Golf swing tips for golfers over 55 years of age is an entirely different ballgame and not an easy one to master. Unlike beginner level golfers, the swing mechanics for a senior citizen are very different in their approach.
The golf stroke mechanics for a senior citizen golfer involve entire body movement wherein the chances of a lower back injury are rather high. A good golf swing for a senior golfer is not about the technique but more on the player’s safety.
So, the entire swing motion along with the body momentum needs to be performed with utmost care. After all, you play golf for fun and not to get injured.
Golf Swing Tips for Golfers over 55 Years of Age – Article Inclusions:
1) What is a Golf Swing?
2) What are the 4 Pillars of a Golf Swing for Golfers Over 55?
3) What are the 3 Most Common Stroke Types Played by Golfers Over 55?
4) What are the 9 Golf Shots that A Senior Citizen Golfer can Attempt?
5) What are the 11 Most Misplayed Shots by a Golfer over 55 Years of Age?
6) Top 5 Power Loading Golf Swing Tips for Seniors
7) Golf Swing for the Older Man – A Word of Caution
What is a Golf Swing?
A golf swing can be defined as a complex set of movements involved in striking a golf ball with the aid of a golf club. While executing a golf swing, you need to watch your stance, your grip, the direction of your finger, the placement of your foot as well as the correct flex of your wrist.
Regardless of whether you are indulging in an upswing, downswing or backswing, any flaw in the swing mechanics or your body placement, can result in the ball flying off in the incorrect direction. This is often referred to as a ‘mishit’.
The Backswing: The movement of the golf club that seems to follow right after the takeaway is termed as a backswing. Over here, the golf club shall stop at the topmost position of the swing.
The Downswing: After you have performed a backswing, the next movement is the downswing. Here, your golf club is brought down towards the ball in a bid to strike it off the tee. When the ball is struck, the downswing is considered as complete.
The Upswing: The upswing is the distance covered by the golf club which is in the midst of the backswing. It is somewhat like picking the club off the ground.
What are the 4 Pillars of a Golf Swing for Golfers Over 55?
Here is a quick look at the four main things that determine how well you can swing the club:
1) You Need Get Your Stance Right
>>> First and foremost, senior golfers need to position their body aptly. A senior golfer needs to maintain slightly bent legs (at the knees) and maintain a straight back (not slouched).
>>> Your feet need to be shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Divert the weight of your body onto your feet and ensure that your arms are not stiff.
>>> Your choice of golf club determines where your body’s weight is going to rest. If you use a short iron golf club then, the weight of your body rests on your front foot. In case you use a long iron or fairway woods then, the weight of your body needs to be evenly distributed between both your feet.
2) Grip Your Golf Club Correctly
>>> A golf player that is over 55 years of age can use an overlap grip. Here, the little finger of the dominant hand is sandwiched between the index and middle finger of the non-dominant hand.
This grip is also known as the Harry Vardon grip. Here, the thumb of the non-dominant hand often encompasses the dominant hand thereby providing the best possible grip.
>>> A senior golfer can also use a baseball grip wherein all ten fingers interlock each other. The little finger of the non-dominant hand grips the dominant hand’s lifeline.
>>> The last and final grip that a golf player over 55 years of age can use is the interlocking grip. Here, the dominant hand is interlocked with the index finger of the non-dominant hand.
Over here, the lifeline of the dominant hand is often covered by the thumb of the non-dominant arm.
3) Position Your Body Properly
>>> The body of a senior citizen golfer needs to be aligned as per the target – the golf ball. Basically, you need to place your body parallel to the ball. Nonetheless, the body position changes as per the chosen shot.
>>> In case a senior golfer is using a long iron then, his body shall be slightly behind the center of the ball.
>>> If you are using a short iron then, the golf ball is placed at the center of your stance.
>>> In case you are using fairway woods then, the ball should be bang opposite the heel of your lead foot.
