10 ways to maintain (or gain!) distance as you get older
I’m not a believer that when you age you have to hit it shorter. If you can get ahead of it and understand how to adjust for limitations, you can delay distance loss with aging — and even add a few yards.
Where I teach in Palm Beach, Fla., I see golfers of all ages and abilities. It’s also a place where I see plenty of over-60 golfers who have fended off Father Time and continue to hit the ball long.
Here are 10 ways to maintain (and gain) distance as you age.
1. Plan Ahead
Don’t wait until you lose distance to start keeping your body in shape. Get with your coach and plan ahead, working on fundamentals that are key to maintaining distance.
2. Close your stance
One of the most common limitations as we get older is losing flexibility. This makes it harder to rotate, which results in less turn, shorter swings and limited depth in the backswing. You can help offset this flexibility loss simply by closing your stance. Pulling your trail foot back allows your hips and shoulder to close quicker, while also keeping your clubface aimed at the target.
3. Flare your toes
Another way to combat the distance loss from the inability to turn is by flaring your toes at address. When you tweak your setup in this way, it makes it easier to rotate. It will feel a bit odd at first, but it certainly helps for making a bigger turn.
4. Engage the hands and wrists
When you’re younger, it’s easier to use brute strength to hit the ball far. But as you get older, you need to use your wrists and hands as well to generate more power. Once you hold the club properly in your fingers, you’ll have security without tension which will help you generate speed.
5. Lift the heels
During the backswing, lift the heel of your front foot off the ground. This will help you make a bigger turn and avoid injuries. Jack Nicklaus relied on this technique throughout his career and it helped him to 18 major titles. Be like Jack and lift that lead heel!
6. Use the hips
Make sure to engage your hips throughout the swing. To hit it far, you need to engage the hips in both the backswing and downswing. Sequence this correctly with your shoulders and you’ll generate plenty of speed.
7. Get fit
Modern technology is a great way to avoid distance drop offs. The best way to maximize this equipment is through getting fit for clubs. These fitting take in all sorts of data and help make clubs that are tailor-made for your swing. If you want to get fit for clubs, I’d recommend finding a True Spec Golf fitting location near you.
Training aids are another great way to maintain distance. My favorite is The Stack system, which you can purchase below.
TheStack Swing Speed Trainer (Hardware + App Bundle)
$314 (was $349)
9. Get more loft
If you have lost distance, club configuration can really make a difference. In the middle of your bag you have some great choices for more loft, like hybrids and fairway woods/can help in more lofted hybrids and fairway woods. A five hybrid or a 7 wood are great starts for golfers looking to add loft in the middle of their bag.
10. Play the right ball
Playing the right ball is a huge factor in maintaining distance. If you don’t know which ball your should play, try using Ballnamic. This fitting tool allows you to enter launch monitor data and gives you ball suggestions based on your game.