Golf Tips for Senior Golfers

By Todd Kolb
July 4, 2019

Golf Tips for Senior Golfers

Like most things in life, golf only gets harder as we get older.

We may still feel twenty-five at heart, but the physical realities of age are there. We lose flexibility. Less flexibility means a decrease in our range of motion. A lower range of motion means a shorter golf swing. And a shorter swing means less distance and power in our golf shots.

Don’t worry. None of this means your game is on a permanent backslide. With a few tricks, you can still play great golf well into your 60s, 70s, and even 80s.

I’m going to share two quick tips for senior golfers to increase your range of motion. I’ll also share a bonus tip to help you generate speed the way you used to. Before you know it, you’ll finally get back some of the distance you may have lost.

It’s easier than you think.

Tips For Beginner Senior Golfers

Golf can be a challenging sport to start playing at any age in life. But the best part of the game is we can play it for our entire life. For seniors who are looking to learn the game of golf, there are a few quick tips that will make golf more enjoyable right away! 

Purchasing the Right Equipment

Understanding the proper equipment for seniors to purchase is vital to the enjoyment of the game. If you are new to the sport, you have probably noticed there are a lot of different golf clubs, shafts, golf balls, and any other type of equipment. There are two main factors to consider when buying a set of clubs. These two factors are head design and shaft stiffness. 

What is Head Design?

Head design is the make of the iron. There are a few different types of iron: blades, cavity backs, and forged irons.

  • Blades are a skinny iron head that are difficult to hit consistently. These irons are meant for the advanced golfer who generates a lot of club head speed.
  • Cavity backs are an in-between club for advanced players who are looking for a bit more forgiveness than a blade.
  • Forged irons are the most popular choice among golfers. Forged irons offer the most forgiveness and distance. They are a prime candidate for your average golfer.

Within the forged irons there is a little bit of variety. The size of the sole of the head is important. The skinnier the sole of the club, the harder they will be to hit. For beginner senior golfers I would recommend purchasing a forged iron with a wider sole. This will give you the most forgiveness and distance with your irons.

As for the driver, make sure the driver has a lot of loft. Most amaeture golfers have driver heads with too little loft. Look for drivers that have 10.5-12.5 degrees of loft. But head design is not all that we need to know!

Shaft stiffness is an important feature in golf clubs. Having the proper shaft in your clubs will allow you to make good swings and not feel like you need to swing too hard. For seniors, there is what is called senior flex shafts. This is the best option for a beginner senior golfer. If the shaft is too stiff, you will not be able to generate enough clubhead speed for the shaft to work properly. 

Beginner Senior Golfers – Golf Swing Tips

First and foremost the grip and setup are extremely important for beginner senior golfers to understand. There are certain things we can do to help us make the best golf swing possible especially for seniors. The correct setup will allow for the most rotation possible in our backswing and follow through. 

Let’s talk a little bit about grip. For beginning senior golfers, there are three ways to grip the golf club. We start by putting our left hand on the grip. Make sure the grip is more towards the fingers vs the palm. This allows us to have proper leverage on the club.

Once the grip is in the fingers, fold your left hand around the grip while pointing your left hand down the shaft. The next step is to put the right hand on the grip so that it covers the left thumb.

There are a few ways to do this. Preferably, we would like to see the left index finger and right pinky interlock or have the right pinky overlap between the left index and middle finger. If you do not have enough grip strength in your hands to do those two options, it is ok to have all ten fingers on the grip!

Golf Posture

After we have a good grip, we need to get into the right golf posture. First play the ball in the middle of our stance. Hold your club out infront of you with a good grip and bend your knees just a little bit. Now, bend at the waist until the club is on the ground. This is the most consistent way to get into the correct golf posture.

One last tip with setup has to do with our feet. If your toes are pointed straight out ahead of you, rotate them out away from eachother so the distance between your toes increases slightly. Your toes should be facing outword a little. This tip helps alow our lower body to rotate away from the target in our backswing and towards the target in the downswing.

