Senior Golfers & Training (The Secret Sauce)

“The harder we work, the luckier we get”

Gary Player – Legend of the Game 

As we age our love for the game doesn’t leave us and as long as our bodies can handle it then our game shouldn’t either. Now, I love working with junior golfers and elite golfers, but there is a different feeling when you help out a senior golfer. Sometimes it feels like you’ve brought them back to life! If you are a senior golfer and you haven’t already started to workout then this blog post will hopefully push you towards the gym. 

Some things that we lose as we age are mobility, strength, power and muscle mass. Oh no! What are we going to do? The earlier you start training on a consistent basis the longer it will be for you to lose it as you age. There are so many examples out there of people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s doing things that a lot of people in their 20’s can’t do. 

It does become harder to get in better shape or fix mobility restrictions or movement impairments as we age if we haven’t been active. Don’t wait another minute, make exercise a part of your daily routine and you will thank me in your later years. If you’re in the position where you need to workout and haven’t your whole life, then don’t worry, there’s still hope! It just takes a little longer and you have to be patient and know what to work on. 

Let’s explore what to work on in the gym…..

Balance 

As we age the fundamentals are more important than ever. Balance is key to a person’s quality of life and a must in the golf swing. Incorporating different drills in the warm up or in between sets will go a long way for someone’s ability to maintain balance. 

Most people think of balance as being able to walk and not fall over but there is so much more to it then just that. The most basic drills can be standing on one leg and they can progress to eyes closed or even passing a ball overhead with your eyes closed. 

Use proprioception (visual, vestibular, kinaesthetic) and centre of mass to challenge balance. One thing we don’t want to happen when we get older is falling. If you work on your balance regularly it will not only help out your game but also enhance other parts of your life. and eliminate the risk of falling.  

Mobility 

I’ve discussed the importance of mobility in depth in past videos and blog posts. The important areas to focus on include the ankles, hips, t-spine, shoulders and wrists. Mobility or movement should be incorporated everyday to maintain or improve fitness levels. This is SO IMPORTANT as we move into our later years of life. 

My advice is to set up a daily movement workout that incorporates all of these areas. The movements shouldn’t take long and they should be movements that aren’t necessarily difficult but very effective. Here’s an example of a daily movement workout: 

2 or 3 Rounds / 5 – 10 Repetitions Each 

1A Tall Kneeling Step Outs – https://youtu.be/Xe4qpVE8IMw

1B Single Leg Hinge / Reach / Knee Drive – https://youtu.be/4bvVQAF6-Ms

1C Open Books – https://youtu.be/IC3nSM31ktA

1D Reverse Toe Touch – https://youtu.be/VhrBtQvnMyU

1E Kneeling Back Bends – https://youtu.be/aDnSvRWhlBY

FULL WORKOUT: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBoHK_ibKsl9wPsjQ8omi-GkyJhJHNHKR

Complete this workout as a circuit and it should only take you 10 minutes. We all have ten minutes somewhere in our day. This is the type of thing that will keep you playing later and later. If you really look at this workout you will see I’m challenging your hips, t-spine and ankles the most. These are the areas that most people are restricted and they’re also the areas we need to function optimally if we want to be an elite athlete, at any age. 

Coordination 

The golf swing is one of the most challenging movements to complete in terms of movement difficulty. You have to stay in balance while you violently (maybe not violently), but definitely aggressively, swing a metal stick around the axis of your spine and try to hit a little white ball square in the middle of the face. Not once, but for a whole round of golf! 

Now that takes a lot of coordination and efficiency driven by the neuromuscular connections happening all over your body. If these connections aren’t acting the way they should be then we will likely be uncoordinated. Training this in the gym can be some of the most fun sessions you’ll ever have. Reaction drills, Ladder Drills, Hurdle Drills, Activation Drills, Fitness Games and Multi joint / Multi movement style exercises will help to achieve full body coordination. 

Injury Management 

It seems the older we get the more we are talking about injuries. From past injuries to new ones it seems that more and more of the people around you are hurting. Muscular imbalances and sedentary lifestyles are usually the culprit, but not always. Years of wear and tear on your knees, hips and neck usually create pain from time to time. If not in those areas, the surrounding areas. 

There are primarily two types of injuries that athletes suffer from: 

Chronic Injuries: A chronic injury is the result of prolonged, repetitive motion that is particularly common in endurance sports such as swimming, running and cycling. 

Does the golf swing sound like a repetitive motion? Yes, it does! So is walking on uneven surfaces all the time. 

Acute Injuries: Acute injuries are normally an injury that is severe and with sudden onset. Sprained ankles, strained backs, and fractured hands are acute injuries. Acute injury is a sudden injury that is usually associated with a traumatic event such as clashing into another player during sports or a fall from a bike. 

If you can, you need to create a swing that doesn’t compromise your weaknesses and injuries, hopefully not chronic injuries. The Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) screen does a great job of correlating those things and it helps to make informed decisions on prescription. 

Another great way to manage injuries proactively is to get massages, or see a physiotherapist, or clinical therapist regularly. I tell my clients that rolling out or using percussion therapy is like brushing your teeth, and going to get massages is like going to the dentist.

Having a relationship with a physiotherapist is a good idea as well. They can point out your limitations pretty easily and give you a Prehab prescription. I wish more people worked with physiotherapists the same way that they work with personal trainers. Unfortunately, most people don’t go and see a physio until it’s too late or they’re injured. Proactive people will win the marathon of life in regards to their body. 

Muscular Strength and Power 

Unfortunately, as we age we also start to lose our strength and power unless we continue to train it. EVERYONE should exercise / train a few times a week. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 years old or 95 years old.

Incorporating a few strength and power training sessions / week can be a game changer for most people/seniors. This doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym and start doing power lifting or olympic lifts. It just means we need to start challenging ourselves and at least maintaining the strength and power that you already possess. It’s harder to make huge improvements later in our life but it doesn’t mean we have to go backwards and start declining.

Walking

Even if you take a cart when you play that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to walk a golf course. Obviously there are harder tracks that might need a cart but why not walk? It’s great exercise and it will keep you loose while you play. Not to mention it’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health, resting heart rate, stress levels and happiness. Just to name a few reasons. 

It’s also a great way to spend time with your friends and family on the course. This is a very underrated reason to walk and I hope it will spark something in your mind to want to do it. I’ve played rounds with friends where we took carts and barely talked to the other cart. We saw them at the green and on tee boxes but it’s not the same as walking down the fairways with a foursome and chatting all day. Consider these reasons next time you think about taking a cart.

In conclusion, so many seniors / people shy away from exercise because they are afraid of getting hurt in the gym. We need to change that mindset! The gym will help you live a higher quality of life and allow you to still play sports for longer. If you don’t feel comfortable working out in a gym then you need to hire a trainer and have them help you. If you don’t and you stop training then the outcome is worse. Loss of mobility, strength, endurance, power, aerobic capacity, muscle mass and coordination. All things that I want to possess for as long as possible.

From Average to Elite.

Stop misusing your time doing the same thing in the gym expecting a different result! Let me develop a personalized plan to maximize your potential and start living the life you deserve. We will identify your limitations and turn them into your strengths! Take your athletic ability, game, body and LIFE to the next level! Don’t waste another minute. LETS GO!

Check out the ways I can help you go From Average to Elite:

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Thanks for reading! Until the next one……

Mark

CSC Performance Coaching

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