Some Players Are Always Trying To Get Better
Let me tell you the story of “Old Tom.”
Tom is 89 years young and in his words, “A bucket a day keeps the shanks away.”
I’ve known Tom for a few years now and he is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He was a music teacher and grew up playing trumpet and by all accounts he was a very good trumpet player.
He usually plays a few holes everyday and on Thursday’s be plays 18 holes in the men’s league.
We talk about anything and everything and it’s really interesting to hear some of his stories about the “old” days.
Especially the stories about traveling around the country playing music with some of the all time great jazz musicians.
But this article is about his dedication to golf. At one time he was a 3 handicap and has shot in the 60’s 3 times.
Right now he continues to shoot below his age. As with anyone, he is always seeking more distance. So our conversations usually go like this.
Tom: I’d like to hit it farther, what can I do
Me: You’ve got to try and make a bigger turn and swing the club faster.
We then do a couple of mirror drills, which he does very well. He doesn’t think he has the flexibility to turn anymore but his assessment shows he can. Like a lot of players he has zero turn of his chest, he just lifts the arms. He does hit a nice little push draw, it just doesn’t go anywhere.
So we will head out to the range and he’ll make some swings and while I’m with him he makes a pretty good turn, low and behold he hits it farther. His eyes light up and a smile comes across his face.
“How far do you think that went”, he asks.
I’d say around 130 Tom.
“Do you think I can get it to 175?”
If you can increase your club speed to around 70-75 miles per hour you’ll get there.
“How fast is it now?”
You’re swinging 50 MPH Tom.
“So how do I increase the speed?”
A bigger turn and swing the club faster.
He then shows me his “bigger” turn. “How’s this he asks…as he lifts his arms with NO turn”.
It’s better but you still need to turn MORE! I ask him, “what are you thinking about turning”? He says, “my shoulders”. I say, “I want you to think about turning the middle of your chest as far around you as you can”. He shows me and there is a BIG improvement in the turn!
Then he says, “My left foot is coming off the ground when I turn this much.”
I say good, let it come off…it will help you make this bigger turn.
The more he turns the father he is starting to hit it. Tom later asks, “What do I do to hit it farther?”
A bigger turn and swing the club faster Tom. He forgets that we have already talked about this, every day, but his passion and drive to get better – especially at his age is what brings a smile to MY face.