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Senior Golfer - On The Green


The Golf Season Has Arrived

The Putting Green

The birds are chirping, the grass is growing, the daffodils are blooming, the trees are budding and the golf season has arrived in full bloom. The Masters and its tradition unlike any other is just around the corner. It's time to get those clubs ready for another season of playing this wonderful game called golf.

Before you hit the course, here are a few things to do. Get yourself in shape. Do some exercises. Stop eating all that sugar and Easter candy. Start walking three to five miles every day. And start swinging a golf club, so that it doesn't feel foreign to you.

Now might also be a good time to check your set clubs and ask yourself whether you're in need of a new driver, new hybrids, new irons, new wedges, or a new putter. Before you make the decision, head to your local pro or custom-fitting shop to get clubs that fit your game. Let me add that there are no shortages of either in the Chicagoland area.

It used to be that players bought a set of clubs and then perfected their swings to match those clubs. In today's world of high technology and exotic materials, golf club manufacturers will tell you that their motto is: "We can build a club to fit your swing!" I'll be discussing this in the next issue, but it's never too soon to get a custom fit for new clubs that you purchase, and this includes wedges and putters. It's also never too late to get that set.

For those seniors who say, "I can't be helped by getting a set of custom-fit the clubs," my response is "Nonsense." Golf club manufacturers will tell anyone who asks that they can manufacture a set of clubs for your individual swing whether you're eight or 80. And remember that the only thing connecting you to that little white ball is those clubs.

As you begin thinking about golf, there are three things you should realize and concentrate on to help you enjoy the game. The first thing you must realize is that golf is a difficult game. It requires physical stamina and mental toughness; and the only competition is the golf course. That said, we need to adjust our thinking. We need to raise our standards for hitting great golf shots and at the same time lower our expectations. These may seem to be contradictory ideas, but they are rather complementary. Let me explain.

We will never enjoy this game to the fullest extent possible unless we have high standards. Whether it's hitting a drive that soars into the blue sky and lands 250 yards into the middle of the green fairway or draining a 10-foot putt to win the match, we all need to expect that we will execute great shots at the appropriate time.

This leads to the second word of advice for the upcoming season: don't lose your focus. Don't get too high with a good drive or too low with a three-putt green. Strike that balance that allows you to concentrate on the shot at hand. Golf is a unique game in that you must refocus your concentration on every shot. This requires a pre-shot routine that you follow on each and every shot.

And this leads to my third piece of advice: Don't get concerned with your score. The golf game is a process. Sure, everyone measures their golf games by their scores, but we must realize that the game is a process of trying to hit great golf shots each and every time. If we swing smoothly, have the proper swing plane, accelerate through the downswing, and follow through, we can hit a great shot. But, to play our best, our focus is not on our score, but on the shot at hand.

Well, if you think I'm excited about the upcoming golf season, you're right. Heed my words of advice for the upcoming season, and always remember that no matter how badly you played today, there's always tomorrow. Chicago has plenty of great golf courses, so take the time to play as many of them as possible.


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