As younger people become a majority of the world’s consumers, most monetizable leisure caters to their needs. Fortunately, golfing remains a welcoming space for senior citizens where they cannot just blow off some steam and socialize but actually excel and compete as well.
To start golfing as a senior, you’ll need to buy the essential equipment like clubs, balls, shoes, and tees, then purchase optional gear including apparel and ball markers. You’ll then need to learn standard golf terms and, most importantly, master the golf swings for advanced age.
In this article, you will learn all about getting started with your golfing hobby as a senior citizen. This step by step guide will cover each aspect of your journey, including how to:
- Find the right clubs for your age.
- Get the appropriate golfing gear for senior citizens.
- Learn the essential golfing terms.
- Master golf swings for advanced age.
- Get yourself a supportive circle.
Find the Right Clubs
While sports like baseball and football begin with the ball, golf is unique in that it starts with the club. A mistake in purchasing a golf club can lead to difficulty in keeping a minimum score. This is truer for the clubs you’ll use earlier on in your game because you’ll need to cover a longer distance with your drivers.
When you purchase a golf club from a physical store, you can ask the support agent to find clubs with reasonable distance and forgiveness for you. Forgiveness refers to a design and material choice in constructing a club that dampens a bad swing’s effects. As a beginner, you should take advantage of such clubs, so you don’t get discouraged on the course.
Before you make your purchase, you should know about the different golf clubs, including woods, irons, and putters. Here are the broad types of golf clubs and their uses on the course:
- Woods – These are golf clubs you use to cover the maximum distance earlier on in the game. They aren’t as good at precision as they are at a distance.
- Irons – These clubs become relevant fairway onwards as you rely more on their precision to get close to the holes with the fewest hits.
- Wedges – With the highest focus on precision, these clubs are required in moments where you’re closest to the hole and do not want to hit the ball farther and add to your score.
- Putter – This club allows you to make a low-speed stroke that rolls the ball towards the hole at a short distance.
While the above list covers all the clubs you should know about; you only need woods and irons to get started, though. While there are certain clubs you can order off the rack and get great results as a senior citizen, the best thing you can do to get started at your age is getting fitted for golf clubs.
Getting fitted for a club means you don’t need to adjust your swings to a club but instead find the specifications that match your swing. To get fitted, you go to a facility that provides the service (typically a golfing store), and you try a few swings.
The launch monitor, alongside other analysis equipment used by the center, help the technician find the right specifications for you. With your height and swing considered, you’ll be given the proper club length for each club. Loft angle recommendations are likely to be included for different types of clubs as well.
With that said, you should note that golf club fitting can be expensive. If, because of your budget or the lack of golfing equipment stores nearby, you wish to bypass the fitting process, you can still get great clubs for your age. Here are some of our recommendations:
As mentioned earlier, drivers help you launch the ball at the beginning stages of your game. This club will help you cover a longer distance because it is constructed specifically for advanced age groups. It is as light to carry as it is easy to use. With over 1,200 reviews on Amazon, the club stands at a global average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
In addition to a driver, you’ll need another wood in your set. A 7-wood with a senior flex is ideal, which this club is. This will help you strike the ball with general-direction accuracy from the fairway. The club holds a global average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars and is highly recommended for beginner golfers.
With this club, you access more precision and venture into the irons territory. From fairway onwards, you can expect to rely on this club for medium distance strikes. This hybrid is rated at an average of 4 out of 5 stars.
When you come closest to the hole, you do not want speed and distance but slow-paced precision. Putters like the one offered by the Wilson Sporting Goods store are great because of the one-degree lofts. This putter has over 200 reviews and ratings, placing it at an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Things To Keep in Mind When Buying Golf Clubs
Regardless of whether you opt for the clubs recommended above or purchase an entire set, make sure you take the following into account when purchasing your clubs online.
