An Easy Golf Swing for Seniors
An Easy Golf Swing for Seniors – How to Adjust Your Swing and Avoid the Pitfalls of Traditional Instruction
One of the greatest things about golf is that it is a true lifetime sport.
Sure, as you get older, there are a lot of different factors that can affect your golf game: reduced balance, reduced mobility, lost range of motion, lack of flexibility, lack of strength, lack of speed. But the truth is that golfers can and do continue to play great golf well past their “prime” years.
Just look at the professional sports world to see how unique golf is in this regard. Statistically, the average professional athlete is likely to retire before the age of 30. This trend holds true in baseball, basketball, football, hockey, track and field, and soccer, among other sports.
In golf, the great Jack Nicklaus won his last major at the ripe young age of 46. And even after that, he STILL played professionally for another two decades!
Bottom line, it’s possible to continue playing great golf—and even to keep improving as a golfer—as you get older.
What’s the secret? It’s all in the swing.
Tweaking Your Swing as You Age
One of the biggest obstacles that prevents older golfers from reaching their full potential is the misconception that there is one “right” way to swing a golf club.
Think about who you admire and emulate as a golfer. For most of us, that person is probably a famous professional golfer that we love to watch on TV. When you watch someone find success week after week, it’s natural to ask what they’re doing right that you could be doing, too.
By the same token, a lot of golf instruction is based around the way that the best players in the world swing the club. Heck, a lot of good golf instruction starts from the mindset that the pros know best!
What’s the problem with trying to emulate the best golfers in the world? For some golfers, nothing! Are you a twentysomething golfer just coming into your own on the course? If so, by all means emulate the twentysomething golfer who just happens to be winning PGA Tour events. You can probably learn something from paying attention to the mechanics of that person’s game.
The Problem with Traditional Instruction
As we get older, though, the distance between us and the greatest players in the world grows. While golf is more of a lifetime game than almost any other sport, the top-ranked golfers in the world still tend to be young athletes with prime levels of strength, flexibility, range of motion, balance, and speed.
Most older golfers don’t have these assets, at least not in the same quantities. That means that emulating younger golfers—even if they are amazing at what they do—can be a losing game.
A lot of things change as we age. It’s only logical that our golf swings should change, too.
So don’t be afraid to tweak your swing as you get older. Don’t be afraid to move away from what the young golfers do. Don’t be afraid to adopt a tactic that works better for you. Taking these steps is the best way to unlock the potential of your game into your elder years. And this easy golf swing will be more forgiving in the long run, too.
The Vertical Line Swing System: An Easy Golf Swing for Seniors
At US Golf TV, I’ve designed an approach that I call the “Vertical Line Swing System.”
This system can work for anyone, but it is intended specifically for the older golfer. By using this swing, older golfers can regain some of the speed, balance, and power that they’ve lost throughout the years.
So, if you want to stay sharp on the golf course well into your retirement, then you want to give this swing a try. Because let’s face it: A golf-heavy retirement is a lot more fun if you’re playing at the top of your game!
Here’s how to do it:
Widen Your Golf Stance
The Verticial Line Swing System starts before you even pick up a club or start swinging. The first step is to give yourself an optimal golf setup. Setting yourself up for a good swing is as important as the swing itself. That’s true for every golfer, and doubly true for older golfers.
How come the stance matters so much? It’s a well-established fact that our balance declines as we age. The good news is that you can counteract that decline a bit just by widening your stance when you set up for a swing.
Think of it this way: Do you feel more stable when walking down a sidewalk? Or do you feel more stable when walking on a balance beam? The answer, always, is going to be the former. A wider stance gives you a more favorable center of gravity—in turn providing a sense of balance and stability that you won’t get from narrower footing.
Point Your Toes Out
Don’t point your toes straight forward and parallel to one another when you set up for your golf swing. Instead, try flaring out your feet slightly.
This simple tweak accomplishes a few different things, all of which can be beneficial for senior golfers.
First, standing this way will naturally widen your stance. As we’ve already discussed, a wider stance will help you feel more balanced and more comfortable as you prepare to take a swing.
