LAST weekend evergreen 64 year old golfer Bernhard Langer became the oldest winner in PGA Champions Tour history, bumping up his 50 year overall record in professional golf to a massive 118 wins. By happenstance, just days prior to that tournament Langer had taken time out to share his “5 timeless tips for older golfers” with one of the big golf magazines.
“I think it’s just encouraging to everybody that’s over 50 or 60, we can still perform at a very high level and you should never give up,” Langer said after his win in the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Virginia. “And of course physical conditioning is one thing. You’ve got to be mentally tough, you’ve got to have good technique and nerves and all of rest of it.”
It was the German’s 42nd win on the Champions Tour and stretched his record of consecutive seasons with wins on the over 50’s tour to 15. Add his two US Masters wins, 42 wins on the European Tour (2nd most all-time), three on the PGA Tour, and numerous international victories; including wins on the Japan Golf Tour, Asian Tour, Australasian Tour, and the Tour de las Américas… and you have a golfer who definitely knows what he is talking about when it comes to golf longevity.
So what are the 5 timeless tips for older golfers he shared with Golf.com? As you’d expect they are straight down the line, no-nonsense and practical.
1. Take care of your body
Langer says number one priority is to take care of your body. In general, watching what you eat, getting regular exercise, and – most importantly – staying flexible.
“People think golf may not be a sport, but it is a sport and it’s demanding,” he says. “As we get older, we lose both strength and flexibility. Every year we lose a percent or two. We may feel top of the world when we’re in our 40s, but when we get into our 60s, we start not feeling so great.”
It’s never too late or too early to get started, Langer says, and once you do, you’ll enjoy the benefits for years.
2. Stretch every day
Specifically, Langer says to start by simply stretching every day. He says you can work with somebody to help you, but don’t use that as an excuse: Just Google a stretching routine and get started.
“Just stretch for a few minutes every day, either in the morning or evening,” he says. “You can do it at home, you can do it in the office.”
3. Strengthen your core
You don’t need to hit the weights hard to play good golf forever, Langer says. But you’ll be well served to strengthen the middle of your body. That, Langer says, has been central to his success.
“The core, the midsection of the body is very, very important,” he says. “Your body’s biggest muscles are [your glutes] and [your abdominals]. If you use those, you can make a bigger turn.”
4. Don’t cheat your turn
Langer mentioned turn there, which was another important theme of our conversation. Turning is power, Langer says, and you need power as you get older. If you can’t turn, you won’t just hit the ball shorter: You’ll also compensate in ways that will make you worse.
“A lot of people can’t turn even in their 50s and 60s. They may turn a little bit, but then they collapse their arms and think they’re way back there, when there’s no turn,” he said, demonstrating above. “That’s when trouble sets in. You get a lot of mishits.”
Making sure not to cheat your turn is the swing thought at the heart of this. Keep your arms straight, and turn your torso.
5. Improve your fundamentals
Last but not least are the fundamentals, Langer says. They’re called that for a reason, and they never go out of style. Keep a close eye on them every time you practice, and they’ll last a lifetime.
“Get a good foundation,” he says. “Grip, stance, good posture, all that stuff is very important.”