Senior golf blog: From the forward tees
By George Smith
Something both strange and wonderful has happened to me in the last few years. I became a “super senior” golfer. This “super” thing has nothing to do with my golf game. I am decidedly and permanently average at best. “Super senior” reflects my age – somewhere past “almost old” and somewhere before “really old."
I never really had an issue with being an almost old, senior golfer. After all, most of the tour players I identify with, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, and Tom Watson, were either already “Seniors” when I became a senior or followed along shortly. I loved watching them play on the Senior Tour. Heck, if it wasn’t for Tiger, I would probably rather have watched those guys play than the regular tour guys.
And as a senior golfer, I had an official reason for watching the fairer sex play. We all know that the LPGA tour is a better teaching clinic for seniors than the PGA Tour. The women’s game is more like ours (or like ours should be). No senior I know hits the ball 300 yards consistently in real life. We all ought to concentrate on our short games like the women do. Those are the money shots, aren’t they? And that the women are much more attractive than any of the PGA Tour types was pure coincidence.
There were also very practical reasons I liked becoming a senior golfer. Seniors qualified for senior discounts. It was a great feeling to play golf with guys who were “only” 54. They got this disgusted look when they saw me, a senior, paying 25 percent less than they did for the same round of golf.
But being a “super senior” is an entirely different story. Most of the perks of being a senior are used up before we become super seniors. The guys we followed on the Champions Tour aren’t much of a presence. When they do play a tournament, they are talked about in the same way that a Model T in the State Fair parade would be accorded. Everyone seems to think it’s amazing that Hale and the Toms can even chew their food much less play a competitive round of golf. And what’s worse, all the guys I play with now qualify for senior discounts.
So, is there nothing super about being a “super senior”? Or is it possible that the benefits or are the benefits of “super-seniorhood” there but are just not obvious. Maybe its time to ask the question, “If I have to be an old golfer, why not find the silver lining to “super-seniorhood?” And if there are not many “silver-linings”, maybe we can work on creating a few.
That’s what my blog is about - this state of golf life I am calling “super-seniorhood” how about just SSH for short?). Personally, I need to think and talk through this stage in my personal movement. I need to turn all of my “other world” skill set, being a multidisciplinary researcher, on the opportunities of SSH.
I also need to admit my limitations. If you are looking for help with your golf swing this is probably not the place for you. I don’t know anything about swing theory except that if you have been playing golf for as long as I have, changing your swing is probably a bigger project than we can take on in a forum like this.
Well, what kinds of things will I be researching and discussing with you? For starters:
- Is there golf equipment designed for “mature golfers” that I can make a day on the course more enjoyable?
- What can I do to physically recover from a round of golf after I get home?
- How do I deal with the mental side of SSH?
- How do I play the betting games we have always played with guys who haven’t seen the physical drop off I experience? I hate continually begging strokes from the younger guys I regularly play with. Are there alternatives?
- I was a walker all my golf life, partially because of the contact I felt with the natural world I found on the course. Now that I have to ride in a cart, how can I feel a part of the natural environment from the seat of a golf cart?
Unfortunately, these are the soft topics. To continue to enjoy the game, we will have to talk about some uncomfortable issues, as well. I imagine we will spend much more talking about arthritis, memory issues, and personal losses (read: death) than the “normal” golf blog.
SSH can be the most exciting stage in our golf lives. For most of us, we will have more time to enjoy golf as a SSH than we have ever had. We have more money. We have fewer distractions. There are wonderful developments in technology and healthcare that will keep us in the game for years to come. Let’s use these pages to share these wonderful years ahead of us.
Our golf life can look great from the forward tees but only if we face the challenges. Let’s talk about this interesting journey we have begun. I am looking forward to sharing the ride with you. Hit away!