Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What Can Golfers Learn from Stenson and Mickelson at The Open?

The Open 145 logo
The third major of 2016, The Open, is in the record books with an inspiring win from Henrik Stenson.

Phil Mickelson, pushing with every fiber of his being to have his first win in three years, could not close the deal but certainly helped to make this tournament compelling for fans around the globe.

There are lessons to be learned from every thing we do in life - some times we are watching and other times we are in the mix. Through four days at The Open we have not only seen incredible golf but, if we look even further, we can take away ideas which can help us during our own round of golf.

Here are several lessons which we can all learn from watching the Masters play golf at The Open:

1. The importance of not giving up and believing that you can win. Henrik Stenson said, in his Sunday post-round interview, "I've been so focused this week and on this day in particular. "I felt it was my time. I believed it was my time."

2. You may not win but you can still play "pretty good golf". Phil Mickelson shot a 6-under 65 in his best final round performance ever in a major championship but it still wasn't enough to take the Claret Jug away from Henrik Stenson. You can play a great round (or several as is in this case) and still get beaten...remember, it's not if you win or lose but how you play the game.

3. Age doesn't matter if you're a regular on the golf course. The top two contenders on Sunday were both over forty and left the rest of the field in the dust. The number one and two golfers in the world, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, could not touch the games of Stenson and Mickelson this week, hovering at +1 and -2 respectively. View The Open Final Round Leaderboard.


4. Be gracious in defeat. Consider the good shots you hit during your round and make sure to congratulate and shake hands with your mates, no matter what the outcome! Golf is a game of etiquette; let's not lose that spirit.

What did you learn from watching The Open? Comments welcome below in our Golf for Beginners blog and tag us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.


Check Out Our Latest Article: 2016 Olympics in Golf - For Whom Does Patriotism Trump Zika?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

2016 Olympics in #Golf - For Whom Does Patriotism Trump Zika?

2016 Rio Golf OlympicsYour country has asked for your representation in golf at the 2016 Olympics, to possibly bring home the gold for the Motherland...what do you do? 

Do you proudly accept the challenge and gallantly make your way to the first tee armed with bug spray or do you pull out just before the event?

Several top names on both sides of the pond have "bugged out" of the 2016 Summer Olympics from Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Jason Day to the latest Americans, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth . It has now been reported that the top four golfers in the world will not represent their section of the world for the sake of their country (here is that latest Official World Golf Ranking).

The athletes in question have made it evident that they will not be competing due to the Zika virus and, from the public to their brethren, they are being criticized for their decision.

Paul McGinley, Olympic golf captain for Team Ireland, had this to say about McIlroy's absence, "The shame for Rory is I really think he would have benefited from being around other athletes..."

"It's really good for the heart and the soul to be involved with so many other athletes where it's the most important thing in their game."

2016 Masters Champion Danny Willett took a poke at the pull-outs just before The Open by saying, "You've got more chance of getting malaria in South Africa than you have of getting Zika when you go to Rio, If there was an Olympic Games down in Johannesburg, would guys pull out because of malaria?"

What Rory McIlroy said in defense of his decision was nothing short of impudent, according to Brandel Chamblee. McIlroy went so far as to say he did not get into golf to grow the game.

"I got into golf to win major championships. I get that I have a responsibility to the game. But at the same time I got into golf to win. I didn’t get into golf to get other people into the game." Rory will watch some athletes at the Summer Games, he stated, but will not tune into the sport that has made him millions as well as a role model.

What does the public think of their heroes? Some wonder why women competing in other outdoor sports like kayaking have not opted-out of the summer games. "Can't imagine saying no when you have been called to rep your country!"

Although Dustin Johnson feels "honored" to represent the USA, withdrawal takes on a personal note as DJ wants to have more children with fiancee Paulina and, according to the CDC, the Zika virus is sexually transmitted "causing a birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects."

Is it just worry over the Zika Virus or could there also be other more personal objections as to why Olympic gold doesn't hold as much weight for golfers as the trophies to be won during the rest of the season? Here are a few possibilities:

1. Zika Virus - fearing safety of their possible unborn children.
2. Already making millions of dollars and don't really need to compete with possible standing water on course and in sweltering heat of Rio to possibly win a medal.
3. DJ's recent win at the U.S. Open was accompanied by a large check and a beautiful trophy. The Fed Ex Cup and the Wanamaker are more in line with chosen profession and worth a tidy sum in future endorsements. Fed Ex Cup with payout is worth $10 million.
4. For Adam Scott, his overwhelming golf schedule played a part in his decision to opt out of the Summer Olympics. Three majors all lined up, a WGC event and a newborn made the decision easier for him.

Who has decided to step-up for pride of country, happily wearing their countries' colors?

Although the big news is who will not be in attendance, the opposite should be true - we should be focusing on the positive and cheer on our heroes.

