A Basic Introduction to the Game Overview Golf has seen an incredible rise in popularity over the past few decades, and that popularity continues to grow. From the days when golf was consider the pastime of a select few old folks who walked the greens in their checked pants, the sport today has a tremendous following. This can largely be attributed to players like Tiger Woods -- charismatic players who have captured the attention of everyone, including those who have never picked up a golf club. The golfing industry had changed significantly as well. There are resorts, vacation packages and even housing developments built around incredible golf courses. Finding a great place to golf has never been easier with the number of courses growing annually, and those managing the courses set to make the most of the property available. There's no way to really tell what prompted the rising popularity of the sport. But if you look at the number of young people walking the greens with parents and grandparents, and the number of schools with a golf program for their students, you'll see that golf is most likely a trend the popularity of which will continue for the foreseeable future. Beginners Golfing Tips Learning to golf successfully is not something that you can really learn while playing a video game. This news is sometimes a crushing blow to those who have spent hours playing Nintendo's Wii Sports but it is in fact the crushing reality. Learning how to play golf in real life is sometimes very complicated and will require that you pay close attention to the exact rules and form. While learning from a golf instructor is a wise idea, there are a few mistakes that many beginners tend to make. Learning how to overcome these mistakes will greatly improve your chances of playing a good game of golf and walking away from the green after a successful game. One of the biggest problems that beginners have when learning golf is they tend to look up when they actually go to strike the ball. This is a problem because it can result in a stroke being counted even if you did not hit the ball. You can just imagine how this can quickly add up to a horrible golf score. It is important to always look down until after you have hit the ball. To ensure that you do stay down until after the hit ensure that you keep your hips properly rotated. If you have trouble with this concept talk to your instructor for some specific tips to help you. Additionally, ensuring that you keep your arms extended fully while you are swinging has been known to help many beginning golfers. Your last step should be counting to five after you strike the ball before you look up. This will help you pace yourself and help you avoid looking up too quickly. Another common problem for beginning golfers is that many putts on the green are continuously missed. To help overcome this problem you should ensure that you are standing in the putting stance and looking straight down at the top of your ball. If you are not looking directly down, you are likely to miss the appropriate hit and your ball will veer off in an undesirable direction. Only look straight down at the ball when you actually putt and you will be looking at a much greater chance of actually hitting the ball into the hole without having to continuously putt and putt again. Many new golfers also tend to have a problem with the ball going into the sides of the green, rather than straight ahead. While this may seem like a very complicated problem to correct, it is actually quite simple with a bit of patience. The first thing you always need to keep in mind is your stance. If you are not standing appropriately before you even swing the club, you are not going to have a successful stroke. You need to ensure that you are taking the time to carefully analyze your stance before you ever swing, if you notice that your club is not squarely touching the ball then you may need to back up a bit to ensure that you are not hitting the ball from the side of the club. This is one of the biggest things that will throw a ball to one side of the green or another. Ensuring a solid, square swing will help your ball go to the desired location with a bit of practice. Hooking is one of the last major flaws that strikes at most beginners. This is something that can be quite difficult to correct as well. Some have a problem with their stance that causes the ball to hook, while others are gripping the club too much, causing it to hit the ball the wrong way. Regardless of your problem, taking a close look at your stance, as well as ensuring that you are not gripping the club too tightly should be quite helpful in correcting a hooked ball. Of course, once you have started making adjustments to your stance or even your grip, you need to practice a bit to improve your skills. The Essentials of Golf At the core of golf there is competition. Yet the most essential part of golf is patience. Patient competition seems like a contradiction. Yet golf is not contradictory at all. On the other hand it has been said one person can find golf relaxing, while another individual might think it the most stressful sport in the universe. Professional golfers tend to be graceful. It is as if they are very aware of how the muscles in their body propel them forward. Languid strides and flexibility are words that come to mind when imagining the professional golfer at work. Some people link golf to sports like bowling or billiards. Not particularly something you want to watch unless you understand the game fully and know the participants well enough to be cheering one or more toward the grand first prize. Serious golf fans are loyal and just as radical (in a subdued manner) as any professional football fan can be. As a spectator sport golf ranks high on the television ratings. It is highly unlikely anyone has seen the World Cup void of fans on any given year. The collective silences and cheers of golf fans exude a respect for the game. That respect is the attention grabber. As with any sport, the interest of the young people is a natural part of survival. Without future golf players there is no future to golf. Since golf has been around for arguably five centuries it is not a concern that the sport will ever die away completely or vanish like a lost civilization. Fresh new blood keeps the arterial channels flowing more freely though. The diversity of golf is found most obviously in the participants of golf. Any level of physically fit persons can choose golf as a sport. It is known to be beneficial exercise. When golf becomes a set part of your scheduled regimen it is very likely extra pounds will come off. Any societal level of persons can play golf. It is nit the game of the rich and famous, on the contrary there are many affordable public golf courses emerging. Whether you are male, female, young or mature golf is a game of competitive spirit. We mustn't forget it is a patient competitive spirit. Not only are you competing against other golfers you are also being constantly challenged by difficult golfing courses. A public or private golf course has its fair share of challenging factors on the fairways, in the sand traps and across the rolling hills. The most appealing challenge for most golfers is the challenge of improving your game. You might have seen the cartoons where the golfer has a club wrapped around a tree limb in frustration or yet another where it appears Zen golf might be a new fad. Either account can be considered a fair account when you are talking about a sport with diversity, versatility and class. If you have never golfed in your life, think about it the next time you have some free time. You might be surprised how much fun golf can essentially be. Explanation of Popular Golf Terms There are numerous golf terms that are used in almost every game that is played, yet often it is virtually impossible for someone who is new to golf or just does not understand golf to understand the terminology. Some of the most popular terms are listed below to ensure that you know exactly what is being said while you are out on the green. Of course, this list is not absolute, but this list will help you get started successfully. Back Nine -- This is the last set of 9 holes that are on the golf course. This is determined by the order that the course is played in. For example, if you start playing on hole 1, the back nine would refer to holes 10-18. However if you started playing on the 10th hole it would actually refer to holes 1-9. Birdie -- This is when a score for a particular hole comes in one stroke below par for the particular hole that is being played. This means if the hole being played is a par -3 then the score must be a 2, if the hole is a par -5 it must be a score of 4. Bogey -- This is a score that comes in a single point over the par. For example, if you are playing a par -3 hole then a score of 4 would be a bogey. In going further, anything that was a par -5 would need a score of 6 to be a bogey. This is just an example and is not restricted to only certain pars. Bunker -- This is what is created as a depression in the ground that is generally filled in with sand, which provides a greenside hazard that needs to be avoided. While the bunker typically shows up in the greenside, it is possible for them to also along the fairways or even beside the fairways. Green -- This is what the very end of a hole is call where the flagstick is located. This is typically, where you will putt out the rest of the hole. The shape can vary, however most are either oblong or oval shape. Handicap -- This is an indication of the overall playing ability that a player has. It is generally compiled based upon the last several scores that have been played as well as the course rating and the slop ratings that accompany the courses that were played. Generally, someone who has a typical average of 10 over par will have a slightly better handicap. In terms of handicaps, someone with a 2 is better than someone with a 3 or higher handicap. Hole -- This is the exact area where the flagstick resides to mark the exact location of the hole on the green. In addition it is also often referred to as the as the specific hole on a course -- for example a golf course typically has 18 holes. Over par -- This is the term used to describe any score that comes over the par for the course or even the individual hole. An example would be a score that was 5 on a hole that was a par -4. This would result in an over par. However, while this can refer to just a specific hole it can also refer to the entire course as a hole as well. Par -- This is considered the expected number of strokes in which it takes to actually sink the ball. To determine the par you should take at least 2 for putts, then add strokes based upon the length of the green. Very long greens will require higher values. A very long green would allow a par of 5 for example, while a short green would only allow a par 3. The par number is generally added both for the individual hole as well as for the entire golf course as well. This allows players to see exactly what they are looking at distance wise before they even begin playing. Golf -- More than a Walk Through the Pasture Mark Twain once wrote playing golf was a good way to spoil a walk through the pasture. The inimitable Mr. Twain, from this statement, could be believed not to be a golfer. After all, there is more to golfing than just walking through a pasture. First and foremost, golf is a way to either work out stress and frustration, or, for many, to get even more stressed out and frustrated. It can be the most infuriating game ever played or invented, or the most fun. And, no two trips to the golf course will ever be the same, regardless of how good a player someone is. This is because the weather conditions are never identical, and weather does play a big part in golf. The more intelligent golfers will not go near the course in a thunderstorm, but there are a few brave, and foolhardy, souls who will brave the elements just to play. The wind also plays a major factor in golf, as the wind will affect the way the ball travels. When hit, golf balls have spin. The spin can be enhanced by the wind, causing the ball to drift away from its intended target. Therefore, the golfer has to take the wind into consideration and plan his or her shot accordingly. Golf is also a good form of exercise, for those golfers who walk the course. A good course is about two miles around, so playing eighteen holes is roughly equivalent to walking four miles. Any doctor will tell you that such a walk can only be beneficial to the walker's heart and lungs. Additionally, playing golf is good for getting out of the house and being outdoors. Golfers can enjoy the sun and wind note the beauty of the nature they 're surrounded by, as the majority of courses are well landscaped and quite pleasing to the eye. Golfers can also watch squirrels and rabbits on the course, sometimes, and take pleasure in the antics of these creatures. This also helps free the golfer from thinking about the mistake he or she made on the last shot or previous hole, calming them down and getting them ready for their next shot. For others, however, playing golf is a great way to beat stress. After all, a golf course is about the only place a person can knock the crap out of something, not only not get in trouble for hitting something, but being praised and rewarded by knocking the crap out of the ball well. How perfect is that? Golf is also a game of honor. Surprised? Don't be. After all, golf is the only game where a person can call a penalty on themselves, and those who play with honor do. Of course, there are the jerks who claim to play golf, but wouldn 't think of calling a penalty on anything they 've done. Their scores, though, are meaningless, and this kind of behavior will also show up in their day to day lives. Hitting the Ball -- How Hard Can It Be? A golf outsider watches the game. How hard can it be to hit a stationary ball? After all, major league baseball players hit balls traveling high speeds all the time. With that in mind, the outsider decides to take up the game of golf with the notion that the game is so relaxing because it requires little effort. Think again. Most of those people give up on the game before they really understand the dynamics of hitting that little ball. It makes sense that an iron club could pelt a little ball hundreds of yards, yet when the new golfer takes his first swing there is often little movement at all\'85 sometimes no movement (or worse, backward movement). There is a lot more to hitting that little ball than meets the eye. Human nature is to use the iron to cup it under the ball to hit the ball up into the air. But look at the club. It is angled back, not at all designed to cup beneath the ball. So, when a golfer tries to scoop up the ball, he or she is really trapping it between the angled face of the club and the ground. That's why often times, the ball doesn't move \endash or worse, moves backwards just a little bit. Instead of striving to hit up, it's best to learn to hit downward. By hitting down, the angled club will do the work for you, not the upswing of your club. When you hit down, the angle will bump your golf ball forward. It's that simple. But putting power behind that little punt takes some practice. You'll be tempted to swing big and hard. It takes as much practice to resist that temptation as it does to learn to hit the ball! Once you have trained yourself against swinging upward, you will see your hitting start to improve. Now you'll begin to understand why there are various golf club options and choices you have to make when making a shot. You'll need to pick your club based on the angle of the club face once you determine how far you want the ball to go and how you need it to perform. If you've been practicing but still don't feel like you've got the hang of it, ask for help. Your golf course should have an attendant on hand who could give you some pointers. Maybe you could take some private lessons. The course pro shop should have suggestions for area teachers. Or, try the good, old buddy method. Ask another golfer you've seen play how he or she does it and if they have any tips for hitting the ball. You may think you sound silly, but when other golfers start to regale you with their tales of learning to hit the ball, almost everyone has had to address that challenge up front. With those tips in mind and maybe even a few lessons behind you, go back to practicing. Just as it takes a while to train your mind to think about hitting downward instead of upward, it takes a while to train your body to actually do it the way you have in mind. Don't give up and remember, the game is all about relaxing so don't stress too much over hitting the ball. Choosing the Right Clubs As you can imagine, purchasing the wrong golf clubs can be almost as bad for a golfer as purchasing the wrong car for a race driver. Without the appropriate tools and equipment, you are not going to play well no matter how skilled you may think that you are. If you know what you are doing in terms of golf, you already have a step ahead of most others. However, learning all of the various factors that can alter your overall game based upon the clubs is very important. There are plenty of club options available and picking a good set for your needs does not mean you have to spend thousands of dollars. You can spend very little and still get a set