Older golfers can optimize their gear setup by heeding 1 piece of advice

Golf Laboratories founder Gene Parente lives by this one saying. He believes golfers should as well.

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Let’s get one thing straight: Father Time is undefeated. No matter how much we want to believe our golf swing will remain fluid and powerful forever, there comes a point where we all need to realize that a lack of pop is coming. It’s inevitable. (I realize you probably didn’t want to read a downer piece, but stay with me.)

The good news is technology can help you beat back Father Time and retain a good chunk of your distance.

Club engineers continue to push the boundaries with AI-designed driver faces and ultra-forgiving hollow-bodied irons. We’ve arrived at the point where technology can make you better as you age, which seems absolutely preposterous.

So why do a plethora older golfers struggle with their game as they get older? According to Golf Laboratories founder Gene Parente, it has more to do with the male ego than simply losing strength and distance.

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“A guy swinging 90 miles per hour thinks he needs a 9-degree [stiff flex shaft] because he played a stiff flex when he was 25, and now he’s 60,” Parente said on GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast. “He just can’t quite come to grips that he’s not 25 anymore. So much of it is preconceived notions from our youth. The reality is if you allow the technology to guide your purchases — meaning let the technology define what your optimals are — and don’t look at the number on the club or what the flex is, you’ll be better off.”

Launch monitors and club fittings have made it easier than ever to optimize the equipment in your bag. But it ultimately hinges on the golfer being willing to potentially go down in shaft flex or add loft to keep the clubs playable.

“There’s a saying I believe in: Play the lightest, most flexible thing you can get away with,” Parente said. “From an enjoyment standpoint, you want something that’s easy to swing and gets the ball in the air. Most amateur golfers have a couple of tendencies — they swing too hard, and they have a tendency of throwing the club, and as they throw the club, they hit down on the ball. That’s why the ball comes out low and leaks to the right. Every one of these manufacturers knows this and tries to design around that. But if you don’t get buy-in from the player, it doesn’t matter what the manufacturer is designing.”

It’s easier said than done, but if golfers — particularly those on the older end of the spectrum — can put their ego aside and let the launch monitor data and fitter suggestions dictate their club-buying experience, they’ll be able hold off Father Time for the foreseeable future — and likely drop a few shots in the process.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below!


Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.