Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Golf Leagues Made Easy

By Billy Condon

One of the critical issues the game of golf is facing right now is growth. With the potential for rounds to take upwards of five to six hours, as well as the intimidation and uneasiness beginner golfers may face when trying to learn the game, golfers are spending less time at the course.

One solution to get new golfers engaged and to get existing players on the course more is through golf leagues.

Golf leagues are great for growing the game because they can be made up of golfers of all ages and abilities and can range from social weekday evening 9-hole leagues to ultra-competitive 18-hole leagues. Whether they’re played over 9 or 18 holes, Match Play or Stableford, leagues can be found at public courses, private country clubs, and gated communities around the world.

However, golf leagues face their own challenges; primarily, the amount of time a league manager or golf professional needs to dedicate to organizing the weekly draws, emailing and posting notices and calculating results, standings, payouts and more.

GolfLeagueGenius Logo
That’s where GolfLeagueGenius.com comes into play. GolfLeagueGenius minimizes the time it takes to complete these tasks with its automated pairings, robust tournament library, and other innovative web-based features.

Brenda Gagnier, the manager for the Kingsville Ladies 18 Hole league in Windsor, Ontario, has seen increased efficiency with GolfLeagueGenius. “Before GolfLeagueGenius, it took me two and a half hours to set up our league each week. I now only spend 15 to 20 minutes” says Gagnier.

Kingsville is one of the hundreds of amateur and professional leagues across North America that is using the software created by Golf Genius Software, to run their leagues and provide a first-class tournament atmosphere to their golfers. 

Amateur golf leagues aren’t the only groups reaping the benefits. GolfLeagueGenius.com was named the official scoring software of the PGA of Canada and has also been in use by First Tee chapters across the United States as well as the Golf Association of Philadelphia for the pilot year of the GAP League Play initiative.

GolfLeagueGenius features the broadest library of tournament formats in the industry. Leagues can play numerous tournaments within a single event as well as tournaments over multiple rounds. The pairings feature is designed to pair by custom parameters and season-long scheduling can be completed instantly.

PGA apprentice and assistant professional Lawrence Moses runs multiples golf leagues in the Baltimore area, and was looking for a product that would enable him the opportunity to grow and enhance his leagues. “GolfLeagueGenius allowed me the confidence to attempt the difficult formats of play. I added a new league [this season] that uses USGA handicaps, plays four different courses from four different tees, runs three different weekly games, and tracks ringers for each course played. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without GolfLeagueGenius.”

Thirsty Boyz Golf League

In addition, each league receives a custom website to display tee sheets, photos, message boards and more. Real-time scores can be entered using the free GolfLeagueGenius app for iPhone and Android, as well as via high-speed data entry on the GolfLeagueGenius web site and live scoring can be enjoyed on the TV display for on-site viewing, or the real-time leaderboard for personal viewing on PCs, iPads, iPhones and Androids.

“GolfLeagueGenius was a HUGE success at our event! It was a real game-changer to have a live leaderboard keeping track of the action. One guy had six birdies and it was awesome to know there was a guy sprinting out ahead that we needed to catch,” says League Manager Colin Callahan of the Front Range Golf Club that plays in Denver.

Golf leagues help grow the game through the game’s core values: fun and camaraderie...and also provide the opportunity to raise an occasional pint with friends!

For more information, visit www.GolfLeagueGenius.com.

BIO: Billy Condon is the Director of Marketing for Golf Genius Software. Prior to joining GolfTripGenius.com, Condon was Associate Editor of The Met Golfer magazine and communications administrator at the Metropolitan Golf Association, one of the nation's largest regional golf associations.

Join the conversation on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and friend us on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How to Walk Off the First Tee With Your Dignity

Guest Golf Blog by Colby Johannson, Founder of Quite The Chap: simple GolfInstruction by a simple man.

Sweaty palms. Racing heart. Light-headedness. Butterflies. We’ve all felt them, we’ve all succumbed to them, but we’ve also had our moments of overcoming them. How can you do it on a regular basis?

Teddy Greenstein wrote in the Chicago Tribune that Hale Irwin forced Lanny Wadkins to hit the opening drive off the first tee after they had already planned that Irwin would hit the shot. This didn’t happen just once but twice. Once at Royal Lytham & St. Annes and again at Kiawah Island in 1991, where Irwin told Wadkins…

 “Hey shut up, you gotta hit here.”

No one is immune to the first tee nerves, not even the pros, and with the Presidents Cup fast approaching it’s a hot topic for the likes of Jordan Spieth.

But how do you overcome angst and walk off golf’s first tee with a shred of dignity? 

Warm up and get specific.

The first tee is where most of the negative golf self-talk starts and so begins an avalanche of torment. “Don’t hit it in the trees, don’t duff it, oh god- so and so is watching” and on and on.