of clubs that meets your needs perfectly. As a beginner, you are going to need to focus on purchasing irons. These are the primary types of clubs that you will be using, and thus where you need to focus the majority of your efforts. If you are concerning yourself with numerous types and styles, you are more likely to become overwhelmed with information and much less likely to make a good decision when you do purchase your clubs. The first thing for the irons that you need to keep in mind is how they are made. For a beginner it is much better to look for a set of clubs that are cast irons. This will provide you with a much larger sweet spot on the head of the club, which will allow for a bit more error in your swing without hindering you badly. Once you have mastered your swings and greatly improved your skills then a set of forged clubs are much better because they allow the ability to influence the trajectory much better. However, with a much smaller sweet spot on forged clubs you will find that they are highly inappropriate for beginners. Never buy forged clubs with the idea that you will be needing them in the next few weeks. If you really think you will be moving to them that quickly you can just turn around and buy the cast iron set that you have just purchased to recoup some of your money. The next consideration is the size of the head. Typically, golf clubs have a very small head; however, this gives you a noticeably smaller sweet spot and in turn demands a much higher skill level in order to play well. If you are a beginner or intermediate level player, you should look at using a medium head club. While larger or oversized heads are available, choosing these is generally a bad idea because you will not be able to control the club as well. Overall, this will cause numerous problems in terms of being able to really improve your game. Selecting the right set of clubs is essential in order to actually ensure that you are playing a good game. A poor set of clubs, regardless of whether they are top quality will cost you numerous strokes on the green and make you quite frustrated. Choosing the right set of clubs does not mean you need to purchase custom made clubs, but you do need to take your skill level into account to ensure you buy clubs that can actually help you improve your game and play well. Getting Ready to Play Starts at the Driving Range All golf courses, reputable ones anyway, have driving ranges. This has nothing to do with the maneuverability of a golf cart, but the player practicing shots and getting loosened up for a round on the links. The driving range is the best place to practice a new shot or technique that the golfer has heard about but has not tried as of yet. It is never a good idea for the golfer to attempt a new shot, or a new grip on the golf course. This is because a muffed shot, and those are easy to hit, can cause the golfer to lose faith in the stroke, the club or the grip he or she was using. Therefore, it is always best to work on the shot at the driving range before ever considering trying it on the course. Every golfer has his or her own way of getting ready to play when they go to the driving range. For some, the idea it to take the smaller clubs, such as the pitching wedge, hit a few balls to get loosened up, then hit with larger and larger clubs, finishing up the workout with the woods. But, for others, he or she will start with the larger clubs, getting their stroke down with the driver and woods first, then working their way to the smaller clubs, such as the pitching and sand wedge. For others, though, they will take one particular club to work on. This is normally done when a golfer is having problems hitting this club regularly. By using only one club, the golfer has to focus on what they are doing with it. Are they gripping the club in a comfortable manner that will allow their wrists to be flexible on the follow through? Or, is their stance too closed or too open? This can have an adverse affect on a shot, with a closed stance preventing the golfer from getting the distance he thinks he or she should get with this particular club. A stance too wide open will affect the golfer's balance and, therefore, the accuracy of the shot. These are some of the things a golfer will work on at the driving range. But, then again, there is always the new tip that is guaranteed to increase both the length and the accuracy of the shot (and there's also oceanfront property in Oklahoma for those interested in making such a purchase). A lot of these so-called "tips" are ways for someone else to make money from golfing equipment or videos. Still, there are ome tips that are legitimate and will help. Regardless, all tips should be tried out on the driving range before any golfer ever thinks about stepping up to the tee on the first box. Remember, though, the driving range is not for all terrain vehicles, four wheel drive pickups, monster trucks, or to see how sharp a golf cart can be turned. A driving range is a place where golfers go to get ready for their game and try new tips. Getting a Grip on Golf Terminology Regardless of how much you've played golf, you're probably going to hear some new terminology every time you're golfing with a new group or working with a new instructor. The way to save face is to simply nod like you know exactly what they're talking about, even when they're touting new words. The smart thing to do is ask. Even a casual golfer knows words like bogey, slice and approach. But did you know that balata is that rubbery substance that covers a golf ball? Here are a few terms that may be less well known to some golfers. A chunk is that boo-boo of hitting the ground behind the ball -- way behind the ball. The word came about because the chunk of grass (the divot) that flies up can sometimes travel a longer distance than the ball. When it's done on purpose -- as from a sand bunker -- the resulting shot is called an explosion. When the ball is really buried in that sand, it' s known as a fried egg. A top shot is when you simply hit too high on the ball. One of the most common causes is that you've hit several chunks and you' re trying to compensate. When you hit a top shot, the ball will have little or no loft. If you're already in a sand trap, you're likely to stay there for another shot. If there's one directly in front of you, a top shot will probably net you a fried egg. A Mulligan is the same as a "do over" from your childhood days! This is when you aren't satisfied with your first shot and you simply pull another ball from your bag and start over. Typically, a Mulligan can only happen when you're playing alone or with very forgiving friends because few golfers are going to let an opponent have a free "do over." Yips is a word used to denote the inability to complete a putt with a slow, steady movement. For various reasons, the golfer instead makes a sudden, jerky swing, usually causing the putt to go wild. The address is commonly known as that moment that the golfer steps up to the ball. What some don't realize is that USGA rules say that the address has occurred once the golfer has rested the club behind the ball. Nassau is a popular way of competing, especially for those who are something less than professional minded. In this game, golfers have one score for the first nine holes they play and a separate score for the back nine, as well as an overall score for the entire round. That means that golfers have three scores to compare, upping the odds of winning something! There are other terms that you should know as well. The grain refers to the way the grass angles, similar to the grain of fabric. Loft is the angle of the face of the club. Dormie means that the person with the lower score can't hope for anything more than a tie. Learning the terminology isn't necessary to playing a good game, but it probably is necessary to enjoying play with friends. Are Golf Lessons For You? If you've been thinking about taking up golf, or if you're a golfer in search of a better game, you may have considered golf lessons. But are golf lessons really beneficial? And how do you find a pro who will offer good advice? There are some who swear that lessons are vital and others who say that practice is the only thing that will improve your golf game. The truth seems to lie somewhere in the middle. But before you drop your coach or sign up for lessons, consider what it is that you hope golf lessons will accomplish. Outlining your goals may help you decide whether you truly need lessons or simply more time on the course. If you play with others who play exceptionally well, you may want to find someone to give you some help with your game. Whether that's a paid coach or merely a friend who plays well is strictly a personal choice. Getting some pointers and tips may be a good way to ensure that you don't totally embarrass yourself in front of other players. If you're serious about the game, you've probably been involved long enough that you don't need advice on whether to get a coach. But if you've only recently discovered the joy of golfing, you may find yourself looking for a way to improve your game. Golf lessons could very well be the answer. Some people say that lessons give them a set time to practice and an opportunity to completely focus on the game. You'll typically be less interrupted than if you were playing on your own, stopping to chat with friends along the way. But others say the simple fact of having someone scrutinizing every move and offering constant advice is more distracting than helpful. Decide whether you're one of those who accept direction and works well in that situation. That's a major clue as to whether golf lessons are a good idea. Remember that a golf coach's job is to teach you to golf correctly. That means that there are some habits that he (or she) will be trying to ingrain and others they'll be trying to break. While golfing correctly is a terrific goal, many golfers have some bad habits that they tout as benefiting their game. Changing your grip, adjusting your stance or even using different equipment may be among the "must do" list from your coach. You may resist those changes. You have two options. You can do your best to follow the instructions, or you can explain that you aren't planning to change that particular habit. If you don't plan to change, you may need to reexamine your decision to take lessons. Without following directions, lessons may become a waste of time and effort on both parts, and money on yours. Golf lessons are great for some people. It's a personal decision whether you are one of those who will benefit from a coach -- formal or informal. But remember that the most important thing to improve your golf game is simply practice. What Makes a Good Golf Course? A question plaguing designers of golf courses all over the world is what makes a good golf course? The answer, simplified greatly, is the lay of the land it is being built on. A good golf course needs to have rolling hills, preferably a pond or two, or three, or four, or five, trees, an area that can be used as a fairway, an area for a rough, and enough room for sand traps. However, there are a lot of so-called golfers who don' t think a course should have any sand traps at all. They are wrong and the minority. Sand traps can improve both the course and the skills of the golfers who play them. A good golf course should be designed so as every hole is different and unique unto itself. If every hole was straight and four hundred and twenty yards, the course would be boring to play. A good golf course should have holes that dogleg right and dogleg left, with enough obstacles so the flag cannot be seen from the tee box. Good golf courses have elevated tee boxes to help the golfers get more elevation on their drives. Once the ball hits the fairway, the elevation will depend entirely on the skill of the golfer. Another thing that makes a good golf course is the people who work to maintain it. Some courses have professional groundskeepers who have the job of keeping the fairways smooth, the roughs rough and the greens closely cropped. This can make the all the difference in the world to golfers, as can the type of grass used on the green. Speaking of grass on the green, the better golf courses have bent grass greens. This helps keep the ball from rolling off the green once it hits, whereas a green with Bermuda grass, while still a good green, will not have ability to slow the ball down once it hits. Of course, the bent grass greens will wind up with more divots than those with Bermuda grass as the ground tends to be softer beneath them. The attitude of the grounds crew and the personnel in the clubhouse has a great deal to do with whether a golf course is good or not. If the people working there have bad attitudes, the golfers will not be able to focus on their game, as they remember how they were mistreated, or thought they were mistreated. But, a helpful, friendly staff, will make the golfing experience pleasant and enjoyable. Well maintained golf cart paths are also important to having a good golf course. A broken and rough cart path will beat the golfers to death, forcing them to drive on the fairways. While this is not a major problem, it can be a headache. One of the things that makes a poor golf course, is rough terrain. Some golf courses have rocks all over the place. This has a negative affect on the balls once they hit the ground and damages the player's golf clubs. Online Golf Lessons There are many different ways to achieve golf lessons, and many ways to effectively acquire valuable lessons out there. Among the many ways to learn lessons of golf, online golf lessons are one of the fast effective ways to gain knowledge of strategies and techniques. Improving your golf game while realizing your best potential is one great reason to utilize online golf lessons. Finding the best website for online golf lessons is relatively simple. Perhaps you have already established a comfortable, user-friendly golf website and that site lends you access to online golf lessons. If not, there are many reputable websites from which to choose. Also there are varied means in which to utilize the lessons offered. Online golf lessons can include tips on how to improve specific aspects of your golf game. Normally on most websites, an overall generalization is provided so that you can see the broad scope of golf. This occurs at first and as you gain more direct knowledge toward where your particular golf game suffers you can find information that will seem personalized. There will also be valuable information about stance, follow through of an effective swing and the finer points of swing analysis. Online golf lessons can even include time and effort geared toward the mental aspect of the game. As we know golf is a competitive sport in which you are competing against other golfer, the course and most importantly yourself. In most case online golf lessons are offered on a non-paying basis and are simply included in your favorite golf website. In some cases you may find golf lessons that are presented in acrobat reader formatting and are downloaded into your personal computer at a minimal cost to you. Payment is made in a secure fashion with a credit card. One benefit from utilizing online golf lessons to improve your golf skills is that you can experience the lessons at your leisure. You can study and practice at your leisure and then too have the lessons handy for reviewing when you forget exactly what was being taught. Once you have improved your golf game and see the results you were hoping to see it is possible you will search for a more specific online lesson for your needs. The Ideal Golf Outing What is the ideal golfing trip? Clearly, it will be different for everybody. For some golfers the ideal outing would be going to a major course and getting to play on it, knowing professional golfers had walked and played over these same greens. What golfer would not want to play the course where the Master's or U.S. Open is held? Most would kill (figuratively speaking) for the chance. These are courses where legends have played -- players such as Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. For others, though, ideal golfing is not so much where they play as what it is like when they play i.e. the weather conditions. Some golfers prefer a day with mild temperatures and a light breeze to help keep them cool, while others want a challenge and will go to the extremes weather-wise. There are those who will play when the temperature hits triple digits or drops well below freezing, just to see how well they play under these extreme circumstances. And, there are golfers who will play in the snow and at night. There are some specially designed golf balls created for these golfers. The night players can chase their glow-in-the-dark golf balls all over the course, but need to take a flashlight to prevent running into a tree or some other hazard on the course. For those who play in the snow, fluorescent golf balls were created. These brightly colored balls are easy to see against the snow-covered course. Either way, golfing in the extreme is a challenge, and not one for the faint of heart, or the poor of play. For golfers who play in extreme heat, they need to remember to bring plenty of water to drink and leave all alcoholic beverages alone. Those who play in the cold should have something warm to drink in a thermos to help keep their body