The Olympic Men’s Golf Team USA roster is almost complete with players Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed (so far although, after he heard that DJ was out, he had to think about his commitment) in the mix. Jhonattan Vegas is Venezuela's entrant into the field and Padraig Harrington is ready and raring to go. Guess we'll have to wait and see the final roster as players are dropping out like flies.

Are you going to watch golf in the 2016 Olympics? Do you agree with the players who have dropped out due to the Zika virus? Let us know in the comments section of our golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.


Friday, July 08, 2016

How to Deal With The Heat of Summer #Golf

It's another scorching day on the golf course with a temperature expected in the nineties and a heat index at fifty-five percent or more.

Although you're trying your best to focus, sweat is dripping into your eyes and you're seeing two balls on the green (and both of them are yours!) "It's not the heat," your golf buddy laughingly says after your stroke, "it's the humidity!"

You were not chuckling as your golf ball rimmed the cup.

What do you do next?

First, step into the shade and wipe off that sweat; although it cools you off, it's hampering your vision and your mental attitude. Next, take a sip or two of water - H20 will help to re-hydrate you.

Here are a few more tips for beating the summer heat out on the golf course:

1. Keep a clean towel with ice bucket handy for dabbing face and neck.
2. Wear a hat - a visor will still allow in the sun to burn the top of your head.
3. Use sunscreen - the burn you receive when your buddy takes away your glory with a birdie to your par should be the only type of suffering you should do around the pin.
4. Bugspray - Heat usually promotes bugs, stingers, biters on the golf course - you may not even realize you are getting bitten, allowing those bugs to hang on and really hang on to clothes and skin.
5. Freeze a couple of bottles of water the previous night so that they defrost slowly over your round.
6. Bring at least one additional golf glove for sweaty palms.
7. Wear a moisture-wicking shirt.
8. Try to get out for an early morning or twilight tee time - the sun doesn't agree with everyone.
9. Bring your mind to a cool place. Think cool thoughts while standing in the shade and focus your mind on your next shot - visualization will keep you in the present and not thinking about the sun's rays.

What tips do you have for dealing with summer heat on the golf course? Add your comments to our golf blog and tag us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.


Friday, July 01, 2016

3 Specific Golf Exercises to Improve Your Stamina

You have decided to walk eighteen holes and, by hole number twelve, you are feeling the effects - labored breathing, aching legs..."boy," you think to yourself, "am I out of shape!" The truth is, golf is a sport as well as a game - it takes toned muscles to swing a golf club and to walk a course carrying a bag on your back.

You should not go onto a golf course without at least stretching before you swing a club, but, it would be much more beneficial if you also put a few exercises within your work-out routine. Golf for Beginners often writes about the mental game and offers you tips on everything from stance to injury prevention and now we present you with our "should-do" list of disciplines to keep you in golf shape.

Gym Cardio1. CARDIO: Endurance and cardio-specific exercises such as cycling, walking, swimming or running, for about thirty minutes per day should be added to your training regimen.

If you are older, just get out and move your legs, take a brisk walk, stay active and you will be able to translate that energy to the golf course. The National Academy of Sports Medicine says that, maintaining a routine of moderate cardiac exercise will slow fatigue and will also allow, "the golfer to stay physically and mentally focused throughout the round."

2. STRETCHING:  PGA Director of Instruction at Salisbury Country Club, Adam Smith, suggests simple stretches before teeing off; torso rotations to loosen up the upper body, leg lifts to loosen your hamstrings and jumping jacks for cardio as an example.

3. STRENGTHENING: Jennifer Gatz, Exercise Physiologist suggests strengthening and stretching exercises to improve body flexibility during a round of golf.

Next time you are at the gym or, if you use bands, try a seated row to strengthen your back muscles. Wrist curls using a light weight will also help when you are coming through the ball.

If you are in decent shape and regularly visit the gym...
To improve endurance and stamina, try compound movements that utilize more than just one joint; "squats, step-ups, push-ups and pull-ups".

Will Torres, a New York-based personal trainer and founder of the personal training studio, Willspace says these combination exercises, "will improve your endurance more so than exercises in isolation. 'Isolated exercises like bicep curls and leg lifts aren’t going to stimulate you enough to increase your stamina.' "

Disclaimer: Golf for Beginners and it's writers only offers exercise suggestions to improve your stamina - we are not doctors or physical therapists. Contact your doctor or a qualified professional before beginning any exercise routine.

Do you perform specific golf exercises at the gym? What exercises or stretches have helped you improve your golf game? Let us know in the comments section below and by tagging us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

photo:, Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What Golfers Can Learn from Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open #golf

Dustin Johnson and the U.S. Open - two names that will be forever paired on tongues whenever there is a mention of winning golf majors in dramatic fashion, do you agree? D.J. left nothing to chance, topping his finish with an 18th hole birdie, in spite of a questionable USGA ruling.

