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!