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kmgreensman

Back From 10 Year Layoff, Losing Distance: Will That Come Back?

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Hey guys, 

I never ever ever thought I would quit playing golf for 10 years and never thought I would come back after that long away! BUT I did, and I did! lol  I went from avid golfer who lived on #2 tee of my home course. Played 4 or 5 rounds a week every week, and had for 20 years to none at all for 10 years and trying to make a come back now. 

WHY I QUIT

My last round was final round of our club championship back in 2009. I finished 3rd, my best finish! I was excited about my game. I was playing the best golf of my life. I had gotten my handicap down to a 1.2. I had a weird feeling in my hip while playing that day, and that night I couldn't lift my left leg. I had two ruptured discs in my lower back. I struggled with that for a couple of years and had to have surgery.

I would have awful sciatica for a couple of days if I played a round and it got to them point it wasn't worth it.  So I just kind of drifted away from the game.  Once I did, I never really thought much about it. Don't really know why, but I just started missing it again... so I installed a golf cage and net and optishot turned into a Skytrak to get my game back. 

 

THE GOOD 

The good thing about my layoff is that I could basically start my swing and my putting stroke over.   I had a really long swing that I now realize was just jerking my arms back and not really turning. I went past parallel and tried so much to change it but couldn't  shorten it while I was playing. So had the chance to build my swing from scratch and have a much more consistant swing.  I know much more about the swing now. Also my putting stroke is so much better! I struggled with trying to keep my hands out of my stroke and tried everything from fat grips to claws to pencils to long to belly...you name it. Now I have totally quiet arms and hands and put with my core. That feels so good. I can't tell you how cool it is to putt with an Anser style putter!  

THE BAD

The bad is loss of distance and swing speed. When I quit I was 42 and hit a 8 iron 155 and swing speeds with driver around 110 or so. Now I am two clubs difference with irons mid 90s with driver.  I don't know why that bothers me so much but it does. I really hope I can make up some of that with just building back the swing muscles. Its only been a month maybe so I need to give it some time. 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU GUYS

Are they any other guys out here that quit playing for years and made a comeback that had a similar experience? Is it natural to lose distance in your 50s?  Please share your experiences.  

 

Thanks 

Curt 

 

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I have lost a lot of distance as I aged. I just use a longer club for shorter shots. My scores aren’t as low as they were, but I do work hard with my short game trying to stay somewhat lower.

My hips won’t allow me to turn nearly as much as they did when I was younger. I am sore for a couple of days after playing 18.

I’m still playing with my Ping G15 irons with soft R shafts, so I’m not sure if there is a club that will help me with more distance?

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I'm 68 and quit golf for 30 years or so. Been playing for around 9 months and have about 75% of my distance back. I've gained back about 35 yards since I restarted and expect I will see more as my swing improves and my muscles strengthen and rotation gets better. I'd say keep working on the exercises and swing and be patient.

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I stopped playing for about 5 or 6 years due to back issues. I started again because golf was my refuge.  That was 3-4 years ago.  When I started back, my story was very similar.  I started with a simulator, pitting first.  I rebuilt my swing and fixed a few glaring flaws.  I never had surgery because my back never reached that point, but I did go through PT for several years.  My first year was very frustrating because I had lost so much distance, 2 club lengths on my irons and I struggled to hit 220 on my drives.  I almost quit again, even bought a new driver, which wasn’t the problem.  That off season I worked on my swing again and realized that I was holding back on my swing on the course, either due to my lack of confidence or subconsciously not wanting to hurt my back again.  If you continue the discipline to practice and maintain solid swing mechanics, strengthen your core muscles, work on your flexibility and get out and play regularly, at least some of the distance will come back.   It has for me. 

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I’m 60.  With modern club/shaft/ball technology, I’m as long now as I ever was.  Maybe even a bit longer off the tee due to a recent driver upgrade.

 Assuming no actual continuing physical limitations, I wouldn’t anticipate a problem....

Welcome to the site, and welcome back to the madness!  :beer:

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7 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Assuming no actual continuing physical limitations, I wouldn’t anticipate a problem....

Agree..."assuming no continuing physical limitations". We spend way too much time worrying about the distance thing.

52 minutes ago, Kevlar10 said:

If you continue the discipline to practice and maintain solid swing mechanics, strengthen your core muscles, work on your flexibility and get out and play regularly, at least some of the distance will come back.

Am 73 and in the same boat as @kmgreensman except I don't remember coming that close in a club championship! Anyway I just decided the joy of golf was worth what I had to do to get back to some measure of good play. I addition to what theses others have said, I moved to lighter clubs...light senior-flex shafts including (recently) a lightweight Cleveland driver. I practice setting up in my practice sessions so my overall swing is somewhat normal. AND I bought a recumbent exercise bike with arm exerciser pedals and am on it 2Xday, not necessarily for strength but flexibility; plus resistance bands 2Xday for my rotator cuff muscles. Works for me! It has taken some time, but I am hitting the ball pretty consistently again. I may take a longer club than my partners but who cares if the results are the same? Best wishes to all who struggle a bit in lifetime golf, -Marv

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I’m 75 years old, so for me it is just fun to get out there. I have a Titleist 915 D2 driver that I had shortened. I don’t hit the ball far, but I do hit it pretty straight. I don’t hit greens in regulation anymore, so I rely on my short game. My goal is to consistently play bogey golf, but more times than not I shoot 💯. I have thought about buying new irons, but I actually think that my current irons have the capability of playing better than me.

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I started at age 40 and hit the ball my longest in my late 40's and 50's (technology?).  I started losing serious distance in my early 60's and by 63 had replaced my 2i thru 6i with 2h thru 6h and regained some of the distance.  I have lost a good 20-30 yards yards with my driver at age 67 and 220 is about as long as I get.  But I still can handle the middle tees for now and golf is still as much fun as ever.

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My guess is, that with no physical limitations, you will probably gain most of your original distance back. I would not expect to gain all of it back. It will take some time. 

I lost a lot of distance upon my return, but that was do to physical limitations. I made up for some of the lost distance in other areas of my game. After it was all said, and done, I lost a total of 5, or 6 strokes. 

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9 hours ago, MarvChamp said:

Agree..."assuming no continuing physical limitations". We spend way too much time worrying about the distance thing.

Am 73 and in the same boat as @kmgreensman except I don't remember coming that close in a club championship! Anyway I just decided the joy of golf was worth what I had to do to get back to some measure of good play. I addition to what theses others have said, I moved to lighter clubs...light senior-flex shafts including (recently) a lightweight Cleveland driver. I practice setting up in my practice sessions so my overall swing is somewhat normal. AND I bought a recumbent exercise bike with arm exerciser pedals and am on it 2Xday, not necessarily for strength but flexibility; plus resistance bands 2Xday for my rotator cuff muscles. Works for me! It has taken some time, but I am hitting the ball pretty consistently again. I may take a longer club than my partners but who cares if the results are the same? Best wishes to all who struggle a bit in lifetime golf, -Marv

Great advice MarvChamp!  Thank you for sharing. Those are great ideas. I love the one about lighter clubs. I am going to check that out. I need to start doing strength training I know. I will be honest  I don't know if I can enjoy golf if I don't play well. I hope I can...but I just don't know...I played college basketball on scholarship and that last game was over, I was lost. Golf became that "Competition Fix" I hope I can either get back playing good golf or learn to just take it as it is.  

Thanks again for your help! 

 

Curt 

19 hours ago, Zippo said:

I'm 68 and quit golf for 30 years or so. Been playing for around 9 months and have about 75% of my distance back. I've gained back about 35 yards since I restarted and expect I will see more as my swing improves and my muscles strengthen and rotation gets better. I'd say keep working on the exercises and swing and be patient.

Zippo, that is EXACTLY what I wanted to hear! THANK you. I hoped that some of it might come back. I just haven't given it long enough. I do still need to get stronger..I have always been flexible so I can still get a good shoulder and hip turn, but I know its timing and strength right now.  

 

Thanks, 

 

Curt

10 hours ago, David in FL said:

I’m 60.  With modern club/shaft/ball technology, I’m as long now as I ever was.  Maybe even a bit longer off the tee due to a recent driver upgrade.

 Assuming no actual continuing physical limitations, I wouldn’t anticipate a problem....

Welcome to the site, and welcome back to the madness!  :beer:

Great! I still am playing with my 2009 clubs, I just bought the PXGs and will get new woods soon...so I guess I can expect that to help with this. Thank you very much for taking time to share your experience with me!  

 

Curt 

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11 hours ago, Kevlar10 said:

I stopped playing for about 5 or 6 years due to back issues. I started again because golf was my refuge.  That was 3-4 years ago.  When I started back, my story was very similar.  I started with a simulator, pitting first.  I rebuilt my swing and fixed a few glaring flaws.  I never had surgery because my back never reached that point, but I did go through PT for several years.  My first year was very frustrating because I had lost so much distance, 2 club lengths on my irons and I struggled to hit 220 on my drives.  I almost quit again, even bought a new driver, which wasn’t the problem.  That off season I worked on my swing again and realized that I was holding back on my swing on the course, either due to my lack of confidence or subconsciously not wanting to hurt my back again.  If you continue the discipline to practice and maintain solid swing mechanics, strengthen your core muscles, work on your flexibility and get out and play regularly, at least some of the distance will come back.   It has for me. 

Kevlar, 

Wow, its crazy that our journeys are so much alike! I mean totally! Even the part about holding back. I KNOW I am holding back a little now. When I swing a driver, especially on the simulator I don't swing it like I do outside. I think its subconsciously doing it because I am scared I will hurt my back again or smack the cage.  Isn't it great to start back and be able to fix those flaws we had. OH I struggled with my hands trying to take over everything. I relied on good hand eye coordination in sports and then in golf you are supposed to turn your hands off.  It was hard to do.  The funny thing is that I never even realized that I was swinging with my arms until one time watching a golf channel teacher that said let the body turn take the club back.  It was like an Ah ha moment! I wanted to play again right then. Even played a TopGolf work thing where I tried it out and I could tell a big difference. So I know if I keep it up and my back holds up, I will be a better player, BUT I need to gain some of this yardage back. Another thing I can do now is play it safe.. Or play smart golf. I fired at every pin. I don't care where it was. I tried to hole it out...lol I tried to play more conservative like the pros do and by #3 I always say, the hell with it...lol   That is so cool to play this way. I don't know why I couldn't before. I really do...but anyway. I was even in a Captians Choice and a pin was tucked over a bunker on a short par 3 and I played it 15 feet right of the pin and hit it exactly where I aimed and had 15 footer and made it.  That was all I needed to see.  So also excited about that.  I absolutely love this launch monitor and I know I will put in the time. Just pray the Good Lord lets my back hold up. 

 

THANK you for taking time to share this with me. It really makes me feel so much better!  

Curt 

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I quit playing for nearly 20 years, and I didn’t have that much length when I was younger. At 61 I have been playing again for about 2 years. For me it’s all about knowing my distances and establishing a couple of “go-to” clubs that I can count on. I suspect my distance clubs will always be a struggle so I need to become a really good course manager.

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I quit for 10 years maybe more. I had back surgery in 2005, started a business, so between the two really did not have time to golf. My GF decided back in February she wanted to take up golf so I got back into it. I only hit 60 or 70 balls at practice sessions and I use a Teeter Hangups almost everyday. I have shortened my swing and have less twisting going on. My driver swing speed is the same as 20 years ago but I never could control a fast driver swing I'm still about 95 mph. I hit the range about 3 to 4 times a week and if I get sore I just take a day or two off. We manage to get out twice a week to play. Good luck with your return to golf. I'm 55 next week and heading to the mountains to play for a few days.