- Hand orientation – While you will obviously hold clubs at a physical store, shopping online introduces the small complication of not knowing whether you’re buying a right-hand oriented club or a left-orientation. You’ll need to specifically look for the hand-orientation in product description or specifications to be sure you’re purchasing the right one, especially if you are left-handed.
- Material – You must look for graphite and other lightweight options when buying a golf club so that you can preserve your stamina during longer games.
- Value for money – As a beginner, you may be reluctant to purchase an expensive golf club. This instinct is often right as you’ll go through a few clubs before finding the one you’ll stick to long-term. It is best to hold off your purchase till you have found what works.
Get Other Golfing Essentials
While getting the right golf clubs will set you up for the most success as a beginner of advanced age, you will need to purchase other golfing equipment before you can try your first round. We include this here because novices may not know which equipment is optional till they’re at the club and have to rent tees or even shoes. Here is a list of equipment you must buy after you have your clubs:
- Golf balls – Err on the side of more. Balls may get damaged or lost in a matter of a few games. We recommend TaylorMade Distance+ Golf Ball set as it is geared towards covering a larger area per stroke.
- Golf shoes – While some golf courses may be laxer than others, you’re generally not allowed on the grass without appropriate shoes. Our favorite is Adidas Men’s Adicross Bounce 2 Golf Shoe because of its comfort and grip.
- Golf club bag – If you purchased your woods and irons separately, you’d need to buy a bag to carry the set you curated. If you are purchasing a set, however, you’ll likely get a free bag. TaylorMade Golf 2019 Select Cart Bag can be great for senior citizens.
- Golf Tee – This shouldn’t be confused with your golfing tee-shirt. The term describes the small pedestal upon which a ball is placed for a better launch. Pride Professional Tee System offers a variety of Tee-lengths to shop from.
Learn the Terminology
Now that you have covered your equipment bases, let’s discuss some terms you should be aware of. While the golfing glossary is expansive, and there are hundreds of terms pro golfers use, there are few key ones you should be mindful of to communicate on the course. In fact, you’ll need to understand some of these terms to understand the rest of the article.
- Drive – The first strike towards any hole. It is struck from the tee box and is supposed to be the longest distance shot.
- Approach – This refers to a subsequent shot taken towards the green. An approach is made from the fairway.
- Putt – This refers to any shot made on the green.
A typical golf game follows Drive, Approach, Putt chronology. Aside from these three terms, you’ll also want to know where you are on the golf course. So keep the following three terms in mind as well.
- Tee box – This is the starting point for any hole on the course and derives its name from the fact that a tee is planted here for the best drive.
- Fairway – This is a stretch of well-maintained grass from the tee box to the green.
- Green – This is the grassy area where the ball strikes can be slow and precise because of resistance. It is also where the hole is located.
The above terms, alongside the golf club classifications provided earlier, will make up the bare minimum golfer vocabulary you need to know before stepping on a course. You may also want to watch out for “Fore!” as the word is shouted as a warning when a ball is approaching you. Even if you play in a secluded location without multiple simultaneous games going on, this is a good one to know as your strike may be headed towards the facility’s employee.
Master the Driver
At this point, you’re ready to start golfing but to play the game with your friends, you must master the art of minimizing your score. Each strike counts as a unit on the scoreboard, and your goal is to land the ball into the hole with minimum strikes (score).
The best way to do that is by mastering a driver. A good driving shot will get you ahead early in the game. Here is how you can maximize the area your ball covers as you launch it from the tee box:
- Turn your right foot outward to keep your hips from swaying. You want your hips to rotate, not sway when hitting a driver. By turning your right foot outward, you’ll lock in place and lend more rotation to your swing.
- Place the ball behind you to make contact early. The general tendency is to place the tee at your symmetrical center. While that may be good for short-distance precision, it also takes momentum away from your drive. Merely placing the ball back by an inch or so will help you hit the ball early in your swing.
- Maximize rotation by lifting your left heel. When you lift your left heel slightly, you create enough asymmetry between the open right foot and toe-planted left one to leave no room for swaying while maximizing your rotation.