temperature up, even if they are walking the course. But, whatever the discomfort and the accommodations they have to make, these people consider these a small price to pay for these "ideal golf outings." For most golfers, though, the ideal golf outing is simply the chance to go to their favorite course with a few friends and chase golf balls all over the pasture, just having a good time and not taking the game too seriously. This is the most prevalent type of golfer, and these players can usually be found playing in couples and foursomes. They will chide one another on a bad shot, while complimenting one another on good shots and putts. The final score rarely matters (unless they tend to be serious golfers), as they are on the links to have a good time and get away from the stresses of every day life. Oddly enough, there are golfers who prefer to play the game by themselves. The solo golfer will most likely walk the course, getting to know the feel of every tee box, fairway and green with his or her feet. But these golfers are in the minority. By and large, golf is a social game. And, though it is a competitive sport, most golfers will tell you that their favorite part of the day, is the pints or drafts they share with their buddies on the 19th hole in the Club house at the end of a fulfilling round. The History of Golf Golf's interesting origin actually began five centuries ago. It is a historical fact that due to the interference of golf with much more serious combat drills, James II of Scotland banned golf in an act of Parliament on March 6 in the year 1457. There is general agreement among historians and golf fans alike that the Scots were the first golfers to become addicted to the sport. However the person or persons responsible for the invention of golf is open to debate. It has been suggested that bored sheepherders became quite exceptional at knocking around shaped stones into rabbit holes with their wooden shepherds staffs. This and various other inventive forms of golf were played as early as the fourteenth century. These games were played in Holland, Belgium, France as well as in Scotland, thus the debate on golf' s origin is rightly fueled. There is another historical fact that Scottish Baron, James VI, was the man who delivered the game we know today as golf to the English. For many years the game was played on severely rugged terrain, where no proper upkeep was required. In most accounts golf was played with crudely cut holes in the ground where the earth was reasonably flat. It was a group of Edinburgh golfers who first formed an organized club. In 1744 the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers was established. At this time in history the first thirteen laws of golf were drawn up for an annual competition. This first competition consisted of players from Great Britain and/or Ireland. One of the earliest Golf Clubs that were formed outside golf' s debatable native home of Scotland was the Royal Blackheath Golf Club of England. Blackheath came into existence in 1766, and the Old Manchester Golf Club was founded on the Kersal Moor in 1818. By the late 1800' s the Royal Montreal Club and the Quebec Golf Club were to become the first clubs in North America. It wasn't until 1888 that golf resurfaced in the United States with more fervor than each prior surfacing. Even then it was a Scotsman, John Reid, who first built a three-hole course in Yonkers New York. St. Andrews Club of Yonkers was built in a thirty-acre site near to the original three-hole course. From this hesitant and fitful start, golf grew rapidly as the new national pastime in America. Modern for its time the golf club, Shinnecock Hills, was founded in 1891. And in the nine years left in that century, more than one thousand prestigious golf clubs opened in North America. The historical value of golf is as interesting as any part of our heritage. Following the path that golf took to get from a shepherds' field to the amazing golf courses that dot our culture today, it is no wonder that golf has developed into a popular pastime in all parts of the world. Video Game Golf -- Virtual Golf at its Best Where virtual golf is concerned, the consensus is '85 if you have not played a golf video game in a while then you don't know what you are missing. The simulated real life action is unbelievable, or better yet it is believable and that is even better! Video games have come a long, long way and video golf is no exception. The newest gaming technology is available in the most remote corners of cyber space, video streaming and video games. And this technology can be all at your fingertips no matter your budget or skill level. Whether you are great at real time golf or are simply a novice, golf video games are good clean fun. Tiger Woods PGA Tour Series is a dominating force in the new age of golf video games. In years past there were other games mentioned more frequently and a broader scope of golf video games, but just as Tiger Woods has become a force to be reckoned with in the real world of golf so has it become 'the' word in virtual golf. The Tiger Woods Series has continually upgraded. Both the graphics and the difficulty have grown through the years so fans can be challenged with each new release. Where as there is no need to buy this years game if you have last years you may want to anyway. Some gaming series are phenomenal but are stagnant in their growth and new releases. Tiger Woods PGA Tour Series does not disappoint. Life-like features, unsurpassed graphics and amazing accuracy are among the reasons the popularity of video games have grown to accommodate staggering amounts of fans. Here again video golf is no exception. With Sid Meier's SimGolf, in the true tradition of simulation, you can become a golf course magnate and design your own golf course. You can also design your own resort community, serve as the head professional golf expert and sit back and watch your resort and business grow larger by the day. These types of virtual gaming are the wave of the future. The popularity of golf has grown recently to encompass all types of income levels and all types of personalities and ages. This is due to many factors but the most important of which has to do with the increasing interests in certain potential golf legends in the making. Truly what sport would be complete this day and age without a fantasy league to entertain the fans? Apparently not golf. Fantasy golf is available in video format and is just as riveting to manage and play as the real thing. Mario Golf is a golf video game and a great way to begin or continue your fantasy golf experience. Entertainment purposes are the main reason video games exist and you are sure to be entertained by any golf video game you purchase, download, or play in an interactive format in your favorite gaming room online. Perhaps it is questionable whether mastering these virtual golf videos will actually improve your game in real time. After playing a few video golf games you have to agree doing so can cause some great fun. Using Golf Learning Software Learning how to play golf is definitely a "hands on" process. However, there are other ways of learning golf that will actually enhance your understanding of the game and its addictive components as well as improve your physical skills. Software that teaches an individual to play golf is a valuable resource in the quest for perfected golf skills. You may be surprised exactly how much knowledge, expertise and understanding you can gather just from golf learning software. The instructional golf software that explains various golf lessons and is available to the general public may easily be the exact same lessons that professionals value also. Easy to follow techniques are explained and presented in unique formatting so that no one could misunderstand them. Different levels of instruction and varying degrees of cost are two diverse ways learning golf by means of software can accommodate any level of golf enthusiast. A very important key factor to any type of instructional golf software is discovering just how effective it has been. Your favorite golfing website will have pro's and con's guides to various instructional software. Golf websites should also have direct links to free trial downloads for different golf learning software. With free trial offers you can dabble in the world of software instructions and evaluate whether a certain product would benefit your needs. Some of the most recent technological advances have been applied to instructional golf software. Improving your golf game is the reason to experience the latest software available, however there are many older versions of reliable software that may suit your needs completely. As golf can be a tremendously relaxing sport it is also a competitive sport and to achieve your best swing, your accurate puts and the best score you have ever dreamed of having most of us have to endure at least a few lessons. There are natural golfers, as well as there are some natural football players. Sport participants that shine at what they do with minimal guidance area rarity. Unfortunately most of us need not only instruction but also time and effort to gain a sense of the game. Gaining a sense of the game has nothing to do with actually becoming proficient at playing golf so with the help of golf learning software you can learn what your best is in no time. Golf tends to be just as much a game against your self as against an opponent. You face individual goals as well as attempting to outscore your golf mates. Software that encapsulates all the methods and techniques that need to be a focal point on any golf course worldwide is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Finding the right software for your needs is simple. Favorite golfing websites will have links of interest and possibly free trial downloads for various software products. Perhaps a friend or co-worker has suggested a specific golfing software that has worked wonders for him or her. Or perhaps you have simply noticed that your Saturday morning golf partner has become more proficient at his or her game. You could ask for a recommendation. These are some of the best ways to find the correct software for your personal needs as a golfer. So no matter what level of golf you are playing, no matter what income level you are in or what knowledge of computers you may have, there is software available to aid in your skills as a golfer. You will be playing like the professionals in no time. Hybrid Golf Club The hybrid golf club is also referred to as a utility club and is a relatively recent addition to the variety of golf clubs golfers can choose from. They are growing in popularity because they are designed to be easier to hit for recreational golfers. In fact, they are easier to hit for all golfers and most touring pros now carry hybrid golf clubs in their bags. Hybrid golf clubs are a category of club that combines elements of both woods and irons into their design. This combination adds up to having technical features that aid in getting the ball airborne, that dampen the effects of miss hits, and many other pluses. Most hybrid golf clubs are designed to replace long irons (2, 3, 4, and sometimes 5 irons) in a golfer's bag. When you hear it said that hybrid golf clubs are easier to hit, this is almost always meant in comparison to the long irons that these hybrids replace. So why are hybrid golf clubs advantageous over regular irons? A normal iron doesn't have much of a back on it. You can make an iron that has perimeter weighting but you can't have it further back unless it has a bigger back side. You can't move much weight back into the air? Therefore, to make an iron easier to hit manufacturers have started to "fatten" the back of them. So hybrid golf clubs that look more like an iron have what seems to be a bulge on back of them. This is just moving the weight further back on the iron. Now they can have weight along the outside of the club and further back. On the other hand, manufacturers who have made their Hybrid Golf Clubs look more like a fairway wood have been able to move the weight back a little more since the club is larger. Not large enough to be the size of a harder to hit fairway wood but large enough to do the trick. Hybrid golf clubs also have a lower center of gravity. If you move the center of gravity down then the ball gets up in the air easier. It helps increase the launch angle of the ball without having to increase the actual loft of the club. This may not be visible but the result is. If you have a three iron that is 20 degrees and a hybrid golf club that is the same loft, but has the weight further back (perimeter weighted) and the center of gravity lower then the club will launch the ball higher. That is why it is important to realize that when making a purchase of a hybrid golf club that the lofts are not directly comparable to the club you are replacing. There are some players who swear by hybrid golf clubs and others who think they are just junk. But the simple fact is that a hybrid golf club is easier to get into the air, down the fairway and onto the green. Golf-Beginner Basics I The popularity of golf has increased tremendously over the past forty five years, giving us champions like Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, and Tiger Woods, and world-renowned courses like Pinehurst, Augusta National and the Blue Monster at Doral. Why has golf become so popular? It's the opportunity to be outside, to get a good whole body workout, network with friends or business colleagues at a leisurely pace, and to play a game that you can never perfect. Your scorecard, over time, shows your improvement, which keeps you playing again and again. Here is a very basic lesson in golf for the person who has no clue about the game. Golf is played on an eighteen-hole course; each hole has its "par", which is the number of tee shots (drives), fairway shots, chips (short hits as you approach the green), and putts. The par number is based on the length and difficulty of the hole. Pars range from 3 to 6. If you get the ball in the hole in five shots on a par five hole, you "made par." If it took you six shots, it's called a bogie, if you made it in four, it's a birdie. There are usually "hazards" of some sort on all the holes. Bodies of water, sand traps, and trees are strategically placed to make the hole more challenging. Beginner golfers should seek to find courses to play that are easier to play, with fewer hazards. Each player keeps their own score, marking the number of total number of shots for each hole. At the end, each person adds their scores-the lowest number is the winner. It is important for beginner golfers to not take themselves too seriously. It takes a long time to get good at this game; even though the professionals make it look so easy. Take a lesson or two at the onset; it will help you develop a proper swing and help you get off to a good start. Remember that it's just a game. Have fun and look at the big picture-you're outside and you're not at work! Golf -- Beginner Basics II What to keep in your golf bag. There are many golf bags available, some designed for fashion, some for utility and some that combine both features. There are big bags, bigger bags and bags so big that they would keep everything I need for a long weekend vacation in one of the side pockets! Generally speaking, you need a bag just large enough to hold your clubs, extra balls, your glove, tees, car keys, extra pencils, ball markers, a ball retriever, sunscreen, a windbreaker and a large umbrella. It is also a good idea to have a packet of tissues, a band-aid or two, and if you play courses where insects are a problem, a can of bug repellent comes in very handy. A small pack of baby wipes come in very handy; in your bag they get warmed by the heat, so when you get sweaty or a sand trap covered you with sand, a nice warm wipe can be very refreshing. I happen to be allergic to bees, hornets and wasps, so my Epipen is an important addition to my bag. I am also hypoglycemic so I carry Lifesavers, which has to be replaced several times throughout the year because they tend to melt. One item that doesn't need to be in your golf bag is your cell phone. If you must carry it, turn off the ringer as a courtesy to other players. If you must use it, be aware of others who might be taking a swing or putting their ball. Be considerate! Having these items in your golf bag should provide everything you will need, even in a minor emergency (like a blister) or a major inconvenience, like a sudden rainstorm. Being prepared makes the game a great deal more fun. Golf -- Beginner Basics III The Long Game The long game refers to your drives (shots off the tee) and fairway shots; everything short of the shots you make to get onto the green. Each hole has a different difficulty level, different par and distinctive hazards, so instructing you to use your Driver on every tee would be blatantly wrong. This is something you will learn over time as you learn the various shots you make according to the club, the placement of the ball and your personal swing. Generally speaking, the lower the club number, the longer and lower your ball will go. A 4-iron shot will travel long and low and will most likely roll, whereas a 9-iron shot will have much more loft and go less distance both in the air and on the ground. The professionals on television make it look so easy; they