Thursday, August 21, 2014

Will Millennials Save or Squash #Golf?

According to news articles, golf course owners and even sports equipment manufacturers, a lack of golf popularity is caused by a drop in participation by Millennials. These eighteen to thirty-year old's seem to value iPhones and computer tech more than a good walk in the park.

Can kids from the Gen-Y generation find happiness playing the sport that lasts a lifetime while retaining some of its traditional elements?

Robin Williams must have had millennials on his mind when he created his comedic skit on golf, with the excerpt "go whacking away with a tire iron...and each time you miss you feel like you’ll have a stroke. That’s what we’ll call it, a stroke, cause each time you miss you feel like you’re gonna fracking die."

Millennials seem to want a more fun and reactive game and golf is a game that you play within yourself. Obviously Rory McIlroy is helping the game by bringing a fresh, young face to a new generation but is that enough?

Rory McIlroy Trophy

Course rounds are showing the decline - according to TaylorMade President Mark King, rounds for the new generation are down thirty-five percent in the last ten years. With that, golf courses are falling upon hard times with closings totaling one every forty-eight hours! Should people blame Millennials for this affliction or should the golf course discussion be about the financial bubble which burst ten years earlier?

Nope, Gen Y'ers don't want that much of a challenge, the mindful struggle to get a small white ball into a tiny hole; they want fun and challenges that cause distress.

Enough talk about what they don't want...what do Millennials feel is necessary to enjoy golf? This enigma is what organizations are struggling to figure out; is it the end of having to "belong" to a golf club, is it too expensive, do they want more fun...or a quicker round?

Bryant Gumbel's commentary on HBO Real Sports discussed ways in which Gen-Y'ers are currently enjoying golf courses, driving ranges and, basically, making the sport their own.

Here are a few new ideas which are trending:
- 15 inch golf holes (as King said, "you can't miss with that" but, where is the challenge?)
- Foot golf - A mix of soccer and golf where folks kick the ball around into a larger hole.
- Top Golf - a blend of driving range with microchips in golf balls, night club entertainment and a bit of friendly digital competition.
- Easier scoring for golf beginners.
- Free beer on Saturday's?

Golf for Beginners has also come up with a few ideas to enhance the game for multi-generational sports fans - how about softball golf or hockey golf? They'll be tearing up the course with these blended sports but, if it brings players into the game, isn't it worth it?

Golf may be going through growing pains but, in my opinion, is not doomed to aged traditionalists who want to keep folks out, not bring them into the game.

I think the game of golf is safe because millennials will eventually get older and want to enjoy a more conventional sport - so many women enter the game as they mature and enjoy the cameraderie and challenge. The current concern with Generation Y is to get them interested early so that they are ready for the challenge when they have kids.

Are you a Millennial? Do You Play Golf? Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on our Golf for Beginners blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cart or Stand Bag - Which Do You Prefer and Why? #golf

Ogio Giza Cart Bag
New golf clubs but no where to put them? The dilemma of purchasing a cart bag versus a stand bag basically comes down to meeting your needs on the course. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice.

Why You Should Select a Cart Bag

When I agreed to participate in the PGA Tour Superstore Custom Fit Event to be professionally outfitted with a set of golf clubs, I was sent a large box with the latest Ogio Giza Cart bag inside - a big and unexpected surprise.

My initial response was, "What am I going to do with a cart bag?" at the same time deciding whether or not I should contact the store to switch to a stand bag.

My husband said that we should keep it - fill that large, elegant Ogio with my new clubs (a set of Ping Karsten irons, a Callaway X2 Hot Driver and my wonderful Vokey Spin Milled Wedges.) Since that time, I have not removed my golf clubs from the cart bag and I have received compliments on the range.

Here is why I wanted to keep the Ogio Giza cart bag:

- I ride in a cart during the hot summer months.
- When I begin to walk the golf course again in the autumn, I will probably be pushing a cart, not carrying my clubs.
- The larger bag comfortably accommodates all of my golf clubs - no struggle placing the clubs back into the bag.
-Heavy Duty with all of the bells and whistles (Insulated Cooler pocket, full length club dividers, 15-way cart top with putter pit for oversized grips). says that Golf Bags review "suggests that many players who choose cart bags prefer the look of the larger bags because they most closely resemble what the pros use, rather than any functional consideration."

Adidas Golf Strike aG Stand Bag
Why a Stand Bag Might Work Best for You

Most carry stand bags are lightweight however most golfers pack their bags with much more than they need for that round of golf making the carry bag, in some cases, heavier than a stand bag.

