The Last Frontier for Senior Golfers

In order for goals to be meaningful they must offer a challenge and  at the same time be realistic and attainable.

As golfers we all have different goals depending on our skills and our personal makeup and our age

There are some goals (in the case of some of us wishes or hope) that we all have in common. When we first took up the game our goals were things like breaking a hundred then 90, 80 and in the case of the daring 70. Almost everyone has thought about and aspired to shoot even par on a regulation 18 hole course. Everyone wants to score a hole in one.

There is however one goal that many of us have that cannot be attained until later in life, shooting your age.

Only a small percentage of golfers ever shoot their age.

I took up golf in 1975 at the age of 24 and since that time have played an estimated 5000 rounds of golf. Since the sparking 156 I shot on my first round I’ve managed to achieve many of my goals. I’ve broken 100, 90, 80 and 70. I’ve had 3 hole in ones, the last one being on September 20th 2020. What I have yet to do is shoot my age.

I first flirted with shooting my age on June 28th 2014. It was a Saturday morning, my 64th birthday. I was playing at Wildewood a 9 hole, par 72, 6048 yard track with a slope rating of 123. Wildewood is not a long course but a tricky course mainly due to the narrow fairways, an abundance of trees and small poa annua greens.

I missed it by one shot that day and in the following years I did not come within one stroke of my age again until June 29th 2020 the day after my 69th birthday.  

On that day I was playing off the white tees at Bridges Golf Curse a 6425 yard par 72 course with a slope rating of 123.  I had an eagle putt on 18 to shoot 69.  As I was getting ready to hit the putt my playing partners reminded me of its significance and urged me not to leave it short.  I was an uphill 2o footer with perhaps 18 inches of break.  I gave it a good run and finished about 2 feet past the hole having missed it on the high side.  I tapped in for a birdie and a 70, again 1 stroke short of the goal.  

That brings us to 2021, one year older, a few more aches and pains but with the same goal as last year to shoot my age.  

If you have a good “shooting my age story” I’d like to hear it.  

Scratch Golfers Turn Par 4’s and Par 5’s Into Short Par 3’s

Bridges hole 4

Depiction of the 97-159 yard par 3, 4th hole at Bridges Golf Course


In a previous post I talked about how high handicap golfers tend to score better (relative to par) on par 3 holes as compared to par 4’s and par 5’s, and how the opposite is true for scratch and low handicap golfers who score better  (relative to par) on par 4’s and par 5’s.

There are several reasons for this:

1)   The shorter the par 3 the easier it is to score well.

2)   Most high handicap golfers tend to play off the forward tees which means that for them most par 3’s are in the range of 150 yards or less.  Many scratch or low handicap players will play off the longer tees with an average distance closer to the 190 yard range.

Let me provide a number of examples for average distances of par 3 holes off various tees at two local courses:

Bridges Golf Course, Starbuck, MB

White tees          133 yards

Blue tees             153 yards

Black tees           178 yards

Southwood Golf and Country Club, Winnipeg, MB

White tees          152 yards

Blue tees             175 yards

Black tees           197 yards

So on par 3 holes high handicappers have significantly shorter tee shots to contend with than golfers playing of the back tees.

3)   In many sports there is no substitute for speed.  In golf there is no substitute for distance.  Generally speaking, low handicap golfers hit the ball further than high handicap players and in many cases are also more accurate.  Low handicap players, even though they may play off the longer tees, tend to have shorter approach shots into the green than high handicap players on par 4’s and especially par 5’s.

This disparity in distance off the tee means that for many high handicap golfers their approach shots on par 4’s and par 5’s are longer than their normal tee shot on par 3’s, whereas for low handicap players their approach shots on par 4’s and par 5’s are shorter than their typical tee shot on par 3’s.  In some cases par 5’s become two shot holes for the scratch player which further promotes lower scores.

The long and the short of it (pun intended) is that low handicap golfers because of their additional length and accuracy have the ability to turn their approach shots on  par 4’s and par 5’s into short par 3’s.

The shorter the “par 3” the lower the score.

How Many Sets of Golf Clubs Do You Have

A few of my ‘extra’ clubs


For those who have golfed with me over the years this will come as no surprise. One of the things I really enjoy is either changing out my entire set of clubs, or at least of few of the clubs in my set with great frequency.

Why you may ask?  When you play as much golf as I do you need to do things that stimulate continued interest and concentration and changing clubs does that for me.

As well, there are times when I configure my set in keeping with the course that I will be playing.  For example, if I’m playing at Wildewood, which is a relatively short (6048 yards) course that has a lot of trees and ball positioning off the tee is of prime importance, I might opt for a low lofted (13 degree) 3 wood to use for tee shots on some of the shorter and narrow par 4’s.  I might also remove one of the longer hybrids and substitute an additional wedge.  At times I will even remove my regular driver from the bag and use a 12 degree ‘mini driver’ for accuracy purposes.

When playing a longer course such as Bridges where distance is more important and lack of accuracy is not as severely punished I might again remove my regular driver and replace it with a longer driver with an overall length of 47 and 7/8 inches to add distance off the tee.   I might also pull out one of the wedges and add a low lofted (17 degree) hybrid.

Other times I might simply swap out my entire set of irons either just for a change or to compensate for some temporary anomaly in my swing.  If for example I go through a phase where I’m drawing my irons I may use a set of forward progressed irons that tend to promote a slight fade, or conversely if I’m fading the ball I made used a set of irons with a slight offset to promote a straighter ball flight.

At times my swing may get out of whack and if I find I’m hitting a lot of fat (club makes contact with the ground behind the ball) shots or when the course conditions are wet and sloppy I’ll revert back to a set of irons that consist entirely of hybrids.

On other days when I’m just feeling adventurous I may bring out a set of irons that are all the same length, with heads that all have the same weight.  This type of club allows you to position the ball identically for each club as the only thing that changes from club to club is the loft angle.  This means you are able to use exactly the same swing with each club.

So how many sets of clubs to I have, well right now I have 5 sets of irons and an assortment of drivers an fairway wood in different combinations of loft and shaft length, a descent collection of hybrids in different lofts, an assortment of wedges and a few putters.

This array of clubs allows me to configure different set of clubs to suit my game, the course I’m playing or just the mood I happen to be in.

Does anyone else do this?