consistently hit the ball long and straight and never miss-hit the ball making it dribble ten feet, or completely miss the ball. Driving is very important to the game, and many hours spent at the driving range will help improve your distance. Experiment with the same club to see what works for you if you move the ball forward or backward in your stance. Take a lesson, if possible, and learn the proper swing from the beginning. Mastering the long game helps you get to the green in fewer strokes, keeping your score and frustration level down. Remember that it takes a long time to learn consistency and remember to have fun! Golf -- Beginner Basics IV The Short Game We've all the seen the long accurate drives of Tiger Woods. The ball flies through the air and lands in the middle of the fairway, 300 yards away. The green-eyed monster of envy consumes us as we wonder if we could ever hope to drive like that. Fortunately, long drives are not the be-all-end-all game of golf. Enter the short game. Without good short game skills, all the long drives are for naught. The short game is those shots that get us onto the green from about one hundred feet out, be it from the fairway, a bunker, the rough or a drop zone and includes chips, sand shots and pitches. This is where your higher numbered clubs would be used, as well as your pitching iron, sand wedge or lob wedge. Most golf courses have practice areas as well as a driving range. Spend some time working on hitting your ball onto the green from different distances. Aim for a ten-foot circle in the center of the green at first. Experiment using your wedges; what works for someone else, might not work for you and your particular swing. After you get accustomed to doing this drill consistently, it's time to spend some time in a sand trap. Knowing how to get the ball out of a trap will cut your score. Plant your feet firmly into the sand, with your left foot turned toward the hole. Imagine a 4-inch circle around the ball and try to hit the edge of the circle that is away from the ball. Take lots of sand with your ball and swing completely. Don't decelerate at all when or after you hit the ball. It should pop up onto the green and stop. This doesn't work unless the sand is very soft and powdery. On hard surfaces, you might need to avoid actually hitting the sand. As in all aspects of the game, only practice will help you to improve. Golf -- Beginner Basics V Putting "Drive for show, putt for dough" is the lesson we've all seen and learned from watching professional golfers in every tournament and championship. The masters of golf can drive a ball from here to eternity, but it all boils down to how many strikes of the ball it takes to put the ball in the hole. The long accurate drives don't amount to anything if you're unable to putt accurately. Choosing a putter is important, but using whatever putter you have consistently is more so. I've had the same putter for fifteen years; I know what it feels like in my hand, I know its weight and how that plays into my putts. Putting takes lots of practice. Typically, we drive the ball eighteen times in a game, but putt at least double that number. Doesn't it stand that we should practice our putting at least twice as much as driving? If you can't get to the practice green regularly, practice on your carpet at home. Keep in mind that no ball can make it into the hole if it doesn't have enough power behind the ball to get there. Take the time to get down and look at the path from your ball to the hole; does it slant one way or the other? Is it uphill or downhill? Stand with your feet sp read for balance and line up the putt. Keep you hands, arms and shoulders completely still; imagine that you are a "bobble head" but you move from just below your chest. Keep your head directly over the ball. Pull your club back; keep your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders steady-the movement comes from your chest. Hit the ball, following it with your club. Learn from each putt and remember the lesson. Practice, practice, practice! Choosing Golf Equipment Buying golf equipment can be like dumping money into a money pit, but armed with some knowledge you can save time and money in selecting the right clubs for yourself. As with most things in life, you can spend a lot or you can spend a little several times before you get what you really need. If you are first starting out and not completely sure you want to commit to this addictive game, you should either rent clubs at the golf course, or buy a starter set of clubs. Buying a set of started clubs enables you to become accustomed to them; enabling you to concentrate on your swing instead of wondering how this set of miss-matched clubs you just rented are going to work out. As you become better at the game, you should invest in a better set of clubs, fitted to you. Generally, a set includes a driver, one or two fairway woods, 4-9 irons, a wedge or two and perhaps a putter. As you become more experienced and start thinking about new clubs, you may want to consider buying your driver separately. Some players want a driver to give them more accuracy; some need the distance. There are numerous balls available and the box will usually have a chart on the back and direct you to the right ball for your needs. As you learn the game and get better at it, you should experiment with different balls which could improve your accuracy or distance. Having the right equipment is an important aspect of the game; buy wisely! How to Choose Golf Shoes Your swing will change, your accuracy and distance will improve with practice, and you'll become deadly with a putter, but you will always do these things while standing on your feet. Your feet need to be comfortable! Have you ever developed a blister while walking or running? It's all you can think about and it ruins the experience. Don't let uncomfortable shoes ruin your golf game. This is one area where you shouldn't let your frugality make the decision for you. You will be wearing these shoes many times and they should be considered an investment. Comfort should be your biggest concern when buying shoes. Your foot should not move at all on your heel when you walk, yet your toes shouldn't feel cramped. Have you shoes professional fit to your feet and walk around in them before you buy them. Proper golf shoes should be waterproof so that your feet remain dry in damp conditions. Good socks are important too; they will wick perspiration away from you feet, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. All golf courses prohibit metal spiked shoes in the effort to protect their delicate greens. Purchase shoes that allow you to change the rubber spikes easily, and while you're there, purchase some extras. You never know when you might lose one. Replace the spikes when they become worn. With all the things you have to worry about while playing golf, your feet shouldn't be one of them. When it comes to golf footwear, quality counts. Ladies Golf Attire and Fashion I was perusing Golf for Women the other day and wondered where are the women who wear the golf attire modeled in women's golf magazines? I've never seen women, professionals included, who would dress in such expensive and outrageous clothes! It's easy to spend money outfitting yourself for golf. Hats, sunglasses, gloves, shirts, shorts, socks, windbreakers and shoes all add up quickly, even if you shop the sales. Add in equipment, bag and cart and you have to play quite often to keep down the "CPU" -- cost per use. One glossy advertisement showed a model in short shorts (like that's allowed on courses!) that cost $275, the Tse golf shirt ($595), jacket by Ralph Lauren ($185) and two-toned Utuser shoes ($425). That comes up to $1480; I could never hope to get the CPU on that outfit anywhere near a normal level in my lifetime! Don't get me wrong; I love clothes. I really love shoes, but could never afford, or want, golf shoes that cost more than the national budget of some small countries. Granted, you want comfortable shoes that don't look like something your grandmother would wear, but you can easily find less expensive and fashionable shoes. I have several really stylish golf outfits, none of them brand name. If I totaled the cost of all of them up it would not come up to the price of the Tse golf shirt. Personally, I'd rather have several stylish outfits and one outrageously priced one. If I were to wear a $1480 outfit to play golf, I would simply be too worried about getting dirty or perspiring to play a decent round. Golf Etiquette Golf is a dignified game of rules and manners, and it's important to know the basics before you play for the first time. Whether you are playing alone, in a twosome or a foursome, you must wait your turn. You must keep aware of the group on the next hole and wait until they are well ahead of you before hitting your ball. It's never cool to "push" the group in front of you. If you are playing with others, wait for your turn to hit the ball; never hit at the same time as another player. While you wait for your turn, go to your ball and determine what club you'll need and how you are going to hit it. This is called "ready golf" and keeps the game moving. Don't rush, just be ready. If your team is holding up the players behind you, let them play through. You would simply wave them through, or if they are close enough, ask them if they'd like to play through. You will never make an enemy in doing this! When someone is making a shot, you should be behind them and you shouldn't make a sound! It is so distracting to be ready to tee off and just as you pull back, someone decides to jingle in coins in their pocket or noisily unwrap a piece of candy. Replace your divots. When, in the fairway, you hit the ball and a clod of dirt and grass goes flying, replace it. On some courses you just put the clod back and step on it to press it on; on most courses, there is a sand/seed mixture on your card to put into the divot. If your ball makes a deep impression when it lands on the green, use your divot tool to repair it. As soon as you have completed a hole, replace the flag and leave the green so that the next players can play. Count your score and write it on the scorecard when you're back at your cart. Of course, there are many more rules of golf, but these simple ones will enable you to get through the course without coming to blows with anyone. We must all keep the game dignified, right? Getting the Most from Golf Lessons It's never easy asking for help, but in golf, it is almost a necessity. Unfortunately, we often ask our buddies and partners, when in reality we should take a lesson or two. We think that a Pro would critique harshly, but they are honest, positive and very helpful. Lessons at the local course aren't as expensive as you might think and they are worth it because your game will improve rapidly and cause you less frustration, making the game much more enjoyable for you. Of utmost importance, is being honest about your game. The Pro will ask you what you want to start with; driving, chipping, putting or whatever you feel you need help with. Listen carefully and follow the instructions. You may have doubts if the Pro changes your stance, your grip or your swing; the Pro knows best. Don't hesitate to ask questions. Don't worry about if the question or concern in stupid-they've heard it all before and will not make you feel like an idiot for asking. If you don't "get it", tell him/her that you're not getting it. You should never walk away from a les son with unanswered questions. You can concentrate on one thing during a lesson, or several. You might start with a lesson in driving; get the right grip, the right stance, the right swing, the right follow-through in one lesson, and then practice it. Next time, you might work on your short game, or putting. You've invested in the equipment, doesn't it make sense to learn how to use them to their advantage and improve your abilities?
Hold the Caddy! In the course of your career as a golfer, whether professional, semi- professional or even on the amateur level you are sure to encounter other players who have a caddy and want one for yourself. But do you really need a caddy, or is this something that you can avoid? Many players choose to forgo a caddy, but others always insist upon having a caddy available whenever they play. The choice is ultimately yours, but in order to make the best decision possible you need to have as much information available as possible to help you decide effectively. While playing on a normal basis it is typically unnecessary to employ a caddy, however if you are playing on a professional or even a semi-professional basis you are going to need a caddy. In addition, there are times when you may decide to enter a competition and it is at these times when a caddy is necessary as well. If you are looking at the duties that a caddy should perform there are quite a few typically. The simplest are easy for a golfer to handle themselves if necessary while some of the tasks are much harder to do and require a much greater amount of skill. Some of the basic duties that a caddy should perform including cleaning the golf balls that are used as well as the clubs, obtaining the yardage, fixing and replacing divots, taking care to carefully remove the flagstick, and even raking the bunkers as well as sand traps. If you have a highly skilled caddy, you should also look to them to handle reading the greens for you, helping you choose the appropriate club, and also trying to keep track of any salts so that you can play the best game possible. There are typically four levels of caddy's with each level having different skill levels. The lowest level is the B level caddy's these are typically the highly inexperienced caddies, however they are much cheaper price wise and are not as expensive to employ. They are only allowed to carry a single bag and are generally what you will find on most golf courses. The next level up is the A level caddy. This is the caddy that is allowed to carry two bags, however while they have more skills they are still not the ultimate caddy to use. You may find A level caddies when there are tournaments or competitions going on at a local golf course. Professionals are only going to use an Honor or a Pro caddy. Both of these levels are permitted to carry two bags and they are considered the top caddies. A Pro caddy is the top of the line and is typically, what most professionals will employ. On occasions, there will be times when an honor caddy is used instead. The primary reason that professional golfers use Pro and Honor caddies is simply because they tend to have a much better understanding of all of the rules for the game. As you can imagine the job of a caddy is not always considered easy. There are so many things that must be done, as well as circumstances that should be taken into consideration in order to make the best decision possible in terms of club selection and appropriate knowledge of the rules. In many professional circumstances, a golf player can be penalized if their caddy makes a mistake. This means it is very important to ensure that you are working with a caddy who has the knowledge to ensure that you are following all of the rules, as well as they are following all of the rules. If you are just starting out playing golf there is no reason to insist upon using a caddy. However, if you are considering playing a competition or even at a high-end golf course you can expect to have a caddy for the game. The pay that you are required to pay for the caddy will vary based upon the level of the caddy as well as the golf course that you are playing at. Checking with the staff at the course will allow you to make appropriate pay decisions in the event that you do decide to hire a caddy. Common Golf Injuries All sports tend to have injuries that go hand in hand with the sport; the problem becomes learning what is typical to occur and learning exactly how you can avoid the injuries in order to really ensure that you are as healthy and safe as possible out on the green. One of the best things you can do for your body is of course make sure that you are in good physical condition before you play golf, but this is not always possible as you can imagine. However if you take the time to ensure that you are in good physical shape you will greatly reduce the number of injuries that you are prone to have. As you can imagine, with all of the walking and swinging that you do with clubs on the green back injuries are quite common. However, aside from using muscle rubs, and ice packs or back braces simply taking the time to do proper conditioning of your back muscles can help to avoid these problems. It is also important to ensure that you get the rest that you need following a game of golf to ensure that your back has the time to rest between activities that it needs. If you play continuous games back to back, you may want to consider an occasional massage or even a chiropractic alignment. Another common injury is tennis elbow, or more commonly called in golf -- golfer's elbow. This typically results most often in players who are playing a lot suddenly. However, there are a few minor differences between tennis and golfer's elbow. The primary difference is that tennis elbow impacts the outside of the upper arm, while golfer's elbow impacts the inner arm. While there is no specific way to avoid these injuries they are most often caused by