That being said, a stand bag might be a better choice for:

-Golfers who walk the course and know how to keep their bag light.
-Driving Range aficionados - easier to take to the range.
-Balance - has two built-in legs for better balance when you place the bag on the ground.

While I still have my Adidas Golf Strike aG Stand Bag ready for a quick switch, I have not had to use it...yet. The Ogio Cart Bag has features I am not ready to give up and riding in a golf cart during the blistering summer months also has it's advantages!

Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on our Golf for Beginners blog.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

To Chip or To Putt? A Golf Dilemma Answered!

SYNLawn Putting GreenYour golf ball lies on the fringe of the green with the pin forty feet in the distance - you're scratching your head... are you going to pull out the putter, a pitching wedge or a 7-iron?

You want to keep the ball low for the best results. Arnold Palmer mentioned that a low ball means a lower risk - your worst putt may probably be much better than your worst chip.

Although you can strike the ball with any club in your bag, Golf Tip Reviews writes that amateurs "should putt whenever they can. It will save you strokes on the golf course."

Dave Pelz suggests a unique idea - the "Chiputt" for very long putts.

"The longer the putt, the more likely you are to leave it short, because your stroke (and everyone else's) naturally evolves to favor accuracy over power. You can overcome this tendency by adding a chipping motion to your putting stroke-think of it as 'chipping with your putter.'"

Dave goes on to say, "On super-long putts, stand upright for a better perspective on distance, and then putt with the same body motion you use to chip with a 5-iron. On 75- to 110-foot putts, every golfer I've tested, including Tour professionals, lags closer to the hole with the 'chiputt' method."

A few more creative ideas for using a putter during a game?

Golflink suggests that you can use your putter for getting a ball out of the rough and back into the fairway, from behind a tree or even out of a greenside bunker (if there is no lip and it is reasonably flat!)

When should you opt for a golf club other than your putter and still keep the ball low?

When you have to go over bouncy, rough ground.
When there is an obstruction like a sprinkler head on your putting line.
You may not want to putt when the green is very elevated above your ball position.

The iron, wedge or wood you choose depends on how far the cup is from your position. The further the distance, the lower number club you use. For example, if the pin is close, you might use a pitching wedge - if the pin is very far, you would perhaps choose a 5- or 6-iron (as Dave Pelz explains above).

You should definitely practice these techniques on an outdoor putting green before you play your round of golf. You'll please yourself and amaze your golf buddies!

Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on our Golf for Beginners blog.

Photo credit:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Driver that Inspires Confidence to Tee Up #golf

Ogio Golf BagA few weeks ago I was custom-fitted by PGA Tour Superstore staff for a new set of golf clubs.

Ping Karsten irons and a new driver found their way into my new Ogio bag. The experience proved not only exciting but educational as I learned the value of a professional club fitting for my golf game.

I came away with new knowledge of my golf swing, more club savvy and a with new Callaway X2 Hot Driver. Here is my current assessment of the golf club that now plays a starring role in my bag.

Callaway X2 Hot DriverSo, what about the Callaway X2 Hot Driver inspired me with confidence?

1. The sound of this driver, when struck on the sweet spot, is incredible.

2. The X2 Hot Driver is 460cc. When you have an older driver like my Titleist 905T, you think you can't miss when you upgrade by ten TRUE!

3. The larger sweet spot, the Hyper-Speed face and the shaft weight all combine to offer a nice, high-launching ball flight with a ton of forgiveness.

4. From the first strike, my golf ball flew thirty yards further. Sure, that was on the sweet spot but, with this club, the sweet spot is hard to miss!

5. Very light in my hands. The X2 Hot Driver is weighted so that your swing feels effortless.

6. In my opinion, the orange, white and flat gray head are really good looking and, as we already know, when you love the way your clubs look, chances are you'll love hitting them.

Callaway X2 Hot Driver Clubhead

7. It's all about fitting the right club to your swing. Having a golf club fitted to your size and swing makes you feel more confident when you're out on the course. A neighbor of mine bought a golf club off the rack and told me how he regretted it because it just isn't right for him. I felt sorry to hear that he spent $300 and was unhappy with his purchase.

The Callaway X2 Hot Driver comes in both a standard and a pro version which has a slightly smaller sweet spot (440cc) but I'm no Pro..and, for the average golfer, the standard X2 Hot driver, a Golf Digest Gold Medal winner, put confidence and distance in the palm of my hands.

Which Golf Drivers are Best for Beginners? The Callaway X2 Hot and more! Find out here.

