Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Playing Golf - A Matter of Life and Death?

Is golf good for your health? Many people agree that there are physical as well as mental benefits to playing the sport that is said to last a lifetime but can the sport also be a life saver?

In a recent tweet, Annika Sorenstam asked her followers this simple question, "Want to be healthy and live longer? Play golf."

Normally, I might retweet this statement and move on to the always updating thread of my Twitter feed, @Golf4Beginners (...follow me) but Annika got me to thinking about the whole "mind-body" relationship of golf and whether or not the sport can truly help players to live a longer, healthier life.

Golf Infographic - Health BenefitsI visited the site she linked to,, to review an infographic on the benefits of golf which included:

1. Live Longer
2. Healthy Mind
3. Healthy Body along with wellness benefits
4. Reduced Risks of Chronic Conditions

Still, I was not totally convinced - I even typed this query into Google: "Do you live longer playing golf?" When I did, the results were an overwhelming, "YES!"

Researchers located at the purported home of golf, namely, Scotland, conclusively stated that golfers live five years longer, that the sport improves mental health, helps to prevent chronic diseases and can burn up to five hundred calories.

Related Story: 5 Minutes to Tee Time - Are You Ready?

Although "injuries and illnesses associated with golf have been identified", lead researcher, Dr. Andrew Murray states in the British Journal of Sports Medicine,  "golf's contribution to muscular strengthening, balance and falls prevention" as well as the ability to offer "moderate intensity aerobic activity" with an improvement in "self-efficacy, self-worth... improved confidence, interpersonal skills and emotional control", all lead to the conclusion that golfers can have an increased life expectancy.

So, the next time your spouse says you have something more important to do than to go out with your Sunday foursome, just say, you have to go; it's a matter of life and death!

Do you agree that playing golf can add years to your life? Comments welcomed in the section below of this golf blog and on our Twitter page, @Golf4Beginners.

Read About: New Ways to Mark Your Golf Ball!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tiger Woods Sorry - Playing It Safe After #Golf Tournament Withdrawal

The original title to this golf blog was intended to be something like "Two Huge Draws to Boost Napa Safeway Golf Tournament...Tiger Woods and...?" Unfortunately, days after Tiger Woods had committed to playing golf at the Safeway Tournament in Napa this week, he withdrew.

According to Woods,

"After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA TOUR or compete in Turkey. My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be."

A practice session proved to Tiger that he was not yet ready for the big league but why wait until only three days before the tournament? Woods said he "wasn't ready to compete against the best golfers in the world." He also apologized and said that his game was close but obviously not good enough.

Ticket sales were said to have been boosted by a minimum of thirty to forty percent and visibility on TV, radio and social networks would have been increased by more than any event in recent memory, not to mention advertisers who booked time (probably attached to a healthy sum) based upon Woods' okay.

Wonder what all of those folks are thinking who specifically bought tickets to see the return of the former number-one golfer in the world play alongside of Phil Mickelson? I guess they will have to watch the golf game for the pure enjoyment of the sport.

According to Golf Digest, The PGA Tour was so excited at the prospect of a Woods-Mickelson pairing that it released the information as soon as confirmed; usually, this information is not available until the Tuesday before the Tournament! The Safeway Open website was said to have a banner which read, "See Tiger, Daily Tickets Only $30. 'Now the banner says, See Phil, Daily Tickets only $30." There were reports of fans requesting refunds.

Phil Mickelson_Safeway Open

Think about it... what could be more exciting than a return to the greens by one of the greatest golfers of all time, being paired with a current top-ranked player whose back-and-forth duels have been likened to some of the best sports moments in history?

Mentioned on, "in 1,139 rounds in his PGA Tour career as a pro, Woods has been paired with Mickelson just thirty-two times -- or less than three percent of their rounds."

I am sure that many golf fans can remember a few of the more exciting Mickelson-Woods moments; my favorite is the 2005 "Duel at Doral" where Phil played his best but where Tiger Woods rallied at sunset to regain the world number one ranking. Sorry folks, not this time.