suddenly playing a lot. For example, if you typically play a single game a month then suddenly entered into a very long tournament you could potentially be at risk for developing either tennis elbow or golfer's elbow. As can be expected shoulder injuries also top the list of major problems for golfers. You can just imagine the pressure that is put on the shoulders as you are swinging the clubs continuously. Take a body that is tired or worn out in the least and you have a prime recipe for an injury. To avoid this you need to ensure that you are warming up your shoulder muscles as much as possible before a game and work hard to ensure that you are taking proper care of your body. One other problem that tends to occur a lot is carpal tunnel syndrome. This happens primarily due to repetition stress. For example, if you play numerous games of golf in a row for several months straight you could be looking at a potential injury in progress. The results of the injury can be quite serious at times, but if you are careful and catch it early typically just a brace will solve your problems. However, serious cases of carpel tunnel can cause you to be incapacitated or even require surgery in order to use your hands appropriately. The problem is that carpel tunnel syndrome can often give no serious signs until it appears and causes problems. Always ensure that you wear a wrist brace if you start to notice that you are having serious wrist pain. Combining Golf and the Internet Successfully People all around the world turn to the internet to allow them to really explore the great vast sea of information that is available. Whether you are looking for stock quotes, a perfect video game, or information on a specific subject the internet is the perfect place to get start at. You can find virtually everything you may ever dream of having on the internet which will allow you to really expand your knowledge and improve your computer skills all at the same time. Golf is a classic example, while most people look towards the television and various golf tournaments that are televised to give them information about golf in general, using the internet you can learn so much more much quicker. Using the internet, you can easily look up and study the vast array of different golf terms. Simply trying to learn all of the golf terms as you actually play, or even from watching television can be an incredible hassle. The internet however makes the entire process much easier since you can easily study when you have the time, without worrying about looking foolish on the green. This can be a huge help and will allow you to spend the time you spend watching golf on television actually watching the game, rather than trying to have a vocabulary lesson. The internet is also the perfect place to do research on the ultimate golf courses that are both in your area and around the world. This can allow you to plan out the best vacation possible, or even shop around for the perfect country club for your particular needs. If you are trying to find a golf course, using the internet you have the ability to search based on difficulty, location, and even the name of the course. This can be a huge help so you can find the exact course that you are interested in, without worrying about wasting time looking at golf courses that you do not really like. Those golfers who love to see who they are playing against before a competition can even use the internet to do a bit of research about their opponents. If you know whom you are going to be playing against, or whom you might be playing against you can take the time to look around and see how well they play in different circumstances. This allows you to be fully prepared before you ever walk out onto the first green on the day of the tournament. You may decide that you just simply want to look up player's profiles and statistics even if you do not actually play but rather watch, this is quite possible using the internet as well. One of the other major uses of the internet in relation to golf is the ability to learn some tips and tricks that can allow you to quickly and easily troubleshoot your game. Of course not all players need some help with troubleshooting their game but the vast majority of players could use a bit of improvement help. Using the internet you can search for the specific problem that you are having and read up as much as possible and work to practice the tips and tricks that you learn. This can be quite helpful in improving your game if you really carefully read over the advice that is given. In addition, it can help you avoid having to pay for expensive golf lessons if you are just trying to improve your game. If you are looking for a golf instructor, the internet can be quite helpful in looking for the perfect person as well. While most people would have to search around at the local country clubs to find a potential instructor you could search around online from the very comfort of your home and find exactly what you want in an instructor. This is a huge savings time wise, plus allows you to look over a great deal more instructors before you make a decision. Can You Learn Golf From A Book? With golf slowly becoming one of the most popular sports around the world, it is only natural that the number of people looking to learn the sport increases as well. With books, videos and even articles freely available online it is just a matter of time before many people try to turn to these methods alone to learn golf. Yet this can be a very huge problem that is quite complicated if you do not already have a good set of foundation skills in place. Learning to balance books and learning golf is important. The number of people who turn to books each year to learn a new skill is quite large, and while there are plenty of books available that will allow you to improve your golf skills there are actually very few books that can give you the good, solid foundation skills that you need. This is because there is no physical way possible that a book can teach you everything that you need to know about your stance, and even the proper way to swing. While a book can be useful to help you diagnose any problems that you have with a swing, such as your ball hooking, or even not traveling far enough the book will not be able to physically look at your swing and determine what is wrong. If you are working with an instructor, then using a book to help learn some of the other finer details of the game can be very helpful. It is important to realize that you can learn some advanced skills from reading the books, but only after you have had the lessons to master the basics. The number of books that is available to use is actually quite large and with a bit of patience you are certain that you can find the exact book that you want, without having to stress and worry about missing most of the key points to golf. From books that focus mostly on giving tips, to those that are designed to help you troubleshoot problems that you have, to even those that help you learn all of the appropriate golf terminology there are plenty of options that you have and can explore. The best time to use a book to learn golf is when you are just looking for tips that will allow you to improve your skills. Working towards skill building once you have the foundation is quite easy to do and using books for this purpose is a wonderful idea. However, you should always take a few lessons with a good golf instructor before you start trying to improve your skills further by using a book. There are numerous books available, both in print and even in eBook format that will allow you to choose the best way that you can learn. If you are most comfortable reading a print book there are plenty that you can choose from, just as there are plenty of great eBooks that give you the same options as well. Always look carefully at the information that is included in the book before you purchase however, many books are not as well written and do not include any good information to help you really learn. Many are nothing more than merely fluff, which result in being a waste of money and you feeling rather frustrated with the lack of results. Always skim over the book a bit before you purchase to ensure that you can see exactly what is included and what you can expect to really learn. If you feel that the book does not offer enough good information feel free to pass and find a different book that will suit your needs better. Finding the book that works best for your needs will likely be a personal decision, but do not be afraid to take some time and ensure you find the best book for your exact needs. Best Present for Golfers Golfers rarely ever need an actual excuse to get a present, and besides there are so many great times that are all throughout the year that being armed with the best information on the top gifts for golfers is an essential need. You have to shop for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day and several other holidays, so knowing what a golfer really wants to receive is an essential first step towards selecting the perfect present. One of the most popular options can include a new golf bag. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you want and can even be customized with a personalized message or even initials. This allows you to really select the bag that you want and dream about for the perfect gift. You also have a wide range of prices for bags available, this can really allow you to pick exactly what you can afford, without spending so much that you are overpaying for a bag. Staying within a reasonable price range is very important and unless you take the time to shop around you may be finding yourself overpaying dramatically for a bag. Another idea that tends to strike at the heart of golfers is to look into purchasing some golf balls that are customized. These are usually quite reasonably priced and do not cost much at all. However, one of the major drawbacks is you generally need to order these in advance as they do need to be printed ahead of time. You can generally have these customized with your choice of phrases or even a name or initials. This allows you to really customize their golfing experience and ensure that they have something truly personal to remember you with when they are playing golf. One present that tends to be highly popular for golfers as well is a trunk organizer that is designed to hold all of their essential golf items, except the bag of course. With places for your shoes, gloves, tees and everything else, that you would need for a game of golf this is the ultimate accessory that will fit neatly into the trunk keeping your favorite golfer organized. As you can imagine this is one of those gifts that the neat person in your life would thoroughly enjoy. If you look around, you can find these organizers in various shapes, colors and even sizes so that you can find the organizer that works best for your needs. The last gift that is highly popular with golfers is a golf range finder. With these available in several different price ranges, this can be the ultimate companion for your favorite golfer. You may be unaware of what they do, but your golfer certainly knows the benefits of these little treasures because they are quite helpful in helping select the best club for the particular green that you are playing. If your favorite golfer usually does not play with a caddy, this can be the next best thing to help them improve their game without spending a fortune to actually hire a caddy for each game. Picking out the perfect gift for a golfer may have seemed impossible before, but with these great selections you are sure to find the perfect gift for them no matter what the occasion is. If you have some time to go looking around for some great gifts there are plenty of options to choose from that will allow you to give the ultimate in golf gifts. Always just look around and ensure that you are purchasing your golf gift far enough in advance so that you do not have to worry about shipping problems. This can ensure that you are able to have the presents that you want without the worries about items backordered or even complications in shipping times. This will ensure that you have exactly what you want in plenty of time to have it customized and personalized if you choose ensuring that you have the best present for them. Best Exercise Tips for Golfers If you are starting to play golf after leading a primarily sedentary lifestyle then you are going to notice that it is going to be rather difficult for you to just run out and play and entire 18 hole round of golf. However, if you have been playing for a while you are probably in much better physical shape, but overall your golf game will be greatly determined by your level of physical fitness. If you are in great shape physically, in terms of flexibility, strength and endurance you will be able to play a much better game than someone who is in lesser physical shape. You are going to need to improve flexibility at the same time that you work to improve strength in order to have the best overall physical condition possible in order to play. This means that you want to work to build lean muscle, rather than bulky muscles. The primary differences is the amount of flexibility that the muscles provide. Bulky muscles tend to be stronger, yet at the same time they are not as flexible which will greatly restrict your ability to twist appropriately while you are swinging the ball. However, building lean muscle is not impossible, but will take a conscious effort. The majority of people who are working to build muscle strength tend to build muscle mass automatically. This is typically because they are lifting large amounts of weights. Rather to build lean muscles you need to work to build repetitions of lower weight weights. This will allow you to improve your muscle strength, while allowing you to work towards building the lean and slender muscles that are better for your overall golf game. Resist the urge to lift weights that are heavier than 10 pounds because this will result in bulky muscles rather than lean muscles. You should also work to keep your body as flexible as possible. This means you need to ensure that you are stretching both before and after playing golf to ensure that you are taking proper care of your body. If you do not stretch then you may find yourself very sore after a game and regretting playing. Just stretching for as little as 5 minutes before and after a round of golf will ensure that you are able to continuously play without any problems and without feeling as if you are spending more time stretching than playing golf. As you are playing golf, it is very important to remember that you are often out in the very hot sun. For this reason, you need to always ensure that you take some water with you to ensure that you stay well hydrated during the game. If you become overheated or dehydrated, it will start to hinder your game as well as cause you problem in having the necessary endurance to play. Always drink plenty of water to ensure that you are able to continue playing. This is important no matter what type of exercise you are doing to ensure that you are as healthy as possible. Your last major tip should be ensuring that you walk as much as possible. Golf may be a rather slow moving sport, but it does typically involve great amounts of walking. You need to be able to walk great distances without losing your breath, or experiencing back or leg pain. These problems can really reduce the amount of time that you can play and could potentially cause you to have to quit playing a game in the middle of a course. This is never something that is enjoyable so ensuring that you get plenty of walking exercise is essential. If you have problems with finding somewhere to walk then consider looking into a treadmill that will allow you to still get plenty of walking exercise even off the green. A bit of careful planning and a tiny bit of carefully planned and executed exercise can go a very long way towards helping you improve your golf game dramatically. If you want to play golf as more than just messing around on a green, you will need to improve your physical fitness levels and you will be rather amazed at the benefits that it provides to your health as well as your overall golf swing. Beginners Guide to Putting As you can imagine, one of the most important things that you can do to improve your golf game is improve your putting skills. While it may seem impossible, simply practicing and working to improve a few minor things will greatly improve your skills. Once you have learned what you need to do, practice the skills until you have them mastered. Remember, a good putting skill will ultimately translate into a much improved long shot as well so taking the time to practice your putting is very important. You are of course going to need to practice to improve, but the exact skills that you need to practice tend to vary from player to player. As a general rule of thumb, there are three things that you need to specifically focus on in order to get the best golf game possible. The first skill is ensuring that your swing is proper so that you will contact the ball exactly in the middle of the club head. If you are not dead on the center you will never be able to master putting. You simply cannot hit the ball from the side of the club head and expect it to go straight. No matter how long you practice, this