Friday, January 23, 2015

Five Questions You Need to Ask Your #Golf Instructor

golf driving range
You head to the driving range every week or so with your golf instructor and receive valuable tips and drills on the swing, on course management and more but how does that information translate when you're out with your foursome during a round?

So you can recognize and correct mental and physical blips when your instructor is not with you, here are a few really good questions to ask your pro compiled by Golf for Beginners.

Your instructor should be able to provide you with mental keys for each of the five situations below. We have started you off with a few quick golf tips and suggest you make your own list based upon your weaknesses.

How do I correct my aim when I start to pull or push the ball on the golf course?

Dr. Jim Suttie, 2000 National PGA Teacher of the Year suggests, "If you are a puller, go ahead and close up your stance a little, and you will immediately hit it better. Also, check the lie angles of your irons. They may be too upright if you are pulling a lot of short irons."

How do I stop topping (or chunking/hitting behind) the golf ball?

Tom Stickney, PGA Instructor's quick fix for a topped shot: "To cure the topped shot in a hurry, imagine you’re hitting two golf balls at the same time. The first is where you normally tee it up. The second is a few inches in front toward the target. By concentrating on the second ball, you’ll be more inclined to make a sweeping motion through the first ball, thus preventing the topped shot." Golf Tips Magazine

How do I stop a downward mental spiral?

mental game golfBetsy Shoenfelt, Ph.D. suggests you replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations, 

"Positive self-talk focuses on what you can do, what is right about this situation. Tell yourself - This is a difficult shot, but I can make it. I don’t like this lie but I can deal with it. This is not fair, but life is not fair and I can deal with it."

How can I stop the yips on the green?

"The yips are a fear," caused by stress and all in your mind says Golfsmind.com. Best way to cure them if they start to appear on course? "Control your breathing. Start breathing deeply, in and out regularly....Take a deep breath in, hold it for a second, let it go with a sigh. All of your muscles relax instantly."

How do I remain focused on my shot?

Golf course maintenance crew mowing the lawns, change jingling around in your playing partner's pocket and more are distractions which the average golfer may, or may not, brush off while taking a shot. This is all part of the mental game of golf.

Take a tip from PGA Tour golfers; 
Create a specific pre-shot routine and follow it.
Keep your mind focused on your golf ball in front of you.
Take a nice deep breath walking to your ball and visualize your shot.
One more deep breath before you take your swing.
Walk to your next shot with confidence and enjoy the scenery.

Easier than it sounds but focus comes with practice.

Remember that your golf instructor is your link to playing better golf. Just like going to the doctor, if you tell them the problems you are having with your game, they will help figure out solutions!

Voice your opinions below on our golf blog and through Twitter on @Golf4Beginners!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Do You Need an Adjustable Driver? #golf

Several months ago I participated in a custom golf club fitting courtesy of PGA Tour Superstore. The driver I selected, a Callaway X2 Hot, was an adjustable driver, complete with wrench and instructions. My driver came with a neutral setting and I have not changed the specific settings until this blog.

Below are my thoughts on adjustable drivers, both how they work and if you really need one in your golf bag.

Have you visited a golf store lately only to find yourself strolling through the club section? You probably feel like a kid in a candy store with the bevy of irons, wedges and drivers available on display and all you can think of is grabbing one of the latest adjustable drivers and heading over to the hitting booth. You are not alone.

Before you decide to purchase a new adjustable driver, learn how and what this golf club can do to maximize your performance on the course.

Adjustable Driver Torque WrenchHow Adjustable Drivers Work

Adjustable drivers, depending on the type of golf club you select, can enhance everything from loft to lie angle...even weight distribution, in order to get just the right fit.

Each driver should come with a torque wrench to loosen the head and allow you to spin the hozel/rotate the shaft to the desired notch.

Gently place the wrench onto the screw, loosen the screw at the bottom of the shaft and rotate according to the instructions provided by the club manufacturer.

