Friday, April 24, 2015

Speaking Up on Social Media - Good or Bad for Golf?

Probably the most notable of Twitter golfers to rhapsody on the social media channel, Ian Poulter, recently stung back about his decision to stay out of this year's BMW PGA Championship based on a less-than-stellar track record at the event.

Stewart Cink, well-known for his use of Twitter, posts daily, most recently dishing about his bum rap at not playing in The Masters with a positive spin of vacationing in the Riviera Maya with his wife Lisa and returning home to watch the tournament on his brand, new 4K TV.

Do you think that player social media chat helps, or hurts golf? Do fans appreciate the openness and connectivity of their heroes, of reporters and golf's most outspoken characters or would they prefer a bit more ...detachment.

Fans must love the connectivity because guys like Cink pull in huge audiences. Cink currently has 1.12 million followers while Poulter has a whopping 1.87 million devotees but, is the intimacy good for the sport or is it better to just see the facade put on for the viewing audience?

Yes, pro golfers are active on Twitter and reporters and large business concerns are also quick to criticize, and make public, the sports' highs...and low. Golf Digest recently pointed out that ESPN Sports Business reporter Darren Rovell's comments about the state of the game might not be a "complete picture", noting that "the true picture is larger than 140 characters."

Before the influx of social connectivity, there was an air of mystique about the game, players, their lives, their thoughts of tournaments and of other tour players (unless a writer was told some juicy off-the-cuff tidbits). Fast forward to our technological society complete with smartphones dangling from almost everyone's pocket and the sky's the limit for many of these players as well as for their fans to see and to comment upon.

In the case of fallen number-one world golfer Tiger Woods. fans got to see Woods' personal debacle unfold ...the clean crispy hero turned into failure before our eyes, thanks, in part, to media and social media.

If not for his public outing, Tiger might have broken all records by now.

The media helped take the untouchable Tiger out of his winning rhythm...but, never fear! The PGA Tour announced on their website that Woods told Nicklaus he would be playing in the Memorial...websites add even more social fodder to the social world.

For Poulter, Dufner and others, the social connection gives them a chance to vent, helps their sponsors...and advertises to the public where to buy their books, clothing and more, further turning the machine.

Twitter seems to be the avenue of choice for celebrities, pro-sports stars including golfers, PGA Tour and LPGA to connect with audiences because of its quick and easy platform, which is why I have used this avenue in my examples.

Where does it all go from here? We as a people are moving forward and it looks as if social connectivity is here to stay, at least until the next big thing comes along. What is your opinion? Do you follow and interact with your favorite golfers on social media? Do you think we are living in an age of too much information?

Comment on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and at the bottom of this golf blog!


Friday, April 17, 2015

Performing Under Pressure: Doing Your Best When It Matters Most #golf

When Jordan Spieth was asked on Bloomberg Business television network how he handled the intense Masters Tournament pressure putts he replied, "I just tried to have an imagination."

The art of visualization and getting your brain involved in the process of golf have been studied by psychologists, performance coaches and instructors because, as Bobby Jones once aptly stated, “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course...the space between your ears.”

The Mindful Golfer Infographic

In order to learn how to perform at my highest level during a round of golf, I have been reading the book, "Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most." Psychologist Hendrie Weisinger, Ph.D and performance coach JP Pawliw-Fry explain the debilitating effects that pressure has on your game and also provide strategies to overcome those stressful moments.

In one chapter, the writers discuss several solutions to pressure situations, one of which is to lessen the importance of the situation and another which is to focus on the mission.

Going back to the Spieth interview, here is how Jordan said he beat Augusta National:

"Ultimately, you really have to focus on the hole. You can't think of anything like looking at the scoreboard, don't think about it being for birdie, for doesn't even matter. The point is you have to think about the read, get the speed and just pretend you're hitting another putt on the practice range."

Sounds like Spieth already read the book...

Another pressure solution from the book which Spieth put into play? Recall you at your best.

Golfers usually make great shots at the practice range/putting green as there is all confidence and very little pressure. Try putting a few of those successful "makes" into your memory bank for your next game!

For the average golfer who jumps out of his car and bolts for the first tee, Spieth's tips are easier said than done. Instead, we read books, we watch the greatest golfers on the world's stage hoping to take away a bit of their magic for our next round. If you are interested in exploring the science behind rising to the occasion, Performing Under Pressure may help you do your best when it matters most.

How Do You Deal With Pressure on the Golf Course? Join the Conversation on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and let us know on this Golf for Beginners blog!

photo credit: The Mindful Golfer infographic found on

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Official 2015 Masters #Golf Merchandise GIVEAWAY!