2016 US Open logoIt is because of this exciting win that Golf for Beginners has written this blog about what the average golfer can learn from Dustin Johnson and his conquest over Oakmont Golf Course.

What positive mental thoughts can you take away from Dustin Johnson's win at the U.S. Open?

1. Persevere in spite of obstacles and surrounding drama.
2. Don't carry the monkey on your back. Put whatever negative thoughts you may have out of your mind until the end of your round -stay focused on each shot.
3. Look forward. Learn how to scramble when you're in trouble because when you hit those inevitable bad shots, you need to know how to advance the ball.
4. Know the Rules of Golf: Stay aware and be cautious where you may commit a penalty - in 2010 for example, DJ grounded his club in a bunker.
5. Putting IS Everything: You can be "Really proud of the way you hit the ball," as DJ stated at the 2015 U.S. Open but if the putts are not dropping into the hole, your score won't reflect it. Make sure that, when you are playing golf with your foursome, you take the time to learn how to get within that three-foot circle of trust with long putts and to drop those two and three-footers instead of taking an easy "gimmee".

Also, Try these 3 golf swing thoughts...

"If I rolled the putter halfway decent today, which I did roll it well, just any putts go in the hole, I win this thing by a few shots, it's not even close. It's just how it goes," said Dustin.Johnson at Chambers Bay. This year, DJ putted beautifully, finishing on 18 with a putt for putting determines everything, as confirmed by the PGA!

What did YOU learn from the Dustin Johnson and players at the U.S. Open? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this golf blog and on Twitter using our handle @Golf4Beginners.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Are The Top Three Rules of #Golf You Always Follow?

Do You Always Follow The Rules of Golf or, as in the game of Monopoly, do you sometimes make up your own?

Most golfers lie somewhere in the gray area of the sport and, for beginners in particular, golf is more recreational than competitive. Newbies, for example, are more concerned with getting the golf ball airborne than figuring out the nearest point of relief...and that's fine until you learn the game.

It's your game, play anyway you like, just don't boast about your score...unless, of course, you follow the Rules.

QUESTION: How many golfers reading this blog carry in their bag the Rules of Golf book?

Okay, quickly rummage through your golf bag...snack bar (check), divot repair tool (check), bag of tees (check)....Rules of Golf book? Hmm...

Why you find it too cumbersome to carry and, if need be, to open the book to find the correct ruling at the time of infraction?

Why do we need to follow the rules's just a may ask.

The rules were designed by the USGA (and R&A) for everyone so that you can develop an accurate handicap, allowing golfers to play with other players regardless of skill order to be on an equal footing.

I am sure you have come across those players who bend/break the rules for their benefit (and I'm not talking about beginners - we'll give them a break for the purposes of this article - also, I guess it's okay if everyone in the group decides to play a friendly, non competitive match as there as separate rules for recreational golf.

The question of Sportsmanship and The Rules of Golf has also come up previously on the LPGA Tour and has been answered previously by Golf for Beginners - click the above link for the answer.

Have you seen these rule breakers in any of your rounds?
- Ball kicking to offer a better lie (in more ways than one!).
- Giving up on a hole and taking a double instead of a ... 19?
- Finding the wrong ball in the woods and claiming it for play.
- Not putting the ball into the cup as the first putt sails six feet past and then knocking the ball loosely   with one hand - whether or not it drops in in the hole it is counted (a great score-saver).
- Playing Mulligans all day long - hit a ball, don't like it, hit another and the first one doesn't count      throughout the round.
- Boast about your low score at the 19th hole.

Rules of Golf in Plain EnglishWell, just in case you don't follow the rules because you don't understand them, you are now in luck. The fourth edition of The Rules of Golf in Plain English has just been published so, no more excuses.

According to the book notes on Amazon, "The earliest standards for the game of golf included just three hundred thirty eight words and thirteen rules, which included what to do if your ball had the misfortune of falling into “watery filth” and how to proceed if your ball was stopped by a horse."

Additions to the Rules now has grown the book to over forty-thousand wonder golfers don't read them!

Golf for Beginners believes you should always follow the rules of any sport.
If you don't have the book of rules handy, here are three rules we believe you should always follow:
- Count every stroke and penalty so that you can track your improvement in the game.
- Play the ball as it lies
- Maintain proper etiquette throughout - no matter what you come up against - during your round.

We believe that the rules add to the enjoyment of the game for yourself and your playing partners. Start today if you are a beginner golfer and, if you are an advanced player, know that playing by the rules is as important as getting that golf ball airborne!

What are the most important rules of golf which you always follow? IF you could change one rule, what would it be?

Let us know in the comments section of this golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.