Most adjustable drivers come ready in the "S" position for loft (as an example) - minus 1 should lower the loft and the trajectory if "S" is in a standard 10.5 degree position, -1 will be 9.5 degrees and will lower the ball flight. It is said that most good amateurs underestimate the loft they need on their clubs.

If you are fading the ball and would like to help minimize a slice, try changing the lie position. Most clubs are set in the "N" or neutral position.

As for golf clubs with the ability to lighten or add weight, Cleveland Golf found that a 10-gram reduction in weight led to an average increase of 1 mph of swing speed.

Do I really need an adjustable driver?


The jury is out on the above question. If you are a beginner golfer, chances are you need a driver that will do what you want it to do right out of the box, that is, feel light and comfortable to you, get your ball airborne and moving in a forward direction. 

An adjustable driver might help you to gain loft but, if every swing you take is inconsistent, changing your lie from neutral to draw in order to "work the ball" may not be right for you.

If you are a more seasoned amateur who regularly practices at the driving range heading out for a round of golf and can tell when you are hitting the ball too high or have too much fade or draw, the ability to adjust your golf club can very well improve your round.

One suggestion? Visit golf stores that have hitting booths and test the golf club in varying degrees of loft, lie and weight. For the perfect golf club, you might also want to try golf course demo days. 

I found demo days to be essential to learning about golf clubs currently on the market. The ability to talk to onsite club manufacturing representatives also gave me invaluable information.

Have you ever adjusted your adjustable driver? What were the results? Voice your opinion on our Golf for Beginners blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

photos courtesy of Stacy Solomon


Thursday, January 08, 2015

What Women Can Learn From Men About #Golf - Guest Blog

Golf for Beginners kicks off the New Year with an article from guest blogger and golf instructor Maria Palozola (see bio below). Although I asked Maria if, when she was writing this blog, to offer a bit of golf advice as to what men could learn from the fairer sex, she chose to stick with the title theme.

I think male golfers can learn patience, how to swing easier and how to play safe to hit more fairways and greens. What are your thoughts?


**********

What Women Can Learn from Men When it Comes to Golf - by Maria Palozola

When people ask me if I teach men I often reply that if I didn't, I wouldn't be in business. The bulk of my business is, and always has been, male clients. It's men that keep this great game going, because they not only play more, they do what they can to better their games.

Do Men Really Do It Better?

Teaching Chris golf

Through my twenty years of teaching both sexes, I have been able to decipher quite a few differences in how men and women approach game improvement and I truly believe there are several things that men do better:


1. Men Tinker - This is a blessing and a curse.  Men try new things with their swing and experiment with different clubs in search of "the secret."  This can make consistency difficult to develop, but it also opens their minds to change and the possibility of hitting on something that works.

2. Men Spend Money on Themselves - Men reading this are going "yeah right, all my wife does is spend money", but it's really not true in golf.  I see more women with outdated clubs than I can count and I hardly ever see them with things such as training aids, the latest and greatest driver, nice rain gear or range finders.

3. Men Get Custom Fit Equipment - It's rare if I get a female that comes out for a lesson and has a custom fit clubs.  The  majority are playing hand me downs or just picked up a set off the rack.  Most think they aren't good enough for or don't deserve a nice custom fit set.

4. Men Practice More - If there are twenty people on the driving range at a given time, eighteen or nineteen of them are men.  They are putting in the time because they know it's important and want to get better.  They are also confident that they will figure it out somehow.

5. Men Play More - I have played many rounds in my life where I looked across the golf course and saw that I was the only female in sight.  Quite often it's on a Friday afternoon where men have skipped out after lunch to play.  Women should learn from this.

6. Men Take Lessons - Men aren't hesitant about spending money on something they know will help them improve their games quickly. They are also used to being coached from youth sports.

7. Men Gamble - There's no better way to put pressure on yourself than to put some money on the line.  Women can learn to improve their focus and control their nerves by having a little fun and placing some side bets.

