Are you a senior looking for …
- a sport that you can enjoy and exercise easily?
- an enjoyable physical activity that will help you socialize and make new friends while at it?
- a sport that will help you bond better with family and friends as you age?
If you answered yes at least once, think Golf!
Golf is played by millions of seniors globally. It is played with mild intensity and can engage you in old age to gain a range of physical, mental and social benefits while enjoying a popular outdoor social played by millions of seniors globally.
If you are looking to start playing golf as a senior, you are in the right place. This guide will help you understand the benefits of playing golf as a senior and a give you tips to get started. Additionally, if you are ready to start playing, have a look at our reviews of the best golf clubs for seniors.
Physical Benefits for Seniors
Discover the physical benefits of golfing as a senior
Live up to 5 Years Longer
According to a study by the Swedish Medical University Karolinska Institute, regular golfers are 40% less likely to die, adding up to a 5-year increase in life expectancy.
Golf is one of the few low-intensity forms of exercise with several aspects proven to benefit senior’s health.
When you play golf, you engage in outdoor walking for six to seven kilometers. Walking helps you to prevent and manage multiple age-related conditions. Some of the common conditions include heart and cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, respiratory infections, and psychological conditions. When you swing your club or bend to pick your ball, you also stretch your muscles and improve your overall physiological well-being.
You need to complement golf with other factors like maintaining a healthy diet, performing other forms of exercise, and maintain a healthy life generally.
For seniors diagnosed with some of these conditions, playing golf helps you manage these conditions, improveing the quality of life.
When you manage these risks effectively, you live longer and more comfortably.
Strengthen your heart
Many activities during the game, such as walking over the course, swinging and picking up the ball will also help to balance your blood pressure and reduce risks of heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses.
Heart disease and cardiovascular conditions are significant causes of death, accounting for over 17 million deaths in 2015 globally (source).
Regular walking exercises like golf improve your cardiovascular health by boosting blood circulation in the heart and strengthening your heart muscles. It also helps you shed excess cholesterol that builds up around the heart muscles putting at risk of fatal conditions like stroke, heart attack or cardiac arrest.
Although psychological, stress and other mental conditions inhibit heart health, putting you at the risk of diseases like a stroke or heart attack. Golf is an outdoor social game that allows you to meet and socialize with other players, which mitigates stress and boost your heart health.
Golf helps seniors suffering from heart and cardiovascular conditions reduce the risk of heart disease development.
Burn over 1400 calories per round
The average golfer walks 4 miles and burns over 1,400 calories while playing 18 holes. If that sounds like too much walking for your taste, you still burn about 850 calories riding the cart.
Participating in mildly-vigorous physical activities frequently helps you shed unwanted weight by burning excess calories. As you age, physical exercise becomes essential to maintain your overall health, and golf is an active form of exercise that helps seniors burn calories and shed excess weight.
If you carry your bag of clubs throughout the game, you add 50lbs and turn a mild exercise to an aerobic activity that helps you lose at least 1500 calories.
Using a golf cart is not recommended, but it comes in handy when playing a fast game or when walking is difficult. You still get a proper workout when using a golf cart by leaving it on the path and walking to your ball. Riding in a cart still can get you to burn over 800 calories during a full round of golf.
Build Muscle strength
Your muscle strength and mass decreases with age and affects your overall physical performance. Participating in daily exercises like golf helps you build your muscle mass & strength and improves your entire physiological health.
Muscle and strength training has become an essential part of golf. Proper strength training regularly prepares you for the physical demands of the game and reduces the risk of injury.
From the lower body to the core, golf helps to build and maintain muscle strength. Strengthening these stabilizing muscle groups enables you to prevent injuries and pain such as lower back pain.
Walking 3-7 miles on the course exercises your leg, hand and back muscles while swinging your golf club uses your hand, neck, waist, and upper dorsal muscles. You improve your physiological health and reduce the risk of age-related conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, hip & knee degeneration, and balance disorders.
Improve your Hand-Eye Coordination
Aging brings changes that weaken your vision, which affects your hand & eye coordination, your ability to distinguish colors and objects. Age-related vision problems affect not only your quality of life but also cost you a lot in treatment expenses for conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal disorders.
