Golfing Benefits & Tips for Older Adults
Septuagenarian David Hon wants to inspire older adults and retirees to start playing golf – before, as he might say himself – it’s too late. A sense of urgency and a determination to make the most of the time we have left on this good earth, underscores Hon’s writing on the blog he started, www.Golf75.com.
(David Hon Photo: © 2019 Richard Graham)
He quotes Don Carlos “The decline of old age is the toughest challenge of all“, and says:
“Family members are bed-ridden, lifelong friends die off while you still owe them dinner at your place, and events of your early life are a distant muddle but for a few photos….The challenge of old age is to put any life back in Life, while you are still walking.”
When David Hon turned 75 two years ago, he decided it was the perfect time to start golfing, a sport he’d been avoiding. He’d played tennis, and soccer for years until he hurt his back, but felt a new sport more suited to his age was in the cards.
Golf was only a distant memory from a college P.E. class 40 years earlier. About 6 months after Hon started playing golf he began taking group golf lessons to learn the basics of swing, etc. Two years in, he realized that his experiences as a senior new to the sport of golf, might help others to take that big first step onto the golf course as well.
Written in an amusing style, Hon offers practical advice for would-be older golfers, couched with wry observations and humor in his blog posts.
5 Golfing Tips for the Senior Golfer
1. Don’t Delay – Combat the Tolls of Aging
“Time may not be on your side.” Hon acknowledges that it may be scary or intimidating to start anything including golf at an advanced age, but offers the encouragement that “By now you are more ready than you know.”
The Tolls of Aging
- “You have accomplished a few things, but they are fading fast.”
- “You may not remember the few remaining people at your high school reunion.”
- “You take long flights of stairs with more effort than a few years ago.”
- “You have trouble lifting bags into the overhead bin…often people kindly offer to help.”
- “All of the things you controlled with your head and your strength…are fading fast.”
2. Hit Some Balls at a Driving Range (you can rent clubs there)
“Even if you miss most of the balls the first few times you get out there, you may hit one…If you crack one, just once, and it travels high and away from you over the green in front of you, arcing against the sky, you may like the feeling…It’s a brand-new thrill! And those of us age 75 do often wonder if there are many truly new thrills left.”
3. Practice Putting at Mini-Putt
“When a long one drops in, even at a dinky miniature golf course on the side of a gas station at some state highway, you feel like you’ve done something. You feel like a real golfer.“
4. Buy a 3 Wood, 9 Iron, and a Putter – Cheap!
Hon recommends buying inexpensive golf clubs (used) at Goodwill, or other second hand stores. He says all you need to get started is a 3 wood, a 9 iron, and a putter.
5. Take Advantage of Senior Discounts
Some golf courses and driving ranges offer senior’s discounts for playing and practice times.
In dedicated blog posts, Hon offers details about how to prevent injury to your back, shoulders, and hips, and get more out of the game, by adjusting your swing and stance.
Benefits of Golfing for Older Adults
It’s clear golf has tapped an emotional response in David Hon. He elaborates on the many benefits of golf for seniors and older adults in his articles:
Combating Social Isolation & Loneliness
“You have probably begun to worry about how you are investing your time…you must have a sense of what is lovely in life, and how you can live out what’s left…Friends and family are of course right up there, and if you are very involved with both you are fortunate indeed. There does occur more than a little loneliness in these years, however, and golf can come to the rescue.”
Enjoying the Beauty of Nature
Getting out of the house, walk on a beautifully maintained golf course, and appreciate nature.
Enjoying Challenge and Achievement
“With golf you have new challenges, and time and practice can give you new abilities, new skills…The rewards are not outside you. They are inside you…and at age 75 they are priceless.“
“Other sports do have contact that is difficult…In golf, you get to stand still, and hit a ball which is…not moving. (This is especially important when you are age 75).”
About David Hon
David Hon started writing during high school when he got his first job at the age of 14, writing sports for two city newspapers. Later, he was a technical writer for Texas Instruments. Writing became programming, and as national training manager for the American Heart Association, Hon developed a computerized manikin simulation to teach and evaluate CPR. He was an early TED speaker, relating his experiences creating the first CPR simulator.
In 1983, he started his own company, Ixion, to do technical training through simulation for aircraft and medical industries clients (Merck, Johnson & Johnson, etc.). Ixion won several national and international awards for pioneering work in interactive media, and Hon was granted 5 U.S. patents on simulation.
In retirement, David Hon collaborated with French co-author Jean-Paul Nerrière to write Globish the World Over (available on Amazon here), an index of a subset of English for international communications (non-native English speakers). His other published works include a book of poetry, and a picture book on a universal language syntax called Visual English (also available on Amazon, here).
Fueled by encouragement from supportive friends several years ago, he first began blogging about random “dinner table” topics. This collection of stories at his first blog DavidHon.Com, was later turned into a book he published in 2018 – Before I Forget (available on Amazon, here).
You can follow David Hon’s weekly golf blog at www.Golf75.com.
**This article is for general informational purposes only. Consult your doctor before beginning any new physical activity or sport.**
Brad Erwin December 12th, 2019 at 4:42pm
I liked what you mentioned about how with golf you are able to stand still and hit a ball that doesn't move which is beneficial because contact sports can be harder as you age. My grandfather turned 72 last month and is looking for ways to stay active without injuring himself further. I will be sure to recommend he think about trying golf and look for different tee placement devices that could make the sport easier for him as he tries it.