There is no shortage of satirical comment around on the dress sense of golfers, and to be honest it is hard to blame the people who make mention of it. Sometimes, golfers wear items of clothing that are simply appalling. The late, great Payne Stewart was famous for his plus-fours which garnered compliments and attention from many, along with hoots of derision from others. Most of us can summon up a stereotypical picture of what we would deem a golf outfit to be – and the likelihood is that the world’s golfers would not come out looking too wonderful.
When it comes down to it, there is a reason golf trousers tend not to look like the height of sartorial elegance, or of relaxed style. If a golfer took to the course wearing a full dress suit, their swing would be badly compromised. If they wore jeans on to the course, they would find it pretty difficult to get the flexibility required to hit the complex range of shots they need to – plus they would be breaking a club’s genteel dress code. Therefore it is important to find a compromise. Slacks are exactly the right compromise, and they are the chosen golf trousers of a great many players.
Plenty of amateur golfers, and for that matter a number of the professionals, like to have a bit of fun with the expected sartorial disasters that are a part of golfing folklore in this day and age. For some people, golf just wouldn’t be golf without a terrible shirt and garish trousers.
If you are good enough as an amateur golfer, the time will come when you have a go at tournament play. This doesn’t mean that a few years of practice will have you ready to take part in the Masters or PGA golf tournaments, but you may well be good enough to enter a competition at your local club, and this is where things get really interesting. Testing yourself against the best players from a club and invited outsiders can be fascinating – it allows you to see how you fare under pressure – and maybe win some cash into the bargain.
Golf tournaments differ depending on the level you play at. Professionals play in tournaments that last four days, taking them through seventy-two holes of raised pressure and hair’s breadth competition. If they don’t play well enough on the first two days, then they may fall below the “cut” – usually ten strokes behind the leader – and take no further part. If you make the cut, then you play for the final two days no matter what happens. If you finish high enough on the leader board, you’ll win some money.
At amateur level, tournaments rarely last that long – after all, everyone has a job to go back to. They will frequently last a weekend though, and if you are playing in a tournament then pressure is always at its highest in the final holes when you stand a real chance of winning. It makes for fantastic sport, and even gaining tournament experience in readiness for the next time is valuable.
Watching golf on TV, it is often very easy to become complacent about what the sport requires of you. To the untrained eye, it is simply a matter of hitting the ball really hard once, slightly less hard another time or two, and then trying to get an accurate putt to round the hole off. What could be more simple? Actually, a lot of things. It may seem like those professionals just put the ball on the tee and smash it as hard as they can, but even the action replays the networks show cannot prepare you for the sheer physics of the best golf swing. It will take you a while to hone yours, be in no doubt about that.
A successful golf swing is about three specific parts – the back swing, the swing itself and the follow-through. Professional golfers spend forever honing their swing and even at the top of their game can sometimes get it wrong. The back swing is about building up power, the swing itself is to direct and control the shot. The follow-through – although the ball has gone by this time – needs to be clean and full, otherwise you are likely going to shank your tee shot or do yourself an injury.
If you cannot get to the course as often as would be ideal, then you are going to have to practice like young budding guitarists do – in front of a mirror with something that will pass for a prop. You need to practice holding for long enough at the top of your back swing, and powering through to get the best shot. It may seem embarrassing, but it will pay off when you hit the course for real.
When we are growing up, we latch on to a favorite sport pretty quickly, and this can either blossom into a generalised love of sport or a specific enjoyment of a particular sport. Whichever is the case, we quickly find ourselves dreaming of emulating those stars on the screen in front of us. We’d all like to do what Pelé did, or throw like Dan Marino, or run a hundred meters faster than Usain Bolt. Golf is no different. Unlike the above-mentioned sports, though, golf is one where you can achieve a lot of what the stars do.
PGA golf professionals dream of shooting the lowest round they possibly can, where every shot goes right where they wanted, as far and as accurate as possible. But every golfer is delighted when they manage to land a hole-in-one – for many it is the highlight of their career. That is something which a club player can do themselves – with enough practice you can be hitting the green with your tee shot on any short hole and when you do that you can end up with a hole-in-one very easily.
The best PGA golf professionals are on a plateau that those of us who play for fun can only dream of. But for the time you are out there on the course, you see what the professionals see. You have the calculations to make that they have to make too – and that is one of the things that makes a golf fan closer to their heroes than any other sports fan.
A golfing holiday really is what you make it. Before you book you have to consider some matters. Is this going to be a “family” holiday which essentially entails your family sitting around waiting for you to finish on the course so that they can go on an increasingly annoying sight-seeing journey? Or could it be the perfect mix of scenery, sight-seeing and a few relaxing rounds of golf? Most people, when thinking of a holiday to take them to glistening sands, aren’t thinking of a hazard just off the 13th green which will take a sand wedge and a lot of patience to escape.
Deciding on the right golf holidays really requires you to think about who is going to be going on the holiday. If it is just you and a few equally golf-mad friends, then all that matters is that you all approve of the course, the clubhouse and the nightlife. If you are bringing your family then they either need to love golf as much as you do or the location needs to be somewhere close to things that they can enjoy. For many people, Dubai is a popular golf holiday location because there are some wonderful golf courses within a very short drive of the enthralling city center.