Edited by TheWoodBoss

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I quit playing golf for 3 years and when I came back I was hitting the distances I was used to after a few weeks, I'm in my 20s though. My dad was a long hitter most of his life, but started losing a lot of distance in his mid 50s without taking any breaks from golf.

I do stretches (almost) every day to help me get a little more distance out of my swing. There are a bunch of regimens online that may help. For me, hamstring and lat stretches have been the most effective. I hope you can find some more yards out there!

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OP

That's a huge loss of distance in 10 years....110 at 42 and now 95ish at 52?

I'm 58...in my 30's, 40's...driver mph was about 100-101....now 94-98....could be higher if I worked out.

I'm the opposite...while most move up a tee block as they age....I'll play a longer tee block if available.....why?

I've always played the blue tees for 43+ years....I started playing with a friend 4 years ago who is 18 years younger...we gamble and birdies are rewarded....to diminish his chances to birdie I suggested we play tees (if available) a bit longer than the blues.

With the newer technology (though all my clubs are about 6 years old), I find myself not that much shorter or maybe not at all from when I was golfing in my 30's & 40's.

In the summer, I like to play tees that are 6400-6700.

Have I played at 7000?...yes...but it's very rare....it's a challenge and if we do play at that length.....but it's just to do something a bit different.

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On 6/15/2019 at 7:01 PM, kmgreensman said:

Hey guys, 

I never ever ever thought I would quit playing golf for 10 years and never thought I would come back after that long away! BUT I did, and I did! lol  I went from avid golfer who lived on #2 tee of my home course. Played 4 or 5 rounds a week every week, and had for 20 years to none at all for 10 years and trying to make a come back now. 

WHY I QUIT

My last round was final round of our club championship back in 2009. I finished 3rd, my best finish! I was excited about my game. I was playing the best golf of my life. I had gotten my handicap down to a 1.2. I had a weird feeling in my hip while playing that day, and that night I couldn't lift my left leg. I had two ruptured discs in my lower back. I struggled with that for a couple of years and had to have surgery.

I would have awful sciatica for a couple of days if I played a round and it got to them point it wasn't worth it.  So I just kind of drifted away from the game.  Once I did, I never really thought much about it. Don't really know why, but I just started missing it again... so I installed a golf cage and net and optishot turned into a Skytrak to get my game back. 

 

THE GOOD 

The good thing about my layoff is that I could basically start my swing and my putting stroke over.   I had a really long swing that I now realize was just jerking my arms back and not really turning. I went past parallel and tried so much to change it but couldn't  shorten it while I was playing. So had the chance to build my swing from scratch and have a much more consistant swing.  I know much more about the swing now. Also my putting stroke is so much better! I struggled with trying to keep my hands out of my stroke and tried everything from fat grips to claws to pencils to long to belly...you name it. Now I have totally quiet arms and hands and put with my core. That feels so good. I can't tell you how cool it is to putt with an Anser style putter!  

THE BAD

The bad is loss of distance and swing speed. When I quit I was 42 and hit a 8 iron 155 and swing speeds with driver around 110 or so. Now I am two clubs difference with irons mid 90s with driver.  I don't know why that bothers me so much but it does. I really hope I can make up some of that with just building back the swing muscles. Its only been a month maybe so I need to give it some time. 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU GUYS

Are they any other guys out here that quit playing for years and made a comeback that had a similar experience? Is it natural to lose distance in your 50s?  Please share your experiences.  

 

Thanks 

Curt 

 

Are you striking it out of the middle?  Age makes a difference, but you can train for speed- get those superspeed sticks and a speed monitor.  Also make sure you're getting solid contact- measure the ball speed.  Further, get in shape and workout if you're not already.

Nonetheless, distance makes a big difference to level of play.  But if you strike it solid and manage your misses in a reasonably predictable manner, you can still play good golf.

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If you were 20 when you gave up there is a good chance you will get your distance back. If you were 60 and just took up again, forget it, you won't. 

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