Seniors tend to improve their game the older they get. How? Here are seven expert tips.
For the younger set, golf is a fun social activity — a pastime that can help you keep in shape and stay mentally sharp. Yet at an age when many senior golfers find themselves slowing down, there is some good news: Many seniors can indeed improve their game the older they get.
How? Here are seven expert tips for seniors who want to enjoy the game longer.
1. Try to stay competitive.
What does this mean in practical terms? If you want to win, keep playing. It’s a long way from game to retired. No matter how well you’ve been playing, keep thinking about how you’ll play the next day. Get a schedule. This will help you maintain some sort of consistency with your routine. And the sooner you realize your inevitable decline, the better prepared you will be to embrace the fact that time is your enemy.
2. Begin with the basics.
The reason senior golfers are advised to keep in shape is not just for the summer months but all year long. Many senior golfers have lost touch with the basics of the game. Take the opportunity to learn them again, perhaps in a senior-friendly club like North Carolina’s Triple Crown: eight weeks of golf lessons, along with health and nutrition classes, at Quail Hollow Club’s Academy for Healthy Aging.
3. Develop the confidence to hit the ball.
Some of us lose our confidence at the outset. Some aren’t fully recovered from injuries, or struggling with other health issues. This isn’t just true for seniors. It happens to any golfer. Developing the confidence to keep hitting the ball, or to take a more aggressive line, is as important as learning to walk. It’s not easy, but it can make all the difference.
4. Don’t be afraid to call your own shots.
We tend to feel sorry for ourselves as we age. Others play a mean game of “I told you so.” But golf is a lot more fun if we make the decisions. Try to avoid looking for advice from friends. You won’t listen. You’ll be looking to play it safe and to blame someone else if you feel worse. Instead, step up to the plate, and take responsibility for your own game.
5. Practice as much as you can.
Of course, you need to play a lot to get better. But you don’t have to do it every day, every week, or even every month. It’s more important to keep working on your short game and range sessions, as well as your handicap. After all, without putting in the time, you’ll never see the improvements.
6. Find your hidden potential.
Seniors, like all athletes, can experience unexpected bursts of improvement. As golfers, we tend to focus on the results and the results only. It’s good to look for positive surprises on a regular basis. For example, when you see that your putting is starting to improve — whether that means getting the ball in the hole, or not so much — take note. Maybe you’re carrying clubs that don’t fit you properly. Or maybe you need a new pair of irons. The point is that you should keep an eye on your golf game, and if you see things starting to get better, that’s a good sign.
7. Keep things moving.
Golf is supposed to be a fun game. Just like exercising and other activities, golf is a cycle of time — you keep playing for a few years, then you slow down. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep the game exciting, keep the players engaged, and keep the activity fresh in your mind.