Column: Maintaining your game in golden years

The Chilliwack Golf Club team contributes a bi-weekly column featuring golf tips, news and notes.

As the body ages, it also changes.

For golfers who were once able to hit the ball far and straight, they may find that as they get older, their game starts to suffer.

Here are some tips for seniors to take with them to the golf course and practice range to keep them playing golf for a lifetime.

For most seniors, the loss of distance is a big issue.

Remember that the two ball flight laws that most influence distance are hitting the center of the club-face consistently, and club-head speed.

For seniors struggling to hit the center of the club-face, remember that you do not need to ‘scoop’ the ball into the air with your hands.

This scooping motion usually occurs with the lack of hip mobility and rotation, which I find quite commonly among senior men.

To help improve hip mobility and rotation, you must stay active, and look into some exercises and stretches that can help with this issue.

Remaining active and healthy is crucially important for seniors who play golf.

This will not only help with swing mechanics, but also with prevention of injury, and one of the prevailing reasons for seniors quitting the game is because of injury.

Also, I find that reminding students to finish the swing well with the lower body will help them get even more rotation through impact.

The good news is that the ability to generate more rotation with the lower body should also help the golfer generate more speed. Energy in the golf swing must come from the ground up, meaning that power and speed should be thought of coming from the lower body.

Many seniors try to generate speed with their upper body, resulting in less speed and poorer ball contact.

A great drill to help generate more speed is to turn the club upside down and make some swings while holding close to the club head. Try to make a loud swishing sound with the shaft of the club as you swing through impact. See if you can continue to swing with more speed, but be sure that the effort is coming from the lower body rather than the upper body.

Another consideration that all golfers must be more aware of, especially as they get older, is nutrition and hydration on the golf course.

No matter if it is hot and sunny or cool and rainy, golfers must remain hydrated on the golf course.

Water is always the best drink of choice, and you should drink at least a quarter cup of water every hole, and even more if the weather is warmer.

Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine, as these actually deter your body from absorbing the water you desperately need on the golf course.

Its also very easy to forget that ever-important first meal of the day, especially if you have an early morning tee time.

Remember that a balanced breakfast containing complex carbohydrates will help keep your energy up throughout your round. So a nice bowl of hot oatmeal and fruit, or multi-grain bagel or toast with peanut butter are excellent choices.

And don’t forget to continue to eat throughout your round.

Again, complex carbohydrates are key on the course, so fruits and granola bars are great choices.

After your round, seniors should look for more proteins to replace those lost during the round. Roasted nuts like cashews or almonds make a great meal on the course, as well as a sandwich with multigrain bread and lean meats are also good choices.

One of the things I love about the game of golf is that it can be played for a lifetime.

Make sure you make the most of your game this season so you can stay healthy and fit to play for many years to come.

 

Jennifer teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including 2 years on the LPGA. She was also named the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Low Teaching Pro of the Year, and is now the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy.  She can be contacted at 604-798-9805, chilliwackgolfacademy.com, or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com

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