to the course early and warm up for a minimum of five minutes before your game. The main areas in which you’ll want to stretch out the muscles and joints are:
Do some research on some light stretch exercises that focus on these areas – and do them regularly. It won’t be long before you notice an improvement in the flexibility and strength of your muscles, giving you the best chance for a great game.
To give you a head start, we’ve added some basic stretches below (always check with a medical professional to ensure that it is safe to attempt these):
- Improve your shoulder flexibility with some simple shoulder rotations, rolling them forwards and backwards.
- Build your ankle strength with cal raises and seated ankle rotations, rotating them clockwise and anticlockwise.
Although regular stretch exercises will aid in building your strength, you’ll want to put minimal strain on your muscles and joints as you get older. The more you push yourself, the greater chance that you’ll injure yourself, so remember to keep your exercises light. Consult your doctor if you have any issues with your physical health and you’re nervous about any of the stretches. What might be good for someone else might not necessarily be best for you.
Invest in Equipment
The last of our golf tips for seniors is all about having the right gear for your game. The nature of the sport means that you’ll be twisting and lifting repetitively, putting strain on the same muscles over and over again. This strain results in back, shoulder, wrist, and elbow pain being amongst the most common injuries in golf. Playing with the right equipment will be one of the best investments you make and, incorporated with stretching, will help to prevent these issues and so make a huge difference to your game.
Carrying your bag or pushing and pulling a standard trolley soon tires you out as well as increases the risk of repetitive strain injuries. Using an electric golf trolley, however, eases the load of your equipment – and you’ll be surprised by the positive impact it has on your play.
Not only does an electric golf trolley reduce your risk of injury, you’ll also be able to maintain energy and stamina for a longer and more successful game. If you have a spare five minutes, why not take a look at our blog post on the benefits of an electric golf trolley to learn more about this fairway essential. You may also want to look into trying a longer putter to reduce the stress put on your back.
In a nutshell, it’s all about taking the right steps to look after your body and remembering to have fun: these are the true secrets behind keeping your edge in golf as you age.
If you’re interested in investing in an electric golf trolley or any other golf equipment, have a look at what we have to offer in our golf products at the Pro Rider Leisure website. If you’re unsure about a product or have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with our friendly and experienced team who are happy to help in every way that they can.