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Five tips for seniors

Flexibility becomes critical in our swings as we age.

By Kip Puterbaugh, PGA Published: August, 2012

1) Allow the left heel to lift on the backswing: One primary source of power is the amount of hip and shoulder rotation you create on the backswing.

As we age, our flexibility becomes more limited. It seems that in modern instruction the in thing to do is to make the left heel stay down on the backswing. If you fall into that category, try letting the heel come up to create more backswing rotation.

When Ernie Els was threatening to win several times this year, he was lifting his heel on the backswing. Asked by a commentator about this, he replied that he hasn’t been about to make a full backswing; the heel lift allowed for a complete turn.

If it’s good enough for Ernie, give it a try.

2) Have a slightly narrower stance at address:
This helps the flexibility issue on both backswing and follow through. The ability to rotate and transfer weight is easier when your feet are closer together.

Keep in mind that, on the backswing, we are trying to rotate around with the hips with no lateral motion in the lower body. This will keep the weight on the inside of the right foot (for right-handed golfers). Once the backswing rotation has finished, initiate the forward swing with a bump of weight to your left side, followed by your hips turning “through the ball.”

Experiment with your stance width to see if this creates a little more speed of the club head and, in turn, improves distance.

3) Experiment with a 10-finger grip:
This has had surprising results with some of my senior clients. When they go to the 10-finger grip, the wrist hinges more easily. For many, it feels easier to hold the club without too much grip pressure. (See next tip.)

If you can add a little more hinging of the wrist with a softer pressure of the hands, it should help produce more swing to the club and, one hopes, more distance.

4) Tension is ‘bad medicine’ for the swing: This tip is not exclusive to senior golfers. When a golfer is experiencing frustration with his game, tension is an immediate byproduct. The problem with tension is that it destroys athletic ability.

I often challenge my students: “Tell me one sport where you tighten any muscle or group of muscles for better performance.” There is no sport in which tension is a necessity for success.

I like to use the scale method of evaluating tension, one being totally relaxed and 10 as tight as you can be. What number are you working with?

I like to separate arm pressure from grip pressure. My ideal for my students is to keep arm pressure in the two to three range, grip three to four.

5) Swing ‘through the ball’ to a complete finish: Another common error as we start to lose power is our attempt to gain back the lost yardage by hitting “at” the ball versus “through the ball.” Do not let the ball be your target; you goal is to swing toward your real target. You should feel that you are achieving maximum club-head speed past the ball.

Take one of your longer clubs and turn it upside down; swing the shaft until you hear the “swoosh” of the club head after the position of the ball. Then turn the club around and attempt to create the same feel.


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Readers Feedback:

place a stick or broken club benihd you and keep your butt cheek against it . adress a ball and focus only on keeping in contact with the stick ,that will help you stay down on the ball. Hit balls in no time coming out of swing won't be an issue.
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Comment at 10/3/2012
I LIKE YOUR SUGGESTIONS, AS A SENION (71 YRS OLD) FEXIBILTY IS A BIG ISSUE. HELP AND IDEAS ARE HARD TO COME BY. PLEASE PUBLISH MORE ARTICLES. THANKS KEN LULEWICZ
Comment at 1/24/2014
I LIKE YOUR SUGGESTIONS, AS A SENION (71 YRS OLD) FEXIBILTY IS A BIG ISSUE. HELP AND IDEAS ARE HARD TO COME BY. PLEASE PUBLISH MORE ARTICLES. THANKS KEN LULEWICZ
Comment at 1/24/2014