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Senior golf: Let's tackle the back nine!

Lee Trevino once said: “The older I get, the better I used to be!” Even though golf is our game, most all of us have our fisherman tales as well! How good we were is no longer relevant; how good we are is a function of our conditioning.  When we’re young, exercise can be an option, as we age it is a necessity!

So first, we take a good look at where the swing and game is right now. You may get with an instructor to diagnose the current state of the swing and game. I think video is the best way to take a good, close look at what is actually happening (as opposed to what he/she feels might be happening). When the problem has been identified, we need to decide if the issue is physical, that is a limitation due to aging or injury OR, if the swing flaw is an old poor habit (not necessarily related to age).  If we are dealing with a poor habit, we make suggestions for improvement. If the problem is physical, we can address the restrictions with the aid of a fitness professional. I make this distinction because too many of my senior students are too quick to blame age for the problem. Age might be the problem, but poor swing habits are likely involved as well.

Senior golf is the time when we begin to attempt to compensate!  No one, regardless of how good of condition they are in, for their age, can do at 70 what they could at 30. The arc of the swing becomes shorter, the swing speed decreases, we cannot transfer weight as well as we once could, and as we are now learning, we certainly cannot push off the ground as a younger person might. As a result, it is not unusual to throw the clubhead at the ball from the top in an attempt to get back the lost distance; it is not unusual to “hang back” on the rear leg in an attempt to get back lost trajectory, the list goes on and on.

Case in point: I have chronic back issues, as many near my age do. Arthritis and a severely herniated disc create a fair amount of discomfort much of the time. These do not allow me to turnor move as freely as once I did. These issues have forced me to find ways to swing as pain-free as possible, which is a problem. One thing I noticed clearly on my video was a loss of posture in the backswing. It is difficult for me to maintain my posture as I turn, so I raise my torso to make the turn easier.  I could not feel that and was surprised to see it on video. I was a good couple of inches taller at the top of my swing, creating all kinds of issues particularly in my iron play. I now do yoga, stretching and work with Darin Hovis to stay as flexible as my aging body will allow. We can play better and feel better about it, if

  • We know the problem.
  • Are willing to change.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Are willing to improve physical fitness.

Returning to the focus of this series: Let’s start at the beginning. Turning is a critical component is any golf swing. It is critical to approach the ball from inside, and a very often a good turn away with the torso allows one the opportunity to get there. Hitting from inside is difficult, if not impossible, without a good backswing turn. Same goes for turning in the downswing.  Again the path is an arc, from inside and back to inside. The hip turn in the downswing swings the club back to the inside. I have asked Darin Hovis, of Par 4 Fitness to demonstrate a few drills that can increase one’s ability to turn at any age.

Let’s get started. Watch the video here and get to work on your swing issues, and your body as well. Remember, the alternative is to put the clubs in a garage sale, but if this game is in your blood like it’s in mine, I’ll take the exercise alternative!

Source: golfwrx.com

Brooks Koepka: My Advice to Make Your Second Shots Matter

Brooks Koepka: My Advice to Make Your Second Shots Matter

Written by: Brooks Koepka

feel like my accuracy stats with irons are a bit misleading. I play fairly aggressively week to week and fire at a lot of pins. So I might miss more greens than other pros, but I'm still only a few yards from the hole when I do. That being said, when I really need to hit a green in regulation, I'm confident in my swing. In winning my second consecutive U.S. Open, at Shinnecock Hills in June, only three other players hit more greens in regulation than I did—and trust me when I say that hitting greens there was like trying to stop a marble on a kitchen countertop. Here I'm going to share some of my tips on hitting better second-shot irons, a part of the game where I see a lot of golfers struggle. Let's start with alignment. Lately my coach, Claude Harmon III, has me checking to make sure I'm not setting up open like you see here, with my feet aligned left of my target. On the Monday of U.S. Open week, he was all over me saying, "Aim more right; aim more right." I told him I couldn't aim any more right. Then he put a club on the ground to check my alignment.