Hitting the course and leaving your family to decide what they’ll do to pass the next few hours is kind of mean-spirited. If you want to have the perfect golf holiday, you’ll plan with everyone in mind and make sure that while you have the chance to play a wonderful course, you don’t come home to find that you have a hole in one of your best jackets.
Golf is one of the most popular participation sports on this earth, and certainly one of the few where you can be watching someone play an event one day, and be playing that same course less than a week later. You may watch the Superbowl one night and go out and throw the pigskin around with your friends the following day, but you won’t be doing it on the same turf as the professionals who played in the previous night’s game. In golf, you can try and recreate that incredible putt you saw the day before too the absolute millimeter – which is pretty cool.
All over the world it is possible to play courses that have been walked by the superstars, and have been the location for some of sport’s most dramatic moments. This means that a golf package holiday can make some of your dreams come true. There are so many possible locations for a golfing holiday that you could even use a golfing compilation DVD as your travel brochure if you are so minded. The enjoyment of playing the great courses in Europe, America and beyond is enhanced by the knowledge that this is something tennis, football and athletics fans rarely get to do.
It is a good idea to get down to your travel agent and request some brochures for golf packages in order to live the dream of playing these courses, and spending some time in a beautiful sunny location into the bargain. What could be better?
The most commonly held prejudice about golf is that it is a sport for the rich, that it goes along with sailing and horse riding as a sport that is ring-fenced off for players that were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. There was a time when this was substantially true, but as time has gone on it has become easier for less well-off players to take the game up and play it for fun – before going on to see if they can get better and if it is worth investing a little more money in better equipment so as to make their game flow better and get more enjoyment from it.
Cheap golf equipment is not as good as more expensive golf equipment – that simply goes without saying. However, not everyone can afford it. Not only this, but it is not always worth spending a bunch of money on the right equipment only to find that golf is not quite for you, or that you cannot afford to keep up your time on the course. If you want to get the best out of your early games of golf, it makes a lot more sense to get more basic equipment and see how good you are early on before adapting as you go along.
It is also not always possible to go to bigger and better courses right at the start, and you may find that you have to play on cheap golf courses, even ones with free entry. Don’t worry too much about that – if you can master those courses, the more exclusive ones will be a walk in the park for you.
When you are looking to take up golf, it can be fun to make it something that involves your kids as well. Many of us never got a chance to play at an early age – for one reason or another, there was less opportunity the longer ago we look. Giving your children the chance to play at an early age means that they will get better the older they get, and who knows, you might discover the next big star. Quite apart from anything else, it is an excellent opportunity for a father and son, a mother and daughter, or any such combination to get the best out of a game.
Junior golf is increasingly popular. Once upon a time there was so little opportunity for younger players to play golf that the best they could really manage was to take up mini- or crazy golf. The fact of the matter is that junior golf was pretty badly catered to for a long time. Now, that is not so much the case. Now, there are courses which are playable by adults and juniors. There are also specific junior golf courses, and to play on these is to get a chance to hone your game before you grow taller and stronger.
The attraction of junior golf is obvious. If you can learn the principles of this difficult yet fascinating game when you are still young, you can get better and better with age, and playing for money when you have been practising for longer.
The importance of getting the right equipment for your golf game is undoubtedly more and more when you get better at the game. As things stand, you may not be all that good, but when you get good you’ll find it enjoyable to own the right equipment, the stuff that takes a few shots off your game and makes it easier to get extra distance on your tee shots, more accuracy on your putts and better recovery when you do go into the long rough. The undeniable truth is that golfing equipment can be expensive, but you might find that some golf shops have a good discount range.
Very few shops ever got rich by only selling things at the higher end of the market – everyone knows that the most business comes from people buying more things at lower prices, as opposed to bigger purchases. Therefore when you go to golf shops it is wise to look at the potential in the discount range if you haven’t been playing for long. As your game improves it is natural to want to hone your equipment. It gives you an extra percentage in your game, and the better you are the bigger those percentages get.
The best golf shops will have well-qualified assistants who will be able to direct you to the best equipment for your purposes. It is well worth asking around to get the best for your price range, because this will make it easier to play and enjoy your natural game.
The popularity of golfing holidays is one of the more enduring examples of sporting breaks currently in existence. There are so many golfing resorts the world over that it is possible to take a golfing break in diverse destinations from Dubai to Durban and from Spain to Scotland. The perfect combination of a “get away from it all” holiday paradise with the most relaxing game known to man is one of the most potent combinations imaginable, and makes for a perfect opportunity for any keen golfer to take a holiday that allows them ample occasion to hone their game.
One of the best things about a golfing holiday is that it allows you to experience a different course and different conditions. A holiday in Scotland will expose you to the rugged game of links golf – which has been blamed by many a professional for spoiling their chances of winning a major. A golfing holiday in one of the newer destinations such as Dubai gives you a chance to try out innovative courses which have been designed by champion golfers – and see if you can match up to what they have imagined.
There are several companies which specialize in booking golfing holidays, so if you are keen to try one out for yourself it is worth getting hold of a few brochures and seeing which has the best combination of playable courses and ideal sight-seeing. There is literally a world of choice awaiting you – so why not give it a try?