By now, you must be enchanted by this image of endearing, quixotic 75-year-old golfers – bionic knights and knightesses marching forth on golf courses during everyone else’s work day. If you are not yet thus enchanted, see “The Merry Band of Bionic Golfers”. In that previous post, I talked about enhancements and protections, but mostly about strap-on protections for your back and wrists and elbows.
Thrashing about the golf course can be dangerous work when you are 75, clear down to your hips and knees and ankles. In general, the faster you swing your golf club the further the ball will go. However, the bad news is that the faster you swing the wilder you get. If you clobber your own foot with your fast swing, that can be painful indeed, but it is a great training aid. (If it hurts, we humans try to learn another way.) Golf injuries to your back are rarely original at our age: you’ve probably had a weakened back before at some time. Some back braces are just token – others have fiberboard or even inflatable support. And you may have to adjust your swing – see the post: “Saved By Science.”
Injuries to your knees may come from swinging in the wrong posture, or just walking up too many hills. When my knees really started to hurt was when I began to run the short 9 course, described in “Crucible with a 6 Iron.” I immediately Googled knee braces, and found a cornucopia of knee supports. Some were mere wrappings, and others had steel reinforcements. Some knee braces were even hinged, and were very heavy. Reminds one of how their medieval armor allowed dismounted Knights to creak around like future robots and clang on other dismounted knights with broadswords and swing ball-and-chains.
Back to our future, my arthritis doctor, perhaps amused with these new ways old people destroy themselves, gave me some good advice on knee braces. “Start with the least supportive ones, and try to not to use braces that give your knees too much support.” Easy for her to say…the pain is mine. “If you become too dependent on the sturdier braces, you knees will not build up the body’s own support, in muscles and ligaments.” Turns out she didn’t have kids to send to college with knee replacement profits. But it also turns out that in my case – so far – she was right.
Getting into the VERY Bionic, there are actual electronic wave belts and muscle stimulators that can do something to absolve muscle pain. With double A battery power there may be little they can do to hurt you, and stimulation of muscles feels like something is going on there. If you can buy them at the drug store, they are probably harmless enough. Some people even report that it takes away pain. (Quick note: These devices are somewhat medical. They are NOT the vibrators in online pleasure catalogs you may stumble onto by mistake…)
Lastly, there are true Bionic enhancements for the 75-year-old golfer that really make sense and really work wonders. Here is a short list:
- Arthritic gloves make it easier to grip the club, and being thicker can keep your hands a bit warmer as well.
- – Large diameter golf grips can also make gripping and swinging your clubs easier. Try them first on the clubs you use most. Or for a few dollars, just build up the diameter of the club with an overwrap. The tackiness of those overwraps also helps you swing with a relaxed grip that is still a firm one.
- Solidly-built golf shoes, with studs or cleats. can help older people with their balance issues. Balance is necessary for a consistently good swing. Youngsters can get away with wearing sneakers, but not us. (Waterproof shoes are more comfortable in the morning dew, or in late and early season golf in the slop.
- – Bryson DeChambeau, a recent tour winner, has friendly manufacturers build all of his clubs the same length. Some experts say that with a longer clubs the same length, your body isn’t constantly modifying posture as you try to hit the ball. If you want to try same-length clubs, my much cheaper alternative is an adjustable-head club in “Demons and Shortcuts.”
However you chose to modify yourself and your golf, we 75-year-old Bionics will recognize each other’s armor. Don’t stand too close, but salute each other with respect for Golf’s life-long quest.