is not possible and will result in plenty of frustration over what you are doing wrong. Once you have worked to improve hitting the ball from the very center of the club head you need to move onto tonsuring that you always hit the ball in a straight line to the target. This means if the ball needs to go 2 feet away from you towards the lake, you would not want to aim the ball towards the tree beside it. You may think this sounds a bit strange, but many people do not squarely approach the ball to the target. They then stand around and wonder why they are missing their shot. Even if you are off by just a fraction, this can seriously alter your putting skills because the ball is not going to go where you want it to go. You will likely need to practice this point a lot, most people do not realize when they are just slightly off center from the target. Yet even the slightest difference away from the target will result in a missed shot and an increased handicap. Work on this by ensuring that you take plenty of time to practice. This is even a skill that you could practice in your office, or bedroom at home using a small home putting kit. However, going to the driving range is not going to help you here so avoid them if possible while you are working on this skill. Your last skill that you need to work on to improve your putting skills is working to ensure that you are accelerating the club head when you are actually coming into contact with the ball. Many players make the mistake of slowing the club down right before they actually hit the ball. This will cause you to lose the momentum that you need in order for the ball to make it to your target. Working to make a conscious effort not to slow the club down will usually be sufficient in order to improve this skill and give you some improved results. Are Golf Shoes Essential to Play Golf? As most people know, there are shoes for virtually every sport imaginable. There are very few sports that do not have a special shoe that is intended to improve the way you play while wearing them. Yet many people cannot afford to always purchase all of the additional shoes that are necessary. This leaves many people to wonder if it is really necessary to purchase golf shoes in order to actually play golf. In trying to balance money considerations with safety considerations there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Your first consideration should be your skill level. A beginner usually cannot justify the expense to buy golf shoes. They are certainly not cheap, and since they can only be worn while on the golf course they have a very limited usage outside of the golf course. While basketball and tennis shoes can be worn in different circumstances, the golf shoes must remain on the golf course in order to avoid damaging them, or the flooring in which you walk on. If you are a highly skilled player or even tend to play quite often, you may need to invest in a good pair of golf shoes. Typically investing in golf shoes will require you to find a pair of shoes that you are actually thoroughly comfortable wearing. You need to remember that many golf courses require you to do a lot of walking so you need something that fits comfortably. Something with plenty of cushioning as well as a good fit is essential. You should also contact the golf courses where you plan on playing. There are some who require golf shoes in order for you to play. While this may seem like a bit of a killjoy if you were not planning to buy golf shoes initially, the golf course requiring the shoes is a safety consideration to ensure that you do not slip or slide while you are swinging your club. A good pair of golf shoes has spikes that dig into the ground a bit while you are standing which will provide a bit of additional traction and ensure that you are not slipping the first moment you swing. Taking your time to shop around for golf shoes is a very wise idea. There are dozens if not hundreds of different colors so sometimes selecting the best color that you like can be a bit of a hard decision. In addition, not all shoes are created equally. The shoe that is best for your foot may not be best for someone else. In addition, there are numerous different material styles that you can choose from, specifically those that are hard materials or even soft materials. Choosing the right shoes to play in will ensure that you are comfortable, as well as have the traction that you need while playing. If you are playing a lot of golf, you will quickly see how a good pair of golf shoes can do wonders to help improve your comfort level as well as your game itself. Never discount the ability of a pair of shoes to dramatically increase your overall performance during a game. Taking the time to really try on several pairs of shoes will ensure your final selection is durable as well as comfortable in a style that you like and enjoy wearing. Golf Tips for Winter Learning to play golf is sometimes a rather difficult process. However if you live somewhere where it gets rather cold you could be looking at some huge problems in terms of practicing golf when the weather turns icy cold. However, if you work on building a game plan before the weather gets icy cold you could still be able to practice your golf skills no matter what time of year it is. This would allow you to continuously work on improving your golf game year around, rather than only when the weather is warm outside. Your other alternative would be either moving or vacationing in an area each winter that is not only warm, but has several great golf courses as well. Of course, the idea of playing golf may be quite motivational, yet at times the course can be much too cold to play in the winter. This combined with the potential for icy dew on the grass, and frozen water hazards can make playing in the winter virtually impossible. If you have a strong desire to continue playing your best option will be looking for an indoor golf course where you can play, or even an indoor driving range so you can continue to practice your swing during the cold months. If you do not have the luxury of a driving range if you reserve some space in your home free of any hazards you could continue practicing your swing, even without the ball. While this may not seem like as much fun, you should still try to practice your swing no matter how cold the weather is. Otherwise, your first few games when it warms up is likely to be poorly played. A good exercise program during the winter is also looking into ensuring that you work out continuously. However, just as during the time when you can actually play golf, you need to ensure that you are building lean muscle. Never work to build bulky muscle even during the off months for golf. While waiting until the weather warms up to go golfing may seem like torture, it is a good idea to avoid playing when it is really cold outside. In terms of your health playing during the cold weather is bad because you are putting your body through intense amounts of stress trying to keep warm, as well as still focusing on the game itself. This can often increase dramatically the risk of getting hurt and even increase the chances of a pulled muscle since muscles are not as warmed up during the colder months. Any injury regardless of the time of year is bad, but during times of year where the weather is especially cold you are going to be much more susceptible to injury. Always make sure that you are spending some time inside rather than outside when it is cold. Playing a few short rounds of golf is not worth getting hurt. Always ensure that during the cold months, you either stop playing outside or you wait to play outside when you go visit a much warmer location. During the winter, a visit to a golf course that is located in the Deep South can be a lot of fun since they are still warm enough to stay open. Just keep in mind your overall safety when you are trying to play, you do not want to be injured over a sport. Should You Take Golf Lessons? If you have ever looked lonely onto a golf course and wished that you were capable of playing just as well as the professionals do, or if you have ever found yourself watching television wishing you could play along with them you may have the idea of golf lessons in your head. This is a sport that almost anyone can play and is appropriate for all ages as well as genders. There are professional levels, amateur levels, those who play for only fun, and even those who are children that play together. Finding someone to play with is generally not a problem, and still others choose to play by themselves. Due to the incredible versatility that golf offers it is no wonder why so many people look forward to learning to play golf. The major drawback to learning golf can be the lessons. There are times when it is difficult to find a good qualified instructor, and other times when the lessons are not at convenient times and still other times when the prices of lessons is so unaffordable that it is virtually impossible to arrange. Yet if you are considering really trying to learn golf, it is important that you invest in some good lessons. This is going to be one of the times where you need to look for several golf instructors in order to have the best overall results. If you have started really thinking about learning golf taking lessons from a professional instructor will allow you to get some key information and tips about how to stand appropriately, swing the club appropriately and even learn which clubs are best to be used and when. The information that an instructor can give you in invaluable. Yet if you are just not certain about using an instructor you are free to search the internet for tips, articles and even videos that can give you advice and suggestions. Those who choose to forgo the lessons with a good instructor usually find that they struggle to really learn the basic concepts that are essential. For children especially it is important to have lessons with an instructor at least for a short period of time to learn the basics. Some of the more advanced concepts can be learned after they have mastered the basics with an instructor and just through practicing playing. This is a good way to save money, however if you are dreaming about your child becoming the next Tiger Woods it would be wise to continue lessons for a good while. If you are an adult considering lessons you may want to pay for a few sessions which would allow you to really get your basics established. Once the basics are established, you do not have to worry quite so much about taking lessons. However, if you are not working to build your skills using well developed basic skills you are going to be looking at plenty of frustration on the golf course as you try to troubleshoot for yourself what you are doing wrong and why your ball is always going into the trees and sandpits. There are plenty of golf courses located all around the world, which gives you plenty of opportunities to find a good golf instructor to work with. Investing a bit of money into some good golf lessons will be very much worth your time when you are trying to learn golf. The tips and suggestions that they can offer you will prove to be highly invaluable and you are certain to enjoy the time that you spend improving your skills. Learning on your own is always a great concept and idea, but in a situation like learning golf, it can be a task that is virtually impossible. You are perfectly free to look around for additional resources to help you further improve your skills, but a few lessons will go a very long way to setting you up to play golf successfully. Importance of a Good Golf Swing As you can imagine one of the most important parts of being a successful golf player is learning exactly how to swing and hit the ball correctly. If you have a poor golf swing, it can work against you dramatically and cause you numerous problems in trying to play a successful game. While learning how to swing the club successfully may seem impossible it really is something that you can easily do with a bit of practice and a lot of patience to really continuously practice your skills. In the beginning, it may seem virtually impossible to learn how to successfully swing the golf club. This is unfortunately due to the many different aspects of a successful swing that come into play. From the appropriate stance, to the right club to use, to even the way you hold the club and then finally the way you shift your weight there are many things that can alter your swing skills. This can often make it quite difficult to determine why you have a bad golf swing, and what you need to do in order to improve your swing. The vast majority of people who take golf lessons tend to spend a lot of time working on ways in which they can improve their swing. This is one of the single most important skills that you need in golf. Without good swing skills, you simply cannot play a successful round of golf no matter how hard you try. This makes it highly important that you spend a lot of time learning how to improve your skills. Your first step should always be finding an instructor who is patient and makes you feel comfortable. This is essential because you need to be relaxed in order to learn the appropriate stance. If you are working with an instructor that you do not like, you are more likely to be tense. This can cause your swing to be off, and ultimately hinder your game. Because of the comfort that you need, it is imperative that you are comfortable with your instructor so that you can relax and focus appropriately on your overall form. If you have complications mastering your golf swing you will possibly need additional sessions with your instructor so you can correct any problems you are having before you move on. With a lot of time, some patience and a good instructor you may very well be surprised at just how quickly the other aspects of the game seem to fall into place once you have mastered your golf swing. Without a powerful swing, you are not likely to have a very successful golf game, which in essence can have the effect of making golf much less fun to play. Patience and practice to improve your overall golf swing is a very good thing to do so that you can ensure that you are making the best decision possible each time you swing at the ball. Simply swinging to swing will likely leave you very frustrated and with a very bad golf score. You may discover that you master a perfect golf swing in a single lesson or it may take you 20 lessons to master the golf swing. Regardless of how long it takes you, this gives you a good foundation to build up and should never be rushed. If you are a natural at golf you will be able to move on much quicker, however if you have complications with your golf swing it is perfectly normal and natural that it will take a bit of additional time to master the skill. Many people when they are beginning to learn to golf spend more time perfecting their golf swing than learning any other single skill for golf. You should also expect to have this same need, after all a bad golf swing will result in poor playing skills while a good and refined swing will make you highly successful. How to Incorporate Golf into Your Life Many people struggle with the problem of how to incorporate their family into their favorite sport. Many others struggle with how to incorporate their favorite sport into their life in general. What may seem trivial to some is a huge problem to others. After all, with schedules becoming busier and busier the idea of actually working to spend time to yourself is growing by leaps and bounds. It is very important to always ensure that you do not stress yourself out in the process of trying to enjoy your hobby, after all that is never any fun and will result in hard feelings in the end. But this does not mean you must choose between your hobby or your family and life. With some special considerations, you can blend them together. If you live near a golf course, make sure you set aside some time each week for a quick game. Even if you are not able to really enjoy the luxury of playing as often as you want, you should still make a valiant effort to play at least once a week. Set this as a specific schedule and stick to it. Having an activity that you enjoy which can help you have a bit of stress relief will be quite helpful when you are feeling highly stressed out. An additional way to pack in some extra time on the green is to ask a client if they enjoy golf. If they do you could perhaps arrange your next meeting out on the green. Many, many, many business deals have been arranged on a golf course. When people are enjoying each other's company and actually making friendships rather than just discussing business you would be surprised at how much more successful meetings can be. Golf is the perfect sport for a sports meeting since it allows you to get out of the office, get fresh air, and still stay at a slow enough pace that you can clearly talk to the client without sounding breathless. For those who are planning a vacation to a fabulous golf resort who have a family a good idea is to look for a golf course located close to activities that the rest of your family will enjoy as well. While going to that fabulous golf course may seem absolutely perfect, taking along a family who hates golf and does not want to be there can really put a damper into your plans. If you ensure that your travel destination has some options for