Mickelson is raring to go with Woods; Phil and Tiger spent quite a bit of time together during the Ryder Cup and mentioned in an interview last month, "that would be really fun. I would love it."

I guess Tiger Woods fans will have to wait until his foundation's "Hero World Challenge" to get a peek at the game gone south of our former hero.

What do the fans think of Tiger's comeback flip-flop right before the Safeway Tournament?

Tweet using our handle @Golf4Beginners and feel free to post below in the comments section of this golf blog.


Wednesday, October 05, 2016

What Did YOU Learn from Watching The Ryder Cup? #golf

Every golf tournament can be considered a learning experience by players and fans; the Ryder Cup is no exception. Some writers looked into the seriousness of the individual golfers and teamwork displayed while others wrote about the validation of the USA "family".

Ryder Cup 2016 final score

It was said many times during the Ryder Cup that this tournament is like no other event in golf; the seriousness is there but the cheering and jeering elicits so many different responses in the players that they must seek out their zen place in order to close out distractions. In a recent article by Golf Digest, it was suggested that players do not try to block out pressure but, instead, embrace and channel it.
"You probably aren't playing in front of a 50,000-person gallery, but everybody will get to a shot that gets the butterflies going," related top PGA Teacher Randy Smith.
 "The trick is to practice drifting into the past, to access the good shots you've hit on that hole or in a similar situation. When you do that, you're reminding yourself that the situation isn't completely foreign. The nerves are there, but they're part of the experience."
The Golf for Beginners mantra is that we are always learning...and sharing our thoughts with golfers of all levels so, here are a few observations as to how to use Ryder Cup model to your advantage during a friendly competition with your mates.

1. Managing Emotions: As discussed above, emotions do play a role on the golf course but the key is how to use those feelings to your advantage.

Preventing a meltdown is easier said than done when you slice your ball so badly that it splashes into the green-side pond or when you have a few shekels on the line and miss that three-footer to go down by three in the match. Dr. Deborah Graham suggests using Dave Stockton's "2 Second Rule" as a quick fix to a possible emotional disaster.

Basically, give yourself two seconds to react to a bad shot - release frustration and then change your thoughts to something you can control and move on to the next shot.

2. Try a Different Format: Match Play format is sometimes the better format when going out and playing with friends. You can have a blowup hole without losing the match as in stroke play; the game also moves along faster because of gimmee putts and takes less time for when you need to finish in under five plus hours (ah, the publinks experience!)

3. Try Playing as Teams: The team experience can be very rewarding, creating a sense of cameraderie during the round.

About the idea of playing with a team, Karen Stupples mentioned that solo golf can be very "selfish" and said with regards to her experience in the Solheim Cup, "You have to be aware of what everybody else needs as well and you may have to make some sacrifices. You will definitely feel more pressure in this type of format because you don't want to let your team down."

I personally like the option of playing best ball and believe that the joint strategy offers less pressure because the team is shouldering some of the weight. Ham and egging it has its advantages!

What did you learn from watching the Ryder Cup matches?

Now that the Ryder Cup is officially in the books, we congratulate both teams for their incredible winning spirit. Next up in the way of team sports is the Solheim Cup slated for mid-August of 2017 and then the President's Cup at the end of September, 2017.

Are you a fan of team sports? What can you offer about your experiences playing with a team? Tag us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and feel free to comment in our golf blog below.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Which #Golf Clubs Can I Use as a Putter?

Odyssey Two Ball PutterIf you watched the Tour Championship this past week, did you happen to notice Matt Kuchar, during the second round, using a hybrid golf club to make a putt?

Ryan Moore, during the sudden death showdown with Rory McIlroy, pulled out an iron on the very fringe of the green to make a shot which ultimately lost him the tournament...and several million dollars. (A higher lofted lob wedge might have offered Moore the height he needed to land safely and, IMO, the putter would have been his best choice...)

Pros will often utilize golf clubs other than the standard putter when making shots just off of the green. For a beginner golfer (or any amateur that has not learned how to use clubs other than the putter just off of the green), I suggest sticking with the flat stick as it offers four degrees of loft and is the safest option (as Ryan Moore probably remanded himself over and over again after his loss).

