Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Picking Your Wedge With Confidence - guest #golf post

This guest post is courtesy of golf aficionado Brian Adams, whose bio is below. Thanks for giving Stacy Solomon this week off for some R-and-R (and golf, of course), for which she is grateful!

These golf tips are on the short game, from one-hundred yards and in...probably some of the most important tips you will read this year. Learning about your golf clubs is the first step to mastering them.

(Editors notes) Before "digging into" this article, let's address a few terms, specifically BOUNCE, which is, plainly put, where the bottom of the club, or sole, touches the ground and LOFT, the number of degrees that the face of your golf club is angled upward.

Bounce is a measurement of degrees; the higher the number, the more the leading edge of your golf club will be off the ground at address. discusses bounce as, "The more bounce a wedge has - the higher its bounce angle - the better it will resist digging. Another way of saying it: Higher bounce equals smaller, shallower divots."

Picking Your Wedge With Confidence

Not all wedges are created equal. Some fly high, some get you distance, and some are left in your golf bag for the rest of eternity, never again to see the light of day. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Let’s get you the basics on when to best utilize each wedge to your full advantage.

The Pitching Wedge

This is the old standby. Of the standard selection of wedges, the pitching wedge will get you the most distance but offers the least loft.

Recreational golfers are likely to be most familiar with their pitching wedge distance, using it for any and all occasions that call for a wedge. To that, I ask: would you use a fork to eat soup? And you might answer “Only if all the spoons are dirty and it’s not my turn to unload the dishwasher.” To which I would reply “I think we’ve lost the idea behind this analogy.” The point is that the pitching wedge is not your only option. There’s also...

The Gap Wedge

The Gap is not only the place where your little sister worked part-time during high school; it’s also a wedge that can help you form a more complete short game.

It’s called a gap wedge because it covers the yardage gap between your (longer) pitching wedge and (shorter) sand wedge. Not every beginner will necessarily have a gap wedge in their bag, as it’s not always included in a set of irons. As you begin to dial in your distances more accurately, a gap wedge may be worth adding to your bag to make sure any yardages are covered.

Golf Club Loft Chart

sand wedge in bunkerThe Sand Wedge

For many beginners, the sand wedge doesn’t offer much distance for the average player, but it can provide some extra loft from the 40-70 yard range.

You’ve likely become acquainted with the sand wedge during some trying times in the greenside bunker.

Although the sand wedge is designed to hit out of the sand, it’s not the only time you can use it. The sand wedge can be just as effective for short distances from the rough or the fairway as well.

The Lob Wedge

You may have seen one of Phil Mickelson’s famous “flop” shots around the green, where he takes a full swing to get maximum height with within a short distance. This type of shot is typically executed with a lob wedge.

The lob wedge is perhaps the least common wedge for a beginner to carry and is arguably the most difficult of the wedges to hit as intended. To achieve the desired height, you’ve got to swing hard.

The main issue with the lob wedge is that, if you take a full swing and fail to get under the ball properly, your fellow golfers may be calling you Captain Sully Sullenberger. (As a reminder, golf balls don’t float on the Hudson River.) Overall, the lob wedge is a high risk/high reward club that you may want in your arsenal some day. Whether or not today is that day...I’ll leave up to you.

Watch Phil Mickelson's amazing golf flop shot at Deutsche Bank Championship:

READ: Improve Your Short Game in 2 Easy Steps

Brian Adams Bio:
Brian is a left-handed golfer who lives in the Greater Boston area with his wife and their adorable baby girl. He is a regular contributor to the comedy website RECYCULUS and, when not on the golf course, occasionally directs music videos and performs stand-up comedy. For more info, visit

Add your comments to this Golf for Beginners golf blog below and @tag us with your thoughts on Twitter Golf4Beginners!

Golf Club loft chart:
Golf Ball in bunker:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Can Luck Be the Answer to a Winning #Golf Mindset?