Second, slightly flaring your feet before you take a shot can help give you more range of motion. More freedom of movement, in turn, sets you up for a better rotation with your golf swing.
Finally, let’s couple the benefits above. Take the added comfort and balance of a wider stance, and add the extra rotation allowed by a flared footing. These two things together will net you significantly more speed with your swing. More speed means more power. And more power means more distance out on those Par 4s and Par 5s.
Move Your Hips
One thing that happens a lot with older golfers? They stop turning their hips when they swing the golf club.
Sometimes, this happens because of simple wear and tear on the body. Sometimes, it’s bad advice about limiting their hip turn. Often, it’s just because older golfers aren’t doing the two things we already discussed above.
Widening your stance and flaring your feet outward will give you the setup you need to have a little more motion in your hips. The next step is to start swinging the club and really paying attention to what your hips are doing.
If you’re not getting much turn there, make a conscious effort to loosen your lower body. As you swing, you want to turn your body and “open” your hips toward the target you are aiming for.
Your hips should be in a constant rotational motion. Even after you’ve hit the ball, the hips should keep rotating for good follow-through. You should make sure you’re allowing your legs to flex and turn in a natural way, too.
Not only can having more rotation lend your swing more power, but it’s also a great way to lengthen a golf swing.
A Common Struggle for Older Golfers
One of the most common complaints from older golfers is that their swing has become shorter and shorter over time. A shorter swing happens naturally, thanks to loss of flexibility and range of motion. It’s an issue that leads many older golfers to feel like they are rushing their swing when they hit the ball.
The problem, in many cases, isn’t necessarily that the golfer doesn’t have the capability for a longer swing anymore. Rather, it’s that they are keeping their hands low and doing more of a horizontal motion (swinging around themselves) rather than a vertical one (swinging the club upward).
When you start turning your hips more, you can get more of a vertical line in your backswing. Restoring that vertical line is the best way to add length to your swing.
I personally like to use the LiveView Camera with my students to help them identify the vertical line in the backswing. That way, it’s easier to get used to incorporating the vertical line into each swing.
What I’ve found is, when I tell students to loosen their lower bodies a bit (hips and legs) and add some vertical direction into their swing, they start achieving more length in their swings naturally. And, assuming you are striking the ball well, a longer swing is always going to give you more power and more distance.
A longer swing also helps golfers arrive at a more optimal rhythm and tempo while they are swinging the club. If you’ve been asking “Why do I feel like I’m rushing my swing?”, finding a smoother, slower swing tempo in this manner will likely do wonders!
Try This: A Drill to Increase Club Head Speed
Over the years, I’ve discovered the best way to teach my students the Vertical Line Swing System. The key is an exercise I like to call “The Baseball Drill.”
Why is it called the Baseball Drill? Because when I’m teaching students this method, I tell them to picture themselves at home plate on a baseball diamond.
Out on a baseball field, as you prepare to swing for the ball, you have left field, centerfield, and right field out in front of you.
Now, imagine you’re standing on home plate, but instead of a bat, you have a golf club. Aim yourself toward right field, with the lead foot forward and the trail foot slightly back. Then, when you’re ready, take a swing and hit the golf ball.
How it Works
The position of the Baseball Drill naturally creates a setup where golfers have all the ingredients I’ve discussed in this post so far:
- It puts you in a wide stance with flared footing;
- It keeps your legs flexible and ready to move;
- And it puts you in a situation where the hips are already turned.
The result, you’ll see, is that when you take a swing, it goes naturally into that vertical line. Now, you’ll have the length of swing you need in order to hit a fast and powerful shot.
If you’re an older golfer who feels like their best days of golf are behind them, try the Baseball Drill. You might be surprised just how much speed and power it gives you.
What Do You Think?
Do you feel like the Vertical Line Swing System is helping to add some oomph back into your swing? Does it provide you with an easy golf swing to replicate? Or do you need a few more pointers or clarifications to help you master this strategy?
Please join us in the comments to share your thoughts!