Before we’ve even teed off, we’ve convinced our mind and our body that this will potentially, probably, absolutely, be a terrible shot. 

And then it becomes our reality.

I’m going to give you two things, just two, that you can use to combat this debilitating problem.

Number One - Warm Up!

Whether or not you get to hit balls on the driving range, you should warm up in some form or fashion.

If you don’t have time to hit a warm-up bucket or there is no range at the golf course you’re playing:
-          Swing two clubs right handed and then left handed. This will loosen up your entire back and shoulders.
-          Touch your toes (or at least try to) to fully stretch your back.
-          Stretch side to side with your hands over head.
-          Lastly, make circles with your arms to warm up your shoulders.

If you do have time to hit balls, go through your regular routine on the range; warm up with your wedges and work your way up to your driver.

Now here’s where you need to pay special attention. Erik Horve, a Golf Channel Swingfix Instructor & Contributor wrote a great article on the necessary preparation for getting off the first tee.

Erik explains that at the end of your warm-up session you should take out the golf club that you are preparing to tee off with and hit two shots as if you are teeing off on the first hole.

I would take it a step further.

When you’re finished your warm-up session, take out the club you plan to tee off with. Stand behind the ball and visualize yourself hitting the ideal drive

See your perfect swing, see the flight of the ball, and see where it lands, all as if you are standing on the first tee.

Then stand up and hit it. Do this three times in total, visualizing the ideal shot before hitting your ball. 

Now not only are you physically warmed up, you are mentally prepared as well. To top it all off, you’ve hit six ideal drives (three in your mind) and hopefully another three on the range (physically).

Number Two - Get Specific!

You’ve warmed up in one-way or another, you’re mentally prepared, and now you’re standing on the first tee.

What do you do now?

You start by controlling your breathing. Deep breaths in and out will help calm you and it will also get some much-needed oxygen to your brain and muscles.

Visualize your tee shot again, just like you did on the range, seeing the flight of the ball and where it will land in the fairway.

Now is the time to get specific. Pick a spot, blade of grass, or divot 12 inches in front of your ball in line with the specific spot you want the ball to land in the fairway.

Line up to the spot twelve inches in front of you. It’s a lot easier than your target 200-300 yards away.

Now that you’ve visualized your swing, the flight path of your ball, where it’s going to land in the fairway, and you’re lined up properly, think of nothing else but where your golf ball is going to end up down the fairway.

If you focus on visualizing the shot and then on the specificity of the shot, you won’t have time to think about what could go wrong.

In summary, the best way to get off the first tee with your dignity is to prepare, mentally & physically, then get specific about what it is that you want to execute.

Read more informative golf tips by Colby Johannson on his Quite The Chap Blog.
You can follow him on Twitter @quitethechap or Facebook.

Photo Credit: Greg Cooper- USA TODAY Sports
Photo Credit: J.D. Cuban- Golf Digest

As always, Voice Your Opinions on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and LIKE US on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to Select The Best Golf Clubs for Women

Enjoy this informative guest blog post on how to select the best golf clubs for women, written by Melinda Bailey, 9 & Dine Women’s Golf Apparel.
What Women Should Look For in Golf Clubs to Enhance Performance:
1. Lightweight Shaft
2. Large Sweet spot on Club face
3. Higher loft
4. Clubs made especially for women (not generic)
5. Hybrids instead of long irons

You think men are better than women at golf? Psht, yeah right!

Golf Club and BallWell… okay. Men may have a little more power behind the golf swing but, contrary to conventional wisdom, the reason is not totally due to size.

In general, women tend to have a slower swing speed.  So how do you improve your swing to help you join the ranks of your male counterparts?

Start by choosing a fitting golf club to enhance women’s performance.

To begin, by using a lighter shaft a woman can increase her swing speed to great result. A graphite shaft, while more expensive, should be chosen over metal. A graphite shaft is lighter, and will quicken a women's speed of swing. However, a woman should not stop there. A ladies shaft should be specifically chosen. This is because these particular shafts will have more bend, thus launching the ball farther.

The heads on the woods are mostly metal or titanium these days. Sometimes, the two are combined. Again, metal is less expensive, but smaller and heavier. A titanium head, because it is lighter, is also larger. There is more head to hit the ball, and to hit it at a quicker speed.

Before looking at some of the better clubs for women, it should be noted that a driver does not have to be used for teeing off. Most golf drivers are used by excellent players who hit the ball a country mile. The drivers, therefore, have a lower loft. Women, as do many professionals, find teeing off less difficult and more rewarding by using something like a three-wood for the task.

Callaway Razr Fit XtremeAdjustable drivers are currently the hot new item in golf for men or women. 

