More than any other sport, golf caters to the difficulties seniors face and allows an individual to play, and play well, despite the aging process. The handicap system levels the playing field, allowing anyone to play competitively in organized competition, despite physical difficulties.
The game is played by millions of seniors, providing numerous social and health benefits. But let’s not forget, the mental challenge as well, as a golfer is required to calculate the distance of each shot, taking many variables into consideration, and then determining the best club needed to make their shot.
“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” – Arnold Palmer
Although the pace of play may be a bit slower and the distance of each shot a little shorter, aging golfers continue to find the game enjoyable.
Increasing Your Golf Swing
Although golf can be played by individuals of all ages, the senior golfer often deals with decreased flexibility due to the stiffness and joint pain that comes with age. Knowing that each drive and shot can be shorter than they were in your peak years due to loss of power and flexibility, what are some of the things you can do to make your swing the best it can be?
Stretching cannot be stressed enough. Not only will it benefit your swing and overall game, it will most likely help you avoid injuries, as well as minimize muscle pain, stiffness and residual soreness. Therefore, don’t neglect stretching before you begin, then remember to keep your back, shoulders and hips stretched out as you play, and finally finish up with a few more stretching exercises to cool down.
Let’s look at a few simple changes you can make to get more distance from your swing.
If you deal with a lot of stiffness or pain, you may find your body swaying and shifting your weight inappropriately to avoid the pain or compensate for the stiffness. This action will cause your shots to be inaccurate and inconsistent, plus you will be losing a lot of distance. If you still have great hip flexibility, this tip doesn’t apply to you.
Those who don’t have good hip flexibility and who are dealing with stiffness and/or pain will need to turn their right foot out to prevent the swaying motion that is taking place in this scenario. For a golf swing to be successful, the hip must remain in a neutral position. During your backswing, if your body compensates for the pain and stiffness by swaying, your weight will shift to the outside of your right foot instead of remaining on the inside of the foot. This involuntary action made to relieve the pain is very bad for your golf game. To prevent it from taking place, try placing your right foot in a more outwards position.
Will this help you? Test it out. As you take a backswing, stop at the very top of the swing. Where is the weight on you right foot? Is it on the inside where it is supposed to be? Or has it shifted to the outside? If it has shifted to the outside, try turning your right foot out a bit.
A couple ways to improve your ball flight.
If you find yourself stiff and needing more power, try strengthening your grip on the club by ever so slightly rotating your hands to the right as you grip your club. If you are left handed, do a slight rotation to the left. This will feel strange at first, but as you master it, the result will be a draw spin caused by the slight rotation of the clubface through the ball.
Although common advice, the next tip works well to improve your ball flight as well. You will have a better chance of hitting a draw if you position the ball slightly back from your normal setup position. This works best when the ground is hard and dry which will give you a huge boost in the roll. If the course conditions are softer, a higher shot that carries in the air for a greater distance will most likely prove to provide more overall distance instead of relying on the increased roll distance.
Golf Organizations in the Monterey Area for the senior golfer.
Time to swing your bag over your shoulder and head to the golf club to practice. While you’re there, check out these organizations specifically geared towards seniors.
Pacific Grove Senior’s Golf Club, sponsored by Pacific Grove Golf Links, has been serving senior golfers for more than 50 years. It provides an ideal place to take part in a bit of competitive fun while building and strengthening friendships. With over 100 members who reside in the Monterey Peninsula area ranging in age between 50 to 80 years old, the Senior Men’s Golf Club at Pacific Grove Golf Links offers three tournaments a month throughout the year. Tournaments include medal play, 2-man and 4-man team events in various formats. Winners receive gift certificates from Pacific Grove Golf Links.
The Monterey Bay Seniors Golf Association (MBSGA) is another great place to create and develop friendships while enjoying the sport of golf. The MBSGA, which has been in existence since 1971, is a non-profit organization with a membership of approximately 120 senior golfers.
The California Seniors’ Golf Association, first organized in 1943, is a non-profit organization with a limited membership of 300 divided equally between northern and southern California. Their by-laws state their intent is “to encourage friendly competition in golf among senior players residing in the State of California, and to hold an annual tournament” for golfers who are 55 or older. Applicants are considered on a chronological basis, with possible special consideration given to someone who has provided an outstanding and major contribution to the game of golf though their activities in golf associations and clubs.
From the light gentle breeze that assists your backswing to the unforgettable smell of a recently mowed fairway, there’s nothing that beats a warm sunny day spent at your favorite golf course. Unless you’re returning to Forest Hill, that is, to finish your day relaxing at our beautiful location, savoring our breathtaking ocean views while sharing good times with people who care about you. Contact us to discover what active senior living should be when you’re not on the greens.