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"Age" is it working against you

Jimmy Lee

I started playing golf in my late 20s and never really took the game serious for the fist 10 years or so and was a very high handicapper (wish I could turn back time). I am now 51 and addicted to the game and it is serious business to always improve. 5 years ago I improved to a 8 handicap but have since gotten worse and managed to get up to a 14 handicap. Last season my game was absolutely embarrising and I just kept telling my self that age is really catching up to me. I belong to a private club, have a hitting bay in my basement and live each day researching and working on my game. I look at pros that are my age and they make it look so easy to hit a tee shot 300 yards or stick a wedge to 3 feet and wonder how they do it. Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Freddy Couples, Mark Omeara and more do it on a weekly basis and yet I allow myself to think age is holding me back. This winter I took a whole new outlook on my age and have taken charge of my game, body and mind and I have been working hard on increasing swing speed, solid contact and accuarcy. I began a workout routine with emphasis on legs and core muscles, swing speed drills as well as chipping. Today I was able to accomplish 270 degrees back swing and hit 100 mph swing speed where as prior I was lucky to hit 90 mph. One swing speed drill I have adapted is swinging an alignment rod as fast as I can for 3 to 5 sets of 10 swings. Research shows that most players swing a weighted club and actually results in a reverse affect which slows your swing down as your muscles and brain will try to over compensate to prevent injury. I wanted to be able to see my results with diagnostics without spending a fortune so I purchased the Zep swing analyzer which has provided a great deal of info that allows me to work on certain parts of my swing i.e. Swing speed, club plane, hand plane, tempo, back swing and more. I went to Florida a couple weeks ago and shot a 75, 76, 72, 78 and 81. I was completely excited that my persistance and hard work has had an affect on my game, mind and body and looking forward to the beginning of this season to start.

What are you doing to improve?

14 Replies

  1. Doug E

    I am older as well. My game has gotten much better through my late 50s, but I worry that I will start going backward as I continue to age no matter how hard I try to stay in shape. It is extremely frustrating as I am now finally starting to find great consistency in my swing, my short game has been fantastic for the past 3 or 4 years, my scores get better and better, yet, I know my age will start to limit me at some point soon.

    I understand so much more about the game now and how to play it well, but unfortunately, now that I have gotten to this point, I am fully aware that I don't have that much time ahead of me on the golf course where I can actually take full advantage of the knowledge and skills I have finally developed. Hopefully, at least a few more years before everything starts to fade away.

    I get pleasure watching guys in their late 70s and 80s still playing the game with gusto. But the reality of it is, no matter how much they love it and how often they play it, their skills are likely somewhat diminished from what they once were. That makes it bittersweet.

    It's frustrating that the older you get, the smarter you get, but your opportunities to use your knowledge and skills is limited to a body which, no matter how hard you try, just won't respond the way it once did.

    So far, I'm hanging in there and hitting the ball fairly well off the tee, usually straight or with a nice baby draw most of the time. I could not do that regularly 20 years ago. I wasn't smart enough about the game to figure it out. Today, if I get one out there 225-235+, that is a great shot for me. I can work with that. The rest of my game is decent and my solid short game always gives me a fighting chance. I just know, at some point in the future, no matter how straight I continue to hit it, 235 or more will only be a memory of my glory days. And, I'm not ready for that. I finally feel like I have some game, but only a few years left to use it. In addition to the game being so hard in general, now I have to factor in fighting age/body limitations as well. It just ain't fair I tell ya.
  2. Don O

    I was older than you are now when I got excited. Time committed to golf fitness is not just wasted on just golf. I'm longer, handicap is lower, and I can play rounds now on consecutive days. I'm setting new goals every year - lower than the last. I still think I can approach single digit. Might need your time dedication and equipment commitment to do it. Still a big improvement from shooting 130+ at age 60.
  3. Edward K

    Now that you know that golf is 100% mental, you can move forward....LOL. Good scores for anyone. For me, remembering to "swing", not "hit" helps me stay steady. I'm a 1-2 at the moment, but trying to get back to a level that I don't have enough time to practice for. Just be patient.....
  4. Todd S

    Jimmy I am not to far from you picked up the game at age 20. Always wanted to be better than I was took a lesson here and there from a "club pro" but never got any better. The last few years I've managed to lower the handy cap quite a bit and I can usually always find and play my ball but now at 46 years old I want to be a single handicaper. So this winter I've been taken lessons at GolfTec. We have completely changed the whole swing. I can't wait for spring to see what the results will be.
  5. vurich

    I'm 54. I enjoy golf more than ever. Some days I play good. Some - not so good. Some great. Some... The game of golf has ups and downs. But at the end of the day, it's a game. Always try to find the "young kid" in yourself in everything you do. When the only purpose you had in every activity was to have "fun." Vaughn Taylor just won at Pebble yesterday. But where was the camera and attention on? His young son playing with the bunker rake. He was having fun and we all reveled in his enjoyment of the moment. He had no idea what his dad just accomplished. He was focused on doing what young kids do naturally. Having fun. No one had to teach him or coach him or motivate him. He found the "fun," in the moment. All the gadgets, gurus and tips won't bring happiness as they are based on "results." Enjoy the journey...
  6. Michael W

    What a awesome write-up! At age 41 I, too, am experiencing these dilemmas and have recently taken control of my body and mind and am determined to hit it like I used to 5 years ago when length was a big part of my game. I have recently enlisted a highly regarded TPI trainer and she has really opened my eyes to what I truly need to work on....flexibility and core strength. good luck and keep up the good work!

