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Senior golf blog: From the forward tees

senior golf super senior champions tour george smith

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#1 zakkozuchowski


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:28 AM

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Senior golf blog: From the forward tees

By George Smith

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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!

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#2 TexasTee



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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:58 PM

I am right there with you.  I just turned 64 but playing as well or better than I have in years. Partly due to equipement but mainly due to working on my game, both long and short of it.

However, the USGA must not care much for the senior golfer.  I know I may not play many tournaments that are USGA sanctioned but by outlawing the anchored stroke they have essentially said to the senior crowd "I don't care about you as a community of golfers as you no longer impact the game as we deem it to be played!"

The belly putter resurrected my short game, making it much more enjoyable for me to play in scrambles, church tournaments, etc.  And I may continue to use the belly putter for those events.  But now I must dedicate even more time to putting with the short putter and new grips to accomodate my age. I may try to qualify for the USGA Senior Championship one day!
Callaway Rogue standard, 10.5*, Project X EvenFlow 6.0 65gm/Fujikura Pro 60 stiff/Kuro Kage 65 regular
Taylormade M1 3w 15*, Fujikura Pro 70 stiff
Callaway Rogue X 5-pw, XP 95 regular, 1* flat, standard length
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#3 retexan599


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:00 PM

When I went on Medicare I moved to the forward (senior) men's teebox.  No regrets on that.  Also, perfectly at home in the golf cart; it lets me use my iPad on the seat beside me to keep score.  But, then I live in Houston and the heat demands the cart.  Enjoying golf more at age 75 than I did ten years ago!


#4 rvgolfer


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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:36 PM

The course where I play most often has just recently added super senior tees.  The big group that I play with has an unwritten rule that you need to be 80 to move all the way up to the super senior tees.  Personally, I wholeheartedly support this rule as it keeps the oldest members not only playing, but it also allows them to compete very well due to the shortened hole distances.

What I notice is that as we get into our 60's, we tend to have more chronic illnesses and problems, such as diabetes, replaced knees and hips, and etc.  My experience is that very few actually resist moving forward, and most have long forgotten their ego of who hits it the furthest, or who hits a 9 iron over 150.  I can also say that I am enjoying golf as much or more now than ever.  Not only do I not have the worries and distractions of a job, but now I also have the freedom to play on days and times of my choosing.

I usually walk and push, and have little difficulty finishing 18 holes even in the hottest 100 degree days.  My opinion is that now at age 66, I am overall just as good as I ever was, my distance has gone down some, but my short game has improved to compensate, so overall, life is great, and golf for me has become a true lifetime sport.

PS: Had a good day today,,was very late arriving to the course today due to a need to get a blood test early this am, didnt get a chance to eat breakfast, because my group was almost ready to tee off as I drove up, double bogeyed the first hole, and finished with a 77 (6 over),,in ideal weather, low 80's with sun and light wind,,it just doesnt get any better.


#5 teevons


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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:14 PM

I just turned 63 and really do not get to play as much as I like. One thing I did that made it a lot of fun was to get a set of hickory clubs. Moved up to forward tees and am having a blast. Like starting over a new game. They really are not that hard to hit and I find myself playing lots of different shots.


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