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How to Improve as a Senior (60+)


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My dad has always been able to whip my ass at golf until recently. His handicap has now slipped to 5 and I am 3 something. Last season, I was just too long for him and my putting put him to shame.

His main problem is flexibility and he has developed a flat 3/4 swing. Put him within 140yds from the hole he still pretty handy but these days he doesn't get his drives long enough to get into this zone.

His second problem is putting. Two putting most greens is his normal but he doesn't sink enough in the 4 to 7 foot range.

Any advice would be welcome as I miss the tight competition we used to have and I would love him to be the senior club champion again. ( He last won in 2018)

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I'll take the first swing at this. At 50 years old, I can see this in my future. Obviously father time is undefeated but I'm trying to hold him at bay as long as I can. Here's some suggestions. 

Call me a dick- and I'm happy for anyone to do so, but we have a 60+ year old who has recently "slipped" to a 5 handicap and people who have never seen him play are giving club,  shaft and putting adv

Indeed. You think you your father needs help. He thinks he doesn't. But he's pissed off about not playing as well as he did a decade ago. Wow. How unusual! He thinks he knows more

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6 minutes ago, JuliWooli said:

My dad has always been able to whip my ass at golf until recently. His handicap has now slipped to 5 and I am 3 something. Last season, I was just too long for him and my putting put him to shame.

His main problem is flexibility and he has developed a flat 3/4 swing. Put him within 140yds from the hole he still pretty handy but these days he doesn't get his drives long enough to get into this zone.

His second problem is putting. Two putting most greens is his normal but he doesn't sink enough in the 4 to 7 foot range.

Any advice would be welcome as I miss the tight competition we used to have and I would love him to be the senior club champion again. ( He last won in 2018)

I'll take the first swing at this.

At 50 years old, I can see this in my future. Obviously father time is undefeated but I'm trying to hold him at bay as long as I can. Here's some suggestions. 

  • I stretch every day. I have a specific routine that I follow and I do it EVERY day. I do it while my kids are eating breakfast. They are so used to it they just know that daddy's stretching while they are eating breakfast. Sort of like any other habit. 
  • Aim point tends to help older golfers. You can use your feet to read the green rather than squatting down to read the green. A lot of older golfers misread greens because they simply can't squat down like they used to. 
  • Lastly, if none of that works just play off your handicaps. The handicap system is designed to allow golfers who are of different levels compete against each other. 
  • Anyway, the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to enjoy the times you play with your dad. My dad doesn't play anymore and I miss those times out on the course. I have great memories, but I'd like to have even more of them. So, enjoy every time out there with your dad. 

 

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Accept that you are not the same player at 60 as you were at 30 or 40 or even 50.

That's what handicaps are for. 

I don't think a person who is over 60 whose handicap has "slipped to 5" needs putting advice from people who've never seen him play.

In any case - your question is bogus because you say that there is less than two strokes between you anyway. (5 handicap v More than 3) Hardly a lack of "tight competition".

Are we supposed to feel sorry for someone who is over 60, playes off 5 and won a senior championship less than 3 years ago? And. to boot is only a stroke and a half worse than his son who bombs it miles past him and puts his putting "to shame"? Really? Just saying...

It sound more as if you can learn a lot from his game.

Edited by Shorty
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I don't know if this might help but I am about your dad's age.  I can assume some of his flexibility woes are due to stiffness and possible arthritis type issues.  I doubt exercises will help but who know.

When was the last time he had his shafts checked?

I had stopped playing in 2014 due to medical issues and started again last year and could only do 2/3 swing.  I could not swing my hard stepped KBS Tour X-Stiff or my x stiff  driver.  I ended up changing the shafts.  Overall, more solid strikes, better spin, and slightly better distance.  If he is only swinging 3/4, he certainly is loading the shafts differently and might be money well spent.  Some people have good results with the superspeed golf training system, although I have never used it, I am considering giving it a try because it was a little disconcerting to see the swing speed change in 5 years......Father Time takes its toll.

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At 68, I've seen the handicap slide from 5 in my late 50's up to 12 at the end of last season. Arthritis has impacted the swing speed. Stretching exercises and PT has helped on flexibility but I'm still limited to a short 3/4 swing. Aim Point has helped keep the putting game decent and lighter swing weights on the irons has helped as well. I've been reluctant to switch tees but it became clear to me in 2020 that with the distance loss, I don't have the desire to play Driver - 4W to many of the par 4's - not to mention long par 5's.

Enjoy the time with your father. Sadly I lost my father early in my life and missed out on those rounds of golf. 

 

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One change Senior golfers should consider is getting fitted for different clubs.
As an old duffer myself, 68 years young, I enjoy Demo Days at the club.
I've known many of the Rep's for years and they enjoy working with individuals who are knowledgeable 
about their equipment.
My trusty old beloved clubs just don't benefit my lower swing speeds.
Also, consider different golf balls as they also are marketed towards the Senior players.

