There are a number of reasons why senior golfers can get shorter irons.
Take it from Warren Mercer, director of instruction at Concord Resort & Spa, who lost one of the two slower club heads he owns several years ago, which allowed for more speed on longer drives.
“When I lost my slowest iron, I was able to go with one of the faster ones,” Mercer said. “We lose distance with age. That’s simple physics.”
But there are a lot of factors at play. More hand strength, improving flexibility, training and experience, as well as testing the quality of the club head all can play a role in loss of distance.
Here are Mercer’s five top tips to increase your distance:
1. Measure and take notes. It is not enough to just go out and get the fastest club you can, Mercer said. Your best clubs should be fine for your most experienced players, but if you’re new to golf or are a limited-handicap player, the old one will certainly help you improve.
“If you’re a low handicapper and want to lose a few yards, don’t just go with your current lowest iron,” Mercer said. “Take a tape measure, write down the loft, face and club head and take note of how far you can hit it.”
2. Get a different shaft. As you age, you lose muscle mass, which accounts for 3 to 5 percent of your total clubhead speed. That means you won’t swing as fast, but a different shaft will increase your speed. Mercer recommends shafts with a 55 to 63 flex.
3. Make a full swing. Mercer also advises a full swing with the club. If you use a full swing, and just release the clubhead to the ball, you will lose more distance because you’re using your hips more.
4. Be willing to switch shafts. Mercer uses the TaylorMade GAPR, which has a stiffer shaft and offers higher forgiveness. He said the GAPR (Go-For-Grip Ramp Technology) clubhead is a better fit for seniors.
5. Shorter iron, longer shots. A thicker-soled golf shoe will allow you to take a deep and quick swing, which increases power, Mercer said. Soft spikes will bring your foot forward and increase ball speed as well.
When the pro uses shorter irons to beat your usual range, be ready. That’s the key to gaining distance.