Other Best Practices for Better Drivers
While the above three tips will put you in a great position to hit longer drivers, you’ll need to keep the following things in mind.
- All golfing literature (including this article) assumes a right-handed golfer unless mentioned otherwise. Therefore, you should switch left and right accordingly if you’re left-handed.
- Practicing a club swing in the absence of a ball will help you exercise a better swing path. That is because you will not be under pressure to make contact with the ball or to perform perfectly. Swing a club while focusing on your hip rotation.
Master Your Approach Shots
If you’ve driven the ball from the tee to the fairway, you’re already doing well. From here, you need to know how to get to the green with as few strokes as possible. As mentioned earlier, these shots are referred to as approach. And you need to hybridize distance and precision to get the best approach because, without precision, you may over club and go beyond the target.
- Discard unrealistic expectations. The first step to a great approach is not to try to do too much in a single swing. Your health should remain your priority, and you must swing well within your abilities.
- Aim for the fattest part of the green but don’t worry if you can’t make it in fewer shots than the listed par.
- Figure out whether you’re naturally better at distance or precision. There’s one aspect you’ll naturally lean towards and should consciously train the other.
- Practice with irons to master approach shots with woods. If you learn that your precision is sufficient, but you lack distance, then simply training with clubs meant for shorter distances will improve your ability to cover more considerable distances when you use the right woods during the game.
- Look at the target. If the issue isn’t distance but precision, it might help to take your eye off the ball. Too many beginners keep their eyes glued to the tee and are entirely blind to the ball’s trajectory till they’ve launched it and no longer control the outcome.
Master Your Putts
With the right drivers and approach shots, you’ll find yourself on the green. This is where the game-ending shots are played. You’ll be using dense irons and putters here, depending on the nature of your strike. Here is how you can improve your performance on the green.
Fix Your Sights Directly on the Top of the Golf Ball
Unlike long-distance strikes, putting is about using little force and maintaining a straight trajectory. One of the best ways to go about this is to fix your line of sight directly on the top of the ball. This allows your arms to swing like a pendulum in a straight line through the ball and directly towards the target.
Use Your Shoulders
Earlier on in the game, you used your hips to rotate your upper body and swing the club for a longer distance. Here you must keep your arms straight and let your shoulders act as a pivot point and force source for the putt. You aim to move the ball adequately with minimal lift. Lift makes the result unpredictable on the green.
Stop Using Your Wrists for Leverage
To putt right, you must use your wrists for holding the putter and nothing else. One’s instinctive reaction to swinging with a club in hand is to flick their wrists. This adds inaccuracy to the strike and causes the swing to be unstable.
It is tough to exercise wrist discipline when putting. But by paying attention to your shoulders, you’ll be able to make your wrists more passive. On the other hand, if you try to focus on your wrists to stop them from flicking, you’ll achieve the opposite result.
Hold Your Head Still Throughout the Strike
This is perhaps the hardest to follow but is crucial in getting a stable, slow shot on the green. While it is tempting to follow the ball and prematurely shift your line of sight, you don’t want to lose precision points doing so. How still you hold your head governs how straight your arms remain on the swing path.
Find a Supportive Community That Challenges You To Grow
With a firm grasp of golf terms, the right clubs in your golf bag, and enough practice under your belt, you’re ready to play with other hobbyists. Many individuals adopt golf because their friends like the sport, but if you’re familiar with the golf course networking cliché, you know that the sport is an incredible opportunity to connect with new people. In this section, we explore the best practices of finding the right community.
Why Find New Friends as a Golfer?
Let’s first address that it is not just for you to broaden your circle using your newfound golfing hobby. But it is advantageous to do so. Here are some reasons why you may want to be open to golfing with strangers:
- Avoid complacency – Senior citizens who play golf with seniors they already know may get complacent, performing at the levels necessary to win games. But if you play with relatively younger golfers, you’ll be incentivized to push yourself and be more active.
