EVERY golfer stepping out on to a new tour will always say that it’s important to hit the ground running as they try to adapt quickly to 
their surroundings. 

When you get to your 50s, though, you probably have to be a bit more wary about things like hitting the ground and running. The body 
may not be as sturdy as it used to be, after all.

Gary Orr knows all about the aches, pains, groans and grimaces 
that can come about when those cranks and pulleys that operate the various golfing mechanisms get worn and weary. 

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His bothersome back eventually brought his long European Tour career to an end in 2013 but, having reached his half century this year, the Helensburgh veteran is enjoying a new lease of sporting life on the Senior Tour. And as for that dodgy dorsal? 

“I’ve not felt this good for a long time,” declared Orr, who credits the healing hands of Surrey-based chiropractor, Stuart Robinson, for tempering those niggling creaks, jolts and twinges. “I wish I’d found him years ago.”

Rather like easing into a comfy pair of baffies that have been warmed by the wood-burning stove, Orr is settling in nicely to his senior service. 

Five top-10s in eight events, including a tie for third in the Scottish Senior Open and a runners-ups finish in the Willow Senior Classic, have led to him making some purposeful strides on the over-50s circuit. 
What did we say about hitting the ground running again? 

“It’s gone better than I expected,” admitted Orr, who currently sits in 10th spot on the rankings. “I hadn’t played competitively since 2013 when I stopped on the main tour. It was always the goal to resume at 50, but you’re never sure how the back is going to react as I’d been struggling with it for such a long time. 

“There was a point when I thought I was done. My back was grumbling on and you do wonder if you’ll ever be competitive again. A back niggle gets into the mind. As soon as you feel a wee twinge you think ‘oh God, here we go again’. 

“Touch wood, it’s standing up well. It’s all about managing it. I’ve changed my clubs and got lighter shafts and I’ve made a couple of changes to my swing to take the pressure off my back. It’s just small things, but they’ve made a difference.”

Having turned pro almost 30 years ago, Orr, who was the European Tour’s rookie of the year in 1993 and won twice on the circuit during the 2000 campaign, is enjoying being something of a new kid among the golden oldies. 

“It’s nice being one of the younger ones again rather than playing guys half your age,” he said. “In a sense it’s like starting out all those years ago.

“You get that new lease of life. In my first Senior Tour event there was tension and nerves. I wasn’t sure how my golf would be or how I’d react physically as well. 

“I was quite apprehensive to be honest, but it’s turned out fine so far. Coming off the main tour, you do miss the competition and the faces. 

“It’s been nice getting back into that. It’s a more relaxed atmosphere. In most events there are no cuts and it’s good to see those old faces again.”

The familiar faces from days of yore may be friendly, but the competition is fierce and in the 54-hole events which make up the majority of the circuit, you can be quickly left wheezing on behind.

“You certainly don’t get things handed on a plate,” Orr said. 

“When I was runner-up last month, Barry Lane shot 22-under to win over three rounds. That’s terrific golf at any level and that’s the standard you have to aim for. 

“Three-round events take a bit of getting used to. I’ve had a couple of slow starts, shooting an average first round then playing my way into it. 
But it’s almost too late. You have to get out the blocks a bit quicker. 

“That one less round makes a big difference and you can’t really afford any sloppy golf as you easily drop off the pace.”

So much for slowing down with advancing years eh? 

Orr is revelling in the cut-and-thrust again and having had that whiff of victory at the sharp end of affairs in his rookie season, the Scot is keen to take the next step as he looks to burnish this new chapter in his long golfing career.

“The win is the next goal and I’m looking to notch up a few,” he said. 

In this game for all the ages, a rejuvenated Orr clearly has a few more years left in him yet.