Distance and the Fonder Heart – Part 1 – Gentleness

In your 70s, life becomes replete with a bevy of excuses that you could never get away with before. You get tired quickly enough that a full day’s work is now anathema…and perhaps it always was. Most younger family near you moves too fast… juggling many trips day per and numerous youthful and parental obligations. Because everything costs too much, even if you have the money you end up feeling cheated; the best excuse not to go shopping.

Golf, however, is constant in that it cannot embrace your excuses. The ball goes where the ball goes because of the way you hit it. Simple enough. And when you set out to play golf on real courses, it sometimes seems to have even crueler barriers. One is strength, and another is money. Luckily that is not so with your Short Game.

Hopefully you are now discovering that with practice you can putt better, and from longer distances, on most carpets (but never on stairs). With a little more practice your straight arms can chip the ball close to the hole from just off the green. And with quite a bit more practice, you can even pitch the ball near to the flag from up to 50 yards. All that you can achieve with a good number of hours per week at a friendly patch of grass, perhaps some of it in your own yard or in small expanses of grass as we’ve noted in other posts. In other words, with enough practice you can get a decent Short Game. No excuses.

However, on a full course you often have to cover 300 or more yards between the tee and the hole. How many swings will that take you at – say – 60 yards per stroke? This is why short courses may dominate the golf you play. It’s a happy life, and often the shorter courses cost less in locales where there is a lot of golf activity. However, there are ways that you can begin to hit longer, and to play on full courses if that’s your goal. You have to be a bit obstinate, and here’s why.

Strength to hit the ball hard is half in your body – but also half in your mind. Just swinging a driver or a 3 or 5 wood through its full arc, 20 times a day, will start to give you the feel of the club’s power. Then videos can help with your basic swing and its timing. Some videos will say they are concentrating on the driver and others on irons, but these are miniscule differences. Swinging the club to get distance is swinging the club for distance. Period.

Do this, however: Ignore the snot-talk of video instructors who tell you will be able to outdistance your buddies. First, this smacks resoundingly of other lengthening advertisements aimed at insecure men. And secondly, it assumes men will never be outhit by good women golfers in their 70s. (I’ve had it happen twice in the last month.) Focus on getting your ball to the hole in the fewest strokes, and skip the gloating. Everyone will respect you more.

Money mounts up in the cost of buckets of balls to hit. Clearly a driving range or a full golf course are the only places you can learn to improve your distance hitting the ball. Wrong! The Driving range and the bucket of balls is the first event for which you must prepare. Such is the glory of little rubber balls. These special foam rubber coated balls look – and to a great extent perform – like ordinary balls. The best ones cost about a dollar apiece, but they are worth it, because you can practice hitting long on a shorter field. These balls go about 25% of the distance of real balls if hit squarely, but they also slice or rise like a real ball will. So with them you can not only use a small field like the corner of a park, but you will get the feedback you need for your mighty distance swings. And your first bucket of real balls will be truly momentous.

A side benefit is that the little rubber balls will not kill babies or their mothers, though they drive the dogs crazy. More about getting distance – cheaply – in next Distance post when we look at Online Videos.

Copyright 2021 – David Hon

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