Have a question for PGA Tour Superstore about Club Fitting? Tweet them - @PGATSS and use hashtag #PGATSSCustomFit

What driver do you have and are you happy with it? Let us know on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on our Golf for Beginners blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Now that the American Century #Golf Championship is Over...What's Next? #ACCgolf

Mark RypienWhen the pressure was on, Mark Rypien quietly emerged as victor of the American Century Golf Championship. No real fanfare, just an NFL quarterback quietly holding off a golf legend and a field of well-known celebrities with a dynamic back-nine. eagle on 16 and birdies on 17 and 18 to win...yes, Rypien basically put on a clinic or, as Roger Maltbie declared, “That’s big league, in any league. That’s tremendous even for Tiger or Phil to do something like that. That is more than impressive.”

Now that the 25th ACC has come to a close and the celebrities are moving on to the Reno-Tahoe Open, the question remains, what's next for the Stower's Institute for Medical Research? Still committed to finding hope for life, uncovering causes and treatments for gene-based diseases.

Diseases don't wait a year before they strike...

It's heartening to know that more than forty percent of American Century Investments’ profits are distributed to the Institute...Profits with a Purpose:

Here is just one of the very important scientific discoveries recently associated with the Stowers Institute and BioMed Valley Discoveries:

Biologists at UC San Diego find cells that they call the “missing link”? Ribosomes! This discovery will not only force a revision of basic textbooks on molecular biology, but also provide scientists with a better understanding of how to limit uncontrolled cell growth, such as cancer, that might be regulated by controlling the output of ribosomes.

So, next time you're thinking that a celebrity golf tournament is just a bunch of famous people looking to improve their game while yucking it up with the crowd, think again. The money that is made as a result of the hi-jinks helps the greater good in more ways than we can possibly imagine.

Kevin Nealon
Thank YOU, Kevin!

Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on our Golf for Beginners blog.

This post was created in partnership with American Century Investments. I have received compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Which is More Meaningful - American Century #Golf Championship or The Open? #ACCgolf

From Mike Eruzione to Annika Sorenstam, sports and television personalities are lending their powerhouse celebrity statuses to the 25th annual American Century Championship golf tournament. What makes this such a popular event...and more important than The Open?

Fans know many of the celebrities on this week's ACC leaderboard but I wonder how many people recognize the name Jim Stowers?

Jim StowersCancer survivor, philanthropist, and founder of American Century Investments and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the late Mr. Stowers, with a dedicated team of scientists, continues to make "a significant contribution to humanity through medical research by expanding our understanding of the secrets of life, and by improving life’s quality through innovative approaches to the causes, treatment and prevention of diseases."

Too early...too challenging research? BioMed Valley Discoveries tackle these illnesses every day.

Sounds like a mouthful and it is! Basic cellular abnormalities which cause Cancer, Alzheimer's and unconventional medical research are at the heart of this scientific investigation - Stowers and his wife gave their common stock in American Century Investments to fund the research and the celebrities come out each year to stand behind this great cause - Profits with a Purpose.

Click the link to watch The Stowers Institute for Medical Research video.

Back to golf...

So the American Century Championships and The Open, are two great golf events which appear totally different in nature but are they?

American Century Golf Championship

Both events are major events in their own categories. Some folks call the ACC, "The Superbowl of Celebrity Sports". The Open is one of the four majors of the year. Although The Open is a much older event (1860) with a winner's Share of $1,660,000, twenty-five years of the American Century Championship charitable event makes for a good beginning and, with a record purse of $600,000, there will surely be as much fiery competition here as at The Open.

The one difference between these two great golf events? Which will be more meaningful in the long run...?

When you are watching The Open at 4AM and switch over to the ACC in the afternoon, think about what these celebrities are playing for -  a much greater cure than what a few good rounds of golf will bring!

The 25th annual American Century Championship, July 15-20, 2014, is the premier celebrity golf tournament that airs on NBC Sports. American Century Investments is the title sponsor of the tournament. The first round of the #ACCgolf starts this Friday, July 18! Friday, July 18          
Saturday, July 19        NBC                3-6 p.m. ET / Noon-3 p.m. PT (Live)
Sunday, July 20          NBC                3-6 p.m. ET / Noon-3 p.m. PT (Live)

Golf Channel will re-air the broadcasts Saturday-Monday.

Are you going to watch the American Century Golf Championship? Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on our Golf for Beginners blog.

This post was created in partnership with American Century Investments. I have received compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.