Sunday, August 30

Aging Golfers Face Many Challenges


“Old” Tom Watson provided thrills at the British Open.
(scotchollie/Flickr)

Special to ARMCHAIR GOLF


MOST GOLF ANALYSTS BELIEVE golfers reach their peak in their 30s. Many pro golfers agree, and there has been statistical data that supports the theory.

That’s why it was such an incredible feat when Tom Watson, who had undergone hip replacement surgery less than a year earlier, almost won the British Open at 59 years old.

Tom Terrific aside, there are a number of challenges older golfers face during a competitive or leisure round of golf.

Loss in Muscle Mass

Over the age of 30, a golfer begins to gradually lose muscle mass. Lipofuscin, also called the aging pigment, moves into muscle tissues, causing muscle fibers to eventually shrink.

The loss of muscle mass ultimately reduces strength and coordination, especially the strength needed to produce a powerful swing. But weakness and reduced strength also cause most back and shoulder injuries associated with golf-related movements. Because muscle tissue takes longer to heal as golfers get older, recovery from shoulder and back injuries also takes longer and pain does not subside as quickly.

Breakdown of Joints


Due to the high number of repetitive motions, golfers are more prone than the average person to joint problems and arthritis at an earlier age. The process can start in the 20s and 30s, and most golfers over the age of 60 have some degree of osteoarthritis, which causes the cartilage in a joint to lose flexibility and make it stiffer.

The cartilage begins to lose its function as a lubricator and shock absorber, causing pain in the ligaments and tendons. Eventually the bones could rub together from the wear and tear of the cartilage.

The rotating motions of the spine during golf cause the joints of the vertebrae to break down faster. Golfers may experience arthritis of the spine, causing limited mobility and pain that can radiate to other parts of the body. Joint breakdown can also affect the shoulders, hips, knees, wrists and elbows of golfers.

Decreased Eyesight

When golfers reach about 50, age-related macular degeneration, which is deterioration in the center of the retina, can gradually produce hazy or blurry vision and a decrease of acuity of central vision. The resulting blurriness and reduced sharpness can affect golfers’ decision-making and accuracy.

Fortunately, older age doesn’t mean golfers can’t enjoy the game, improve their skills and give younger players a run for their money. Tom Watson and other age 50-plus players are living proof.

To help prevent some common ailments associated with aging, older golfers may find it beneficial to engage in strength-training exercises, stretches and a little bit more rest.

With many luxurious Panama hotels in close proximity to great golf courses, rest and relaxation is readily available to golfers of all ages.

(Brought to you by Veneto and the ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE.)

5 comments :

Vince Spence said...

I think your facts are wrong, Neil. I am 60 years-old and I can whack my Taylor Made R9 460 driver down the fairway 180-185 yards, if it is a little firm.

Brian said...

I really felt bad for Tom Watson. In the middle of the 18th fairway and so pumped up he hit his approach through the green. You just knew after that chip he would not make the putt. What a great ride though.

single golf clubs

single golf clubs

Lancer said...

I wish your facts were wrong, but as an aging golfer I can attest to their truth. Severe dry eye is another blessing that we accrue as we age and it's always fun to try to do anything with your eyes burning. There are many other ailments -all of which I have- that attest to the truth of your post. Thanks ever so much for reminding me that the way we were is not necessarily the way we are now.

Michael Edson, MS, L.Ac. said...

Eye conditions/diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and may others can be responsive to specific nutritional supplementation

For example. there is a great deal of peer review research now showing the vision can be preserved through a proper diet and specific nutritional supplementation, and that macular degeneration is a nutritionally responsive eye disease.

The recent B vitamin study showing that those that supplement with B6, B12 and folic acid have a significant lower risk of getting macular degeneration is one of many studies proving macular degeneration to be a nutritionally responsive eye disease.

Archives of Ophthalmology recently published a meta analysis on omega-3 fatty acid and fish intake and its effect on the prevention of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
This study identified 274 abstracts, 3 prospective cohort, 3 case-control, and 3 cross-sectional studies.

Using quantitative methods, a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a 38% reduction in the risk of late AMD. Fish intake (2x per week) was associated with reduced risk of early and late AMD.

More omega-3 and AMD specific studies need to be conducted to further investigate omega-3¹s effect on AMD.

Ref: Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(6):826-833.

Essential nutrients include lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids, taurine, gingko biloba, lycopene, vitamin A, E, zinc, copper, selenium for example, that can help both prevent the onset of eye disease such as macular degeneration as well as help preserve vision for those with macular degeneration.

Daily eye exercises also help maintain healthy vision. For a demo of 3 great eye exercises by Dr. Grossman, one of the Country's leading behavioral optometrists, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W10j2fL0hy0

For more information on nutrition and macular degeneration and related research studies, go to Natural Eye Care for Macular Degeneration

mediaguru @ hookedongolfblog.com said...

Man. Once I get over my depression, I guess I'll take some ibuprophen and head to the gym!