those in the family who dislike golf you will be able to enjoy the entire vacation much more. This ensures that everyone has a great time. Additionally it is important to remember that you need to limit the amount of time you spend on the golf course. If you have a family this is especially important. You need to be able to really understand that you are going to have to split your time between everyone and this includes your family. Your overall family life is going to deteriorate steadily if you do nothing but play golf when you are not at work. Even if you are lucky and have a family that enjoys golf, you need to spend time away from the course as well. Family time is just as important as practicing for a killer swing. Picking the Appropriate Golf Instructor for Children As you can imagine there are numerous considerations that should be taken into account in order to choose the best golf instructor for a child. Of course, everyone needs to select an appropriate instructor and choosing an instructor can be a huge decision to make, but when you are selecting the instructor for a child there are several additional considerations that should be taken into account. Never rush into picking the first instructor that you find for your child, this can be a very big mistake, instead take the time to ensure that you pick out the best instructor possible that will allow your child to grow and develop into the best golfer possible. You want to first start out by searching for someone who is experienced. This will allow you to find the most experienced instructor possible. Because children learn differently than adults, you need a highly experienced instructor. Someone who has just started teaching is generally not the best choice of instructors because they generally lack the ability to tailor lessons to a level that a child can understand. Additional considerations are you want someone who has verifiable references. Especially helpful is if they can provide references for children that they have taught. While you generally will not be able to talk to the child, you can at least talk to the parent. This will allow you to talk to someone that has experience with the instructor that you are considering to see how well they worked with children. As you can imagine this can be very helpful in deciding which instructor is really best for your child. You should also try to find an instructor that works with children. This will allow you to have the best possible match for your child. Even if they are not currently instructing other children at the time, experience working with children should be a must. The amount of skill as well as patience that is required to teach children is very much different than the amount of time and patience that is required to teach adults. Someone who has an attitude or a rough instructional style is generally not a good match for children. You want someone who has a very friendly and cheerful disposition to teach your child. This will allow your child to look forward to going to their golfing lessons, rather than be upset when it is time to actually go for lessons. A child who enjoys going and actually enjoys their instructor is much more likely to appreciate the instructor than someone who dislikes their instructor. Always set up a time for your child to meet the potential instructor. You want to ensure that your child feels comfortable with the instructor so arranging a time when everyone can meet and talk for a few minutes with no pressures is a really good idea. This is usually much cheaper than paying for a full session of lessons that are not used. Especially since most instructors will provide a free initial meeting this gives a perfect time to meet. Some instructors will also provide a free or greatly reduced initial lesson as well, if the instructor offers this it is very wise to take them up on it. You can learn a lot by watching their actual teaching style to see how they interact specifically with your child during a lesson. Take the time to really look around; you should avoid jumping to the first instructor that you find. Your child needs someone who can help them expand their skills in a friendly and encouraging environment. Stressing out and screaming is something that an instructor should not do with a child, there should be no temper tantrums under any circumstances so if you notice the instructor behaves this way, find someone else. Never ignore your gut instincts; this is the perfect chance to allow you to really see what your child can do with the right instructor. Turning Your Golf Hobby into a Job If you love the idea of playing golf and being paid, there are a few options that you have that are available for you to explore. The chances to actually get paid to enjoy your hobby are always growing and with a bit of creative thinking you can turn it into a very nice source of income on the side or even potentially turn it into enough money to replace your full time income. However, just jumping into the idea is not a wise decision, you want to ensure that you have the skills necessary in order to be successful, after all without the necessary skills your potential job will not work out and you could become very frustrated. The first thing that you can consider is doing a bit of caddying. This would allow you to brush up on your skills on the green and make some connections. Many low level caddies earn $20 per bag for a game and if you are playing a short game this translates into some decent money. Higher level caddies can earn as much as $100 per bag and the top level caddies are also allowed to carry more than a single bag, which allows you to double your potential money. Once you add everything up this can turn into a very good source of money. Another option that you can explore is teaching golf lessons if you are highly skilled. This would allow you to set your own hours, choose whom you would like to teach and even within a sliding scale determine your own pay. This can allow you to choose the group of people that you work best with. For example, if you do individual lessons you are looking at charging much higher rates than if you offered group lessons. However, in order to actually make good money at lessons you would need to have a very solid basis in the game and be at least an advanced player. If you are only a beginner or intermediate level player you would have quite a bit more work to do before you could start teaching classes successfully. If you are good at writing and have an extensive knowledge basis for golf, you could even consider writing a book or even some articles to help others. This would allow you to spread your knowledge to people at a time that is convenient for them. If you are not very good at writing this might be a bit difficult to do, but you could consider creating video tutorials as an alternative. Regardless, there are people all around the world who are always looking for tips and tricks that would allow them to improve their skills. If you are good at golf, it is very much possible to make some money from it. The best jobs in the world are those that revolve around something that you love. With a passion comes a certain determination to succeed and improve your entire overall lifestyle, both financially and personally. If you are able to take your hobby and turn it into an enjoyable money making venture without overworking yourself you can still improve your skills, help others enjoy golf and make a bit of money all at the same time. This is one of the best ways to enjoy golf, or even any other hobby that you have. Tips to Selecting a Good Golf Instructor Golf is one of the few sports that is around today that is growing rapidly in popularity and has a huge draw for numerous types of people to play. What may seem like a rather mundane sport has actually started gathering the attention of children and even middle-aged adults as well. In the past golf focused primarily around older adults, but as time has gone on, this has changed dramatically. This brings about the need for even more golf instructors that are teaching everyone to play, yet at the same time, it becomes much more important to select a good instructor. In the past when golf was not quite as popular, your options for instructors may have been limited, now you can choose exactly whom you would like to work with. This is great news for those who are trying to decide upon the best golf instructor for their needs. If you are trying to pick your perfect golf instructor there are a few things that you should always keep in mind. The first is you need to pick someone who obviously knows what they are doing. This means you are going to need to take a bit of time to look over their credentials. Learning to play golf by playing Nintendo Wii Sports is not an acceptable answer when you ask for credentials. You would like to look for some professional or at the very least semi-professional playing experience. After all, you would ask a librarian for help in learning how to find the books you need at a library so you should follow the same theory for a golf instructor as well and choose a professional. You want to also look for someone who makes you feel comfortable. If you do not like working with men much you would be best off finding a female instructor, however if you do now work as well with women then a male instructor is best for you. The options for golf instructors now are quite large, which gives you the freedom to really be a bit picky when you are making a decision. However, being picky will ensure that you are satisfied with the results and feel completely comfortable working with the person. In order to really learn golf successfully you are going to need to spend a bit of time working on your stance, this means you need someone who can help you relax, rather than standing always in a very tense and uptight position. Search around if you are looking for a golf instructor and get some recommendations from the local golf courses, they can often give you some great tips about which instructors are the best and who is most likely going to be a good match for you. While you may not like their suggestion, it does give you a good place to start looking at least. In addition, you can often get good information about which instructors to avoid as well. This is highly valuable information, even if it is not quite what you were looking to get in terms of a referral. Never discount the power of a reference, this allows you to use someone else's knowledge to make the best decision possible. If you have been talking to a golf instructor whom you feel is a bit of an incompatible match with your personality then you should feel free to look around. Never settle for a potential instructor that you are not completely comfortable with. The results of working with a bad instructor, or even someone whom you are not comfortable with can result in you feeling as if you have learned nothing, frustrated, upset and even confused. Your time with your chosen instructor should be a positive and rewarding experience. A good instructor can have you successfully playing golf much faster than an instructor whom you are uncomfortable with, take your time selecting your instructor for the best overall experience. Tips for Buying a Golf Cart There are very few people who actually have a good reason for purchasing a golf cart for their own personal usage, but if you decide that you do need a golf cart there are a few things that you should keep in mind so that you can make the best purchase decision possible. Of course purchasing a used model will allow you to save a lot of money, but you should know what you are looking at when you look to buy a golf cart in order to ensure that you get a good deal, rather than waste your money on something that does you no good. Your first step if you want to look into purchasing a golf cart for your own personal use at a golf course is to find out if the course even allows you to use a cart on the course. Many do not allow carts, however many others do. The main reason you may want to purchase a golf cart is if you live on a golf course and would rather drive the cart to the clubhouse rather than your actual car. With the increasing expenses for gas alone, this can be a huge savings over several years and more than pay for the expense of the golf cart itself. However, still check with your local area to ensure that it will not be a problem driving it on the roads in your area, as well as with the golf course to ensure that it is ok with them. Once you have done all of the research for your area you have several things that you need to consider. An electric golf cart is obviously a much wiser and cheaper purchase in the long run. Not only are you not having to purchase gasoline continuously but there are typically fewer parts that may need to be repaired or fixed as well. This will make the maintenance expenses much cheaper as well which will allow you to get further usage from the golf cart before it needs to be replaced or repaired. As you look around at golf carts, you need to look for a cart that has a new battery as well as battery connectors. You should also look for a cart that has a nice clean connector and charger that looks in good condition. The cart itself should be clean and in good working order. Never purchase a cart that is not working with the hopes that you can fix it cheaply. Many times this turns into a nightmare project because of the continuous repairs that are needed. If the cart does not operate correctly at the time of purchase, you simply should move on. You want to also ensure that you can take the cart for a test drive. If you are not able to take the cart for a drive, you should walk away. If you do take it for a test drive ensure that you can stop within a space of 10-15 feet without sliding. Golf courses are not going to appreciate you bringing a cart to the green that can cause damage of any sort. You also want to check the steering and ensure that the cart turns properly. Your final consideration should be looking at all of the wheels to ensure that they are in good shape. With a big of careful research and knowing what you are looking for you can save as much as 75% off the price of a new golf cart by purchasing a used model. The Perfect Vacation -- Golf Courses and More If you are looking to play a few good games of golf as well as take a vacation there are plenty of options that you have. There are numerous places all around the country that have several fabulous golf courses all together in a very close area. With a bit of careful planning you can ensure that you are able to play on numerous golf courses all by going to a single destination. This requires a bit of planning ahead, but if you are careful in how you plan your trip, there are destinations that are full of as many as 10 golf courses in a single area, which will give you plenty of options for what you would like to play in terms of location and course difficulty. With golf becoming such a popular sport in recent years, the number of hotels as well as other attractions that are located close to golf courses has increased as well. While in the past, everyone was forced to choose between a vacation of golf or something else you can now easily combine everything together into the perfect opportunity to spend time with your family, golf and still enjoy other activities as well. This is also perfect for those trips that you are taking with your family when not everyone is interested in golf. If you are looking to take your family with you including children it is very important to ensure that other activities are located close by. Most children do not find trooping around a golf course for an entire vacation to be enjoyable, which leaves you with a problem of what to do in order to ensure that everyone has a great time. Other considerations include the fact that many golf courses will not allow children on the course due to the safety considerations. The fact of the matter is that golf can be extremely dangerous if the golfer loses their concentration when they are swinging, this can result in the children getting hurt. Going on a vacation to a lot of golf courses can seem like heaven; however before you pack your bags to go you need to take some time to look into the policies and guidelines for the courses that you anticipate visiting. This is very important because of the number of people who tend to travel makes it sometimes very difficult to get a slot on the schedule. If you call ahead to check into the exact policies and procedures you can know in advance if you need to book your slot, and if so how far in advance and all other pertinent details for the trip. Waiting until the last minute could find you without any time on the course if it is booked up. If you would rather skip the mundane details look into having a travel agent book your trip. This will allow you to have the agent handle the small details for each of the courses that you are interested in playing. If you are extremely busy this can be a great way to ensure that even the small details are handled and you still have time to pack and enjoy your vacation. Working and struggling to plan a vacation can often be very difficult, so having someone help you to ensure that you do not forget anything is a great help. As you can see, with a bit of planning ahead and some time spent on researching the courses as well as areas where you are interested in traveling