Friday, June 28, 2019

Summer Golf - How Not to Lose Your Cool

summer golf
Losing your cool on the golf course - most amateurs can't help but get frustrated at errant shots or lost balls but they can stop themselves from getting overheated in the summer sun.

"Hot town, summer in the city" was the first line of the great Lovin' Spoonful song and the lyrics apply to golf too as the sun and high temperatures can be brutal of golfers. Four hours without protection or hydration can make for a very uncomfortable round and might have you carted away in an ambulance for heat exhaustion. And, don't forget that prolonged exposure could lead to melanoma.

Being a golfer who plays the game in a warm, southern clime, namely Myrtle Beach, I have adapted to the summer sun and will share a few tips on staying cool in this blog. Keep this list handy this summer and you may get through the round unscathed.

1. The Most Important Reminder - WEAR SUNSCREEN...on your exposed body, face, and lips. The American Dermatology Association recommends that you get a broad spectrum which covers both UVA and UVB rays. Also, don't get sunscreen lower than an SPF 30.

2. Cover Your Head and/or Face: wear a hat or visor. For people who are losing their hair, a hat would be better if you are not wearing any sunscreen protection. A hat/visor shades your face from the sun and helps block eyes from glare.

3. Protect Your Eyes: Don't forget the UV Sunglasses.

4. Stay Hydrated: freeze water bottles the night before - they stay ice cold for about 3.5 hours.

5. Bring a battery operated fan to help keep cool.

6. Bring extra gloves and change them out when your gloves get damp - this tip will help you maintain a good grip so you'll hit better shots.

And, no matter how hot it gets, have fun and don't lose your cool!

What tips do you have to stay cool on the golf course? List in the comments section of this golf blog and tag us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Golf Shot That Won the U.S. Open

There are several factors to consider when an amateur decides whether or not to play an aggressive or safe golf shot, from the lie of the ball to where your next shot will land. Do you usually go for those shots that may have repercussions or do you lay up?

I must admit that most of the time I go for the safe approach, figuring I would rather have a second shot that I could make rather than picking myself out of troubles that lie ahead. There are times, however, where the safe shot is not always the best option.

Case in point... Gary Woodland, during the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open, decided on an aggressive play knowing that the trouble that lay ahead, namely, Brooks Koepka, was a birdie putt away from a tie for the lead.

Gary WoodlandWhat did Woodland do?

Well, in this case, his caddie made the ultimate call which was for Woodland to take a 3-wood and hit the ball 255 yards to a raised green, knowing that par wouldn't win the U.S. Open.

The golf ball landed on the fringe and Woodland wound up with a birdie, putting him ahead of Koepka and in a position to win.

Not many amateurs can hit a 255-yard 3 wood (especially under pressure) but when should we take the long shot in golf or play it safe?

There are several bullet points to remember before taking a long shot.

- Never go for low percentage shots. If there is trouble near your target and you think the golf club you selected will get you there, steer clear!

- Get out of trouble safely. If your golf ball is buried in the woods or behind a tree, don't try a miracle shot - instead, get the ball back into the fairway with a look at the green.

- Take the trouble out of play from your first shot. Position yourself properly so that, if you need that next shot to be a miracle, you have the option.

Photo: Wikimedia.org

Thursday, June 13, 2019

How to Get Out of Hard Sand Bunkers

During the spring and summer months, when there is more rain than usual, you might not be able to find a fluffy lie in the sand - bunkers are water-soaked and packed hard, thus the term "hard-pan".

No bounce, hard-packed sand and lots of water can turn a normal bunker shot into a two or three shot mistake. How can you get out of these hard sand bunkers in a single stroke?

I came upon this exact dilemma as I navigated my way through the beautiful and exceptionally maintained River Club this past week. After a deluge, even the most pristine golf courses have hard packed sand. I must admit, I was at a loss when it came to extracting my golf ball safely (and in the least number of strokes) from both greenside and fairway bunkers....and, I was racking up the shots.

These are not your normal bunker shots and I can guess that these are not shots that we normally practice so I have enlisted the advice of several teaching professionals to give us the "bounce" on the subject of hardpan.

Mel Sole, a local legend (and teaching professional) in the Myrtle Beach area says to reach for a different club when escaping hard-packed bunker sand. "You definitely don’t want to use a sand wedge…or lob wedge," says Sole.

A sand wedge gives you too much bounce and is designed to help you through fluffier sand. Mel instead suggests using a pitching wedge or 9-iron and to change your normal technique.

"Address the ball as you would a normal bunker shot. Instead of cocking the wrists early in the swing as you would normally do, have less wrist cock and a shallower arc on the backswing, taking just a thin sliver of sand. Still hit about two inches behind the ball and keep [your hands] ‘under’ so that the club won't dig."

Read: Picking Your Wedge With Confidence!

Instructor Jim McLean suggests a change in technique for a greenside bunker challenge.

"Think, Steeper, shorter and easy."

Don't open the clubface (keep the face square), adjust your stance to be on your front foot (lean towards the target), take the club back steeply and hit one-inch behind the ball.

That's it! Easy-peasy advice...now, it's off to find a wet bunker and practice!

What advice do you have for getting your golf ball out of a hardpan bunker? Let us know in the comments section of this golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.


Thursday, June 06, 2019

Jack Nicklaus on How to Win a Golf Tournament

When Jack Nicklaus talks, golfers listen and, this past week, his words helped Patrick Cantlay cruise to victory at The Memorial Tournament.

Can you apply his sage advice in the heat of a tournament and come out victorious?
Jack Nicklaus at Pawleys Plantation

When Mr. Nicklaus visited Pawleys Plantation, (one of my company's golf courses), his audience was filled with both executives and children from The First Tee Program, all hanging on his every word. How many times has any of us had the opportunity to be up close and personal with the Golden Bear?

Whether he was regaling us with stories of his wins or helping the next generation of 'Tiger Woods golfers' how to grip a club, Mr. Nicklaus imparted some golf wisdom which we will not soon forget.

This week at the Memorial, however, the advice offered to Cantlay was parlayed into victory. What advice did he tell the young PGA Tour golfer?

Nicklaus said to Cantlay, "You need to go out there, have a good time. Look around when you’re out there. Look at all the people having a great time. And then you need to have a great time and realize that that’s why you’re there, and relax and go have fun and go win the golf tournament."

What? No thoughts on how to play the holes, how to avoid trouble, what clubs work best at Muirfield Village, aka "Jack's Place"?

According to Mr. Nicklaus, two years ago Patrick Cantlay came to him seeking course strategy and advice but this time, the advice had a more comforting and joyful tone.

Sage advice from the master! How many times have you gotten bogged down in the details instead of just enjoying the day, the round, your clubs, the trees? How many times have you just gone and played golf for the fun of it?

Cantlay said that he gave the idea a lot more thought because it came from Jack Nicklaus, so here is your chance to read the Jack Nicklaus advice that won Cantlay the Memorial Tournament. Give it a chance to resonate the next time you are out with your mates and, instead of getting frustrated the next time you hit a bad shot, remember that we all hit wayward shots and, instead, enjoy the walk.

How has Jack Nicklaus inspired you? Let us know in this golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

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