Senior Golfers Tip #1: Stay Loose and Relaxed in the Upper Body

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I certainly have:

As we get older, we tend to get more stiff and rigid. When you’re addressing the golf ball, you want to be especially aware of what’s going on in your neck, shoulders, and arms. If you feel tension in these areas, it means those muscles are tight and will restrict movement. You’ll end up with a shorter swing and a weaker shot.

Now, I know it’s not always easy to relax on command. So here’s a drill for senior golfers to help you loosen those muscles and get your old range of motion back.

Drill

(Side note: I like to run this drill with a regular 8 iron.)

  1. Take your setup without a golf ball.
  2. Take your backswing, bringing the clubhead far enough to lightly touch your trail shoulder.
  3. Swing through, brushing the mat or ground with the clubhead.
  4. Finish with the clubhead lightly touching your lead shoulder.
  5. Repeat this swing in a continuous motion, touching the trail shoulder on the backswing and the lead shoulder on the finish.

As you continue swinging back and forth, always reaching for that shoulder touch, you’ll start to feel your muscles relax into the motion. I’ve found that this drill has helped a lot of my golfers. You can also try hitting golf balls as you do this drill.

Senior Golfers Tip #2: Allow Movement in the Hips

Odds are decent that someone, at some point, has told you to bend your trail knee and lock it down to restrict hip movement in your swing.

This is an extremely common golf tip. And I adamantly disagree with it. Especially when it comes to more senior golfers.

When you restrict hip movement, you put a limit on your range of motion. Those of us who are getting a little older don’t quite have the flexibility in our upper bodies to adjust for that restriction.

And for senior golfers dealing with a sore hip or bad knee, you risk added strain by locking the knee and restricting the hip. I can attest that even in the best of health, I feel a little pain in the lower back when I follow the no-hip-movement rule. I wind up with a swing that’s less comfortable and less effective.

My advice is to let your trail knee release on the back swing and let your hips turn. This widens your range of motion so you can get a longer, more power-packed swing. You’ll also make it a few more holes before you have to reach for the ibuprofen.

Bonus Tip: Create Speed by Shifting Pressure

By now, you understand the main concept:

In order to keep hitting great golf shots, we have to maintain a wide range of motion. That range of motion is what helps us generate speed. Now, there are three specific types of motion that create speed for solid golf shots.

In the previous tips, we covered the first type of motion: turning.

RELATED: HOW GOLF MOBILITY CAN INCREASE DISTANCE

The second type of motion is extension—that movement of pushing up off the ground as you swing through. You probably did this somewhat naturally once upon a time, but most of us find that extension is suddenly more challenging as we get older.

However, the third type of motion is entirely accessible to you, whether you are a beginner or senior golfer. That is the side-to-side motion in which you shift pressure from one side of your body to the other. (You may think of it as shifting “weight.”) This energy shift helps you pick up momentum and generate speed.

The trick here is simple:

  1. Start with more pressure on your lead foot—about 55% or 60%.
  2. As you take your backswing, push that majority pressure towards your trail foot—specifically towards the heel.
  3. As you swing through, push pressure back into the lead foot and towards the target.

Get in the habit of shifting side-to-side, and you’ll start to see more power in your golf shots.

Enjoy the Game Longer

As we get older, the game of golf begins to get much harder. We start to lose distance off the tee and have to hit longer clubs into those pescky par 4s and 3s. There are a few ways where we can slow down that distance loss and maybe improve our chipping too!

Young golfers have the ability and flexability to create seperation between the hips and shoulders. The shoulders turn way more than the hips creating a coil effect that unwinds in the downswing causing some really high club head speeds.

The older we get, the hard it is to generate that swing speed. This fact is extremely important to understand as it has to do with launch angle and how the golf ball travels into the air.

