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.




Start Small

You may think you are too old to get fit and strengthen up. This is not the case. Just remember to begin slowly with simple routines you can easily handle .

Here is an every day example of a golfer who now has fun.

I once taught a gentleman who was older, he had hardly ever golfed before and had enrolled for a six-hour series of lessons. He was very stiff, with very limited range of movement and consequently could barely make contact with the ball. Despite his challenges, he was enthusiastic, he practised between lessons, started walking regularly and performing a series of home exercises/stretches I prescribed for him. After the sixth lesson (seven weeks) he could made contact with the ball and get around just well enough to enjoy a round of golf.

After the lessons I didn’t see him at the driving range for about 4 months. When he reappeared I could not believe his improvement! He had developed a nice fluid golf swing, achieved good distance and was really happy. I asked what he had done extra to achieve such outstanding results. His answer was “nothing different”. He just kept up his exercises and played regular golf. He admitted to me  that we he first began he was so stiff he could really only start the stretches I had taught him while still in bed, before getting up in the morning. Still, this tiny start was what was responsible for him loosening up his body up enough to enable the beginnings of a good golf swing. Look at the fun he has now!

The video of Gary Player is a fantastic example of what is possible for some senior golfers. Don’t expect these kind of results, be motivated by them!

Own Your Swing

During the 1970’s I was a young PGA golf professional based in Canada and became friends with a Pro named Moe Norman. Moe was completely dedicated to hitting balls and playing golf every day. He developed a swing that he knew would repeat shot after shot and he won many golf tournaments.

I also was lucky enough to teach golf alongside a famous instructor Lloyd Tucker, who was Moe’s mentor in his early years. Lloyd also coached Gary Cowan (2 times USA amateur champion) and other champion Canadian golfers in their younger days. Lloyd often spoke with me of the swing methods he coached Moe about, and the different coaching styles he employed in order to get the most out of each of his pupils. These differed to suit individual ability body type and personality traits. Lloyd’s track record demonstrates the effectiveness of his very successful approach which I was lucky to be exposed to as a young professional.

Check out the video below and you will see Moe demonstrating his skills in his later years. Observe the individual swing that suited him. He developed the basics of this style in his youth when he was hitting balls daily under the watchful eye of Lloyd Tucker. I would not try to copy this swing, but if you can master one or two of Moe’s moves it will certainly take shots off your score.