Maintenance of Skilled Performance with Age: A Descriptive Examination of Professional Golfers

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Demographic studies indicate a remarkable aging trend in North America. An accurate profile of the decline in physical and cognitive capabilities over time is essential to our understanding of the aging process. This study examined the maintenance of skilled performance across the careers of 96 professional golfers. Data were collected on scoring average, driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, putts per round, and number of competitive rounds played using online data archives. Analyses indicate that performance in this activity can be maintained to a greater extent than in activities relying on biologically constrained abilities. Although the generalizability of these results to “normal” aging populations is not known, they suggest that acquired skills can be maintained to a large extent in the face of advancing age.

Baker is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 Canada. Deakin, Horton, and Pearce are with the School of Physical and Health Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.