“Putting is like wisdom – partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience, " 
...The King, Arnold Palmer.

That being said, Golf for Beginners takes a look at a few different clubs which should be learned by amateurs to increase the number of shots in your bag.

The Rules of Golf state that a player can use any club for any golf shot, so why not use...

1. Hybrid Golf Clubs: PGA Instructor Blake Cathey says, "If you miss the green and your ball ends up in a closely mowed area don't forget about the hybrid putt.  Approach the shot just as you would a putt.  Use your putting grip, stance, pre-shot routine and stroke.  You will find that with a little practice you will start getting up and down."

2. Three-Wood: Dave Marsh from shows us in the YouTube video below that the fifteen degrees of loft in a three-wood allows the player to use the top-spin to pop the ball over an obstruction (like gnarly grass) and get safely on the green.

3. The Chiputt: In a previous Golf for Beginners article entitled, "To Chip or To Putt? A Golf Dilemma Answered," Master Instructor Dave Pelz's suggested method for very long putts is called the "Chiputt"; basically, chipping with your putter. Click the link above to learn more about his method of saving strokes.

Practice these techniques several times before a round (you don't want to attempt these shots without knowing how to perform them) so, the next time you are near the green, you will be able to better plan your method of attack, get the ball close to the hole or in!

Which golf clubs do you favor around the green? Follow @Golf4Beginners on Twitter and the comments section of this golf blog to share your thoughts.

Friday, September 23, 2016

#Golf Infographic Showcases Diversity of Ryder Cup

The 2016 Ryder Cup will be held on U.S. soil for the first time since Europe sneaked up from behind in 2012 to beat a stunned American team at Medinah Country Club in Illinois. The biennial tournament, held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota this year, will commence on Friday, September 30th, with the winners being announced on Sunday to the usual fanfare, jeers and cheers. But, as we know and have come to expect, it's all in the name of good, clean fun...
"The Ryder Cup is played in even-numbered years between twelve-member teams from the United States and Europe. It consists of five match-play sessions played over three days."

Which Ryder Cup Team are You Rooting For?

While there’s currently a great deal of debate surrounding who will take this year’s trophy, the tournament stands as the quintessential showcase of American and European golfing talent, where twenty-four of the most gifted players go head-to-head for one of the most prestigious chalices in the sport.

The jury is still out as to who will round out the final spots for each team; Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson are still candidates as captain's picks for Team USA while Team Europe has finalized their choices with Westwood, Kaymer and Pieters.

A Damp History of Ryder Cup

The last golf tournament was held at Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014, where the weather was infamously rather glum, however, this wasn’t the first time the British weather has rained on the Ryder Cup parade. In 2010, the tournament was suspended for the first time in its history, due to poor weather conditions at the Celtic Manor resort in Newport, Wales.

Do you think players prefer the windy, damp conditions of European golf or sunny, more inviting US weather? Slower, wet greens vs lightning fast greens, playing the wind vs very hot, humid conditions?

Aside from the notorious weather, other stereotypes tend to find their way into the competition.

online golf infographic

Whether it's the critters on the course (alligators or squirrels), the golf attire or the grub that the players tuck into, suffice it to say that our customs and environments vividly differ.

For a full roundup of USA vs Europe comparisons, including golf attire, surroundings, and clubhouses, you can visit this fun infographic from Online Golf.

Feel free to write your thoughts below in the comments section of our golf blog and follow us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

Author Bio: 
Lauren Barker is a content specialist for Online Golf, the largest internet-only golf retailer in Europe.

Friday, September 16, 2016

How Golf Is Seeking to Target a New Buying Audience

Which is your favorite golf commercial? Not always is an ad a television spot; nowadays, golf advertising agencies are specializing in utilizing social channels and even The Olympics in order to make you laugh, cry and buy with an eye on going viral.

Are you a Taylor-Made fan...perhaps you are a Ping player like me?

Whichever set of irons or woods you eventually select for your golf bag, your final choice to give one set of clubs the nod over another could very well have been a subliminal one.

