Are older golfers difficult to beat?

2012-11-16 00:00

THEY say that experience comes with age. That may be so, but being experienced doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes one any better.

In golfing terms, there is no doubt that an older golfer, if he has been playing for many years, is definitely experienced. In match play, there is a belief that older golfers are difficult to beat because they are cunning, wily old foxes who can conjure up all sorts of magic on the course and are capable of playing miraculous shots when they are most needed. There may be some old golfers who fit this description, but generally it’s not true.

The truth is that the older golfer is just as capable as the younger player of shanking an iron shot to the green, or frogging a chip, or missing a short putt. Naturally, the old guy has been around the block. He has been there and done it and he has got the T-shirt. Moreover, everything has happened to him on a golf course, which means he has seen far more bizarre and freakish things than the younger player. He has also had more bad bounces, lost more balls, hit more trees and had more three and four-putts.

The most important aspect of matchplay is being in control of one’s nerves and those anxious moments. These occur most often on the greens and more specifically to holing those “clutch” putts. The old golfer has missed thousands of clutch putts and probably owned lots of putters during his golfing life, especially if he or she hasn’t been particularly good with the flat stick. Generally, the younger golfer has a better chance of holding his nerve and is more likely to knock in those two-metre putts.

There are well-known instances of nerves in the professional ranks. Sam Snead coined the phrase “Drive for show, putt for dough”, and how right he was, but Snead was one of those golfers who struggled on the greens as he got older. In fact, Snead and Ben Hogan were as good as any of the younger players from tee to green, but their problem was getting the ball into the hole. Lots of three-putts and too many two- metre putts were missed, and this unfortunately ended their professional careers. So you younger golfers have something to look forward to as you mature.

FROM THE 19TH HOLE

A couple went Christmas shopping at a very busy mall on Christmas Eve. As the wife walked through the mall, she was surprised to find her husband was nowhere around. She was quite upset because they had a lot to do together.

She decided to call him on his cellphone to ask him where he was.

In a calm voice, the husband said: “Darling, you remember the jewellery shop we went into about five years ago, where you fell in love with that diamond necklace that we couldn’t afford and I told you that I would get it for you one day?”

The wife choked up and almost started to cry and said: “Yes, I remember that jewellery shop.”

He said: “Well, I’m in the Pro Shop right next to it.”

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