Combining medical treatments with eye exercises improves your vision and helps you manage eye conditions you are diagnosed with. Golf proves to be an excellent physical activity for the prevention and management of age-related vision problems.
In a game of golf, you need to align and focus on your ball when taking different shots such as putts and long drives, which are a great way to develop and improve your hand-eye coordination.
Different colored flags and objects on the course also help you maintain your ability to distinguish between colors, and train your eyes in natural light.
Mental benefits for Seniors
Learn the most important mental benefits for seniors
Exercise your Brain
Brain performance and cognitive health decline with old age, which affects your ability to perform tasks like calculations, challenges or concentrate, and puts you at risk of cognitive diseases or dementia.
Physical exercise like walking boosts blood supply to the brain cells and allows your brain to function at higher levels. Engaging your mind in mental activities that require calculation, concentration, focus, and strategy improves your cognitive capabilities.
When you play golf, you encounter mental and strategic tasks such as visualization, calculating your score, evaluating the distance, the slope of the green, speed, wind directions, tracking your balls, hand-eye coordination and other factors that exercise your brain, and keeps your mind sharp and focused.
Stress affects your health and worsens your quality of life. Physical activity helps you to relieve stress and anxiety especially when done outdoors.
When you play golf, you release endorphins, also known as the ‘feel good’ hormones that trigger positive feeling and good mood.
You improve your psychological health by reducing stress levels, enhancing mood and self-esteem in a healing, natural environment.
Golf combines friendship, fitness and fresh air that helps you get your mind off things and relax, which are key ingredients for mental wellbeing.
Build patience and mental focus
As with any sport, progress in golf is hardly linear, but occurs in stages if you keep at it. Golf is a journey and it can help you develop more patience and mental focus. A round of golf can become quite meditative once you’re in the zone. Putting, for example, enables you to build your concentration and focus, and improve your cognitive functions.
Even the seemingly boring aspects serve you. During the game, you have to wait your turn to play and walk between shots, which helps you to become more patient.
Social Benefits for Seniors
Discover the social benefits of golfing for seniors
Stay connected with friends
Staying physically connected with friends and peers can be difficult especially in current digital world. Internet connectivity and social sites make communication with friends easy and fast but can also be a hinderance for quality interaction.
Participating in physical exercise outdoors enables you to hang out with your friends while engaging in exercise. It is also one of the sports activities you can engage with your peers regardless of age.
Meet new friends in groups
In golf, age is a non-factor. You enjoy a round of golf with players of different ages, genders, and skills with little intimidation. It’s common to have other groups invite you to play along. Go for it. Accepting invitations to join other groups of players is an opportunity to meet new friends.
Spend quality time with family
Physical exercise with family improves your health and allows you to spend time with your family and friends. Playing golf is a great way to spend time outdoors with family and enjoy the game with kids or grandkids.
You strengthen the family bond, maintain a healthy life and teach your kids and grandkids one of the best business sports available. Most golf courses have recreational facilities like restaurants that offer you a serene environment to bond with family after a round of golf.
You are not too old
You can only engage in very few sports activities in old age. Sports like football, soccer, tennis, and other high-intensity sports can become increasingly difficult after 50. Golf is a mild-intensity sport you can engage in even in old age.
In the U.S., for example, the average golfer is 54 years, with most players being above that age. Walking and swinging your club are the most intense forms of movements you perform when you play golf, which makes it the ideal sport for seniors.
You won’t be alone
Golf is a popular game played across the world. In the US alone, there are around 29 million golfers. The larger percentage of worldwide golfers is aged 18-59, with seniors out-numbering the youth. It is also growing in popularity with about 3 million new players expected to enroll in golf by 2020.
Golf Tips for more fun and safety
Learn simple tips to have more fun and safety on the course
Golf is a low injury risk sport but playing wrongly can cause injury. Here are a few tips to help you perform better and reduce the risk of injury.
Take lessons, especially at the beginning
Golf can be an intimidating sport, especially as a beginner. Many aspects of the game you need to know to include your equipment and how to use it, the course, and rules of the game amongst others.
As a beginner, you will need to learn proper techniques from golf instructors to understand and play better. Instructors also help you to choose the right clubs that match your capabilities, which allows you to play better and prevent injury.
