Geezer Golf

For many years I was a typical low 80's golfer.  I could hit the ball a reasonable distance, but rarely accurately enough to avoid the occasional blowup hole and often couldn't recover from a bad drive or approach.  Then after 10 years of 18 holes walking and carrying a bag almost every day I wore out the cartiledge in my left hip.  I still walked, had to put the bag on a pull cart, but I couldn't swing like I used to -- I couldn't rapidly shift my weight onto my left side, meaning I made a kind of rounded swing without a lot of lower body movement. 

I thought that limitation would really hurt my game.  I certainly couldn't hit the ball as far as I used to, but a very odd thing happened.  My handicap didn't go up, in fact if anything it went down.  True, I couldn't hit the ball as far, but without all that lower body thrashing around I rarely missed the fairway and then usually only by a little bit.  The result was I played mostly with my driver, then hitting my 3 or maybe a mid iron and if necessary chipping and putting.  I got really good at chipping and tolerable at putting.

I described the experience to a freind, who said "welcome to the world of Geezer Golf".  I thought about that and realized that I had become one of those guys I used to hate in competitions.  The one I outdrove by 50 yards, but he always managed somehow to get the ball in the hole for a par, while I was till flailing around in the rough or the woods.  That realization was a real "aha" moment for me.  The bad hip had done with 50 years of lessons, practice, and play hadn't -- gotten me to slow down and just swing within my limits.  Realizing this I modified some other things as well.  I stopped trying to hit every iron as far as I physically good and instead scaled back my distance expectations and just hit within the limits of what would result in solid contact. 

I won a lot of league matches this year.  I amazed some freinds playing in golf weekends who don't want to look at me hobbling around the course and assume I'll be a hopeless hack, then watch me run off a round of mostly pars and a few bogies.  The more I think about it, the more I think a lot of people with perfectly functional joints would play a lot better golf by slowing down and learning "geezer golf".  About the only downside I've found is that I'm not nearly as useful a partner in a scramble as I used to be, since scramble is a game where consistency isn't rewarded, since you get 4 chances at every shot and even hackers can usually get something in play once every 4 shots.

Soon, I'll get that worn out hip replaced.  Assuming the recovery goes well I'll have a dilemma -- go back to my big swing, or continue to play geezer golf.  It's going to be a tough choice.

Warren Montgomery