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Senior Golfer - On The Green

It's April and time to begin the golf season

The Putting Green

The birds are chirping, the grass is turning green, the flowers are starting to bloom, and the Masters is on the horizon. Do you need any more signs to tell you that it's time for the official opening of the Chicago golf season and it's yours for the taking?

The days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer, and the golf clubs have been moved out of hibernation. For all the golf on TV, all the buzz about new equipment at the PGA Merchandise Show, and all the interest shown by people attending the local; golf shows, there's nothing like stepping on the first tee and hitting that drive, playing that first round of golf.

As you prepare for the 2013 golf season, try to take it easy, swing nicely and slowly, and go with the flow. Remember that a 300-yard drive and a three-foot shot both count as one shot. And, if you're like me and the other hundreds of golfers I know who's ever touched a club, you've got a million thoughts running through your head, all designed to help you improve your game.

Whether it's breaking 100, 90, 80 or 70, lowering your handicap by three strokes, and winning at the skins game, golf is inviting and enticing. At the same time, this alluring game can be frustrating and maddening. So for 2013, I've got a suggestion, a motto that every senior golfer can use to make the 2013 golfing season more enjoyable. The motto is K.I.S.S., and it stands for "Keep It Simple, Senior."

The impetus for this motto came from listening to a teaching professional at the Chicagoland Golf Show. The speaker recounted how he had played college golf, the mini tours, and chased the dream of being a PGA Tour Pro, until he got married and had kids. From that time forward, golf became a distant second to family.

In working with a willing participant who came on stage, the pro said that one of best lessons he's learned since he got married was that golf may be a difficult game, but it's also a simple one. He said that when you're on the course, you should limit your thoughts to one or two, and make sure they're plain and simple.

He said that golf is simple because it consists of swinging the club, finding the ball and hitting it again until it's in the hole. The difficulty is the mental aspect. It's those five inches between your ears the keep firing thoughts at such a rapid pace that you lose your focus. To enjoy the game, learn to play this difficult game by keeping it simple.

So, here are three thoughts to simplify your golf games in 2013:

  • First, remember that you're not a pro, that you won't make every shot perfectly, and that you won't break par every round. So, smell the fresh air, admire the beauty in the grass, flowers and trees, and enjoy the friendship and camaraderie of your golfing friends and fellow players.
  • Second, swing the club and let the rest happen. All too often when we're playing golf, we get caught up in the swing thoughts that we've heard from our teaching pro, seen on TV, or read in magazines. When you're on the course, limit your concentration and efforts to one or two swing thoughts-swinging the club so that it hits the golf ball and that little golf ball goes the right distance and in the right direction. If you're worried about making a full shoulder turn or whether you're on the correct swing plane or swinging down through the ball, you're not concentrating on the most important thing: swinging the club.
  • Finally, focus on the present. Don't let what happened in the past affect your shot. You can't rehit that three-foot putt that you missed on the last green, but you can focus on the tee shot.

And, especially if you're playing the round of your life, don't look forward to the 18th hole and say, "That's my lowest score ever!" By focusing on the shot at hand, you'll be following the K.I.S.S. motto for 2013.

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