It's Masters Week and Golf for Beginners wants you to win incredible Official 2015 Masters Golf Merchandise! Last year we gave away great Masters souvenirs and this year we have more serious swag for you from the great folks at

Swag from The Masters? You bet! Read below for your chance to enter and WIN!

Many golf fans believe that spring officially arrives with The Masters and this year, with Tiger Woods possibly having his final major season, Rory McIlroy looking for a career grand-slam, Bubba Watson gearing up for Masters win number three and young guns like Spieth and Day chasing a major victory, this could surely be the most exciting event of the year.

The combination of azaleas in bloom at Augusta, memories of past wins, the turning over of the legendary Green Jacket and all the tradition that goes along with The Masters, makes this golf blogger want to give away Masters Merchandise. Most golf fans will not be attending but that doesn't mean you can't walk away without a souvenir!

Golf for Beginners knows you are gearing up to watch The Masters this week so we have arranged this special giveaway to two lucky readers of our golf blog.

One lucky golf fan will win this Official 2015 Masters Caddy Slouch Hat

Masters Caddy Slouch Hat happy fan will win this awesome, embroidered 2015 Masters pin flag.

2015 Masters Pin Flag

In my opinion, these are two of the most-sought-after items at The Masters!

What do you have to do in order to try and win this Officially Incredibly Cool Masters Merchandise?

Here it comes... it's the Official Giveaway Rules!

This is a Twitter-based giveaway but we will also watch for these hashtags on Facebook and Google Plus so...

Follow @Golf4Beginners on Twitter and send us a tweet with the hashtag #MastersHat or #MastersPinFlag telling us why you want to win either of those prizes.

Updates must include entrants' @username mention to @Golf4Beginners in addition to either #MastersHat or #MastersPinFlag to be considered an entry.

One Masters green slouch hat and one Masters pin flag will be given away by Golf for Beginners blog.

Prizes contributed by (see below).

One winner of men's hat and a different winner of pin flag - winners will be selected by me, Stacy Solomon, so please try and make nice yet opinionated Masters mentions as I will be reading and responding to all comments!

Only one entry per person but feel free to RETWEET this great giveaway and tell your friends.

Winners will be announced Monday after The Masters - no, Hootie and the Blowfish will not be playing at the announcement!

What else can you do to increase your chances? 

Follow MMOGolf on Twitter and add their handle to your tweets 

...and Like MMO Golf on Facebook, suppliers of great Masters Merchandise and the site responsible for this giveaway.


Friday, April 03, 2015

What Will It Take to Win The Masters? #golf

Poor performances in previous golf events, nagging physical ailments and a fear that Augusta's bite will be ferocious are just a few of the elements in play before The Masters plays out next week. So, we ask our readers...what will it take to win The 2015 Masters Tournament...mental supremacy...physical toughness?

After a recent practice round, Tiger Woods is still undecided about whether or not he will attend The Masters; the internet is abuzz...should he? Nagging doubts, MC's and loss of touch are enough to make the back hurt even more!

While Tiger Woods is unsure of his game and physical condition, contenders like Jason Day are now using positive self-talk to gear up for the first major of the year.

Brimming with confidence, Day mentioned that his failures have made him stronger. Although there is, and will always be, pressure, the Aussie is learning how to handle it, focusing on diet, short game and an improved positive outlook.

Rory McIlroy, a 2015 Masters favorite, is looking forward to an elusive career grand-slam win next week, in spite of the albatross of a 2011 loss at the event...we'll not go into details here as golf fans must surely remember that horrifying collapse.

The good news for McIlroy is that, despite throwing a golf club into the water at Doral and negative self talk about his putting woes, he has mental pictures of fantastic finishes at the two final 2014 major events. Calling upon mental images of success will be needed next week although McIlroy will also need putting mastery in order to succeed - the physical act of rolling putts into the cup on Augusta greens is just as important.

"They're the toughest we face all year," McIlroy mentioned to "I don't know if it's intimidation; it's just you gotta think about them more. It does play on your mind more than other courses."

At the beginning of this golf blog we asked, "What will it take to win the Masters Tournament" and now we want to hear your answers.

Golf Digest places the green jacket on the golfer who can accurately bomb a great drive while finessing a putt into the cup. a man who remains in great physical shape while having a positive mental outlook....reads like a description of defending champion Bubba Watson?

Who is your pick to win The Masters and why? Voice your opinion on this Golf for Beginners blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners with hashtag #MastersWinner!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

How Much Does It Cost to Attend The Masters? #golf

The Masters Tickets
Scrambling for a Masters Ticket? Wishing you could gaze at the azaleas while walking the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Course along with Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and, maybe, Tiger Woods?

