Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you recommend any products that can help older golfers? I love to play golf, but at age 74, I have hip and back problems that make bending over to tee up or pick up the ball difficult. And I have arthritis in my thumbs that makes griping the club a problem.
There are actually a wide variety of nifty golf accessories and adaptive equipment that can help older golfers who struggle with injuries, arthritis or loss of mobility. Here are several products for different needs.
The game of golf requires a lot of repetitive bending and stooping that comes with teeing up the ball, repairing divots, marking the ball on the green, retrieving a ball or tee on the ground, along with picking up a club, sand rake or flag stick off the ground.
For teeing up the ball without bending over, consider one of the Northcroft Golf Tee-Up devices. These are long-handled tools (1.5 to three feet long) that have trigger-style handgrips and a jaw that holds the ball and tee for easy placement. They cost between $69 and $72 and are available at NorthcroftGolf.com. For other tee-up solutions, see the Tee Pal ($55, TeePalPro.com) and Joe’s Original Backtee ($15, UprightGolf.com).
NorthcroftGolf.com and UprightGolf.com also offer a variety of stoop-proof ball pickup accessories, divot repair and magnetic ball marker products ranging between $5 and $12.
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.
To help alleviate your golf club gripping problem, there are specially designed golf gloves and grips that can make a big difference.
The best 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 clubs. This 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, consider the Quantum Grip (QuantumGrip.com) that incorporates Velcro material recessed in the golf club grip and a companion golf glove that has mating Velcro material in the palm. Cost: $20 per grip, plus $35 per glove.
If vision problems make finding the ball difficult, Chromax golf balls (ChromaxGolf.com) can make a big difference. These are reflective colored golf balls that make them appear larger and brighter. Cost: $10.50 for a three-pack.
There are also ergonomically designed golf carts that can help you transport your golf clubs around the course. If you like to walk, the Sun Mountain Sports Micro-Cart, V1 Sport Cart or Reflex Cart are great options. These are three and four-wheeled, lightweight push carts that that fold into a compact size for easy transport. Available at SunMountain.com for $200, $210 and $230.
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 $9,450, plus a $550 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 publically owned golf courses allow them.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.