Teaching older people

I am currently 62 years old. I started golf at age 13 and my best handicap was 9, in my teens. I am physically fit for my age but have normal age-induced, limited, spinal flexibility.

When one goes for a lesson, a pro may ask you if you have any injuries, but so far not one has assessed my range of body movements. He/she then commonly looks at your swing and may video it as well. He often compares the video of yourself with one of a young touring pro (e.g. Adam Scott), and then suggests that you make corrections in your swing to emulate the champion. It does not seem to be taken into account that the tour player is physically different to an older person. We are physically unable to twist our spines to create a full shoulder turn during the backswing, while our lower body will not turn the 45 degrees and still maintain proper flexion of the right knee.

I wonder if golf pros are taught the physical limitations resultant on the ageing process and how to maximize what can be achieved within these boundaries. I also think it would be an advantage to explain to a pupil what the realistic goals for the elderly are.

It seems a great pity that when one has the time later in life to spend on the game we all love, that there do not seem to be professionals who have a special interest in teaching the elderly, so that they can reach their maximum potential. This may have to include improving physical strength and flexibility by whichever method is optimal. Could there also be golf clinics for the over 50’s?

M.G. via email

Thanks M.G. Your point is well taken. You may want to check out page 50 this month, as we have a range of instruction suited solely for Seniors. Hope you like it. And we hope you like the Smoothy Buggy as well!

No Hope for Morelength

I am all for equality in most sports (‘Hope Morelength’ letter, Feb issue) but certainly not in golf. Women, quite rightly, should have a bit of a start on the tee to make up for their lack of distance off the tee, otherwise could you imagine the inequality of a 45-handicapper trying to reach a 450m par 5 in regulation?
Of course there are some women who can out drive and out play many men club golfers but these are few and far between.
For Hope to make an analogy between tennis, cricket or swimming is quite ludicrous. As a rule men do not swim, play cricket, basketball, rounders, tiddlywinks or tennis against women except in friendly games.

Stuart, via email


The writer claimed women were being discriminated against by having to play a shorter course than the men. I could equally argue that men are being discriminated against as they are forced to play a much longer course than the ladies.

However, to sexually unbiased folk, both of these arguments totally lack logic.  Golf administrators need to cater for the broader spectrum of players if they are to retain players and attract new members.  If women played the men’s course, most would need to be playing to much higher handicaps which would be counterproductive to what the industry is trying to achieve.

Geoff, Mt Martha


Keeping the older ladies playing brings on the need to introduce shorter courses, not lengthening the holes back to the men’s tees.   With ladies playing off the men’s tees or, for that matter, off any tees, handicaps compensate for the ability, (or inability) to maintain a certain standard of skill.    Women have the option of getting a handicap appropriate to the tees from which they play.  Allowing or enabling any standard of player to play the same course at the same time adds a social side to the game, on the course as well as off the course.  What other sport has such a system of “equality” or fairness?

Eveline, via email

Getting more people to play more golf

I read with great interest the article (Getting more people to play more golf, Jan issue) and for many years I have been saying the same thing.  Children go to school where they learn that there is gender equality and then they go to a golf course and find that there isn’t.  I always give the example of having twins –a boy and a girl — and on a Saturday the Dad says to the boy, “let’s go and play golf” and the girls asks if she can come and play too and the Dad says, “sorry you are not allowed to because you are a girl and girls can’t play on Saturdays”.  Until this archaic situation ends there is just no way golf courses are going to get more girls playing.

Linda, via email

What about the children?

My daughter is turning five in April and she just started Prep. On her 6th day of school she comes home with the attached (Milo Cricket) flyer screaming out “I want to play cricket!”

What a simple marketing exercise to get kids active and involved in a great sport from an early age at their own school.

What I’d like to know is: What the hell is our governing body doing to promote golf to school kids? Why didn’t my little girl come home with a brochure on how to play golf the fun way?

You can’t expect clubs around Australia to wave their magic wand and get kids into golf. Clubs need to spend time on keeping their current members happy, looking for new members, course improvements, getting more functions and weddings so they can pay for good staff and course and clubhouse renovations. Yes it’s important they encourage kids to start golf at their course through their members and club pro but it’s not enough and it’s up to our governing body to make it happen.

Wake up Golf Australia and get moving before it’s too late.

Name withheld at writer’s request

Editor’s note: Thanks for the letter. We forwarded this letter to Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt. He has addressed this concern in his new monthly Inside Golf column.

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