8. Men Track Stats - I have never had a woman come to a first lesson and tell me that she tracks her stats.  I know from MyGolfInstructor.com and our Game Tracker, that tracking stats is not only easy once you get the hang of it, but that it is a necessity if you want to really know your game, pinpoint your weaknesses and knock strokes off your score the fastest way possible.


What's Your Golf Game Plan? 

First Naked Golf Academy

For women, it's not rocket science, you just need a game plan. You don't have to tackle everything on the list at once and I understand time and money may be an issue.  I recommend that you put the list in the order that is most feasible for you and work your way down checking off one item at a time.  After you have covered all 8 you can rest assure you are doing what you can to lower your scores and enjoy the game.  Now man up and get busy!



Maria Palozola golf instructor
Maria Palozola Bio:

Maria Palozola has been a leading golf instructor for over twenty years.

She has been a Top-50 Instructor with the LPGA since 2008 and is currently listed as a Golf Digest Top-Five Teacher in the State. Maria offers private golf lessons in the St. Louis area at http://www.stlouisgolflessons.com and offers online instruction at http://www.mygolfinstructor.com.


Ask Maria questions about golf on Twitter @MariaPalozola and on her Facebook page. As always, voice your opinions on our Golf for Beginners blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Does #Golf Need Modernizing? A New Year Viewpoint

Golf for Beginners welcomes commentary and opinion. The guest blog below was sent to us by Gamola Golf (see bio below).


Golf CourseWhile the death of golf may not be immediately imminent, there is an increasing decline in the number of amateur golfers in both the US and the UK, with clubs in England losing twenty percent of its members between 2004 and 2013 and Scotland losing fourteen percent of its membership.

This decline is mainly down to disinterest in golf among young people, particularly those born after the millennium: the number of young people regularly playing golf have almost halved between 2010 and 2013. The reasons cited tend to be the cost of playing, the time it takes to play and the perception that golf is for ‘snobs’ or the elite.




Unlike other sports, golf does not necessarily reflect children of the millennial’s values, such as diversity, instant gratification, affordability and inclusion. The high cost of playing prevents those in low incomes, such as students or lower middle class families, from playing on both a casual and permanent basis and women have historically been excluded from golf clubs, meaning it is now an extremely male oriented sport.

On top of this, the smart attire demanded by golf courses are stereotypically upper class, with few teenagers or individuals on a lower income owning smart wear outside of school. Golf specific clothing can be expensive, as can golf equipment which is required to play the game.

When taking all this into account, isn't it reasonable to suggest that the future of golf depends on the need to modernize its somewhat traditional and upper class values?

Here are a few ways we believe golf can be modernized to create a more friendly experience for all:

By changing golf traditions, such as relaxing the dress code, the sport’s reputation may be less ‘stuffy’ and therefore more enticing to younger generations and individuals from a less privileged background. 

Reducing prices will open up the game as a possibility for more families and individuals while allowing those who already enjoy golf to play more often. 

While some might argue that golf is so great because of its classic heritage and traditions, it is surely more beneficial to adopt modern values and avoid the further decline of the golfing industry.

Another way of increasing the popularity of golf could be to shorten the playing time of a round. 

In comparison to sports such as football, golf is much more time consuming, both in the time it takes to play one game and the time it takes to master the skill. An 18-hole course can take as long as six hours to play, which is a very long time in modern times. Golf requires a lot of attention and does not normally have the adrenalin-causing excitement of other sports except of course, for that very motivating hole-in-one or eagle from the fairway...which is why we keep coming back, isn't it?

Speeding up the game would prevent younger players from getting bored whilst playing a course.

Rory McIlroy recently suggested that the grassroots level of golf needs speeding up in order to keep young golfers interest. One way which this could be done without causing significant changes to the structure of the game is by widening the holes used on golf courses.

