Dear Savvy Senior,
Do you know of any golfing equipment that can help older golfers? My dad, who’s 76, loves to play golf, but arthritis in his hands has made griping the club challenging, and his fragile lower back makes stooping over to tee-up or retrieve the ball a problem too. Is there anything out there that can help?
There are actually a wide variety of adaptive golf equipment that can help older golfers who struggle with injuries, arthritis or loss of mobility. Here are several golfing products that may help with different needs.
Gripping a golf club is a very common problem for seniors with hand arthritis or those who have hand or elbow injuries. To help alleviate this problem there are specially designed golf gloves and grips that can make a big difference.
Two of my favorite gloves are the Bionic Golf Gloves (BionicGloves.com) that have extra padding in the palm and finger joints to improve grip. And the Power Glove (PowerGlove.com) that has a small strap attached to the glove that loops around the club grip to secure it in your hand. These run between $20 and $30.
Another option is to get oversized grips installed on your dad’s clubs. These can make gripping the club easier and more comfortable and are also very good at absorbing shock. Oversized grips are usually either one-sixteenth-inch or one-eighth-inch larger in diameter than a standard grip, and cost around $10 per grip. You can find these grips and have them installed at your local golf store or pro shop.
Or, for a grip-and-glove combination fix, check out Quantum Grip (QuantumGrip.com), which incorporates Velcro material recessed in the golf club grip and a companion golf glove that has mating Velcro material in the palm. Cost: $25 per grip, and $40 a glove.
For golfers with back, hip or knee problems, there are a number of different tools that can eliminate the repetitive bending and stooping that comes with playing golf. For example, for teeing up the ball without bending over, consider the Tee-Up Foldaway by Zero Bend Golf. This is a 34-inch long-handled tool that has a trigger-style handgrip and a jaw that holds the ball and tee for easy placement. It costs $70 at ZeroBendGolf.com.
For other stoop-proof tee-up solutions, see the Tee Pal Pro ($70, TeePalLLC.com) and Joe’s Original Backtee ($25, UprightGolf.com).
ZeroBendGolf.com and UprightGolf.com also offer ball pickup tools and magnetic ball marker products that cost under $15.
Or, if you just want a great all-around golf picker-upper, consider the Graball GrabAll Jaw – sold through Amazon.com for $10 for a package of two. It attaches to the handle end of your putter and chipper and is designed to pick up golf balls, flagsticks, putters and green side chippers.
Reflective Golf Balls
If diminished vision makes locating the ball challenging, Chromax golf balls (ChromaxGolf.com) can help. These are reflective colored golf balls that make them appear larger and brighter. Cost: $10 for a three-pack.
There are also ergonomically designed golf carts that can help older golfers tote their clubs around the course. If you like to walk, CaddyTek (CaddyTek.com) and Clicgear (Clicgearusa.com) has a variety of three and four-wheeled push/pull carts that are highly rated for function and foldability. Costs typically range between $150 and $300.
Or, for severe mobility loss, the SoloRider specialized electric golf cart (SoloRider.com) provides the ability to play from a seated or standing-but-supported position. Retailing for $10,500, plus a $600 shipping fee, this cart is lightweight and precisely balanced so it can be driven on tee boxes and greens without causing any damage. Federal ADA laws require that all public golf courses allow them.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or go to SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.