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HighlandLaird

How should seniors cope with loss of distance?

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I am 72 and have played golf since I was 13. My lowest handicap was plus one, in the days the lowest handicap one could hold was scratch, with current internationalists on plus one and the National (British) Amateur Champion on plus two.

My driving and particularly iron distances are rapidly diminishing, with my drives averaging around 220 yards and 5 iron about 150 yards.

What distances should be expected at my age do you think, and what steps can I take to counteract my loss of distance?  My home course has 11 par 4 holes, and 7 are out of reach in 2 shots nowadays, so I struggle to play to my handicap -----would you join another, shorter course??!!!  I've tried whippier shafts, longer clubs, softer balls and nothing seems to help.

What would you do, other than stop playing???!!

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220 is pretty dang good at 72.  I would say that is great.  Move up a tee or two if you can, have fun and keep playing. Cheers!

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You could pick up one of the old non-conforming big bertha II drivers online and maybe even put in a slightly longer shaft. A skilled player like yourself could probably get an extra 15-25 yards with the right setup.
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I am 72 and have played golf since I was 13. My lowest handicap was plus one, in the days the lowest handicap one could hold was scratch, with current internationalists on plus one and the National (British) Amateur Champion on plus two.

My driving and particularly iron distances are rapidly diminishing, with my drives averaging around 220 yards and 5 iron about 150 yards.

What distances should be expected at my age do you think, and what steps can I take to counteract my loss of distance?  My home course has 11 par 4 holes, and 7 are out of reach in 2 shots nowadays, so I struggle to play to my handicap -----would you join another, shorter course??!!!  I've tried whippier shafts, longer clubs, softer balls and nothing seems to help.

What would you do, other than stop playing???!!


As an aging golfer myself, I find myself concentrating on maintaining flexibility and stretching to retain a full swing arc.

Also, keeping the body trained to allow my limbs (arms, legs, hips, shoulders) correct movements.

As I get older, it requires more work each and every year.

Give up the game? (Never)

Enjoy the fact that you can still play and seem to be still playing well.

Other thoughts would be a few changes to some of your equipment. (replace irons with hybryd's or loftier fairway woods)

Club Rat

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Thank you!

I think I need to use the ladies' tees----I'm going to see if they drum me out of the club for using them!

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Thank you!

I think I need to use the ladies' tees----I'm going to see if they drum me out of the club for using them!

"Forward tees", not ladies'. ;-)

And at 72, you're entitled! :beer:

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As an aging golfer myself, I find myself concentrating on maintaining flexibility and stretching to retain a full swing arc.

Also, keeping the body trained to allow my limbs (arms, legs, hips, shoulders) correct movements.

As I get older, it requires more work each and every year.

Give up the game? (Never)

Enjoy the fact that you can still play and seem to be still playing well.

Other thoughts would be a few changes to some of your equipment. (replace irons with hybryd's or loftier fairway woods)

Club Rat


Great advice.  One area where seniors have an advantage is generally they have more time and opportunity to prepare the body for golf.  Sometimes the body needs more time to warm-up, right?  But pick a few things that you can do well and that will help keep you playing happily and on the good side of the sod.

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The recent "Play It Forward" initiative is a good one, I believe.  There are websites out there that calculate suitable course length based on how far we drive the ball and even our 5-iron distance.  Maybe a Google search on Play It Forward might provide you with some information.

I calculated my driving distance and course length came back to 5800-6200 yards being a comfortable course length for me to play. Pretty spot on.  I can play to my hdcp most days on a course of this length.  If I play well, it's a low-80s round.  If I hack it up, low-90s.  When a course measures beyond 6200 and plays 6400-6500 yards, the par 4s become 3-shot holes and not fair for my distance capability.

It's more fun to 'right-size' the course based on how far we hit the ball.  When you do, it's about having the opportunity to make pars and have a run at a few birdies each round.  Conversely, it's no fun getting beat up playing 400+ yard par-4s all day.  Remember, this is supposed to be FUN!!!

dave

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Some good advice above.  Compared to you I am but a youngster, 66 going on 67.  You sir however have a longer drive than I do, my driver carry is 207 yards, though my 5 iron carry is 160 yards.  I have messed with various driver lofts, also went to graphite iron shafts.  I have replaced the long irons with hybrids, a 3 and 4.  Even have a 5 but dragging my feet on pulling the 5 iron out of the bag.  Another area you can get a few more yards is the ball, try all of them, interesting how some go farther than others.