Light walk and stretching routine
Always warm up and stretch before playing to prepare your muscles and mind for the game. You need to pay particular attention to your shoulders, back and arms, which are the main areas used when playing. Stretches and warm up prevents you dramatically lowers the risk of injury and helps you play your best golf.
Use good equipment
Your golf clubs are your most important equipment on the course. Golf equipment, however, comes with a high investment value and getting the right ones can be difficult.
Most courses offer rental services on golf equipment, which is a good way for you to test clubs that match your skills and physical needs.
Once you find you enjoy the sport, you can purchase clubs that are more forgiving and other senior grade equipment that is optimized for your needs.
Golf is an outdoor activity that entails walking between 2-4 miles depending on the rounds you play.
Staying hydrated during the game is essential to help you perform better and overcome high temperatures. Drink water before, during and after playing to enjoy the game and stay healthy.
You can play golf during different conditions, and equipment helps you do this during different weather. The best time for a game of golf is morning and evening hours during low sunlight and mild temperatures.
Avoid the sun’s peak hours and during sunny weather wear light clothing, sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, sunglasses and a hat.
How to start golfing as a senior
Discover how to get started on your golf journey
1. Arrange professional instruction
Although an individual sport, golf is a challenging game that is tough to master on your own. Find a qualified instructor and get golf lessons because they enable you to save time, learn faster and understand the game better.
A professional instructor also helps you set achievable goals and provides you with the technical skills you need to become a good player. Instructors spot your flaws easily and enable you to correct them whether it’s posture, swing control or alignment.
Taking lessons allows you to get feedback on your progress, ask questions, and learn how to avoid injuries. Also, good instructors will track your progress and will uncover your strengths and weaknesses.
Do I need a professional instructor who specializes in old golfers?
It does not necessarily have to be an instructor who specializes in seniors, but it’s essential to learn the correct form and etiquette from the start to avoid bad habits.
What you need is a professional instructor who can show you how to get a natural, powerful swing that matches your body mechanics and enables you to deliver good, consistent shots.
2. Learn the Rules
Playing golf requires you to know and understand the many rules of the game to play the game better. As a golfer beginner, you need to learn all basic golf rules, but some golf courses also have their own additional rules you need to adhere to when playing.
Some of the basic rules of golf include:
- Always carry a maximum of 14 clubs or less in your bag when playing a competitive round. Having excess clubs can cost you penalty strokes for every hole you play.
- Always play within the parameters of the tee. Tee up between and behind the appropriate colored markers, which is within two club lengths. The penalty for teeing your ball outside the parameters is two shots in stroke play.
- Avoid playing the wrong ball. It sounds obvious, but you need to mark your ball distinctively before you start your game. Playing the wrong ball could lead to losing the hole in a single or a two-stroke penalty in stroke play. If you are unsure of your ball- in the rough, for example, notify your playing partners, mark it with a tee peg, lift to identify it but don’t clean it, and replace in the identical spot.
- Pay attention to unplayable lies. When your ball comes to an unplayable rest position, you have three options. You can hit another ball from the point of your previous shot, drop the ball within two club lengths on either side of the unplayable lie or drop it behind the unplayable lie keeping the original lie between you and the hole. Every option incurs a one-stroke penalty.
There are many other rules of the game of golf you can find here.
3. Get Equipment Optimized for Seniors
Generally, golf clubs are manufactured and tailored to fit a specific golfer’s gender, age group or handicap level. Having the right golf clubs helps you get better shots more consistently.
Senior’s golf clubs, for example, are more forgiving, lightweight and large-faced to meet their physical and skill level needs. You can get your golf equipment fit to your size, strength, and swing speed.
You will need only a few clubs, but they should be senior grade with high forgiveness and light, flexible shafts, so you have the best chances of success.
4. Don’t be pressured by other golfers
Golf can be intimidating at the start. The big course, the fancy outfits. Heavy hitters of the range and the etiquette surrounding the game can be a little intimidating. But there’s no need to worry.
Don’t let better players intimidate you, and remember they were also beginners like you once and are usually eager to help you out or give you tips.
5. Have fun
The most important thing is to enjoy your time with friends and family. It’s still a game after all.
References & Sources
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