you may be surprised at how easy it is to plan a great golf vacation that your entire family can enjoy. There is simply no reason to think that a vacation is not a good time for golf, the number of golf courses located all around the country ensure that almost anywhere you go you can enjoy a great game of golf at a beautiful course. The Correct Golf Attire Just as most sports tend to have a specific dress code that is required; golf has its own specific dress code as well. This means that it is very important to ensure that you are selecting the best possible apparel when you are trying to decide what to wear. Of course, each individual golf course tends to have their own specific rules but by knowing what the typically acceptable standards are it will help you to ensure that you have the best experience possible. Remember, many golf courses will refuse to allow you to play if you are not dressed appropriately, this can be highly frustrating and leave you quite upset at the end of the day if you are hindered from playing golf simply because of a misunderstanding on appropriate clothing. For men and boys there are several things that are immediately unacceptable on the golf course. The first is the use of shirts with no collar and the next is the use of shirts with no sleeves. Neither of these are considered appropriate at any time. Other faux pas can include running or jogging pants, and shoes with metal spikes. You should take care to avoid wearing clothing with obnoxious logos or anything offensive on them as well. In addition, jeans as well as sandals are generally not permitted either. Appropriate dress for men on the golf course tends to be either fitted pants or shorts, golf or athletic shoes and a shirt with a collar. If you are wearing golf shoes, ensure that they are soft spikes and are not metal spikes. Most courses will not permit metal spikes on the green due to the damage that they can cause. Shirts can be either long sleeve or short sleeve and can also include having a turtleneck or pull over sweater. The socks that are worn must be at least ankle length and should be a solid color with only minimal and tasteful logos. For women you can wear such things as fitted shorts, properly fitting skirts and even Capri's. Generally, women are barred from wearing pants of any type including jean shorts. One of the considerations that you should take into account is the length of the shorts and skirt; they must generally be no shorter than 5 inches above the knee. However, specific golf courses have their own rules regarding this. For shirts, women are also required to have collars, unless they are wearing an appropriately styled pull over in a v-neck style. Women are also permitted to wear a sleeveless shirt as long as it has a collar, and short sleeve as well as long sleeve shirts are also permitted. Other types of clothing that is allowed is socks that are at least ankle length, appropriate athletic or golf shoes and a visor or hat. Just as with men, jeans, jogging pants and other similar apparel is not permitted. Socks must be a solid color, with minimal logos and tasteful designs. It is also important to understand that anyone you take with you to a golf course must also have appropriate attire. As stated above the exact dress code for the golf course where you play may vary, a quick check of their website, or a fast phone call should clear up any questions you have in regards to what is appropriate and what is not if you have any questions. Is Golf a Good Form of Exercise? There are numerous reasons why you should exercise to keep in good physical health, yet at the same time, many people simply have no desire to exercise. Often the excuses are time to exercise is a problem as well as the hassles and problems with trying to find something that is interesting, rather than completely boring. If you have no idea what you are doing to improve your health, then it is definitely time to get up and do something that is productive and sure to ensure that you can get yourself in good physical shape. Golf is a sport that can cater to those young and old, as well as male or female. This is a huge benefit when you consider that many people simply do not have the time or the energy to go searching for extensive exercise programs. As a sport, golf is quite easy to learn, and as entertainment it manages to be quite entertaining to those who play. While watching golf may seem incredibly boring it is very different when you are actually on the green playing yourself. This can often be the missing key to actually getting up and doing some exercise. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will be thoroughly surprised at just how often you look for excuses to play. For these reasons, golf has recently emerged as a sport that provides numerous previously sedentary individuals with a good reason to get up and get started with some exercise. For the most part golf is quite a good sport for allowing people to slowly get started with an exercise routine. Especially when you start with taking lessons first, this allows you to gradually build up your physical fitness levels until you reach a point where you are completely in shape and can move along onto mastering more advanced aspects of golf that requires greater physical ability. With golf being a great match for those regardless of physical fitness level it is something that you can start when you have been highly sedentary and still work towards a much better fitness level. In contrast to many other sports you are required to be in a decent physical shape before you start playing, this can make it quite difficult to get into shape in order to be able to play. Golf has the benefit of making it much easier to get into shape since you can simply work into an exercise program by playing golf. This allows you to really focus your time and energy on the things and places that you want. You may be surprised to discover how little you need to play golf in order to work up the strength and adrenaline and play an entire 18 hole golf course. Of course, in the beginning it is generally best to start playing shorter golf courses until you can improve your overall physical ability to allow you to be able to really handle the physical requirements for a full golf course. Not all courses allow golf carts, nor do they all provide golf carts. This makes it very much necessary to have the physical strength to actually walk the entire golf course before you attempt to play. You may discover that for your first few games you can only play a percentage of the holes. This may seem highly discouraging but by continuously playing, you will be able to improve your skill level as well as improve your strength t o a level that will allow you to play. If you have any doubts about the benefits of exercise for your personal health, you should talk to your doctor. Most doctors will readily agree that exercise is necessary in order to improve your overall health. Simply living a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy and can provide you with numerous health problems. At the same time, trying to slide into a more active lifestyle will be quite helpful in allowing you to slowly improve your health and ensure that you are as physical fit as possible for the benefit of your health. Improving Your Handicap Learning how to improve your handicap can go a long way towards improving your overall golf game. However, one of the first things that you need to remember is your handicap is not actually the score of a single game. For example, if you play a single game of a 10 over par, then it is virtually impossible to determine your handicap. However, once you have played several games it is possible to start determining your handicap. Another important note about handicaps is the average score that you have is still generally not your handicap. For a good example, a player who typically has an average of 10 over par will usually have a handicap of a 7 to 9 range. The exact score of the handicap will vary based upon the actual courses that are played and the ratings that accompany those courses. Most professionals consider the absolute best way to lower a handicap to be the method of simply improving your putting as well as wedge skills. If you are able to drive the ball appropriately but fall dramatically short on the putting then you are going to be looking at a very high handicap for the rest of your life. Simply taking the time to focus heavily upon a good putting strategy can really help you shave a few points off of your handicap and improve your game. Between an emphasis on the wedge or putting you should generally focus more on your putting since virtually all holes are going to need to be putted while not all will need a wedge shot. Most players also typically tend to find that by improving their putting and wedge skills that their long drive skills tend to improve as well. While this is not always possible, the general idea is that improving your shorter shots will gradually work to improve your long shots as well. As long as you are using proper form for your short shots, you should start to see a dramatic improvement in your score, which will ultimate help to improve those long shots as well. This can overall make a huge impact on your handicap since you can see a huge difference in your rating. Another consideration that you should keep in mind is your confidence. Have you ever noticed that someone who is not very confident tends to make more mistakes no matter what they are doing? They may be an expert in their field, but without confidence, they usually make small mistakes just because they are nervous, if you discover that you are nervous on the field and are making these small mistakes you may need to work on boosting your own self-confidence before you can really improve your overall handicap. You should focus on what you are good at and improve your concentration and you are sure to improve your confidence. While you know that you are going to make mistakes, you should always strive to accept it is a learning process. This will allow you to slowly and carefully learn exactly what you can do to improve while still keeping a high confidence level. This combined with the other tips outlined above will work together beautifully to allow you to streamline your golf handicap and improve your whole game. These strategies can be used no matter how long you have been playing golf, even those players who have played for years can always use a bit of improvement. Improving Your Backswing Effectively Learning how to master your backswing is going to play a very key role in your ability to actually have a great game of golf. Without a good backswing, it is going to be very difficult to actually have a good game. You can still play without a perfect backswing but improving your backswing will greatly improve your overall game just as much as mastering your putting. It is important before you start working to improve your backswing to remember the goal is not so much to improve your power, but rather improve your distance as well as form. If you are starting with a good solid stances as you swing, which includes proper posture, as well as shoes and alignment with the ball you are going to have a much better attempt at improving your backswing. Without a good sturdy posture, you are going to twist at the wrong moment and even potentially have huge problems with not being able to really grasp the club properly. This combined together can create huge problems in a successful backswing. Your first line of defense is to always ensure you have the right stance, which will allow you to quickly and easily perform the appropriate follow through for your swing. If you have any doubts about your stance take a picture with a camera, or ask someone else to take a picture. Then compare the proper stance with the exact way that you are standing. If this is not an option for you, look into some lessons, which will allow you to work with someone to truly master your stance. Building your skills upon a good set of foundation skills is necessary in order to ensure that you are learning the right skills as you need them. If you have the ability to work with an instructor this is going to be the best way since they can be much more honest with you about the flaws in your stance than you will be with yourself. Your next set once you have corrected your stance is to look at the problems with your grip. If you are overextending your grip, or even holding the club the wrong way you are going to have a bad backhand from the very beginning. There is no way possible to have a correct backswing if you do not grip the club appropriately. It is physically impossible and you will find that you are met with countless frustration from attempting it. Sometimes even changing the position of your hands by just a fraction of an inch can provide a dramatic difference in results that you would not be able to otherwise notice. The last major consideration when improving your backswing is that you need to pull the club back from the ball before you lift it off of the ground. Most players make the mistake of lifting the club back and up at the exact same time. This will result in you hitting the ball off centered and can greatly damage your backswing. Ensure that you are pulling the club straight back before you start lifting it up and you would notice an almost instant improvement. This is not something that should be unnatural of difficult to do. As long as you make a conscious effort to pull the club back before up, you should find that is enough of an improvement to help your backswing. Kids and Golf -- Good Sport or a Mistake? Parents are always looking for sports that their children can do. This is something that is as normal as waking up or even going to sleep. The vast majority of children are involved in some form of extracurricular activity, and many children are involved in an entire plethora of activities. This can leave parents thinking a bit creatively when it is time to pick out the perfect activity for their child. As time has marched forwards many parents have started signing their children up for golf and teaching them exactly how to play. While not all parents think this is a suitable sport for young children, it can be a great experience that allows them the opportunity to really stretch their wings and expand their knowledge of how things are happening in the world around them. For example, golf has more than just the ability to teach good sportsmanship. It also has the ability to teach children how to be logical, make good decisions and even make a few calculated judgments based upon the playing circumstances that are presented to them. In addition, it teaches children to take turns while playing with others, and is also good for the physical activity of walking around the entire golf course. As you can see, learning golf is something that has a huge opportunity to be highly appropriate for a child. The benefits are widely available for both girls as well as boys and allows all parents to usually feel very confident in the decision to sign their child up for golf. If you have ever considered signing your child up for golf, it can be a very positive experience for your child. Determining if it is a sport that actually interests your child is usually one of the most complicated aspects. However, if you are willing to listen to your child and what they have to say you can usually get a very good indication of how they feel about the situation. Most children are quite open to learning new sports as long as it is presented to them in a positive manner. However, there are times when your child may need a bit of additional encouragement in order to really achieve the benefits that are available. Your first step should be taking your child to a few golf games, especially tournaments and competitions to allow them to see what is really possible. Then perhaps even a few games of mini golf would be a good suggestion as well. While the ultimate style is quite different, they are essentially the same game. This will give your child a hands on way to see if they are actually interested without having to worry about them getting hurt in the process. Never just jump into signing your child up for lessons as they are very expensive and often the classes are non-refundable. If your child still seems highly interested, you should look into searching for a suitable instructor that has experience working with children. The correct instructor will be quite helpful in encouraging your child's love of golf. If you happen to notice that a child that previously enjoyed golf suddenly does not want to play anymore, you may want to look at the interaction they have with their instructor before looking at other situations to see what has happened. With a bit of gentle encouragement most children are able to become quite skilled at golf, which makes it a great sport due to the huge self-esteem boost that it can provide. If you have any doubts about whether your child can play golf you can generally rest easy knowing that children as young as 5 have been enrolled successfully in lessons. No matter if your child is a boy or a girl; they are quite likely to enjoy golf thoroughly and with the right instructor blossom into quite a talented player. You will be very surprised at just how good a sport it can be for children.
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