One thing that most senior golfers struggle with is distance. As we age, our bodies slow down and we lose flexibility. Both are critical to swinging a golf club with any sort of power. But, even if we can't hit the ball as far as we did 5, 10, or 20 years ago, we can utilize the proper equipment in order to offset the decrease in clubhead speed.
Drew Danko is 73 years old and looking for more distance with his fairway woods. He wanted to know what my clubhead speed was and what he can possibly do to hit the ball farther.
Even though I am an advocate and user of your approach, I went to a local golf center the other day to have my clubhead speed assessed. My reason for going was to determine why, at the age of 73 and in good shape, I cannot hit a 200 yard shot off the fairway with a 3 or 4 wood even when I swing them well.
The swing speed recorded for me was 72 to 77. The pro said unless I can get it into the 80s, it will not be possible to reach that 200 yard goal. I can live with that, but it made me curious about what club head speed Surge reaches with his 3 and 4 woods. So, I would like to hear from Surge about that plus any thoughts he may have on how us senior citizens can achieve greater clubhead speed.
Thank you for all your good work,
The one thing I really liked that Drew said in his email was that he "can live with that." He may not be able to hit it 200 yards, but at least he's accepted it, which means he can concentrate on other parts of his game. I'm at 95mph clubhead speed with a 3 wood and close to 100mph with the driver. But, I know that 10 years from now, that won't be the case. So, what do we do to combat this?
We've got to understand that when we get older, we slow down. If you do any activity today that you did 5, 10, or 20 years ago, like riding a bike or running, you can probably still do it but you're probably not doing it as fast. As we age we're able to do similar physical activities, we just lose our speed when doing them. We slow down. I'd be willing to bet that even walking from the house to the mailbox is a longer trip than it used to be.
If we can't perform daily tasks at the same speed we once did, than we probably can't swing a golf club as fast or hit the ball as far. So, we've got to adjust for it. the PGA of America has a program called "Play it Forward." This means that you play the right tees for your skill level. Many courses today probably need more tees because of this. I even think that senior tees are still too far back. Even I don't play the back tees anymore! If a course is over 6700 yards, I'm not playing the back tees because it's just too long for me, at 62 years of age.
To answer Drew's question about what he can do to gain more distance we must shift our focus to his equipment. All of our certified fitters agree that seniors are constantly being sold clubs that are way too long with clubheads that are way too big. They also put the sweetspot on the clubface out near the toe of the club. The more the club designers put the sweetspot near the toe, the harder it is to square the club up. They're making clubs for golfers who make bad swings, which is noble. But, everyone here at this website is getting better and wanting to improve their swing, so these clubs aren't made for you. The clubs are actually working against you. What we need is the sweetspot in the middle of the club.
I've been hearing a lot of success stories after telling seniors to use their wife's driver and 3 wood to see what happens on the course. What I hear is that nearly everyone hits it better. That's because ladies clubs are built with smaller heads with lighter shafts and grips. They're also not as long. All of these elements make them easier to hit.
In many cases, our certified fitters are fitting our students with 12 and 14 degree drivers. They're also fitting their 3 woods at 17 and 18 degrees, which twenty five years ago was close to the industry standard.
When you lose speed, you need loft to get the ball in the air with the right shaft and the right weight for your swing. I think it's critical for seniors (including me) to understand that we need more loft with smaller heads. Don't be afraid to go against what you see on television because here we're teaching you to improve your swing so you don't need a club that is built for flawed mechanics.
Many golfers can hit a driver and 3 wood off a tee with no problem, so if you're struggling doing that then you know it's time to get more loft. Remember, smaller heads, more loft. You'll find that you hit it more solid, straighter, and longer. Get to a certified fitter soon and make the proper adjustments. Trust me on this one!
Keep it vertical!
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