I usually will change my bag in increments, Woods one years, Hybrids next, then irons and possibly wedges.
New grips are a must and possibly different models. Mid-size, one additional wrap of tape can make a big difference.
The only change I make on my putter is a new grip and usually it's the same model every year.

When I find myself in a funk with missing makeable putts too often,
then it's usually a matter of spending more time on the practice green and iron out mechanics.

And finally nutrition and lots of water during play every round,
Advil can also help, especially when I play numerous times a week. (Sore knees mainly)

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First, I want to mention balance. As people get older, they encounter a diminished sense of balance. Gyms which have special workout sessions for seniors now include specific exercises to improve balance.

As for me, like OP's father I have also gone to a 3/4 swing. But I get much better control and swingspeed with this than trying to reach high as in olden days. Reach high leads to a downswing in which I feel like I'm falling out of a tree.

18 minutes ago, Club Rat said:

One change Senior golfers should consider is getting fitted for different clubs.
As an old duffer myself, 68 years young, I enjoy Demo Days at the club.
I've known many of the Rep's for years and they enjoy working with individuals who are knowledgeable 
about their equipment.

As you get older, getting fitted more often becomes important. After a couple of years with specific fittings, I can self-tweak for awhile.

But one day, things just don't work any more. Time for another fitting, either a rough one at demo day or a detailed one at golf shop.

Started struggling with consistent distance yardage at end of 2019 season. Now, I have switched out long clubs - driver through hybrid - with one change being shafts 10 grams lighter.

Irons are coming up this spring. Suddenly a seemingly solid 7i can go anywhere from 130 to 145 yards. My current model has KBS Tour 90 steel shafts, about 101 grams raw. In four straight senior tournament rounds I played at end of 2020, I was the only one in the group still swinging steel shafts in irons... Maybe there's a pattern there? 😟

P.S. - Yes, my sig line is out-of-date for clubs.

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2 minutes ago, WUTiger said:

First, I want to mention balance. As people get older, they encounter a diminished sense of balance. Gyms which have special workout sessions for seniors now include specific exercises to improve balance.

As for me, like OP's father I have also gone to a 3/4 swing. But I get much better control and swingspeed with this than trying to reach high as in olden days. Reach high leads to a downswing in which I feel like I'm falling out of a tree.

As you get older, getting fitted more often becomes important. After a couple of years with specific fittings, I can self-tweak for awhile.

But one day, things just don't work any more. Time for another fitting, either a rough one at demo day or a detailed one at golf shop.

Started struggling with consistent distance yardage at end of 2019 season. Now, I have switched out long clubs - driver through hybrid - with one change being shafts 10 grams lighter.

Irons are coming up this spring. Suddenly a seemingly solid 7i can go anywhere from 130 to 145 yards. My current model has KBS Tour 90 steel shafts, about 101 grams raw. In four straight senior tournament rounds I played at end of 2020, I was the only one in the group still swinging steel shafts in irons... Maybe there's a pattern there? 😟

P.S. - Yes, my sig line is out-of-date for clubs.

You and Club Rat should get together to play... you're both near St. Louis.  Go Cardinals!

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7 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

You and Club Rat should get together to play... you're both near St. Louis.  Go Cardinals!

We met several years ago at the St. Louis Golf Expo. @Club Ratthen invited me to play WingHaven GC, one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf since I returned to StL.

P.S. CR is a better golfer than I am.

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2 minutes ago, WUTiger said:

We met several years ago at the St. Louis Golf Expo. @Club Ratthen invited me to play WingHaven GC, one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf since I returned to StL.

P.S. CR is a better golfer than I am.

People actually return to St. Louis?!  Sorry... I grew up in the suburbs, left and never looked back.  They have a nice arch.

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Call me a dick- and I'm happy for anyone to do so, but we have a 60+ year old who has recently "slipped" to a 5 handicap and people who have never seen him play are giving club,  shaft and putting advice?

Not only that, the advice is the stuff you give a beginner who is trying to get from a handicap of 27 to 20.To the OP:

Give your father a lesson from a PROFESSIONAL - he will be able to work out some strategies and fixes.

I repeat -  60+ year olds who play off 5 (which means they are excellent golfers) do not need lessons and club/shaft advice from 20 markers in another country who've never seen them hit a ball.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Shorty said:

... we have a 60+ year old who has recently "slipped" to a 5 handicap and people who have never seen him play are giving club,  shaft and putting advice?

We - who are well over 60 - are giving general advice regarding someone who is in his Sixties. The "3/4" swing remark is one of the identifiers that a Dustin Johnson swing is no longer possible.

