By Paul Myers

Being that golf is not as physically demanding as many other sports, you might be tempted to think that you will be immune to the forces of aging when it comes to your golf game. While it is true that you can play golf much later into life than some other sports, you will still start to feel the effects of all of the years adding up just like you will with any other activity. However, it is possible to play really good at a high golf age by understanding your limitations and taking advantage of your experiences.

Before we talk about how you can play good golf, and still hit some long drives, as you age, let’s first look at some factors that cause you to lose a little bit of swing speed as the years go by.

  • Loss of flexibility and rotation. Most people become less-flexible as they age, and have a hard time rotating back during the swing as well as they once did. If you aren’t able to get your shoulders and torso rotated as far behind the ball as you once could, the result could certainly be a loss of speed at the bottom of the swing.
  • Loss of muscle mass. Just like with flexibility, most people lose muscle mass as they age. With less muscle to use, you will simply have a hard time swinging the club as fast as you used to.

Before you go thinking it is all doom and gloom regarding your golf game, there is no reason that you can’t play as good or better than you ever have – even if you’ve lost a few ticks off of the swing speed with your driver. The important thing in golf is to take advantage of your strengths, and minimize your weaknesses. If hitting long drives is no longer possible for you, then move on to playing a more strategic and controlled golf game that keeps the ball in the short grass and hits as many greens as possible. Most players learn this only at a high golf age, when they have played many years.

While working on other elements of your game like balance and tempo to make sure you are as accurate as possible, there are still things you can do to maximize distance. You don’t have to give up on long drives altogether just because they aren’t quite going as far as they used to. By making a couple quick adjustments, you might be able to rediscover a few yards and at least get the ball out there near where you used to hit it.

  • Get re-fit for your driver (or fit if you’ve never been fit). If your swing speed has gone down a few MPH’s as you’ve aged, get a driver that fits your new swing at a high golf age. You might not be able to properly flex the shaft that is in your current club if you have had it for a long time, so go to a club fitter and make sure you’ve got a driver that matches your current swing and strength. Driver shaft are lighter these days and can be swung faster. Various balls are designed to help maximize distance at a variety of club head speeds. You may be surprised how many yards you can get back just by selecting the right driver head, shaft, and ball combination.
  • Open your right foot and let your rear leg straighten in the back swing. If you are a right handed golfer, try opening up your right foot slightly at address. This will make it a little easier to make your turn in the backswing, and might help you lengthen your swing if it has gotten shorter. You don’t want to go too far with this tip or you might start to struggle with your balance – but a little opening of the foot can make a big difference. Similarly, letting that rear leg straighten a bit can help you lengthen your back swing as well.

Aside from a couple quick swing adjustments like these, take on a good swing speed training program like what we have at Swing Man Golf. Even if you’ve lost some distance in recent years, that doesn’t mean you can’t slow down the process and/or reverse the trend. Over 2/3 of our golfers are over 45 and over 1/3 are over 60. Typically they pick up 12-16 mph of swing speed in as little as 30 days. With a bit of work, that could be you too.

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