(Left to right) Stephen Walker, Tom Nunn, writer Jeff Nunn
and Kevin Blair, winners of the annual Sigma Phi Epsilon
Alumni Golf Scramble at Eagle Creek Golf Course in 2016.
Or maybe it was 2017. Either way, they won both.

Learning to Enjoy Golf with Age

(Left to right) Stephen Walker, Tom Nunn, writer Jeff Nunn and Kevin Blair, winners of the annual Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni Golf Scramble at Eagle Creek Golf Course in 2016. Or maybe it was 2017. Either way, they won both.

(Left to right) Stephen Walker, Tom Nunn, writer Jeff Nunn
and Kevin Blair, winners of the annual Sigma Phi Epsilon
Alumni Golf Scramble at Eagle Creek Golf Course in 2016.
Or maybe it was 2017. Either way, they won both.

By Jeff Nunn of CardinalSportsZone.com

When I was in my twenties, I would show up at the

course about 10 minutes prior to my tee time, rush

into the clubhouse, pay my green fees, hop on a cart,

pull up to the first tee, take two practice swings and

then swing out of my shoes as I tried to smash the

ball down the fairway.

Well, as they say, “I ain’t as young as I once was.”

I’m not exactly old enough for the senior tour, but I’m

not getting any younger, and my body will sometimes

remind me of it, especially after a long day on the

golf course under hot conditions. Yes, my body has

changed and so must my game and preparation. But

that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to enjoy the

game that I love. I just have to be smarter and

willing to adapt.

Now, I arrive at the course about an hour prior

to my tee time. I head over to the driving range

where I stretch before hitting a small bucket of

balls to help warm up my muscles. Once I’m

warmed up, I head back to the clubhouse where

I purchase a water or Gatorade to take with me

on the course. I have to stay hydrated. I also grab

a snack to tuck away in my bag for later in the

round. Then, I get out the sun screen and apply

generously. Depending on the conditions, I may

also apply a little bug spray. The last thing I do

before I tee off is pop open my bottle of Aleve

and take two. I know I am going to encounter

some aches and pains somewhere within my round,

so I take this preventative measure.

Getting older and losing physical strength, balance,

eye-hand coordination and flexibility doesn’t have

to hinder your ability to play and enjoy golf. Like me,

you have to change your routine and be willing to

admit that some courses, equipment and situations

are no longer suitable for you.

Picking the right course for you is very important

for your enjoyment. In your younger days, the more

challenging the course, the more fun you could

have. Hitting long shots over water or hitting up to

By Jeff Nunn of CardinalSportsZone.com

elevated greens seemed like a challenge and a lot of

fun. Hitting out of a deep green-side bunker was fun

and interesting. Now, you worry more about getting

yourself out of the bunker rather than the ball – and

that doesn’t seem enjoyable. So, be very aware of the

course you choose. If there are multiple shots where

you must carry the ball about 175 yards over a hazard

or the majority of the greens do not allow a run up

shot, then you might want to think about choosing

a different course.

Another thing to help you choose a good course

that is suitable for your game is to take the total length

of a good drive for you and multiple that by 28. That

will give you the yardage of a course that will be a lot

of fun to play: not too hard, not too easy.

Once you find courses that are more enjoyable

for your game, you may also need to change the tees

you hit from. As you get older, you won’t be able to

hit the ball as far, so moving up a set of tees can only

help your enjoyment. Having people see you hitting

from the pro tees doesn’t impress them, especially

when you only hit the ball 200 yards, leaving yourself

a 3-wood shot into a par 4. Move up to the white tees,

or if you are a senior, don’t be afraid to move up to

the senior tees. They are there for a reason, so use

them if you qualify. An enjoyable round means you

should be hitting a mid-iron into a green on a par 4,

so put yourself into position to do so. After all, this

game is supposed to be fun.

Your equipment may need to change as your

game changes. The advancements in equipment are

incredible. The technology of the new drivers and

balls are crazy and has helped maintain distance

despite your decreasing club-head speed. Irons, on

the other hand, are slowly being replaced with hybrid

clubs. As you lose distance with your longer irons, you

can start replacing them with the new hybrid clubs.

Putting a set of irons in your bag that are more

forgiving can help as your ball striking becomes

less consistent. Putting graphite shafts in your

irons is a good idea because they are lighter and

can help with swing speed. Also, putting bigger

grips on your clubs can help with decreased grip

strength and aching hands or wrists.

Be smart about the conditions you play in.

In my younger days, I would say, “The hotter,

the better.” Now, not so much. I get much more

enjoyment playing in partly-cloudy conditions

in the 75 to 80 degree range. And when a good

rain storm popped up, I used to consider that

a challenge. Now, I call it time to head to the

clubhouse. Everyone has different likes, but

when the conditions reach a point that it’s no longer

enjoyable, why keep playing? Playing when your

heart is not fully committed can lead to injury and

nobody wants to get hurt.

No matter if Father Time is calling or he called

years ago, you can still play golf and enjoy it. You just

have to realize you now have physical limitations, and

you must adjust for them. Everyone is different and

everyone’s body changes and reacts in different ways.

You just have to find tips, tricks and adjustments that

work for you. As Raymond Floyd said: “Golf is a game,

and games are meant to be enjoyed.” I couldn’t agree

more. Good luck and hit’em straight!

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