THE 60 METER MIND SET – Some advice for aging golfers from John

John Morris (now 86 years young) author of “Great Golf Holes of New Zealand” and “Famous Golf Holes of Hawaii”. Retired editor of New Zealand Golf Update magazine and New Zealand Golfing World. 

The big trouble with old golfers is they still tend to be bold golfers.  When you’re 70, 75, 80 plus your mind tells us that you can still hit your drive 200 meters or more, but your body simply isn’t up to it.

Bob Castle, one of the finest 88 year-old golfers I have ever played with never pressed for distance, yet he consistently broke his age in gross strokes. How? He had developed what I have termed the “60 meter mind set”. On the par fours, this joker used the six inches between his ears to sharpen up his pitch (or chip and run) into the ‘one putt’ zone. True, he bogeyed many holes but double bogeys were not on his golfing agenda. Double bogeys also became rare because he knew he could get up and down from 60-80 meters out in two or three shots.

If the high-handicap 75-80 year old wants to make golf fun again, he should try and apply a few of what I would call ‘The Twilight Rules”.

  1. !Bury your ego and play off the front tees.
  2. Slow and shorten your back swing and accelerate the club only near the bottom.
  3. If you can’t take a divot – don’t. A little whiff of grass will do it. In the rough, take your medicine early and don’t try for distance, just safety.
  4. Concentrate on the short game, the scoring game especially long lag putts. Three putts mostly occur where you didn’t get the first putt close enough.
  5. If you tend to pull your short putts (a common error) try the left hand low grip from 6-4 feet. It’s almost impossible to pull a putt from that distance using the Harrington grip.
  6. Don’t forget to say ‘thanks mate’ when your opponent has to pay for your drinks at the nineteenth.

How about old people freezing over the  ball? Have a laugh at the video below.




SWINGS TO DIE FOR. Sam and Ben go Head To Head in 1965


This television series of  golf matches between the famous golfers of this era was very popular in the 1960’s. Television coverage was not as readily available as it is today with golf live and results available to the general public all around the golfing world. In New Zealand, where I was living at this time, we had only one TV channel and it was mostly in black and white. Being avid golfers, a match between two golfing icons on TV. was always a program worth watching. Today we have hundreds of tv channels.

Both Hogan and Snead have probably the most copied swing techniques of any golfers in the history of golf. Present day champions are using a very similar body rotation technique or working to improve it. At the time this match was filmed both Ben and Sam were well past their prime.(check history below).  You will notice they could still drive the ball 275 yards plus, using the ball of the day, and wooden headed drivers with steel shafts that are not as long as we use now. This is a tough ask on the 7,000 yard golf course they are playing in this video.

As well as being entertaining, this match offers live action, illustrating all departments of Ben and Slamming Sam’s golf game. Driving, on the fairway, in the rough, around the green and putting etc..

By clicking on the settings icon just below the bottom right of your YouTube picture, then  clicking on “speed”, you can now set the action in slow motion . Slow down any swing and enjoy examining the old masters’ techniques. Sam Snead’s swing still  worked efficiently  even when he was over 80 years of age.

Greypower golfers may lose some flexibility and have a limited range of movement compared to Sam and Ben. A few simple golf exercises over time, may help with this.

For The Record book.  Dominant golf stats.

Sam Snead lived from 1912 until 2002. He won 82  P.G.A  Tournaments . This included 7 major titles.

Ben Hogan lived from 1912 until 1997. Hogan won 64 P.G.A. tournaments. This included 9 major titles. This ties Ben with Gary Player in 4th place, for the most major titles won. Ahead of them are Walter Hagen with 11 majors, Tiger Woods  with 14 majors and Jack Nicklaus with 18 majors.

Hogan is one an elite group of five golfers to win all four major championships. The others are Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.  Another 12  golfers have won 3  of the majors,  missing out on the fourth title.

The most P.G A. events won by an individual golfer in history to date is, Sam Snead 82, Tiger Woods 79, Jack Nicklaus 73. Ben Hogan 64




Ben Hogan Swing


Ben Hogan  Driver Finish




Senior Golf Tips

Getting older? Joints Stiffer. Need Reading Glasses? Sore Knees? Sore Hip? Sore Shoulder?

There are a host of little signs signaling you have seen 55, 65 or 75 years old and are past your youthfulness. The players of the 19th century had lots to overcome too, even as young golfers. One could draw a comparison to the stiffness and soreness some experience as they age, to having to play in a suit and waistcoat while wearing a neck tie. Also when using wooden shafted clubs players experienced a lot more turning and twisting of the club head  close to impact. Its very hard to time this. Clubs were of different weighting and feel, plus there was considerable variation in the shaft flex from club to club. The golf balls they used were softer and their distance and flight was not uniform from one ball to the next.

images waist coat and jacket

This headless golfer even carried his pocket watch. Maybe he even had a pipe in his jacket pocket. He always rode his bicycle to the golf course.

With this information in mind you can see how efficient the olden day champions were at adapting their golf swing technique to their conditions of play. These pictures show clearly technique variations to the present day golf swing.

19th centuary golf swing

Top of the Swing. Elbows bent. Back of the left hand at a downward angle to the left wrist . Left knee behind the ball. Left heel off the ground. Weight over the right foot. Head back behind the ball.

index stand faerher away

At address while still in balance, the golfer is standing farther away and reaching out more for the ball ,hoping to create more room between the body and arms through impact, This give more club head speed. A recommendation from James Braid, three time British open Champion. Just take your stance then wiggle your feet back another inch. It soon becomes comfortable.

index james braid

A lot of throwing action through the ball getting the arms to clear the body even when wearing restrictive clothing

index harry vardon

Take a look at Harry Vardon. How’s that for magnificent rotation through the shot, even while wearing a suit and  using a whippy wooden shafted driver with a wooden club head. Champion golf professionals have stated Vardon was probably the most dominant golfer in history. He won the British open 6 times and had to travel from England months by ship to win the US open in 1900. There were no Masters or PGA’s in those times.

So if you are feeling a little stiff, always be sure to loosen up and then hit a few balls, before playing your next game.

If at the driving range you find you are losing distance and accuracy and your body feels like a plank of wood even after an aspirin, try having some fun by with out one or two of the moves the old masters used to use. Who knows, one of them may work for you.