4) The Timing and Power Delivery
The backswing as well as the downswing needs to be precisely executed if you want to avoid mishits. The timing is vital to ensure that you become capable of shifting your body weight aptly to execute a perfect and flawless golf drive. Senior golf swing speed can be improved if you lay emphasis on your timing.
Secondly, senior golf players need to ensure that they avoid hitting the ball with excessive force. Instead, aim for accuracy and a controlled swing action. While strong glutes and quads do help, they come to play once when you have a controlled swing mechanics.
What are the 3 Most Common Stroke Types Played by Golfers Over 55?
These are the three most common golf strokes that senior citizens usually execute while playing golf:
This is a drive wherein a senior golf player lofts the ball at an angle in between 50 degrees to 64 degrees. As it is a lofty drive, the clubs used are either a pitching wedge or a sand wedge.
Senior citizen golfers also use utility wedge as well. The travel distance of a pitch shot is anywhere in between forty yards to fifty yards.
The Chip Shot:
The second shot that is usually played by golf players over 55 years is the chip. The average travel distance of this drive is under the forty yard mark.
A senior golf player should ideally use a wedge or even a short iron to execute a chip shot. Here, you need to avoid getting the ball onto the sand and allow it to reach the green.
The Putt Shot:
The last and final shot played by golfers is the putt. Over here, a senior golfer uses a putter to place the ball (usually within the green) into the hole.
You need to place the face of the golf club parallel to the target and strike the ball softly. The straight drive should be devoid of any undue body movement.
Golfers over the 55 year age bar should aim to hit the ball a few feet ahead of the hole. Another tip is to look at the hole and not the golf ball while executing this shot.
What are the 9 Golf Shots that a Senior Citizen Golfer can Attempt?
A golf player that has crossed the 55 year age mark usually attempts to play the following shots:
>>> The Bank Shot: This is a golf shot that is executed when a sand bank is obstructing the ball from the green. This is when you need to pitch the ball over the bank so that it reaches the green.
>>> The Golf Drive: A senior golf player usually addresses the drive from the tee box. The ball is struck hard all the way down the fairway. The aim is to drive the ball all the way to the green.
>>> The Putt Shot: This is a shot usually played on the green. Over here, the senior golf player softly puts the ball into the hole. You can also try the lag shot wherein the ball is designed to be placed closer to the hole (and not in it).
>>> The Approach Shot: This is a shot that is played with a mid-range iron. The ball is driven towards the green.
>>> The Flop Shot: This shot is delivered when you strike the ball with an open club face to overcome an obstacle. The error thus made forces the ball to spin out of control after it hits the ground.
>>> The Lay-Up Shot: This shot is a follow up to a drive. The intent here is to drive the ball close to the green. The distance covered may not be long yet the control required to execute the lay-up shot is of high degree.
>>> The Bunker Shot: When a senior golf player gets stuck in a sand bunker, he or she intends to loft the ball over the obstruction. This shot is intended to help the ball loft over the bunker and stay in or near the green.
>>> The Chip Shot: Using the chip shot, a golf player over the age of 55 years intends to drive the ball closer to the green. The swing action is short and delivered in a controlled manner.
>>> The Pitch Shot: This is the last and final shot a senior golf player uses to get the ball closer to the green. Here, the ball is lofted using a long or a mid-iron. The drive distance is longer than what a chip shot delivers.
What are the 11 Most Misplayed Shots by a Golfer over 55 Years of Age?
Golfers over 55 years often face difficulties while executing a golf swing. Here are the main mishits (as per my observation) that such senior players often experience in their golfing career.
The Duff Shot: This is a shot that senior players often play. Here, the ball is struck at the top end and not centred by the club. The result is that the ball (instead of getting lofted) bounces off the ground.
The Hook Shot: When the ball is struck with a closed clubface then, it tends to swing. If you are a senior golf player who uses the right hand then, the ball sewers towards the left. In case you are a lefty then, the ball sewers towards the right.
The Air Shot: This is very common for senior golf players. As their eye to hand co-ordination is not the best, the club often whistles past the ball without hitting it.