Skill vs. luck - which one ultimately wins a tournament? Jordan Spieth believes there is an element of luck to his game.
"If you believe that you put yourself in the right positions—like, obviously, making a 50-footer for eagle, for that to go in, there’s certainly luck involved."
Spieth continues, "I put myself in position by executing to get it close, but if you have that extra element of belief that it’s going to go in, then you’re not surprised and you believe that it was you. Then you create a trend of your mental approach with it. And, obviously, it can go the other way really quickly. You can believe you are not going to get a break. And then you probably won’t. It’s amazing how it works."

golf ball skill vs luck

Tiger Woods once said, "There's no sense in going to a tournament if you don't believe that you can win it. And that is the belief I have always had. And that is not going to change." To believe is a good thing but, what happens when you don't win?

After the third round of the Hero World Challenge, Woods seemed to change his tune and was just happy to be back in the game; he was enjoying the competition of the tournament, not considering the final outcome. "It’s nice to be part of the fight again,” Woods said. “Get out there and fighting against the golf course; fighting against the guys. That’s fun."

Can having fun and not worrying about the outcome increase your luck on the golf course?

Research has determined that "the idea that exceptional performers are the most skilled is flawed."
Winning is overrated and exceptional performance often occurs in exceptional circumstances. Luck also has a lot to do with winning.

Scientists have looked into the science of luck and believe that there is a measurable aspect to luck which "has more to do with psychology than probability." A positive mental attitude combined with not compensating when facing fear can better your chances of winning.

So, can you be "lucky" at golf and improve your chances? Is there a scientific aspect to luck and, if so, how can you apply it to your next round of golf?

Read: Improve your short game in 2 easy steps

An article in Popular Science magazine says that it is possible to trick your mind into believing you are lucky...with "lucky charms". In fact, research has shown that superstitions of any kind can help you perform better on the golf course. "Researchers hypothesized that the people with their lucky charms by their side persisted at problems longer because they felt more effective like they had the assistance of some other power." So now you know it's okay to pull out that rabbit's foot, throw grass over your shoulder and mark your ball that certain way...

Gary Player contradicts research by saying, "The harder you work, the luckier you get."

Of which mindset are you...and what lucky charms do you carry in your golf bag? Let us know in the comments section of our Golf for Beginners golf blog and tag us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Improve Your Short Game in 2 Easy Steps

short game golf tips
Did you know that PGA Tour golfers get "up-and-down" only about sixty percent of the time? According to Dave Pelz, that number drops greatly for the average golfer.

Driving the ball moves you down the fairway (maybe), but getting on the green, and finishing in the least number of strokes, is really what the game is all about!

The short game, whether it's chipping, sand saves or putting, should be worked on only at the practice facility - you don't want to start working on your game during a round as that could prove to be disastrous.

Golf for Beginners has compiled a few video tips and drills to help you score better down the stretch.

1. CHIPPING: I just came upon this simple golf video tip from PGA instructor Meredith Kirk yesterday - getting into a good chipping stance.

Read: Tips to Improve Consistency in your golf game

2. PUTTING: According to Dave Pelz, good putts start with tempo. Think "pendulum". Vary the length of your backswing to control the speed of your putts. Watch this video to see how the Master does it:

REMEMBER: Final putting tip for today: the only golf club in the bag specifically made to hit the ball into the cup is the putter – master it first, master it best!

What golf short game tips can you share with our readers? Post in the comments section below and on Twitter, tagging @Golf4Beginners.

Photo: Wikimedia

Friday, December 08, 2017

Golf Courses in Palm Springs Great for a Winter Warm-Up

Gary Player and Pete Dye really knew what they were doing when they designed golf courses in Palm Springs, California; they chose a U.S. vacation destination with about three-hundred days of sunshine a year and a backdrop worthy of a movie set!