And, balance exercises and club fittings can help the person out. In my old Senior group, people who dumped their Titleist DCI 2i and 3i for hybrids had big improvements in their game.

So, @Shorty, print out this thread and put it in an envelope.

When you turn 60, grab a cold Logo Of Foster's Lager logo vector

open the magic envelope and review the printout! And if the rest of us are still alive, you can contact us for updated advice.

Edited by WUTiger
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I hear that Viagra is very helpful for seasoned folks, but I don’t know how well it helps a golf swing. I would think that stretching would be very valuable. 

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9 hours ago, JuliWooli said:

My dad has always been able to whip my ass at golf until recently. His handicap has now slipped to 5 and I am 3 something. Last season, I was just too long for him and my putting put him to shame.

His main problem is flexibility and he has developed a flat 3/4 swing. Put him within 140yds from the hole he still pretty handy but these days he doesn't get his drives long enough to get into this zone.

His second problem is putting. Two putting most greens is his normal but he doesn't sink enough in the 4 to 7 foot range.

Any advice would be welcome as I miss the tight competition we used to have and I would love him to be the senior club champion again. ( He last won in 2018)

A question, is he complaining, or at least commenting, on not being happy with his game?  It is hard to accept but we all age, some faster and some slower, but what matters is are we enjoying the game.  Does he have a goal to be champion again or is he just happy to have a round with his    son? Lessons, fittings, etc, may all help but you need to find out what is important to him and go in that direction.  

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17 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

 Here's some suggestions. 

  • I stretch every day. I have a specific routine that I follow and I do it EVERY day. I do it while my kids are eating breakfast. They are so used to it they just know that daddy's stretching while they are eating breakfast. Sort of like any other habit.

 

He got 2 new hips about 4 years ago and says that this has improved his balance and flexibility from the waist down. I think Douglas Bader (World War II R.A.F. pilot) actually played with a low single figure handicap.

He does however have an unrepairable rotor cuff tear in his left shoulder. Dad always says, "If it wasn't for my bastardin' shoulder!"

I always know to get out of his way after this comment.

Can anyone suggest a few upper body exercises/stretches that he could use?

17 hours ago, Shorty said:

Are we supposed to feel sorry for someone who is over 60, playes off 5 and won a senior championship less than 3 years ago? And. to boot is only a stroke and a half worse than his son who bombs it miles past him and puts his putting "to shame"? Really? Just saying...

It sound more as if you can learn a lot from his game.

I'm female btw. I've learned everything from him. I just know its getting to him, that's all. He would never seek help but I would like to do that for him. Maybe I'll find some inspiration here.

15 hours ago, Rippy_72 said:

When was the last time he had his shafts checked?

Equipment is fine.

14 hours ago, RWC said:

Aim Point has helped keep the putting game decent.

 

What's Aim Point?

11 hours ago, Shorty said:

Give your father a lesson from a PROFESSIONAL - he will be able to work out some strategies and fixes.

 

He hasn't taken lessons for decades. He says, "These modern pros are too much up their own a## for his liking. He videos his own swing and analyses his own faults.

10 hours ago, CarlSpackler said:

I hear that Viagra is very helpful for seasoned folks, but I don’t know how well it helps a golf swing.

REALLY?

8 hours ago, StuM said:

A question, is he complaining, or at least commenting, on not being happy with his game? 

He isn't enjoying it like he always did. he accuses me of being lucky, something he never did.

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11 hours ago, Shorty said:

I repeat -  60+ year olds who play off 5 (which means they are excellent golfers) do not need lessons and club/shaft advice from 20 markers in another country who've never seen them hit a ball.

So I'm 65, playing off 5 at the moment.  I see a couple of generic possibilities that might help, based on personal experience.

As @Shorty suggests, getting instruction from a good teacher might help.  I made some tweaks a few years ago based on help in my My Swing thread.  I was a fairly decent player then, but I absolutely believe that the small changes have helped me.  I'm almost 100% certain that your Dad doesn't have the expertise to properly evaluate his own swing video.  If he's open to the idea of instruction, try to get him to set up an account here and post his swings in the My Swing section.

Club changes, particularly a driver fitting, may help to increase distance off the tee, or at least minimize distance losses.

Decision-making might use some improvement.  @JuliWooli, you might consider gifting your Dad a copy of Lowest Score Wins. I've been playing for 50 years or so, but I learned some new things and revised/refined my on-course thinking a bit, for the better I believe.

If green-reading is a bit of a problem (and its not a huge one at a 5 handicap), Aimpoint instruction could definitely help.  Again, it has helped me, even with 50 years of experience reading greens the "old" way.  Aimpint is a method of sensing slopes on the green physically ("using your feet"), instead of visually, and converting those physical sensations into a read of the break.  There are videos online, there is for-pay video instruction, and (the best option in my mind) there are in-person clinics.

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