Just to be up front, I am a new member with The Sand Trap and this is my very first post. I'm also a 58 year old male, 5'9" and 165 pounds. I was reasonably athletic when I was a young guy, but as an adult, life sometimes takes you in different directions. I played golf for a year or two in my teens, but quit. Now that I'm considering retirement in a few years, I have become interested again, so back in May I bought a $60 set of clubs off Craigs List (Wilson, graphite, medium flex), bought some of those plastic practice balls and got out in my back yard. After about a month, I thought I wouldn't embarrass myself too badly at the driving range, as long as I could go way to the end and be by myself, and that seemed to work okay. In July I learned what an executive golf course is, found one in my area, thought I might be at least as good as some out there, so I've tried to play once a week. Along the way, I've had to overcome golfer's shoulder and to get golfer's elbow at least semi under control, with the help of a physical therapist.
All I want to do is play well enough to have fun and not get frustrated. I understand the importance of lessons and how one is likely to learn bad habits without them. Still, I'm pretty good at teaching myself up to a point, and I decided I'd postpone lessons until I reached a point of diminishing returns. I think I've just about max'ed out my distance with the irons. Pitching wedge is around 90-100, 8-iron is 125 or so, 5-iron is 140-150. I've hit longer than those distances, but of course I've also hit shorter. I recently bought a 5-hybrid with a senior flex and hit that 165-175 out on the course. Consistency is less of a problem if I can hit at least twice a week. I might badly mis-hit a bucket of 45 balls fewer than 5 times, only slightly mis-hit fewer than 10 times, and mostly solidly hit the rest of the time. My practice routine at the range is to start with the PW and work my way to the long irons.
Understanding that the driver is the most challenging club to hit consistently, I saved that for last to work on. I found I really couldn't hit the driver that came with the original clubs I purchased, so I hit through the summer and fall with the 3-wood. Distances ranged from 150-175 yards (tops), which was frustrating because all the distance charts said that I should be able to hit farther based on the distances with my irons. But this was all when I wasn't trying that hard with the woods and still learning the irons. Recently, having decided that the irons are okay for now, I started paying more attention to driving the ball. I've read a lot of articles, watched various videos, and on and on. The most important thing I did was to take time to understand what it means when someone says, "you need to stop hitting with your arms and start hitting with your body." The other fortunate thing I did was to purchase a 460cc driver with a higher (13 degree) loft to accommodate what I imagine is a slightly under 80 mph swing speed (although I haven't been tested). I've also purchased some low compression golf balls and gotten some very good exercises from my physical therapist that have helped me rotate my hips to the proper back swing position and at least make a decent attempt at keeping the left arm fairly straight. All this had an immediate impact on my drives, which have a fairly decent trajectory now and reach top carry distances of 195 yards. Consistency is definitely my biggest problem here. I hit maybe one in three drives straight.
With all this information, I'm wondering:
- Have I about max'ed out my driving distance now?
- What can I do to get more drives in the fairway?
- How do you develop a consistent swing with the various aches and pains that come with being almost 60 years old?
- What can I do to keep from losing over the Winter all that I've learned since May and then just having to re-learn it when Spring is here again?
- What would you have done differently?
- Where do I go from here?
Comments in any of these areas would be most appreciated.