The faster the club moves at impact, the easier it is to hit the ball high in the air with lower loft. As we lose the clubhead speed, we need to account for the loss of loft in our ball flight. For seniors, purchasing a driver with a shaft that is not as stiff and one that has higher natural loft like 12 degrees will help you hitting that sweet spot and keep hitting those drives far.

If purchasing a new driver is not an option, try pushing your ball farther up in your stance allowing you do swing more up on the golf ball. This will turn your 10 degree driver into a 12 degree just like that! 

Simple Short Game Tip

Since we are on the topic of loft, let’s dive into a quick tip on chipping. As we all know, the higher the loft of the shot, the softer it lands on the green. Most amaeture golfers have an ineficient chippping motion that delofts the club. Since the club is now delofted, players try to add loft by using their body. For seniors, this move can become challenging.

Here is a great tip to keep the natural loft on your chip shots to improve consistency. The inefficient move that I referenced before is an extension of the arms away from our body in the backswing. Extending the arms away from the body lengthens our swing radius. If we do not move our body forward in the chipping motion, we will hit way behind the ball. This movement of the body forward delofts the club. 

Work on keeping your swing radius consistent through the entire chip shot allowing the natural loft of the club to get the ball up in the air higher and softer. A good drill to practice this is right hand only chip shots. When you hit a chip shot with your right hand only the radius does not change. Try extending your arm in the backswing to feel the wrong move. Then try shortening your arm in the backswing to feel the opposite.

After hitting a few chips with our right hand only, we can try to replicate the feel with both hands. Really pay attention to the distance between your hands and your torso. This distance should not change throughout the entire chipping motion. If you want to hit it even higher, try shortening the radius in the follow through!

Tips for Finding Senior-Friendly Golf Courses

We have all heard the saying play it forward before. This has become a hot topic over the past few years. We as golfers have a lot of pride in our game and for seniors, this pride can get in the way of our enjoyment of the game. 

I know that it is cliche for me to jump on the play it forward bandwagon but I truly do believe it is in the best interest of everyone to play the next tee up. Someone recently told me of a new way to look at moving up to the next closest tee. He said to me that when he was younger playing from the back tees, he was hitting a certain iron into each hole.

For sake of discussion let’s say he was hitting his 8 iron into the hole we were talking about. Now, when he was younger he hit his 8 iron 160 yards. His 8 iron now goes 100 yards.

His point was that he wanted to have the same golf club into the green as he did when he was younger. Playing the tee in which he had an 8 iron into the green was no different than when he played the back tees as a young adult. It still takes the same amount of talent to hit that golf shot. So instead of struggling to get to par 4s in two, he is now hitting the same golf club into the greens and enjoying his golf game a lot more!

Next time you go out to play a round of golf, try to find the tee box that allows you to hit the same golf club into the par 4s as you would have in your younger years. I promise, you will start loving the game of golf again!

In Short

Your body may feel stiffer and more restricted than it once did, but that hardly means your best golf days are behind you. Just remember these three tips:

Stay loose and relaxed in your upper body.

Allow your hips to move.

Shift pressure between your feet throughout your swing.

These easy adjustments can increase your range of motion, improve your swing speed, and help you play like the twenty-five-year-old you still think you are.

What Do You Think?

Did these tips help? Are there any other difficulties you run into as a senior golfer? Anything here you disagree with?

Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!

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4 Comments

  1. Please clarify Senior Golf Tip #1, Drill: as stated the drill says to touch the trail shoulder with the “club head” on the backswing and touch the left shoulder with the “club head” on the follow-through. After watching the diagram, I think the term “club head” was meant to say “club shaft”.

  2. Thanks for the tips for Senior Golfers. I seem to be more mobile and have regained some of my lost distance.

  3. Taylor, good pick up. Yes, it is the clubshaft which touches the shoulder on both sides. Will make the update. Thanks!

  4. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment Charlie! Which tip did you find most useful?

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