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Transitioning the Golf Swing to Retirement Golf: Evolution or Revolution?


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I retired in December of 2019 at a relatively early age (53) and thought that I would enjoy playing more than once a week starting in the Spring of 2020.  The exact opposite occurred.  Covid aside, I found that the swing that was serviceable with a week's rest between rounds did not hold up on consecutive days of play. All of the minor(?) flaws that I chalked up to not practicing or playing often enough were actually more serious.  That is, they were not getting better even after going to the range every day and working on the swing.  In fact, by the end of the 2020 golf season, my game was in ruins.  Instead of improving, I went from shooting in the low-to-mid 80s pre-retirement to unmentionable in retirement.  Very discouraging.  I was so lost from working on my game that I seriously thought of quitting the game.  

 

My 2021 golf season started about 3 weeks ago.  I did not play over the fall/winter.  So I'm basically starting with a clean slate.  This year I've decided to focus on two things: (1) accuracy off the tee and (2) the short game (100 yards and in).  This is a fundamental change in my golfing strategy.  Instead of playing by feel like I've done my whole life, this new approach is definitely more structured.  My tee shots are now more accurate but 20-40 yards shorter with the 3W and driver.  I spend half to 3/4 of my practice time working on 60-100 yard pitch shots, bunker shots, greenside chips, and lag putting.  At home, I watch Mr. Short Game videos on Youtube over and over again to help build a more vanilla but reproducibly solid short game.  My ball-striking has improved considerably as has my feel around the greens.  This is encouraging, but I've not had the guts to take this new approach to the course yet.  But I think I'm very close.  My reluctance to actually play golf stems from the fact that this feels like my last shot at recovering my game, and I want to prepare thoroughly before I stress-test this new approach on the course.  A little melodramatic, I admit.  But that is what it feels like.    

 

Has anyone had to make revolutionary changes to their golf swing/philosophy upon retirement, like what I'm contemplating?  Or has it been more of a gentler transition?     

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Haha. It is a little melodramatic. 🙂   I recommend that you don't wait until your next life to go out and play.   Why not go take some in-person lessons before you drop dead tomorr

I retired in December of 2019 at a relatively early age (53) and thought that I would enjoy playing more than once a week starting in the Spring of 2020.  The exact opposite occurred.  Covid aside, I

That's brutal.  All jokes aside I agree with solo.  OP, play as much golf as your body will allow you to provided you have the funds.  I'm sure you've saved up a fortunate since you have been lucky en

43 minutes ago, Soloman1 said:

Haha. It is a little melodramatic. 🙂

 

I recommend that you don't wait until your next life to go out and play.

 

Why not go take some in-person lessons before you drop dead tomorrow from old age? It does happen. Don't wait until you get to be an old geezer and can barely swing a club and make all kinds of noises bending down to try to get the ball out of the hole.

That's brutal.  All jokes aside I agree with solo.  OP, play as much golf as your body will allow you to provided you have the funds.  I'm sure you've saved up a fortunate since you have been lucky enough to retire early.  Sure, practice is great, but playing as much as possible is king especially post retirement. 

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1 hour ago, JohnnyCashForever said:

Has anyone had to make revolutionary changes to their golf swing/philosophy upon retirement, like what I'm contemplating?  Or has it been more of a gentler transition?     

 

Life is too short to live in fear of your golf game.

 

You don't go into details about where you are losing strokes but when I was about your age I completely lost my driver game. Long story short, my swing path had changed from in-out to out-in due to a swing change and I didn't realize it. Try playing a draw with an out-in path.

 

Once I got on a launch monitor and recognized the path issue it was an easy fix.

 

So, I would suggest diagnosing what your actual issue is either with video, a launch monitor, a coach or a combination of all three. Then go out and fix it. You're too young to play old man golf.

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I retired 11/1/20, pre-retirement I was playing once during the week and 36 every Saturday and Sunday. Very seldom hit balls on the range and was able to keep my hcp at 5.3 for the most part.

 

Once I retired I started playing about 5 days a week and still playing 36 on Saturday with my group. My hcp and scores started creeping up and I couldn't figure out why. One day while playing it hit me. Since I was playing more I wasn't concentrating near as much and started getting sloppy. Since I was going to probably play the next day I figured " oh well" I'm playing tomorrow so no big deal.

 

Well since this epiphany my scores and hcp started coming back down and now I am back to a 5.1 and headed even lower. Just have to fix that dam "over the top" move that slips in every so often!!!

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You can do it, but just don’t try to do it the same way you did when you were 30.  Re-evaluate your equipment to see if it aligns with your goals. For example, if driving accuracy is on the list, ditch the 46 inch TM Burner and try something with a 45 inch or shorter shaft.  Identify where you miss your irons - heel or toe miss?  if you miss near the heel, then a players iron with the sweet spot closer to the hosel will fit your swing better.  
Hitting behind the ball or hitting it thin.  If Behind the ball, maybe your shaft is too light (casting, early release).  Opposite for hitting thin.

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Strength, stamina and recovery time are all important. Your approach is probably the right one, decreasing swing speed and focusing on short game, but maybe your total game hasn't gone anywhere? Could it be muscle movement fatigue? I mean you were shooting scores you liked without practicing, so what you say are minor flaws may be exacerbated by just being tired.

 

In your shoes with the ability to play every day, I would just do it. There is such a thing as building up golf stamina. Building both mental and physical endurance for a day on the course. You may need to just string together days of playing to get used to your new lifestyle. Suffer for a bit, and then get in a groove?

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Thanks for posting. Too many people rely on schtick to get by on message boards and too few share their deeper feelings. I wish I had the easy answer, but I'm where you are. I've started thinking more about playing golf instead playing golf swing. You might try that if you're overly focused on mechanics while playing. You've played long enough that you can made a swing without thinking your way through it. Paralysis through analysis goes the old saying. Good luck and keep us updated.

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I fell into the same trap. I retired five years ago and fully expected to get better. When it didn't happen immediately I started tinkering with my swing and trying different equipment. Finally, I realized that I wasn't playing golf. I was playing "golf swing". Once I started focusing on playing shots I know I can play and getting the ball in the hole my game got better. Someone once said a birdie made with a sliced tee shot and a topped approach beats a par made by Tiger Woods. Sure, I would love to swing like Adam Scott. However, occasionally breaking 80 and taking a few bucks off my buddies is where my focus is now. 

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In my opinion it could one of two things:

1. As others have said, it could playing golf swing v golf.  I like the statement bc it makes sense, but what does it really mean?

2. And for me, I don’t want to project.  when I decided to put in the work I *think* the root of 1 is playing golf unsure, or, more pointedly, “playing not to lose, not playing to win.”  I truly believe this is the difference between a good round and a bad round.

I also think it’s tied to expectation as well. When I was working on my game I expected to not mishit balls. When I missed a few, it was difficult for me to forget them which led to #2, which led back to focusing on the swing not the result.

Which inevitably led to atrocious scoring. So, for me expectation, doubt, and playing golf swing are all related.  When we don’t practice we don’t have expectations, we aren’t overly concerned about mis-hits, we just play.

 

Mentally that’s me. I played a different sport in college and low level pro.  If we won I was relieved (not happy/excited), and when I made a gaffe I was angry/frustrated with myself. It wasn’t fun, and the best players had fun and played freely and relished victory over all else.  Perhaps we are similar in make up?

 

Everyone is different, but I was able to change my attitude by splitting the course into 3 hole blocks and learning to not add up my scores until the end.

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