How to Play Golf Forever – from the Legends

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HOW DO YOU PLAY GOLF AT A HIGH LEVEL AS A SENIOR PLAYER?

Golf is a game you can enjoy and pursue your whole life and never master, says Lee Trevino. Golf legends including Darren Clarke, Vijay Singh, Lee Trevino, Tom Kite, and Bernhard Langer share their keys to great golf later in life! They all share that it begins with a genuine love of the game. You have to look forward to playing, and as Lee Trevino shares - you're not easily discouraged. As Bernhard Langer and Vijay Singh share, you need to stay golf fit (strong and limber), have a good attitude, and desire to work on your game - especially your short game. Tom Kite shares that technique and muscular flexibility is paramount to longevity. You need to develop a swing that is smooth and rhythmic - not violent.

Today, almost all the top players are rigorous about gaining a higher golf fitness level. Tom Kite shares the importance of becoming golf fit. Then, Lee Trevino offers some sobering observations about the needed commitment to remain a good player. As he shares, you need to be comfortable challenging yourself because golf is you against the course. Keep working at it, and you'll succeed.

An Everlasting Impression
Any chance to observe veteran greats playing golf leaves a lasting impression of the quality of their play. Some have enjoyed more than 40 years at the top, and though their swings may have altered over time, their attention to detail and understanding of the fundamentals are unparalleled.

Passion is Paramount

Golf is renowned for testing players' patience. Passion is paramount for anyone hoping to achieve longevity in the sport—a genuine love for the game. You have to love it, and you have to look forward to playing. The most important thing is you don't get discouraged. Golf is a game that's never been mastered. You can win golf tournaments and shoot low scores, but until someone shoots 54, you haven't mastered it.

Competition for Decades

Guys are playing longer and playing better for a more extended time. Guys are competitive on the PGA Tour into their mid and late 40s. Then you have guys that jump over to the Champions Tour and have an impact immediately. So, there's no question that if you enjoy playing, there's no reason why you can't play for decades.

Bernhard Langer is Timeless

Bernhard Langer is perhaps the best example of longevity in golf. A 42-time European Champion, a two-time Masters Champion, and a star of multiple Ryder Cups, he enjoyed a hugely successful career before turning 50. Since then, he's topped the PGA Tour Champions money list 10 out of 12 years, winning ten senior majors along the way. He credits the care he's taken for his body, but to achieve his extended stay at the top, you need to stay healthy and use good technique, especially in the full swing. Bernhard shares that he has an excellent short game, which allows him to be more conservative off the tee. You won't survive out there if you don't have a fantastic short game on the professional level.

You also must have a positive mental attitude. You must be mentally strong to overcome the ups and downs and challenges, not to mention work well under pressure. Finally, you need the drive to work on your game and still be willing to do it in your 50s and 60s.

Take Good Care

Last, you must develop a swing that doesn't adversely affect your body. There are certain swings that, when you look at them - it's like golly, that will last forever and ever because it's smooth rhythmic yet fast and dynamic simultaneously. Other swings you look at - well, they look violent. Those violent ones are the ones you know create a little bit more havoc with your body. You must use proper technique and be a little lucky to stay injury free. This is helped by consistency in your preparation and your practice. Most people who've achieved that type of success just have figured out how to practice and play golf properly, take good care of themselves and prepare and get sufficient rest.

Stay Flexible

You look at the guys that have had long careers and are flexible, can turn, and can move. Once the swing starts getting shorter, which will happen over time, if you have a little bit of flexibility in there, it certainly makes it easier to play well late into your career.

Modern Players

In search of longer drives, greater balance, and faster clubhead speeds, modern players spend more time in the gym training. It's crucial for golfers hoping to emulate the likes of Bernhard Langer, but some cautionary messages come from golfing greats.

You have to work out a lot to keep your body limber. Look after yourself, keep practicing, keep swinging weighted clubs, and do everything you do when you are in your thirties and forties. But you do it when you get older, and you've picked it up and feel way better. I chose in my game training is essential. You know, you go back to Frank Stranahan and Gary Player. They're the ones that set the standard early on with working out. Now you look at all the guys; they all train and are in terrific shape. You have to train for your sport. You can't get so wrapped up in looking pretty and having that body that looks like it ought to be a linebacker if it's not functional for golf. Hence, you have to be smart in the way you train. I think the younger kids in the universities and the colleges - that's all they do now. The golf programs are more sophisticated in teaching golf skills and golf fitness, as well.

Keys to Longevity in Golf and Demands of Greatness

Passion, technique, and clean living are all key ingredients when seeking a lengthy stay at golf's top table, but it's not always as simple as ticking those boxes. Six-time major champion Lee Trevino explains the emotional demands of the sport and the importance of an incredible work ethic. It's a lonely game. It's not a happy game. To be a great player, you must spend a tremendous amount of time by yourself. You can't have your buddies with you or anybody around because you've got to learn how to hit this golf ball and play on the golf course. I lived on the driving range. I practiced at night until 11 o'clock. Then, I'd get up at 5:00 am and play, and I got pretty good at it. It doesn't make any difference what cards you're dealt and what side of the track you come from; if you pursue something hard enough and work hard enough, you'll succeed.

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