Wednesday, September 23, 2009
One morning, you will wake up and find that where you used to hit the ball two hundred and fifty yards, you are now averaging one hundred and eighty to two hundred yards. If you are any kind of a student of the game, you will panic and immediately grab your golf bag and head out to the range.
For the next two years or so, you will watch countless videos, change your grip, change your stance, widen your swing arc and try to speed up your golf swing. Of course, the result is a complete disaster. For these two years or so, you become a basket case and even threaten to give up the game.
Then one day, you are golfing with a robust eighty-five year gent who is thoroughly enjoying being out there and pooping the ball out, straight down the middle, about a hundred and twenty yards. You will go home that night, reflect on the day's event and start to formulate a brand new philosophy on your practice routine for tomorrow at the driving range.
For the super seniors, there should be a gradual modification in the golf swing and attitude. I believe that these modifications are perhaps twenty percent physical and eighty percent mental.
Physically, continue to do your daily calisthenics, do some curls as well as mild exercises with ten-pound weights. It is important to keep your legs strong and your arms and torso muscles in good shape.
On your golf swing, do not try to emulate Tiger Woods, taking the club back to the parallel. When you take your club back, just stop at the point of first resistance, and smoothly transition to the forward swing. A smooth swing throughout is the operative word. Do not hurry or grit your teeth, trying to slash the ball with a vicious fore-swing. It would definitely help to practice counting, such as one-two-three-four...swing.
Practice your short game more than you do the long game. Practice chipping from different distances using different clubs. In other words, learn the trajectory of each club so that ultimately you find the club that you are most comfortable with. At the senior age, I believe getting to know one club for all chipping distances is better than changing clubs for different distances. My favourite is the pitching wedge. It has the loft as well as a good run.
As mentioned earlier, eighty percent of your approach to super senior golf should be mental. You must accept the fact that you no longer have the physical strength or mental reflex that you had, even at the age of sixty. Accept the fact that you can no longer boom the ball two hundred and fifty yards; but do learn to swing within yourself and in the middle of the fairways and greens. You may be on in three, but if you can one putt, as you have been practicing, you can still get a par.
Par or score keeping, moreover, should not be your main concern. Your game should be made up mainly of acceptable pars or bogies with a smattering of holes that we term 'disasters'. This should be considered as an acceptable round of golf at this age, so go out there and enjoy the companionship, the sunshine and the walk in the park. And the next time you are vacationing at one of the beautiful golf resorts, got to the spa for a massage. You have earned it!