Is it too late for me?

Who among us has not had visions of grandeur on the Golf course? Who among us upon has not gawked at an amazingly perfect shot that we hit and thought “Wow, I could do this professionally!” Who among us has not admired the likes of Juli Inkster and Nancy Lopez, both of whom won many golf tournaments after becoming a mom?

But the real question is whether or not it’s too late. Many of us didn’t start playing golf until we were already adults. Nicole Castrale, Laura Diaz, Catriona Matthew and others who now play professionally after having children were already excellent players before starting their families.

IS IT TOO LATE FOR ME?

YES

  • Have you ever seen someone pick up a sport as an adult and then master it? No, they start as children and begin intense and specialized training in their teens usually.
  • Elite players are becoming younger. On the men’s side, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Charles Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, and several other recent major champions are all under the age of 30. On the women’s side Lydia Ko won the Women’s Canadian Open as an Amatuer at 14 years old. Lexi Thompson, recent winner of the Dubai Ladies Masters and the Navistar LPGA Classic, is only 17. All of the LPGA’s major winners in 2012 were under 25 years old.
  • Who has the time and energy to put forth once the grind of making house payments and raising children takes hold? In the book Hacker to Hero in 12 Months Michael Oliff, a 43 year old non-athlete attempting to go from being 26 handicap to scratch golfer, left his new wife and baby at home every morning to spend 12 hours at the golf 6 days per week. Later in the book he says he would have done less daily time if he had it to do all over again.

(If you don’t BELIEVE you can do it, it damn sure isn’t going to happen.)

IS IT TOO LATE FOR ME?

NO

  • Golf does not require great physical fitness. Golf is the only sport you can play while you are pregnant. No offense to any professional players; but I’m sure you have noticed that many are far from being in pristine physical condition.
  • Tom Watson nearly won the British Open at 59 years old. Tiger Woods didn’t even make the cut in that event. The year before Greg Norman nearly won the same event at 53 years old. Ernie Els was 42 years old when he won the British Open last year as was Darren Clarke when he won it the year before that.
  • Catriona Matthew won the Women’s British Open at 42 years old while the mother of a 4 and a 2 year old. Sherri Steinhauer won the Women’s British Open at 43 years old.

(These are all Professional golfers who won Major championships.  Surely you can make a run at being league champion at whatever age?)

IS IT TOO LATE FOR ME?

MAYBE

  • Collagen is a type of protein that makes up the majority of connective tissue in humans. Accordingly, it is produced by your body throughout your entire life and serves to support your joints and cartilage making it possible to move, twist, and perform physical action. According to an article by scientists Bishop, Holmes, Kadler, McLeod, and Jan Bos printed in the journal of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (April, 2004) production of collagen has a half-life of about 11 years and exponentially declines from childhood until old age. The biggest decline can be seen from childhood to 20 years old with a smaller decline between 20 and 40. It begins leveling off and the decline between 40 and 60 is much more modest and even smaller between 60 and 80 years of age. Such a minor reduction is probably much more noticeable in a sport that involves intense usage of the bones and joints because of jarring and physical contact with other players, the ball, and the ground. In short: THERE IS NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE IN WHAT YOU ARE PHYSICALLY CAPABLE IN GOLF OF AT 40 AS THERE IS AT 60.
  • Depends on what you mean by too late. If you’re goal is to be a professional golfer or to win the U.S. Amateur then you will be against time a lot more up than if you are trying to win your club championship or shoot 80 on a regular basis. Define what success means to YOU and then you may answer the question.
  • Is your mind and heart in it? A lot of people give up on things because they believe they are “too old” to do it. For some things that might be true. As gifted and driven as the great Michael Jordan is, keeping up with younger players at the age of 38 was obviously too much for him. Andre Agassi tried to make a comeback at 38 also and even with shots and injections in his knees and joints he still couldn’t keep up with his younger opponents. But golf is different than Tennis and Basketball. It is not very hard on the body; even if you walk every hole you are strolling on soft grass not jumping and pounding on hard pavement.

(Whether or not it is too late for you; only you may decide. You know in your heart what you really want and what is really worth trying. No one can tell you that but yourself.)

When I think of it, as an older mom with a young child, I think about what Mark Twain said:

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.