Well you still can attend, but the cost may have you watching from your Big Screen TV instead...

With The Masters golf tournament just a few weeks away, emails from companies selling tickets to travel costs coercing me to attend, litter my mailbox. Here are a few of the "deals" (?) to attend the first major event of the season.

I was sent this note from a representative - and online ticket marketplace have analyzed the costs to attend the event, both the practice rounds and the tournament itself.

The Masters Golf Tournament

Priceline Travel Editor Brian Ek suggested to me that hotel rates and tickets during the practice rounds are much less expensive. "Tickets are a bit harder to come by, but prices for the early practice rounds are about a third to one-half the cost of a tournament ticket."

So, how much does it cost to attend The Masters?

According to TiqIQ’s Jesse Lawrence, the average cost of a secondary-market ticket for practice rounds is $362.67 for Monday, $502.69 for Tuesday, and $1,029 for Wednesday.

Okay, catch your's time for ticket prices during The Masters:

On April 9th, one-day tickets are averaging $1,460.62 for Thursday, $1,233.06 for Friday, $1,167.39 for Saturday, and $1,403.63 for Sunday.  A four-day pass for the tournament is approximately $4,442.40.

After searching the Internet to check those figures, I came across Ticket City which threw me for a bigger loop (not anymore); The Master Par-3 Package on April 7th was selling for $2,942 with a $545 service charge! Correction: Marketing and Communications Director For Ticket City, Ashley Kubiszyn, sent me an email after reading my blog mentioning that this price is for a practice round ticket, a Wednesday  badge and 3 nights of lodging.

WAIT!! Once you have secured the Masters tickets, you will need a place to stay!

Last-minute Masters' accommodations are probably difficult to find in Augusta but I was sent an email from Melissa at Augusta’s newly renovated historic Partridge Inn which she told me of special Masters rates starting at $549.00 ...she did not mention whether this rate is per night so, if you are planning this last-minute excursion, please make sure you contact them for details.

For that price, you could play a round of golf at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and stay at Spanish Bay! Hmmm...interesting thought.

Add in food (tourists will want to try a pimento sandwich), souvenirs, Masters hat, towel, etc. and the total cost? PRICELESS!

Have you been to Augusta National to watch The Masters? Let us know on this golf blog or on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Winter Rules in the Summer? On the PGA Tour? #golf

There are rules in every sport; golf is no exception. The Rules of Golf were written in conjunction between USGA and R&A with both player and golf course in mind. Learn the rules and you will most certainly maximize the pleasure you receive during a game. This short blog (below) was written by Richard E. Todd and reminds us why rules are used from the beginner to PGA Tour player.

Earlier this month, at The 2015 Honda Classic, the PGA Tour initiated the Preferred Lies rule. Most golfers know this term as winter rules or more simply as lift, clean, and place.

Touching the ball while in the fairway you say? Blasphemous? No. This decision is allowed by the USGA and is done to limit excessive damage to the golf course from strokes made on poor turf conditions while also promoting fair play. And it’s not the first time the PGA Tour has used this rare option.

So, when are you allowed to give yourself a better lie and stay within the rules of golf?

This option is only available under local rules when specific approval is given by the Committee of that course, under USGA Rules of Golf appendix I-4.b, and is a temporary ruling that may apply only to specific holes.

How do you exercise this rule?

When the course you’re playing has given specific authority to do so, and your ball is in the fairway (known in the rule book as any closely mowed area through the green), simply announce to your competitor your intention to enact the ruling, mark your ball, lift it, clean off any debris if you desire, and set it on the ground as close as possible to the original location but no closer to the green.

Sorry, you aren’t able to better your lie when you’re in the rough or a hazard under this option.

An example of this rule is further explained in my book, The Golf Rules, where a group comes upon a hole that flooded due to an overnight storm.

This rule and many others can increase the enjoyment of a round of golf and help lower your scores.

Unfortunately, many golfers are not educated on their options. To help with this problem, I published a funny yet educational series of books on stroke play, match play, and golf etiquette. If interested in a good golf read and potentially learning more about the sport that can last you a lifetime, check out You can also read about situations surrounding the Rules of Golf on the official USGA website.

Do you play by the Rules or are you just beginning to learn them? Let us know on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and below, on this golf blog.

The Golf Rules

Richard E Todd, Bio:

Author of The Golf Rules, Todd has written an educational and entertaining series of books on stroke play, match play, golf etiquette, and Short Stories from the Long Links, has been heard on the PGA Tour radio station and seen in On The Green magazine.  Contact him at and follow on Facebook, Twitter and at

The views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent Golf for Beginners.