Callaway makes a women's adjustable driver, the Razr Fit Xtreme, which has adjustable lofts from 8.5 all the way to 13. These drivers have an adjustable hosel. This is the part of the club head where the shaft is fitted. 

The player can adjust either the loft, the face angle, and even the lie of the club by making partial rotations of the shaft. One of the added benefits to these adjustable drivers is that it allows a player, as her game evolves, to keep her driver and make simple adjustments.

It should also be noted that long golf irons do not have to be used on the golf course either. A blend of iron and wood, hybrid golf clubs are easier to hit and you will make better contact with the golf ball.

Perhaps Ping leads the field in making excellent golf clubs for women. Long considered one of the best golf equipment manufacturers, Ping has their “Serene” line especially for women. These clubs are not only tailored to a woman's swing, but they offer a “Serene Lite” and a “Serene Ultra-Lite.” The women will love the swing rate per iron, which is a C4.

For women who are just starting to golf, Wilson makes an excellent starter set for ladies at an affordable price. The clubs may be a tad heavier than pricier women's clubs, but nobody should overspend on their first set of clubs, just in case they find the game too maddening. 

There is an amazing variety of quality women's golf clubs available on the market today, and a few of the better ones have been mentioned above. 

It is important for women who are particularly diminutive, perhaps 5'2 and under, to understand something about golf clubs. No woman should fall in love with a particular club designed for taller women, and then have it adjusted or resized to fit her own stature. Many times, this will harm the balance of the club. There is a golf club out there for every person, so every player should be sure to find the club that is right for them.


Melinda Bailey - 9 _Dine Womens Golf

Melinda Bailey is an avid golfer and the Executive Editor of 9 & Dine Women’s Golf Apparel blog.  You can connect with Melinda via Twitter @9Dine.

Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and friend on Facebook.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Golf Psychology: Tips to Avoid Choking

Thanks to My Golf Locker for this thought-provoking blog on how to avoid the dreaded golf choke!


Let’s face it; we have all choked. In fact, just last week, I played a round of golf with my dad and everything was absolutely perfect: the sun was shining, the course was immaculate and the golf on display was absolutely superb (even if I do say so myself).

As a 15 handicapper, it is not often that you get these types of rounds, so you have to make the most of them! Luckily, for 15 holes, I did just that and raced into a four-shot lead with three holes to play. Surely my dad couldn’t overtake me now? 

WRONG! I lost by one stroke… I was (and still am) absolutely gutted.

The story of choking in golf, however, isn’t unique to me. Who could forget Adam Scott at the 2012 Open

Adam Scott Barclays
Could you imagine the pain and heartache that Adam Scott experienced that day? Many predicted that he would never get over it; he did, however, and in spectacular style by winning the 2013 Masters

Adam Scott went on to win the 2013 Barclays and with a final bogey-free round. Still, Adam Scott believed his final round wasn't good enough to win. Caddy Steve Williams was seen packing Scott's golf bag with the Aussie player thinking that he "really didn't think I had much of a chance."

The reason behind Adam Scott's win at The Masters was undoubtedly the change in his psychology. He didn’t play flawless golf at Augusta, but he got the job done.

The same can be said for this year’s US Open Champion Justin Rose who has also had his demons. After coming in fourth at the Open at the age of just fifteen, Rose went on to miss twenty-one consecutive cuts! Since then, however, Rose has rebounded and can now also call himself a major champion; something that fellow Brits Lee Westwood and Luke Donald can only dream of.

Although our golfing exploits are nowhere near on par with those of our idols, we can take similar steps to avoid choking in a similar fashion.

1. Accept your handicap:
Your handicap exists for a reason and your aim is to reduce it. We cannot expect to be perfect every time we play golf. We can, however, accept the situation and deal with it accordingly. The key is getting into a positive mindset.

Stableford Scoring

Often, there is no need to go ‘birdie searching’ when a par will do. Try adopting the stableford scoring system as this will give you an accurate reflection of your round- you could be doing a lot better than you think!

2. Play the hole, not the situation:
If you’re having a good round, focus on the positives and play the shots you’re capable of achieving. If you start trying to lay-up or play shots that you haven’t been playing during the round, you increase the risk of ‘choking’.

Think you can
Always play your natural game despite what those around you may be saying!

3. Dress for success:
In order to play well you have to look, and feel, the part. Although some courses do not enforce a dress code, it is still important that you maintain proper golf etiquette. Dressing in golf attire regardless will help get you into the right mindset and will ensure that you ‘feel the part’. Yes, golf etiquette does mean that what you wear is a reflection on you.

Contrary to popular belief, golf clothing is also less expensive than you’d imagine. Try checking out My Golf Locker to see what’s on offer. 

Join the conversation on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and friend me on Facebook.

photo credit: ESPN, Brentgolf.com

Disclosure: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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