Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden? As if!
To explain golf in only one word would have to be: simple. You swing a club to hit a ball at a target, which is a hole in the ground.
If only it were that easy...anyone who’s picked up a club knows that golf is HARD. If golf was as easy as it sounds, a lot more people would play and tee times would be impossible to find. BUT don't let that statement disinterest you, golf can be the most rewarding individual sport ever created. There aren't many more gratifying feelings in life than making solid contact with a golf ball and seeing it fly exactly how you wanted it to. And the best part is, it only takes one great shot to make you forget about all the bad ones you have ever hit.
For anyone taking up the sport for the first time or continuing in the pursuit of getting better at golf, be prepared for a mental roller coaster. Just when you think you've got an idea or swing thought that will solve any problem in your game, some other issue arises – and welcome to golf!
Below are some tips I’ve found helpful when perfecting your game.
- Stand in a comfortable, athletic stance with your arms hanging naturally
- Hold the club with the looseness you would use to hold a baby bird
- Turn shoulders away from the target to start backswing while keeping arms extended
- Hands should reach at least to shoulder level while the wrists naturally bend, pointing the club head towards the target
- Use your core and hips to rotate towards the target while pulling the club back down towards the ground to make contact
- Contact with the ball should be made with your hands closer to the target than the ball
- Solid contact can be achieved by keeping your head as still as possible from the backswing all the way through contact
- After contact, keep eyes focused on the contact point for a split second and extend your arms towards the target
- Follow through to a comfortable and (most importantly) photogenic position and hold that pose as long as you can
- The obvious goal for chipping is to end up somewhere on the green so your next shot is a putt, not another chip
- Like the full swing, keeping your head still during the stroke promotes solid contact
- Keep more weight on your front foot than your back foot, which helps you hit the ball first before the ground
- A chipping swing should stay under knee level to keep the stroke smooth and consistent
- Try to brush the grass with a swing that accelerates through the ball
- The better you putt, the better chance you have of writing lower numbers on your scorecard. In other words, putting is arguably the most important part of the game; you have about the same amount of shots putting as you do off the green
- The most important tip of putting is hitting the ball with the correct speed so if it doesn't go in the hole, you are left with a short, stress-free putt for your next shot
- On short putts, use a small backswing and accelerate through the ball so your putt has a better chance of starting on your intended line
- On putts of any length, focus on rolling the ball over one spot about a foot in front of you on your line towards the hole
- On longer putts, use a wider backswing and use the momentum of the putter head to strike the ball with a smooth stroke
- Finally, in my opinion, the sound of the ball going into the hole is one of the best sounds in all sports
Despite bringing up some of the challenging sides of my favorite sport, there are so many positives aspects that can outweigh any negative ones out at the driving range or on the golf course. Golf is a great setting for hanging out with friends, business gatherings, a solitary getaway from the daily stress of everyday life, or my new recent favorite, dates with that special someone. The social drinking aspect of the sport doesn't hurt its appeal either! From the pre round drinks to beers on the course to the 19th hole libations, golf gives you plenty of opportunities for a good time. Additionally, it's always nice to look around at the beautiful land that has been meticulously shaped and groomed for your viewing pleasure, even when times are rough out on the course.
And for the record, golf does not stand for Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden...
See you out at the range or on the course ladies!
Swing Thought - What part of your swing you are thinking about as you are swinging the club
Driving - A shot played from a tee, intended to move the ball a great distance down the fairway towards the green.
Chipping - a shot played from close to the green, usually within a few yards of the putting surface, that results in the ball popping into the air, then hitting the ground and rolling forward.
Putting - A golf stroke used with a club called a putter when you are on or just off the green.
Lower numbers - Unlike most other sports, the object of the game of golf is to shoot the lowest score.
19th hole - A nickname for the golf course bar, where time is often spent after the round.
With a current handicap of 8.7, Mike has been golfing well over half his life. He has attended many PGA Tour tournaments, including most recently the British Open at the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews, Scotland, and has plans to attend the prestigious Masters in Augusta this coming April. Out of the multitude of courses Mike has played, his top three would have to be: TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Course / Florida, Half Moon Bay - Ocean Course / California, Crail Golfing Society - Balcomie Links / Scotland. To date, he has had more foursomes than he can count - mostly with people who call themselves "golfers".