The Push Shot: Here, the ball is struck straight with the ball traveling towards the right hand side of the target. You had to spin the ball towards the left to get to the target, which you failed to deliver (as you played the push shot).
The Sky Shot: Another common mishit performed by golfers over 55 years is the sky shot. Here, the ball is struck from the top section of the clubface. This causes the ball to go high up in the air. So, the distance traveled is less as the loft is high.
The Pull Shot: This shot is just the opposite of a push shot. The ball is struck without any side-spin and in a straight direction. The pull shot compels the ball to be pulled inwards. It falls left of the intended target.
The Fat Shot: Yet another mishit delivered by senior golf players is the fat shot. Here, the clubface tends to strike the ground before striking the ball. The end result is low distance covered and the ball falling short of the intended target.
The Shank Shot: When the ball is struck via the area of the club wherein the head fits the shaft then, the ball tends to stray towards the right. So, senior golfers tend to miss their target. If you are a lefty then, the ball shall stray towards the left.
The Top Shot: This mishit is performed when the top half of the ball is struck by the club face. The end result is the ball falling short of its target and remaining close to the ground.
The Thin Shot: The last and final mishit performed by senior citizen golfers is the thin shot. Over here, the club head strikes the top half portion of the golf ball.
As the top portion of the club head is in contact with the ball, the loft is missing and the travel distance is significantly minimized.
Top 5 Power Loading Golf Swing Tips for Seniors
Unlike the swing mechanics that are usually taught to beginner level golf players, senior level golfers need to focus on injury prevention. In my opinion, the stance, swing mechanics, swing speed and precision is not as important for senior golfers as their ‘mind to swing’ connection.
Here are the top 5 ways how senior golfers can improve their swing:
Opt for a Full Body Stretch:
I know this seems to take the article away from the swing mechanics but for senior golfers, stretching is of utmost importance. Right from neck rotation to toe rotation, you need to stretch every muscle, tendon and joint so as to prepare it for the game. But even before you begin to stretch, take a short 500 meter jog to warm up your body.
Maintain a Strong Lower Back and Relax Your Shoulders:
When your lower back is strong, you can easily balance your body weight onto the balls of your feet. Your arms need to be relaxed and your wrist mobile.
In my opinion (LeanAndFit) perform yoga to strengthen your lower back and include ‘good morning’ exercise into your daily routine. Learn to maintain strong knees so as to stop aches and pains while you crouch for delivering a golf drive.
Position Yourself for the Drive:
Simply distribute your body weight onto the balls of your feet. Place your feet shoulder width apart shifting your hips backwards. Your shoulder and back should be pushed forwards so as to reach the ball easily.
Thereafter, bend your knees ever so slightly so as to balance your stance perfectly.
The Backswing & Downswing Technique:
Supposing that you are a right handed senior golf player, your backswing needs to be focused on your right arm. It needs to be tucked close to your body thereby shifting the weight of the backswing to your right foot.
For the downswing, your wrists are hinged as the weight shifts from your left knee to your feet. With your head behind the ball, shift your hips and upper torso in a rotating manner so as to compliment your downswing.
The Follow Through Technique:
With your head up, your follow through should be as forceful and controlled as your backswing and downswing. The arms need to be extended to their fullest while the right shoulder should be facing the ground.
Your body weight should shift to the heel of the left foot thereby allowing your right foot to be balanced onto the toe area. This should be a graceful movement which is devoid of extra power or sudden bursts of unwanted speedy movements.
Golf Swing for the Older Man – A Word of Caution
Regardless of how good a golf player you were in your prime, the moment you cross the 50 year age mark, your body needs to re-adjust to your game. You need to make sure that you avoid playing golf like you did when you were in your twenties or thirties.
Avoiding injuries becomes the most important aspect of playing golf when you cross the 55 year age mark. Even if you started playing golf at such a late stage, you still need to prioritize your health before the swing mechanics.
Focus on enjoying a game of golf rather than mastering the swing and other (golf playing) techniques. At this age, what matters is to be engaged positively without injuring your mind and body in the act.