Whether you agree with these suggestions or not, one thing is for certain: golf, and all sport for that matter, needs to evolve with the changing values of the younger generation if it is to stay as prestigious and majestic as it has historically been.

What are your thoughts? Speak out on this GFB blog, on Twitter @GamolaGolf , @Golf4Beginners or on our Facebook page.


Bio:  

Gamola Golf is the leading discounted online golf store. It stocks the leading brands, products and golf accessories required for golfers of every ability, all at the best UK prices. 


photo credit: nextgengolf.orgcamflan; via photopin; cc

Monday, December 22, 2014

Does Santa Claus Play #Golf? A Christmas Poem

Golf for Beginners wishes all of our readers a Very, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. In the spirit of the season, Stacy Solomon has written this poem, "Does Santa Claus Play Golf?" for your enjoyment.


A man and his sleigh ride quietly in the night,
Hoping toys are delivered before first light.
Why is it so important to finish his work tonight?
Because Santa Claus is catching an early flight.

An untold story is that Kris Kringle plays an outdoor sport,
Dusts off his clubs, heads for a resort.
Off to warm destination leaving family behind,
For a week of rest, rejuvenation and feet reclined.

He packs his sunglasses, aloha shirts and flip flops,
Off go the red hat, red outfit and props.
Santa is now ready to fly in disguise,
He kisses his wife and says his goodbyes.




Next stop warm weather, three courses to play,
He hopes that his ho-ho-ho won't go away.
The fairways are tight, the greens undulating and small,
So Santa has practiced his best Villegas Spiderman crawl.




First off the tee and with a big swing,
His ball finds the fairway, his drive is amazing!
His GPS, received as gift from his wife,
Gets Santa get out of trouble-this is indeed the good life.

Claus plays his first round making par,
He thinks he could be the next Myrtle Beach Big Break Star!
He heads to 19th hole with scorecard signed,
And proudly asks bartender to pour - he finished his grind.

Thinking forward to two more days of play,
Santa is happily sipping away.
Planning his strategy for his next two rounds,
Dreaming of sunshine and background surf sounds.

But what should awaken Santa from his mirth?
His alarm clock is ringing, he's brought back to earth.
Gone is the sun, sand, vacation and play,
It was just a dream, a moment away.

It's back to the drudge and starting work for next year,
Perhaps someone will give Santa a gift of good cheer.
Is it too much to ask for, a vacation, golf travel,
For the merry man who gifts toys for kids to unravel?



photo credit: TheSpiritofSanta.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advice for the Average Golfer

After receiving a note from David Felker, scientist and inventor of Callaway Rule 35 Golf Balls, I happily agreed when he asked to post a blog on our Golf for Beginners site. 

David is also the founder of the USRGA, an organization which is helping to grow the game of golf by focusing on the many recreational players around the world who are interested in the sport for fun.

It is our hope that golf continues to expand, in spite of course closings and a downturn in rounds per course. If we are to continue bringing golfers into the sport, let's keep it fun, interesting and invite people in who want to try the sport that lasts a lifetime by providing innovative ways to enjoy the game.

Big Golf hole
Too innovative for golf? Maybe...but sure looks like fun!

Here is David Felker's blog, with his advice for the average golfer:


Golf is so much fun I can’t stand it. It is a special game that you can enjoy your entire life and learning to play golf will add a new dimension to your life. Here are ten random pieces of free golf advice that I hope will help any beginner golfer:  

1) Golf is not about the score – it is about the fun you can have with your friends in the beautiful setting of a golf course.  Choose your golf partners wisely - avoid golfers that take the game too seriously and get mad on the course; they will ruin your day. 

2) Know the Etiquette of Golf from Day One. Study it before you set foot on a golf course (lots of golf etiquette advice on youtube.com).  Nothing bothers golfers more than golfers who do not follow the etiquette of golf.    Failure to follow the etiquette of golf is not only bad form, golfers will avoid playing with you if you disregard accepted golf etiquette. 

