Spring Golf Watch

Spring is approaching and so is the golf season, so why not prepare yourself with a review of your golf game, and a lesson or two, to get off to the best possible start.

"Augusta National"
Augusta National - hole 10 Camillia

If you would like a good idea of what to look out for when researching golf lessons, take a look at John Cook’s School of Golf and Golf Range.

Choose your golf professional carefully as it could be the start of a long-term relationship. It’s a good idea to have lessons at a golf range, so you can practice afterwards and fine-tune what you have learnt.

Perhaps, consider a series of lessons, which will be even more beneficial.  Remember, to ask for a discount if booking more than one lesson at a time.

What to expect from your first lesson – firstly, a brief chat about your goals, analysis of your golf swing, corrections for any faults, and improvement drills for you to take away.

Health and fitness

Consider your fitness for the new season, especially if you’ve been a couch potato all winter.  Get outdoors, do some walking, and while at home do some simple exercise to avoid early season injuries.   Check out staying healthy for golf, for tips, advice and recommendations.

Getting started

If you have never played golf before, but would like to know where to start, you may benefit from reading about why people play golf and how to get into golf.  It does not necessarily have to be too expensive.

Spring golf watch

In brief, review your current golf performance and consider your improvement goals for the coming golf season.  Most of all practice as much as possible if you seriously want to get off to a good start. Consider if you need any professional golf lessons to help you to improve your game or to fix any faults that have crept into your game.

Fantastic Ladies Golf – Solheim Cup 2011

Did you see the Solheim Cup 2011 between the USA and Europe?

What a wonderful golfing and sporting occasion.  The standard of golf was superb and highly competitive with the result in doubt until the penultimate match.  Europe eventually winning a real nail-biter 15-13.

It was Europe’s first win since 2003 and a much-needed boost for women’s golf in Europe.

The final day of the match played out in awful conditions with wind and rain and the threat of lightning forcing suspension of play three times.

The match itself had everything, from Christie Kerr’s withdrawal from the American team due to injury, to great team play and individual brilliance.

None more so than Juli Inkster’s 35 yard bunker shot on the eighteenth hole to within 6 inches of the pin to win a half for the USA against Laura Davies in the battle of the two veterans.  At the time, this appeared to have swung the match America’s way.

However, the Europeans had different ideas and produced a memorable fight back; especially Suzann Pettersen who birdied the last three holes against Michelle Wie to win her match and Caroline Hedwall who came from two down with two holes to play to draw with Ryannn O’Toole and get the decisive half point needed to win the Solheim Cup 2011.

These girls must have nerves of steel to play golf to this level under so much pressure.  As any golfer will tell you, mental toughness as well as skill and physical endurance is vitally important to play golf well.

This was a tremendous advert for women’s golf and just as exciting to watch as the men’s Ryder Cup.

As for passion, it was up there with any grand sporting event you can think of.  It was so alive, so vivid with its drama, its colour, its buzz and sense of occasion.  This is why people play golf.

In two years time, the professional women golfers of Europe and the USA will meet again in Colorado for this biennial tournament named after the Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer Karsten Solheim.

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Great Week for Golf

This is the week of The Open Championship in the UK and the perfect time to get interested in golf.  I will be spending many hours this weekend glued to the television, watching the best players in the world trying their hardest to win the famous Claret Jug.

Royal St George Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, hosts the Open this year.  It is a typical links course built on a strip of land beside the ocean.  Links golf is sometimes referred to as seaside golf.

Traditionalists say that links golf  is true golf as it presents more of a challenge, but not everyone agrees, as luck can sometimes play a part in the outcome, especially with the vagaries of the British weather.

The draw that determines order of play can make a real difference as the weather can change quickly and effectively ruin your chances.  If you have ever been on or near a wet and windy links course, you will know what I mean.

Lots of humps and hollows designed into links courses affect the run of the golf ball, which means you hardly ever get a flat lie to play from.  You can play a perfectly good shot and find your ball runs off into a tricky spot or a sand trap.

The small deep sand traps you find on links courses are known as pot bunkers and specifically designed to penalize the golfer.  You can also drop shots from long grass, purposely allowed to grow long and punish you if you miss the fairway. These are just some of the inbuilt difficulties of links golf.

In essence, links golf can be the ultimate roller-coaster ride for the golfer, but all the players taking part this week dreams of winning The Open.  They all have the skills to win, but who has the mental strength and patience to be the champion on Sunday night?

If you have never played golf before, but would like to know more about why people play golf and how to get started, check out my beginners guide to golf.