February 14, 2013 | Back to: Entertainment

Golfers prove age is only a number

Is 50 the new 40? As our knowledge of health, exercise, and nutrition is put into practice, not only are people living longer, many of us are staying active later in life. Granted, “later in life” is a relative term, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we may feel older before the intended time.

In the world of golf, the age of 40 years had been a tipping point. Jack Nicklaus won 70 tour events through the age of 40 years. After that he won just 3 times. Arnold Palmer had 61 wins through 41 years of age. He would only get one more win at the age of 43.

Now, we may be seeing a new trend. A number of guys who could be in a recliner, or reading a book, are now competing on the Champions (Senior) Tour and playing as well as ever. The names are very familiar. Rocco Mediate, who went toe-to-toe with Tiger just a few years ago in the U.S. Open, recently turned 50 and won his first start, the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Florida.

Tom Lehman shot 66 in the final round, the tournament low and his second top-10 finish after leading the Champions Tour in 2011. Bernhardt Langer, now 56 years old, continues to play well. Langer finished the 2012 season with 14 top 10’s in 15 starts and now has added two top-3’s to begin 2013.

Knowing these achievements, we should not only smile with appreciation, we should be jumping up and down with the possibilities for all of us. Heck, if they can do it why can’t we? Don’t get me wrong, we’re not talking about playing at PGA Tour caliber. We’re talking about playing as well as ever or even the opportunity to play better.

Whether you play a lot and you feel your game is slipping or just taking up the game, if you’re over 40, here is what you need to do.

1. Eat well. No explanation necessary. We all know.

2. Exercise. This doesn’t have to mean a gym membership. You should at least walk…a lot. In fact, you could knock out two birds with one stone on this one. Walk the golf course. It’s about 6 miles (or if you’re struggling with your swing, let’s call it 7 miles).

3. Stretch. Often. The old phrase “use it or lose it” is very applicable here. As we near (or pass) the Senior Tour age our muscles tend to lose elasticity. This can cause discomfort in the swing and is bound to cost you some distance.

4. Get some lessons. Everybody needs a watchful eye. I don’t know of a skilled golfer who has not received a good amount of instruction. Shoot, you’ll make up the lesson fees in found golf balls.

5. Make sure your clubs are custom fit and have 21st century technology. Otherwise, you may be playing tennis with a ping-pong paddle (sorry about the non-golf analogy). You can visit your local golf shop and talk to the staff. They will be more than happy to help you. I know that I am not as strong or agile as I was twenty years ago, but, with today’s technology (clubs and balls) I hit the ball just as far as I did in 1989. You gotta love that.

Is 50 the new 40? Well, I personally can’t answer that one yet. But, I guarantee you, if you and I follow these five steps we can play our best no matter how many miles we’ve logged.

John Renslow is general manager and director of golf at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@pga.com.

“A big reason we decided to do it is because we have seen actual players get concussions and it can be really scary...”

— Jasa Fox,
Nevada Union senior

John Renslow
Golf Columnist


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The Union Updated Feb 14, 2013 12:25AM Published Feb 19, 2013 11:10PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.