Friday, January 30, 2015

Five Great Cigars to Enjoy on the #Golf Course

An enjoyable walk on a manicured golf course combined with the foursome of your choice and a good cigar - for many on a Sunday afternoon, this is truly an occasion to be savored.

As Raul Julia once said, "A cigar is as good as memories that you have when you smoked it."

It is no secret that golfers on Tour enjoy a good smoke - Jim Thorpe favors Partagas, Darren Clarke enjoys his Cohibas and former Champions Tour golfer, Walt Morgan, has this to say about his relaxing pleasure,

"Golf and cigars just seem to have always gone together," says Morgan, the winner of three professional events. "That's the way I learned to play—swing with one in my mouth because I didn't like putting it down. I don't know how I would play if I didn't have one because I haven't tried it..."

So, what makes for a perfect smoke at the course? 

This Golf for Beginners blogger recently asked Famous Smoke Shop for their opinion; would golfers on the course prefer a plump or slim cigar, large or small - do they want something mild or medium-bodied... a more complex flavor perhaps?

More often than not, a round of golf can take more than four hours to complete so it is best to consider a larger cigar like a Churchill which is said to burn cooler and longer and runs about seven inches in length. The size of a Churchill requires patience, just like your golf game, so take your time and enjoy. As for the flavor and complexity of the smoke, that is where the conversation gets personal.

Here are five great cigars to appreciate on the golf course:

Oliva Serie V CigarsOliva Serie V Cigars
Full bodied, smooth and perfect for contemplating your next shot, these Nicaraguan Oliva Serie V Cigars have rich coffee and dark chocolate flavors with a spicy undertone. The smoke is as beautiful as the wrapper which surrounds it! 

Liga Undercrown Corona Doble Cigars
As complex as the double-breaking 30-foot putt on the green, this blend of tobaccos from Drew Estate is hand-rolled and infused with notes that are earthy, creamy and completed with a sweet tobacco finish. Your taste buds will cry for more.

Acid Kuba Kuba Cigars
Yes, the lady golf writer smokes Kuba Kubas! Fragrant bouquet with savory taste that lingers on the lips without being overpowering, these are truly unique and memorable cigars. Perfect for the 19th hole or sitting around a fire pit with friends and a fine scotch. 

Acid Kuba Kuba Cigars

Rocky Patel THE EDGE Cigars
Why are the Edge considered among the hottest cigars in the country? Bold, spicy flavors offer a hearty experience. Like taking that 200-yard carry over the water to cut the corner, this cigar is more for the experienced palate.

Perdomo Double Aged Cigars
This vintage, handmade cigar should be enjoyed on a venerable golf course like St. Andrews. Nicaraguan fillers aged for twelve years - Perdomo Double Aged Vintage tasting notes read, "A smooth smoke with a creamy complexity, slight hints of caramel and cedar with a rich buttery finish." Limited release for golfers with a good grip on their game.

butane cigar lighterCigar aficionados should also bring the essentials to the course - don't forget a butane lighter, cutter, mini humidor for your golf bag (you will definitely want to offer stogies to your mates) and why not consider a utility gadget like a cigar holder - a nice, safe place to stow your Kuba while you make that miracle putt?

Find great cigar deals online at Famous Smoke Shop and read their blogs for tips on top dessert cigars, understanding complexity, how to choose the best gifts for the cigar smoker in your life and more!

Do you have a favorite Cigar that you smoke during your round or at the 19th hole? Tell us on this Golf for Beginners blog or on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

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 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 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 and offers online instruction at

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!