Never Too Late To Start Playing Golf
By GBB Staff
Can you teach an ol’ dog new tricks? Is it too late for you to start playing and enjoying the game of golf? Our quick answer – it is never too late! Regardless if you are 5 years old or 95 years old you can learn how to play and appreciate the challenge of the game.
It will be important for you to keep perspective and manage your expectations. There are no “naturals” in golf – you will not immediately be breaking 80 or shooting your age. Your goals should be to enjoy the time with friends, get some exercise, and spend a few hours outdoors on a beautiful afternoon. This is true for every beginner, but even more so if you are more of a silver fox than a spring chicken.
How to Start Playing Golf Later in Life
- First things first, you don’t need to run out and spend thousands of dollars on new clubs. You can find affordable, high quality complete golf club sets for several hundreds of dollars. There's no reason to spend on brand name clubs if you're just starting out.
- Second, don’t try to immediately join your experienced friends for an 18-hole round. This can be frustrating for you and difficult on your friends. You need to build up to joining their weekend group. We recommend you start with a lesson from your local club professional. You don’t need to spend a ton of money, but an hour or two learning the basics will jumpstart your play. Spend part of your “lesson money” on your short game. Make sure your instructor teaches you the basics on chipping and putting.
- Finally, spend some time on the driving range and putting green. Can you make consistent contact with the ball? How far can you hit it? How straight? Start to learn how far you can hit the different clubs in your bag. Can you consistently make a 3-foot putt? How about a 5-footer? A solid short game is the quickest way to start enjoying the game.
What is the Quickest Way to Improve?
You have taken the leap. You have bought some clubs and taken a couple lessons. How do you improve and start playing on the course?
- Try to find an experienced golfer who can accompany you to the driving range once or twice a week. They don’t need to give you swing tips, but you will learn from just watching them practice. It will also help you get comfortable hitting shots around other people. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself if a few of your shots are comical.
- Ease your way in to playing holes on the course. You can find a local par 3 course or play 9 holes in the evening. It isn’t about shooting a great score. How do the shots you can hit on the driving range transition to the course? How many holes can you finish without losing a golf ball? Playing golf holes will also demonstrate where you should spend your practice time.
- The final improvement element the aging golfers need to keep in mind is physical fitness. The ability to use your body is critical to getting better at golf. Flexibility is key. Of course, you need to spend time stretching before you hit golf shots, but it also important to stretch on days you are not playing the game. You will be amazed how much better you can play if you dedicate time every day to your body’s wellbeing.
The Best Way to Enjoy the Game of Golf
You have done all the hard work. You have made the brave decision to start playing golf later in life and you have advanced far enough to start playing 18-hole rounds with your golf buddies. You will still need to stay patient.
- Set goals for yourself. Can you shoot lower than 115? 100? Establish a golf handicap and track your stats each round (how many putts, how many fairways, etc.). This is a great way to measure progress and avoid frustration.
- Playing with more experienced golfers is fine and can even help you improve. You can learn from watching how they approach different shots. That being said, you may want to find some playing partners who are also beginners or high handicappers. You can help each other. No one understands the struggle of learning the game like someone else in the same phase of their golf journey.
- One of the best parts of the game is competing in local tournaments or weekly groups at your local club. As a new player to the game, it is important you pick events that fit your skill level. Tournament golf can be challenging. First, if you have a handicap, you can always try Net events. Even better, try playing in Captain Choice or Scramble tournaments. In this format you have a team of 2-4 golfers. Everyone hits the shot, and you play the best one from your team. This is perfect for the beginner golfer. If you hit a bad shot, you just pick it up and move to your partner’s ball. You hit one great shot or make a putt and you can be the team hero. Trust us, you roll in that birdie putt for your team, get a bunch of “high fives”, and you will never regret picking up the game of golf.
Don’t be intimidated by the game of golf and don’t sit on your couch thinking “I missed my chance – I am too old to learn that sport”. You are never too old. There is nothing like the camaraderie you can develop on the golf course. Spend four hours together on a beautiful day, try to hit a little white ball, and make memories. If you have a good day, maybe you buy the drinks in the 19th hole. We don’t care how old you are – find some clubs and get started today!