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Senior Golfer - On The Green

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.

Breaking down some of golf's most common myths

The Putting Green

There are a lot of myths flying around the golf world these days, and nowhere is this more apparent than in discussions among seniors. So, this month's column seeks to breakdown, to demystify those myths, and come up with the truths.

To hit the ball long and far, you need to swing hard and fast! As with any myth, there's a certain amount of truth to this one. Swing speed or clubhead speed does determine how far you can hit a golf ball, but for most amateurs and seniors, it is more important to make more solid contact. Remember this adage: When it's breezy, hit it easy. When it's down wind, hit it smooth. Ultimately, you'll find that when you swing smooth, you also swing fast.

The most difficult shot in golf is the sand trap or bunker shot near the green! No matter what you call it, this shot usually paralyzes many senior golfers. In fact, it is the only golf shot with a margin of error. The key is to splash the ball out of the sand. Lineup left of the target, open the clubface, play the ball slightly forward in your stance, swing up and hit either one or two inches behind the ball, accelerate through the shot and always follow-through.

The best shot in golf is a straight shot! In reality, hitting a straight shot is the most difficult shot in golf. Tour professionals, club professionals, and top amateurs always play to hit a shot that bends slightly either right or left. In golf parlance, tour pros and others will hit either a slight fade or a slight draw. They aim either five or ten yards either right or left of target, and hit their favorite type of shot.

The best putters have a feel for the green! As noted earlier, this is partially true: the BEST putters do have a feel for putting. On the other hand, this is like saying that you can't teach putting to a golfer, that you can't become a good putter. This is simply not true, and there are all sorts of training aids, books, magazine articles, and professionals who can help you. become a better putter. The major reasons most seniors are better putters is that they spend more time practicing this part of the game.

The most important clubs in your bag are your wedge and your putter! People say this because they have seen Tiger Woods hit only 48% of the fairways at the recent Buick Invitational in San Diego and win the tournament by 8 shots. They point specifically to the 65-foot putt that he made on the 11th hole in the final round. It must have had 10-15 feet of break on it, and Tiger made it.

The truth is that the most important club in most senior golfers' bags is the driver, not the putter. Senior golfers often complain that they have lost yardage as they have gotten older, which is a natural phenomenon. On the other hand, the seniors not only lament this fact, they try to find that "magic bullet" that will give them back those 5, 10, or 20 yards. Find the driver for your game, and it will set up the rest of your game.

You can't improve your golf games after the age of 57! I don't know where this statement came from, but it's just not true. I know lots of people, myself included, who have improved their golf games after the age of 57. I think this myth came about from listening to golf analysts following the Champions Tour, and I think that Hale Irwin has smashed this myth.

Chicago is not the best city for golfers! Well, this is not necessarily a myth, but rather a matter of personal opinion. And while I have not played in all the cities across the country, I can tell you that Chicago offers some of the finest courses, best accommodations, and best opportunities for playing golf with some of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

So, see you on the course!

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.

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