Golf club placement within an ad has played a partnering role with Tour "YouTube celebrities" like the funny ads featuring Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and Lee Westwood. Golf brands have also slipped into poignant supporting roles like this spot from LA Ad Agency Zambezi which features the average golfer practicing indoors with their Taylor Made clubs while waiting the arrival of spring (shot at Hazeltine-home of the 2016 Ryder Cup).

Zambezi_Golf_Commercial_The Wait

Let's also not forget to mention one of the most viral videos in sports which reached beyond the sport of golf to tug on the heartstrings of the public; Dad, Earl, is "talking" to Tiger Woods about what he has learned in life. Did you hang on every word? Bet you can also name which brand pulled off that creative moment?

Yep, gotcha!

Nike was one of the first companies to make the decision to move away from traditional brand advertising and towards social marketing, pairing with the number one golfer of his day...and with tremendous results.

So, now that Woods is vying with other young celebrity golfers for a place in social cyberspace, what is the next step for golf?

Are Golf Ads Going Completely Social?

With a wealth of brands, faces and places, golf has the potential to reach a very large online audience through modern formats in order to go viral.

As long as golf tournaments remain televised, so will there be a need to keep brands in front of viewers...but going after golfers means adding a social media strategy whether it be via shorter ads to keep viewer attention or shorter tweets and pins to get conversation rolling like a putt on a smooth green. How many brands today have their own successful YouTube Channel?

Ad Age points out that a new generation of "social" TV commercials are "really, really short shows" as opposed to what used to be considered "typical" spots. If one ad becomes a fan favorite, expect several "feature" follow-ups so you can get to know the characters even well as the brand. Heck, you may even want to get out onto a golf course and learn how to play the game!

Callaway still utilizes conventional TV ads but is actively extending their reach to Twitter where they can make sure that there is continuous chat about their brand; their YouTube Channel sports thirty-thousand dedicated subscribers; Nike has over five hundred thousand with their latest video from one month ago scoring more than 36 million views.

"Social" selling is here to stay.

Traditional Faces Introducing New Concepts

When The King speaks, golfers listen and, when golf was heralded as a new entrant into the Olympic Games, the sport obtained access to an entirely new group of spectators who love athletics.

Arnold Palmer trumpeted The Olympics to a global audience as "compelling performances from high-profile veterans as well as previously unheralded young players who have taken up the game in developing countries."

Although Olympic golf made its debut on basic cable to a wide audience and was active on social channels and blogs, thanks to top players pulling out due to the Zika Virus, social virality did take effect but, unfortunately, not in a positive way. Also, the "boring" format didn't help provide the sense of national pride and team spirit which is the foundation of The Games.

Will golf stay in the Olympics? We can only hope so for the sake of the sport. The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver was the first ever to be covered online. It broke all records when it broke into a cyber world and onto mobile devices, attracting approximately 1.8 billion viewers worldwide.

The Entertainment Business of Golf

"A lot of people say that we're in the golf business, Yes, we're in the golf business but I say we're also in the content business and we're in the entertainment business." said European Tour CEO Keith Pelley during a meeting on the state of the game in 2016. "If we're in the entertainment business, then our players are stars."

Perhaps turning tour players into celebrity faces that are reachable will break that barrier that keeps golf segregated from the mainstream? Twitter helps connect the masses with the stars of the game.

The sport should be open to changing it's traditional ways to bring in a new generation. "Golf needs to be more welcoming; it needs to take itself less seriously," states Paul Hawkins, Founder of Hawk Eye Innovations.

And so, the European Tour has recently approved a new golf tournament set for 2017, the World Super 6 Perth, with an eye on changing the way people view golf and because, as CEO of Euro Tour Keith Pelley states, "we believe that golf needs to look at new and innovative formats." Along with this new focus, I am sure the powers that be will also concentrate on how best to reach out to a new generation of millennials.

A shift in focus from branding to a more inviting social nature of golf can help invigorate the game and open it up to a wider audience.

What are your thoughts? Follow and tweet us @Golf4Beginners on Twitter and feel free to comment below in this golf blog.

Photo Credit: