The term “senior” gets thrown around quite a bit in the game of golf.
Some people wonder if senior means over 65 years of age, over fifty years of age, or more than 75 years of age.
If you have ever been curious if you are a senior golfer, you are in the right place.
We will fill you in on all you need to know about being a senior golfer and what senior golf is.
What Is a Senior Golfer?
A senior golfer in the world of professional golf is any player over the age of fifty.
Once players hit that fifty-year age mark, they are eligible to play golf on the Senior PGA Tour.
Some players look at this as an advantage, and others dread the fact that they are now considered a senior.
The competition on the senior golf tour is not quite as fierce as it is on the Professional golf tour, and that is why you will see many players stay on the PGA Tour even after fifty.
In amateur golf, there is no cutoff for who is a senior and who is not.
Many golfers start to lose some of their distance around the age of 65.
This is when some will switch to the senior shafted golf clubs and potentially even move up to a shorter tee.
Of course, this is not a rule as many 65-year-old senior golfers can hit the ball farther than some forty-year-old golfers.
At What Age Should You Switch to the Senior Golf Tees?
There is certainly no universal rule in place which says players must move up to the senior tees at a certain age.
The decision should be made more on ability than age.
For instance, a seventy-year-old golfer who can still drive the ball 220 is probably fine to stay at the standard men’s tees.
However, a sixty-year-old golfer who is driving the ball 180 yards should probably move up to the senior tees.
If you are playing in a local tournament, there will probably be some rules about what tees you can play from.
For county and public type events, it is commonly accepted that people over age 70 should play from the senior tees.
If you are playing an event at your country club, then they may use an age-plus-handicap system.
For instance, if you are seventy years old with a ten handicap, your number would be eighty.
If you are 68 years old with a thirty handicap, your number would be 98.
Some clubs will determine that anyone with age plus handicap over ninety should play it forward.
This will vary from one club to the next, but it is a fair way to get seniors playing from the right tee position.
The USGA has done quite a bit of work on the play-it-forward movement.
They are encouraging golfers to move forward when the game gets too hard.
Playing a golf course that is too long for you will slow down the pace of play and make the game a lot less fun.
Who Should Play with Senior Golf Shafts?
Since we are talking about tees and where to play from, it makes sense to bring up equipment as well.
If you are a senior golfer, it can be challenging to know when to switch to the senior-shafted golf clubs.
Senior-shafted golf clubs are almost always made with graphite shafts, and they tend to be very forgiving.
The senior golf clubs have low centers of gravity, and they have a very high launch.
The high launch and extra-large sweet spot help senior golfers whose swing speeds are slowing down.
If you feel as though your swing speed is starting to slow down, this is the time to switch.
Pay attention to where your ball is landing on your home course.
Is it a few yards back from where it was last year?
This could mean the time has come to change up the equipment.
If, however, you are over the age of sixty or even seventy and you still get plenty of distance and can hit the ball straight, there is no reason to switch to senior clubs.
You are better off waiting until you start to see the change in your game than switching just for the heck of it.
How Far Does the Average Senior Drive the Golf Ball?
As we have mentioned several times, using the phrase “average senior” is a bit tricky.
Senior golfers are going to vary significantly in their abilities and their general golf knowledge.
Some seniors have been playing their whole lives, and some have just started the game of golf as something to do in retirement.
The average drive for a senior golfer is anywhere from 200 to 220 yards.
Of course, this number will be different if you are talking about a 60-year-old senior or a 90-year-old senior.
One of the essential parts of the golf game for seniors is not the driving distance but the short game.
Nothing is stopping an 85-year-old golfer from chipping and putting better than a junior golfer.
If you are heading into your senior years of golf, now is the time to get the wedges and putter you feel most comfortable with.
Practice with these clubs and make sure this is a part of your game that you have tremendous confidence in.
If you start to lose your confidence around the greens, that is when you will see your handicap begin to go up.
Making the transition from golfer to senior golfer does not need to be a difficult one.
If you can focus on some details and some skills in your game, the lack of distance you may experience could ultimately not affect the scoring.
Golfers who have struggled their whole lives with accuracy may find that, as a senior, they finally start to hit the ball straight.
This sometimes happens when the clubhead speed slows down a bit.
It is easier to square up the face of the club.
Senior golf is something to look forward to.
This is the time in your life when you won’t be rushing to get back to the office.
You can play golf more often, spend time practicing your game, and start to make those twenty-footers that scare all those young golfers away.
The next time someone refers to you as a senior golfer, don’t let it be offensive.
Just make sure they allow you to move up a set of tees!