I’m practicing about four days a week now, going to the range in the morning to get my day started. As I get to the range I notice a lot of seniors there practicing or at least trying to practice and I realize I’m one of them, it’s like the Geritol range tour and it forces me to realize I’m 63 and am in that age group.
I’m swinging a large bucket each day and with so many injuries over the past 20 years due to swinging to fast and not warming up I now take about 50 balls just to warm up with. Gramp’s favorite club was an 8 iron, most likely Alexander Findlay’s favorite club was an 8 iron, my favorite club is an 8 iron too. One needs to have a favorite club, a lofted club that always brings out the confidence in the golfer.
I begin my practice going from parallel to parallel, this is position one where the right forearm is perpendicular to the ground on the back swing and the same on the follow through, or Parallel to Parallel. This short backswing is necessary because my body is not in the shape it was 30 years ago and it is also very necessary to get the feel of the inside backswing and the follow through of the right arm pointing directly to the target. It also stretches the muscles of the body so they can be used properly.
I am enjoying practicing a lot. Yesterday I went to Riverview to putt with Louie and I showed up an hour early to hit a large bucket of balls. Riverview has just re-vamped their range so their golf balls are all black striped new range balls and the targets have been replaced with metal bottoms so when you hit the surrounding wood or the inside of the bucket everyone on the range and putting green knows you hit it. I hit the middle can 3 times and the sound was really loud and I hit the wood surrounding about 3 or 4 times and that was nice too. The target is about 70 yards from the tees.
Once I swing 50 warm up shots I move into a semi full swing with the 8 iron just to get the feel of a deeper, fuller backswing. My feet have healed so I can now put 70% of my weight on my right foot at address making it a nice feel when I bring the arms inside.
The bucket is about 100-120 balls. I don’t know because I don’t count them but by mid way I am now swinging my 9 wood. When I was younger I could hit a 6 iron 165 yard but never had the loft I have today with the 9 wood. I get close to the ball and just work on the swing, getting the feel of the swing. Most of the time I don’t even look where the ball goes because, finally, I can feel the direction of the ball just from the impact. I then move to my 7 wood which goes about 175, 5 wood 190, 3 wood (15 degree) 200-205 then 8.5 degree Driver. Once I get to my Driver I go back to the parallel to parallel move because even though the swing is shorter the control is awesome because length is less important than direction. I’d rather throw a shorter dart than a long tailing frisbee.
I swing no more than 5-7 Drivers at a time and by the 2nd series I work on distance with a longer swing and letting the shoulders piston to their maximum, the control just isn’t there but the ball flies almost as far as it used too but the control will come with continued practice. Towards the end I settle in with a 52 degree wedge for a 90 yard swing. I can throw bullets with my lofted clubs so I just work on the feel of the swing making sure my hands are tight, I’m swinging inside, my right hip is turning 45 degrees back at address and my arms only go to where my hips are aligned to. Then just drop the right arm straight back or down to the right heel and feel the shoulders square and the ball just flies beautifully. Once you’re learned to hold the rotation of the hips the shoulders will never go left of the target, more likely they will flair a bit to the right, releasing the hips allows the shoulders to turn past the target causing all kinds of errors making a good shot a lucky shot.
It feels good to be back in practice and beginning in the morning is perfect for me.
Golf does not have to be about going to the golf course once a week, it’s more than that. I know some people who have lost loved ones and they’re in my age group and I’m reaching out to them, letting them know I’ll be glad to teach them to hit a golf ball at not charge, just so they can have a place to go in the evening. When you’ve lost a loved one, the daytime is busy so the sadness doesn’t embrace you as it does when the work day is over. Playing golf can never fill this void and maybe nothing can but going to the Driving Range after work, enjoying a bucket of golf balls, putting and chipping for a while can take up to two to three hours and you meet new friends. Filling the void of sadness is not done staying at home and watching television or playing video games. It doesn’t matter what age you are.
When I was at Riverview yesterday this young lady was swinging a Driver and she hit the long tee under the ball and the ball only went about 2 feet towards my stall, she did this a couple of times and felt despair as she spoke to her boyfriend or husband. He was sympathetic but could not help. Some ranges I can offer help and I will but Riverview has always had an attitude that only their pro’s can teach, this is also true with many of the golf courses owned by American Golf, yet I haven’t seen a pro teacher walk up and offer free help since my early days when I met Dave and now I can’t remember his name. Teachers do it for money, it’s a job and that’s too bad. I see it all the time at some of the ranges, golfers struggling to get the ball in the air, much less straight and in the air, and teachers just ignore them unless the golfer comes to them to pay for personal or group lessons. Gramps had a coffee can by his bench in the early days of my lessons and golfers just paid what they could afford, then in his later days they just stuffed the money into his pocket. It was almost as if Gramp’s didn’t want to charge at all, but he needed the money too. He just didn’t think about the money first and then golf, he would have as many as 10 tees filled during the 1980’s, he just loved to teach.
This is a great swing, it requires discipline and commitment but the pay off is great shots which leads to low scores. Who wants to shoot a 102 anyway. Maybe me when I’m 105.