Here's an article I originally wrote for a local newspaper. It addresses Seniors' concerns about losing distance.
More Distance for Seniors
by Mark Blakemore, PGA Professional
I have been teaching golf for over 15 years and in that time I have given many lessons to
seniors. The most common thing that older people seem to want from lessons is more distance.
It's typical for people to assume that an inevitable part of aging is the loss of
strength, flexibility, and speed, and therefore, a loss of distance. That's
true, to some degree, if you have injuries or lead a sedentary lifestyle.
But if you stay active the effect of aging can be minimal, and there are many things you
can do to increase your distance even if you are getting older.
One thing you can do is to improve your level of fitness (strength, flexibility and
endurance). My recommendation for improving strength is to get started, and be
consistent, on a weight program at the gym. I see many older people working out in
my gym every day, being very consistent and improving their fitness. You don't need
to lift weights like a bodybuilder to increase your distance. A general and moderate
strength training program will work wonders. There are lots of good fitness trainers to
instruct and coach you if you don't know how to get started -- ask around. For improved
flexibility (which is even more important than strength) I recommend Yoga. Taking a yoga
class will teach you correct breathing and make you feel great too! For endurance the
best bet is good old-fashioned walking -- the farther the better. Don't forget, whenever
undertaking a new program of exercise make sure your health care professional knows what
you're planning to do and has given the OK.
In addition to physical conditioning, golf lessons are important. Lessons will help to
make your golf swing simpler, more efficient and more repeatable. Lessons from a quality
golf professional will also give you the correct "swing concept," or mental picture and
feeling, of the swing. Good mechanics and the right swing concept go a long way toward
increasing your distance.
Finally, it's necessary to have equipment that is fit to you personally if you want to
maximize your potential. The most crucial ingredients of custom-fit equipment are
shaft-flex, lie angle, swing weight and overall weight, club length and grip size.
There are other variables that have an impact as well. A golf professional can fit you
for a set of clubs in just a few minutes.
Just because you're getting older doesn't automatically mean you're going to hit the
ball shorter. Get started on the things I've mentioned and then forget about it.
Before you know it, more distance will creep into your game and you'll be hitting it
farther than ever. Please feel free to contact me for a lesson
if you're in the San Francisco bay area. Or, better yet, enroll in one of my private
Long Drive Schools -- they're for everybody.