    I wish this forum had a section dedicated to the fitness aspect of golf. I think many of us could benefit from the workout tips and experiences from other members.

  7. Sean Mac

    Awesome Story Jimmy! You have me inspired to better my golf game!
  8. Andrew S

    Congratulations on your hard work and improvements. I took up the game six years ago at age 44. I spend quite a bit of time stretching. I've read that we lose quite a bit of flexibility as we age.
  9. Michael P

    Age has nothing to do with it. I just turned 50 and my game seems to get better every year
  10. Blake B

    Without bringing age into the equation, I believe you get in what you put out. Now, with age in the equation, it is common that the body begins to suffer injury under through this type of activity which is a big factor or a deteriorating game.

    I suppose the point I'm trying to make is to stay healthy and keep your practice/participation up and your results should come.
  11. David T

    53 here and similar story. Got the bug about 15yrs ago and have seen steady improvement. Also a regular exerciser and I definitely see the benefit in both stamina and flexibility.
    What I am enjoying more now are playing the destination and marquee type courses. I'm playing #13 this spring and it keeps me motivated on the treadmill during these long Michigan winters!
    Only thing I notice declining is my memory - was that a 3 or a 4 on #11?
  12. DV

    Wow...very interesting thread, and some very soul searching responses. Getting old does suck, but it should never ever affect how you feel about this game. I absolutely love this game playing it about 30 years. I am 63 now. When I was 50 I played to a +4 handicap. I am currently playing to 1. About 5 years ago, my distances went off the cliff. Age and flexibilty were the biggest factors in affecting my game. I could not drive the ball 290 anymore. I am about 250 now from the tee. I have a strong short game and I spend a lot of time working on my game now that I am retired. I get most of my exercise by practicing or playing about 40-50 hours a week and walking the course about 2-3 times during the week. I think the one thing, actually 2 things, that are most important in enjoying and being competitive (I still play competitive amatuer events here in VA) are one's attitude and one's flexibilty. I will always have in me the belief I can always improve my game and that I will always play this game as long as I can stand on my 2 feet. I work all through the year on various exercises to help me stay flexible so this really helps. To me playing/practicing golf is never a grind. It is pure unadultated bliss, always. I am inspired by others who play this game and who are much older than myself. There is one gentleman around here who is in his 80s. He is a local legend. Every morning this man goes out and walks 9 holes on a very hilly and difficult golf course located up here near Quatico, VA. In fact, this golf course is so hilly that many of the 20 somethings will not even walk it. If this is not inspirational then I afraid nothing is. I hope that I am still alive when I am 80 never mind still playing.

    Over the years my practice regimen has changed. I spend 70 percent of my time on the short game. About half of this time is devoted to putting. I spend very little time on the range banging balls with my driver. I try to focus all my efforts with drill work that focuses very specially on quality practice over quantity (just banging ball after ball). By this I mean I am always focused on each and every shot with a specific purpose. I hit every shot on the range as if I am playing on the course and I am playing in a tournament. I go through my preshot routine selecting a specific precise landing zone. I setup up to the ball, i have only one swing thought ( usually to get my left shoulder behind the ball on the backswing), take one last look at my target visualizing in my mind's eye the ball trajectory and hitting my target. I swing and evaluate my result, each and every shot. This routine I have found works and keeps me target focused. I have similar routines when I work on my short game. They all revolve around being target centric, visualizing my target and ball flight and evaluating my results. Getting old has not affected this process so I am still getting good results. I get together with a golf professioanal 2 times a year to evaluate my swings and insure my techniques are still sound. So anyway, just wanted to give you all another perspective from someone who is devoted to playing the game to get better, even though I approach my golden years. You can still improve at this game if you want to.

    Best Wishes to All!
  13. Jimmy Lee

    Thank you for the replies and interesting journeys we all have and will take with our golf game regardless of our age. My latest statistics on trackman has my driver swing speed at 103 mph and my 8 iron speed at 84 mph. Ball flight and trajectory have improved with making solid contact. Accuracy is the target area I am working on now as my swing speed is faster, accuracy is slightly off.
    Exercise is a continuos daily ritual now as well as a good nutrition plan and I truely feel great. The snow will deminish here in Michigan and the weather will turn to the better in a few more weeks and will allow for more true results on the course.
    Good luck to you all and "Play Titleist And Carry On".
  14. Travis W

    Flexibility and core strength are essential. I see guys swinging weighted trainers all the time, but I am the only one that I have ever seen on my range actually stretching. Combine that with a proper swing and you should be able to hit drives 275 well into your 60's. At 46 yrs, 6' 0", and 200 lbs, I doubt I could bench 150 lbs., but I have great flexibility and can still hit it out there as far as any top amateur or pro. Shhhhhh... don't tell the guys at my course, though.

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