Fifty Is The New Forty: MN “Senior” Golf

By RJ Smiley

With the majority of our working years behind us, we look forward to enjoying the rewards earned from years of hard work. Most seniors plan to travel and enjoy various types of outdoor recreation. Golf is the recreational game of choice for many seniors, and you don’t have to travel far to enjoy great golf courses. Living in Minnesota we have the benefit of having the absolute best in golf courses. Mother Nature has created natural terrain and weather conditions. The golf course superintendents do the rest. Even the golf courses on the lower end of the scale are great.

Research by the National Golf Foundation (NGF) has found that golfers who play with a “regular group” tend to play more rounds of golf and enjoy the game more than those who simply show up at the course looking for a game. So where do you find a golf partner?

Start with family and friends, and then expand that list to club memberships or golf leagues. Your children and grandchildren are a natural place to start. NGF reports that most “core golfers”, those playing more than 8 rounds per year, started playing with their parents or grandparents. There is a website, kidsplaygolffree.com, that is a directory of golf courses that allow “kids,” usually age 17 and younger, to play free with an adult who pays a green fee.

When you develop a relationship through golf, you can enjoy a lifetime of great family recreation. Many couples enjoy an endless variety of golf courses and scenery as they travel during retirement. A large number of golf courses have couples leagues and tournaments where husband and wives compete in friendly competition with other couples.

Thousands of couples have rented or purchased a motor home just to travel and play the spectrum of golf courses across North America. There are many websites that promote motor home golf.

Senior Leagues are available at most golf courses. The golf courses devote a day or two each week for senior golfers (men and/or women) and allow them to play at special discounted rates.

Go to the The Minnesota Golf Association “MGA” website to get a list of the courses in your area. Golf courses are signing up players for leagues now. If you want regular competition, you could join the MGA Senior Tour. The Senior Tour is a traveling weekly tournament for male golfers of all abilities. The Senior Tour has fifteen regularly scheduled events, in three different sections, at golf courses all over the Twin Cities Area and some out state. This well-run series of events has become the favorite meeting place for over 700 Minnesota senior golfers.

New equipment has made golf much easier and more fun to play. If you plan to get into golf on a regular basis during retirement, get a new (or used) driver with a big head and a good senior shaft and a utility club. The big head driver will give you longer straighter drives. The utility club, which will replaces all the long irons in your bag, is easy to hit and makes the game fun – and likely will rapidly become your favorite.

A little stretching goes a long way. As we grow older our muscles lose flexiblity. Five minutes of simple stretching every day will make golf (and living) more fun.

Off-peak golf prices are relatively cheap. What many golfers don’t realize is that today the economics of golf are similar to the airline industry. If you can play during off-peak times, you can get some real deals. Seniors usually do not have a set schedule, so we can utilize the off-peak rates available at most courses. Experienced senior golfers always ask this question when making a tee time, “What are your senior rates and when are those rates available?”

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