Wouldn't you know it? I was still aiming left. The lesson is to make sure you're set up to hit the shot you want. Here are some more of my tips. – With Ron Kaspriske


DIP YOUR LEAD SHOULDER
You drove the ball into the fairway and have a real chance of a green in reg. Now what? Assuming your alignment is good, focus on making a better backswing. A lot of golfers take the club back with almost no upper-body rotation—they're all arms. And even when they do rotate back, it's usually on a flat shoulder plane. If your shoulders turn back fairly level with the ground, it's hard to swing down from inside the target line and hit an accurate shot. You'll probably slice or pull it and miss the green. Instead, turn so your left shoulder moves back and down. See how mine is pointing at the ball (below). Look at all that space I've created to swing down from inside the target line. Essentially, it allows you to swing on plane and hit it straighter.


GOVERN YOUR DOWNSWING
A question I get asked a lot in pro-ams is how I'm able to swing the club as hard as I do. Honestly, I'm not swinging that hard. I'm using about 75 percent of my maximum effort. If I swung any harder, I'd probably spin right out of my golf posture and miss the green big time. I bet when you swing your hardest, your accuracy goes out the window. That's why I recommend you take one more club than you would from a particular distance—say, a 6-iron instead of a 7-iron from 150 yards—and make a swing at 75-percent effort. You'll know you're doing it right if it feels like the club is trailing your body's rotation toward the target like it is here (below). What you'll find is, this syncs your swing and improves your chance of hitting it solidly.


GET THE DISTANCE YOU EXPECT
It's great if you're able to hit your shots fairly straight, but when it comes to second-shot accuracy, that's only half the equation. Putting the ball on the green is a blend of hitting shots in the right direction and the correct distance. The direction part comes from controlling the clubface's position at impact in relation to the path. The distance part comes from hitting down on the ball and compressing it, getting that great sound and feel off the face. To flush iron shots, work on improving what your dominant hand does as the club moves through impact. Here I'm showing that the right palm should never turn skyward (below). This allows you to strike the ball and keep the clubhead moving downward into the turf. Consistently do that, and the ball will fly a predictable distance.


FINISH IT OFF
I typically opt for a fade when I'm hitting into greens. It's just an easier shot to control. That's why Claude keeps an eye on my alignment to make sure I don't aim too far left and overcook my iron shots. I'm telling you this because it relates to the photo you see here of my finish position (below). Notice where my chest is pointing in relation to where I'm looking. It rotated well past the green and is facing almost 90 degrees left of it. The point is, I kept my body moving as long as I could, which is a key to accuracy when controlling a shot's curve. If I stop turning my body sooner and the club keeps going, I probably would hook the shot. And if I stop turning my body and club too soon and at the same time, my fade will turn into a nasty slice. That's a move I see a lot from amateurs. In the hopes of hitting it somewhere toward the green, they don't let the clubhead close, and they stop the swing cold when their arms and club are facing the target. We call that steering, and it rarely works.

My advice: Keep the body moving to match the swinging of your arms and club. Whether you hit a draw or fade—or a straight ball if you're one of the lucky ones—keep everything moving until all the momentum is gone and the club's shaft finishes wrapped around your body, as you see here. If you swung at 75 percent of your max speed like I recommended, it's easy to get into this trophy pose. Or should I say, your club-championship trophy pose?

Source: GolfDigest.com

Course is Open with Safety Precautions

Dear friends, the golf course is open and want to make our golf experience as safe as possible.  We may now rent power riding carts!  We appreciate everyone's patience and support as we followed the Governor's order the past several weeks.  Power riding carts will be rented individually unless two players live in the same household.  Social distancing is still required.We are encouraging everyone to follow CDC guidelines in regards to the Coronavirus.  We are asking all players to reserve a time and pay either online or over the phone before coming to the course.  Please arrive no more than 15 minutes before your starting time and then go directly to the first tee at your starting time.  We have put the policies and precautions in place to give you some peace of mind while playing at Meridian Sun GC.  Click here to view.