- Learn new techniques – There’s only so much you can learn online. When you connect with other golfers, especially ones who can relate to your situation, you learn valuable hacks that add feet to your strikes.
- Keep your finger on the pulse – While golf is stereotyped as the sport of choice for old white men, there’s a lot of diversity on the course. It is the only sport that brings together people of different age groups as players. By playing with younger people, you’ll keep up with the times.
How To Network as a Golfer
If you’re sold on the idea of networking on the golf course, here are the steps you should take to get the ball rolling.
You are at an advantage because you belong to a generation before smartphones made socializing awkward. Most youngsters have anxiety regarding approach and introductions. Simply walking up to a solo golfer and shaking hands will get you started. You do not need to make small talk or comment on any specifics like the weather or their swing. Declaring your name while offering a handshake is standard.
Ask Whether They’re Practicing or Waiting for Someone
The next step is to ask whether they’re practicing or have another player coming for a match soon. This signals that you won’t pester them into a game. They’ll be more open to talking.
Ask if They’re a Regular
Regardless of whether they’re on the course for solo practice or waiting for a friend, you won’t challenge them to a game. Wish them the best as you start to walk away. As an afterthought, ask them if they’re a regular. If they tell you they visit often, tell them you’ll see them around.
Networking with strangers on the golf course is a slow and steady process. By building familiarity without competing, you’re building common ground. Generally, approaching practicing solo golfers and exchanging names is a great way to start feeling at home on the course. Every time you visit the course, you have familiar faces and names you recognize.
Eventually, you may invite (or get invited) to a scheduled game, but that is the next level of golf-course networking. You’ll also learn that some people are more chatty than others. And using your instincts regarding people, you’ll be able to decide better who you wish to connect with and who you don’t want to put effort into.
Get Golfing Apparel
You may be ready to visit the nearest golf course right away, but you’ll not make the right first impression till you have the appropriate apparel. To be taken seriously, you need to be wearing an acceptable outfit. Guesswork might get you dressed well enough to be allowed on the premises, but why risk getting denied entry by winging it? Here are the dressing conventions for a standard golf course.
Polo Shirt With Collars
You may be dressed in a long-sleeved polo shirt or a half sleeve variety, but it should have collars. Henleys and V-necks aren’t acceptable. Some courses may be more particular about material, but your average neighborhood course will not be snobbish about whether your shirt features cotton or polyester. Still, you should stay away from spandex.
Slacks or Shorts With Belt Loops
Strolling onto your favorite course with soccer shorts or PJ slacks will be impossible. Having slacks or shorts (longer than three-quarters) with belt-loops is a must as most courses will turn away potential patrons if they’re dressed in attire that breaks this convention. Remember that golfing is a game greater than anyone golfer. Adopting it is not different from being adopted into a community. For that, you have to be serious about the community’s rules.
We dedicated an entire section to the best shoes because it is essential for you to wear the right shoes. This is less about dressing conventions and more about performance. As long as your shoes have soft spikes, you’re welcome on the course. Make sure your shoes do not fall into the sandal or loafer category.
Belt and Socks
Last but not least, you must wear socks that cover your ankles and a belt to hold up your pants. Even if you can do without these, you should opt for these ‘accessories’ so that you fit in with the overall golfer look and do not draw too much attention to yourself.
That said, many courses will allow you to play even if you’re not wearing socks or a belt, but fellow golfers will not be too eager to engage you in conversation. Since golfing is a social game, you should do what’s socially acceptable.
Golfing can be very rewarding for people of advanced age as it allows them to compete and challenge themselves while staying fit. It can also be a positive networking tool. Here’s a recap of the post to help you get started:
- Find golf clubs appropriate for seniors
- Buy the essential equipment, including balls and tees
- Learn golf terminology
- Practice drivers, approach shots and putts
- Network on the course and make friends