Fitness is the key I am told.  Went to a TPI assessment, was all fired up that I was going to get back my lost yardage of yesterday.  My hip rotation was a total disappointment and basically was non-existent.  After some exercise I ended up at the doctors office, I have degenerative arthritic hips joints.  Seems when I do stretch/rotate I then discover why my body has been slow to move.  Currently living with it and accepting the lack of rotational speed available.

I have moved up, my limit is 6200 yard course but to be honest anything above 6000 has become a real struggle.

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For the longest time I played with older but very skilled gentlemen. Part of the game I always admired was how sharp their game was once they got with in a club of the green. Chipping and putting plus the ability to loft a hybrid shot to the green was far superior to my game at the time. Now I'm the guy who likes to show off my chipping and putting. We always encouraged the older gents to use the forward tee, even when an occasional drive would "Blew By You" by a good 25 yards. My advice... play the forward tees and save your equipment dollars for car rental or more rounds of golf. Another penalty against older players is the upcoming ban on tall putters. My tall putter has saved a great deal of wear and tear on my back. Angers me that the PGA will let you use a satelite dish as a putter head but say my 48 inch putter is ruining the game? I've challenged many playing partners to give the tall putter a try if they think it is so much of an advantage. Only takes a couple of holes for them to understand it is just a different technique and not some cheating advantage.

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HighlandLaird,

I'm 63 years old. My wife and I went to a Golf Expo in January. The expo had several presentations on golf fitness. A few tidbits:

  • Certainly warm up before you play, but also stretch after you play . Your muscles are warm then, and stretching of warm muscles can help your flexibility, and lessen stiffness.
  • If you have any ailing joints, or old injuries which bother you, go get a motion analysis from a physical therapist who works with golfers. You might be able to make set-up and swing adjustments to improve your swing motion, and lessen the chance you'll injure yourself.

I have an arthritic right hip, so I have to make sure I work out regularly. My gym is about a mile from my golf club, so on my way to the course I often will stop off and do 10 minutes on the elliptical bike..

For fairway woods, I went from 3W + 5W to 4W + 7W. A couple of extra degrees of loft makes all the difference in the world.

And, make the most of graphite shafts. These days, graphite has a lot of different weights, flexes and kick points available.

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One of life's greatest challenges...accept the aging body.  Some guys quit golf and take up chess.  Some guys take up non-competitive sports, eg, sea kayaking.

This challenge may be greater for the very competitive player who feels diminished when unable to perform at previous levels.  And no, viagra won't help the golf problem.  Don't we wish!!

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I used to pound the ball regularly 300, but have lost a few yards since turning 57. I still get 265-275 off the tee without overswining. If you were once a scratch golfer, you would know how to use your legs and turn to create power.
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I used to pound the ball regularly 300, but have lost a few yards since turning 57. I still get 265-275 off the tee without overswining. If you were once a scratch golfer, you would know how to use your legs and turn to create power.

I'm sure he knows how to create power, the problem is when we get in our mid 60's to our 70's, little things like bad joints, back problems, lose of muscle, and maybe a few other things creep in, and we have to make changes to our swings to compensate for them.

I know if my bad back  disappeared, I could probably be a decent golfer, having that nagging pain in my lower back, doesn't allow for a good turn, nor a good finish, so every shot is a crap shoot, so to speak.

I doubt I'll be golfing at 72, even if I live that long.. :-$

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If you compare yourself to anybody else, including a younger you, you will always come up short. Just do 100 percent of what you are capable of doing right now, and you will have no regrets. After all, what more can you do at any age?

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For the longest time I played with older but very skilled gentlemen. Part of the game I always admired was how sharp their game was once they got with in a club of the green. Chipping and putting plus the ability to loft a hybrid shot to the green was far superior to my game at the time. Now I'm the guy who likes to show off my chipping and putting. We always encouraged the older gents to use the forward tee, even when an occasional drive would "Blew By You" by a good 25 yards. My advice... play the forward tees and save your equipment dollars for car rental or more rounds of golf. Another penalty against older players is the upcoming ban on tall putters. My tall putter has saved a great deal of wear and tear on my back. Angers me that the PGA will let you use a satelite dish as a putter head but say my 48 inch putter is ruining the game? I've challenged many playing partners to give the tall putter a try if they think it is so much of an advantage. Only takes a couple of holes for them to understand it is just a different technique and not some cheating advantage.

No one is banning your "tall putter"......

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For a bad back, do plently of situps / crunches. Bad backs usually stem from bad abdominals (unless you actually strained a disk). Disclaimer: Consult your physician before starting any training routine. :) Distance comes from relaxed muscles, not flexed muscles. Lots of vids on relaxing your swing for increased istance.
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