Palm Springs golf vacations are happily taken by many during the winter months - AccuWeather shows temperatures in the mid-to-high seventies there while many in the north suffer from the coldest days of the year. Temperate weather is only one reason why golfers choose Palm Springs...the golf courses, hotels, and views, are the real attraction!

December weather Palm Springs

For golfers who would like to get a sense of what a Palm Springs holiday has to offer, pack your virtual clubs and join us as we whet your whistle and explore a few courses and hotels in the "Playground to the Stars".

The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort: located on Dinah Shore Drive, the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort is surrounded by two amazing championship golf courses, the Pete Dye and Gary Player Signature courses.

Golf Channel states about the course created by the "Black Knight" that the 7,062 layout is "versatile" yet also "formidable. "The Player sports better than 20 acres of varied water features and will play at its most memorable when the drink comes into play." With wide fairways, abounding desert and mountainous views, the Player Course is one you don't want to miss when visiting Palm Springs.

Western Mission Hills Resort

The Pete Dye course is slightly shorter than the Player Course at about 6,700 yards and comes with its own set of challenges, from hidden pin placements to forced water carries and pot bunkers. Twoguyswhogolf offers this advice, "a key to scoring well here is to hit the fairways while avoiding the sand traps and rough, which can make recoveries for par quite difficult. Most fairways are bordered by mounding and trees, which though not dense can certainly come into play on errant tee shots and approaches."

JW Marriott Desert Springs Palm Desert Resort: Fresh mountain air and palm trees in a desert oasis with two awesome golf courses to play - a virtual heaven on earth.

Desert Springs Palm Desert Resort

The Desert Springs Palms Course takes players on a scenic trip through thirty acres of landscaped fairways, elevation changes, and views, view, views. The Palms offers the feel of a championship layout with the vistas and features that a resort course has to offer. 

Some golfers have called The Desert Springs Valley Course, "an oasis in the sand" and that it "does not disappoint". The rough penalizes golfers but the fairways are "lush" and precision is key.

My advice to people in the colder regions? Take a break from winter and play some golf in Palm Springs!

Friday, December 01, 2017

#Golf Tips to Help Your Team Win a Best-Ball Competition

golf carts lined up
Scenario: You have been invited by your regular group to enter into a best ball golf competition. How do you ensure that you will be prepared and help your foursome to score low?

First, a basic description of a best-ball competition: a group (two or foursome) hit their own golf ball off of their respective tees (usually, men are at the whites, seniors and juniors are one tee forward and ladies hit from the reds).

The foursome then decides which ball represents their best chance of getting on the green, or into scoring position for their next shot (on a par-5 for example). The group then hits their next shot on the spot (or as close to) the area on which that tee shot landed (no cheating...if the ball is not on the fairway but close, you cannot improve your chances by placing the ball on the fairway). The team is basically looking to score birdies and the finish of the round, the winning team has the lowest score under par.

So, now that you understand the basics, how can you score?

Best-ball golf is a thinking man's (and women's) game...a mental game.

Consider the abilities of four golfers in your group and determine who should play the safe tee shot, in order to help get you into proper position for your next shot.

A woman who can hit long and straight is an asset to the team as she will usually get to play from the forward tees and, in some cases, can stick the ball close to the green (yes, I am talking from experience).

Want to really make this competition really fun? Go as a TEAM! Dress in similar colors and get into team spirit! All shirts in orange, all hats in black....feeling like a team can really improve your foursome's resolve and enthusiasm.

Let the player who is draining the putts take the last shot (if needed) so that he or she can watch how the ball rolls.

Manage your expectations! Just because your team made three birdies in a row doesn't necessarily mean that you will be the low scoring team. Definitely high-five each other for the great score and then move on to the next hole.

Do you really want to win? Plan ahead. Look at the scorecard before you go, check the stimp meter and practice on both the driving range and putting green. Execute shots from 100 yards and in (chips, pitches and lob shots).

Share your golf tips on how to win a best-ball competition in the comments section of this golf blog and on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.

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