3) No matter what any golfer, PGA professional or anyone tells you - The USGA rules of golf do not apply to you (they only apply to serious competitive golf tournaments). 

The USGA rules book is more than two-hundred pages long – don’t read it; 75% of golfers have never read the USGA rules of golf and 73% admit to not following the rules of golf. Instead, read the US Recreational Golf Association’s “13 Rules of Golf”.  Their rules reflect how 85% of golfers play golf. The US Recreational Golf Association’s rules are one page long and easy to learn (http://usrga.org/golf-etiquette/ )

4) Buy a decent set of used golf clubs to start and make sure the driver is at least twelve degrees of loft so you can get the ball up in the air.  Any used balls will work fine (you are going to lose all of them anyway).   If you have a bad slice, seriously consider buying some Polara anti-slice golf balls or Trust-Tee's new innovative tees and use until you are good enough to keep the ball in the fairway.

5) Don’t take private lessons. Find a course that gives group lessons for beginners.  They often give you other benefits along with the lessons, like reductions on green fees and merchandise.  The average course these days does not do enough business to make a profit, so a lot are bending over backwards to find new players – play golf where your business is most appreciated.

6) Arrive at the course at least thirty minutes early so you are not rushed and can warm up before you play the round. It is better to get twenty to thirty bad shots out of your system on the range than on the golf course.

7) If the course allows walking or use of a pull cart, try it – this is the way golf was traditionally played.  Waking gives you time to clear your mind between shots and the exercise is great for your health. 

8) Golf is a social experience.  After the golf round, go into the clubhouse, wash up and relax.  Have a drink with your friends and talk about the day - your best shots, biggest blowups, what you liked best about the course. Relive the fun and have some laughs.  The 19th hole is part of the tradition of golf.  

9) Not all golf courses are the same. I have found that the amount of money I pay to play rarely has anything to do with how much I enjoyed the day. Every course has a certain feel and character that is defined by the golf course itself, the club house, the staff and the service.   Play different courses - you will find ones you really like, and ones you don’t like.  Life is too short to play at a course with bad staff and bad service.

10) Last piece of advice - There is no such thing as a natural born golfer. All golfers struggle to begin with. They can’t even hit the ball, but with a little time and practice, it will come to you. 

Enjoy the journey of going from beginner to the point where you hit your first great shot on the course.  It will be so exhilarating and inspiring that you will remember it for the rest of your life.  You do not have to be a great golfer to have fun. 

Remember this fact – the average male golfer shoots 106.  Strive for a score of 105, and then you will be better than 50% of the golfers! You do not have to be a scratch golfer to enjoy the game.  If you put enough effort into the game to play at the bogey golf level, you will have given yourself a gift for life. If you go on to teach your child or children to play golf, you will have given them (and yourself) an even greater gift.


About the author:

David Felker says he is just a little bit better than the average golfer, but he does admit he is a brilliant golf scientist.  He was recruited from DuPont Company to help start the Callaway Golf ball Company in 1996. With the help of a world class group of scientists, David invented the Callaway Rule 35 Golf ball which replaced the wound ball technology. Dr. Felker is also the inventor of Polara Golf balls that he claims are the world’s only golf balls that correct hooks and slices. (Golf for Beginners does not yet endorse this product as we have not yet tried it.)

He is also the founder of the US Recreational Golf Association (USRGA), a nonprofit organization serving the needs of recreational golfers, golf courses and the golf companies.  The USRGA’s mission is to provide a voice for recreational golfers and to help grow the game of golf.

Check out our Holiday Gift Guide! Still time to pick out the perfect golf gift.

Voice your opinions on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and on this Golf for Beginners blog!


photo credit: http://1000thingstobegratefulfor.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/9-be-grateful-for-golf/


The above blog is the opinion of the guest blogger. Golf for Beginners does not necessarily agree or disagree with the blog but wanted to post it in order to give golfers a viewpoint to discuss.