5 Tips to Play Better as You Get Older

The blog Shooting Your Age is very much aimed at you- the Baby Boomer golfer. And I don’t have to tell you that as we all get older, things just don’t work as well as they used to.

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When I was younger, and would see guys my age, I would automatically think, “When I’m that age, I’ll stay in shape and won’t have the medical issues they have.” Naivety is wasted on the young…

As you know, and I know now, there are a lot of things we can’t control. I couldn’t control having both hips replaced because no cartilage was left to cushion them. I was tired of feeling like someone was stabbing me in the front hip joint every time I put on or took off shoes. Being in shape has nothing to do with that.

In a month, I will have my right knee replaced, because again, between a torn meniscus and no cartilage left, I can’t walk a single par-4 without having to stop and let the ache go away.

The point is, lots of things are beyond our control. Getting older is one. Being injured is another. And taking longer to heal, because the body just takes longer to heal as we get older, is a third.

But with all that said, there are ways to fight back.

1. Stretch

Just like you, I used to define warming up as pulling in to the parking lot five minutes ahead of my tee time and swinging a couple of times on the first tee. That doesn’t work any longer. If I do that now, I usually start out triple-triple. And I hate stretching. But it’s become a morning ritual, and will become a more integral part of my pre-round routine.

If you Google just about any Champions Tour player, you will see some mention of his stretching routine. I read a recent article where Tom Lehman said he gets to the course 90 minutes before his round. The first 45 minutes he spends stretching and being in the fitness trailer. Before Every Round!

If it’s good enough for Lehman, and Langer, and Mediate, and just about everyone else on the Champions Tour, then I’d submit it’s good enough for you and me. So add at least an extra 30 minutes to your next timeframe and stretch.

2. Practice Putting

If you saw the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open, you saw that J.B. Holmes won as much as anything because he putted better than anyone else. He certainly putted better than Justin Thomas on Sunday. Today’s Morning Drive reported that Holmes committed to hitting 250 putts every morning during last week’s practice rounds.

We all know–me more than most– how important putting is and how much it can help–or hurt–your score. Putting doesn’t hurt your body, it isn’t going to take a toll on your back, and nothing will improve your score faster than eliminating three-putts.

3. Watch YouTube

I’m not talking about cat videos!

There are hundreds of YouTube videos on every possible facet of the golf swing, golf fitness, golf attire, golf training aids…you name it.

So don’t get bogged down looking at surfing bulldog videos. Look for swing tips by Champions Tour players. There are dozens of them. Some are just the ubiquitous Konica Minolta SwingVision breakdowns by Peter Kostis. Some are several minute long videos of various aspects of the swing. But getting instruction from guys our age makes more sense to me than watching Cameron Champ hitting 350 yard drives. We can’t, and aren’t ever, going to do that. But seeing how the guys our age work-out, prepare, and swing, has been helpful to me, and I bet will be for you, too.

4. Watch the LPGA

I could throw out dozens of various stats, but I’ll just use one player and one stat:

Cristie Kerr- 252

As in averaging 252 yards per drive. That is a number that is most likely higher than how far you hit it, but not significantly. It’s a number you and I can relate to.

The point is, the ladies play a game most of us are familiar with, regarding distances they hit the ball. It’s not nearly as much bomb-and-gouge with the LPGA tour. They strive to hit fairways, and put themselves in good position for their approach shots. In other words, much like most of us play.

So, it makes sense to me to watch players play that play the kind of game we play. And that means Cristie Kerr and Georgia Hall, who won the Women’s British Open with a driving distance of 260, and most of the other LPGA tour pros.

5. Get Fitted

More and more, golf is about technology. Every year new balls and clubs are introduced that, according to the marketing hype, will all but guarantee you will hit it longer and straighter.

But until you get fitted, you’re never going to know. And that’s on my golf resolutions list for this year: Go to a major golf fitter that has every brand, every shaft, every head, and spend the money to see how much my five year old set of clubs and driver are costing me in distance and accuracy. Maybe nothing. Maybe five yards. But maybe twenty-five yards.

There you go- five tips to help you, regardless of how you frown when you look in the mirror each morning.

Thanks for reading and enjoy Shooting Your Age!

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