Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Golf Beginner Tips: How to Tee a Golf Ball at the Proper Height

If you're new to golf then, like any other player, you're probably asking, "How do I get better at golf?" Getting better in this game requires improvement in striking the ball - meaning your club makes solid contact with the ball on a more consistent basis so that the ball's flight carries it toward your intended target.

Consistent ball-striking on the tee box is important to any golfer because your tee shot sets the tone for each hole of golf you play. If you have a bad tee shot, your chances of scoring well on a hole are greatly reduced. If you string together a bunch of bad tee shots, then you will probably not score well for the round.

Knowing how to properly tee up a ball is one of the easiest golf beginner tips to learn for achieving consistent ball-striking. To do this, you need to know the proper height at which to place the ball for each type of club - driver, fairway wood, hybrid or iron - you hit off the tee. The longer the club, the higher you will need to tee the ball.

Driver. When hitting a driver, you want to "sweep" the ball off the tee by making contact with the ball slightly on the upswing. This will help to get the ball airborne and provide maximum distance. To do this, you'll need to tee the ball high. A general rule of thumb when hitting your driver is to have half your ball above the clubface when it's on the tee. You might even want to tee it a little higher, but no more than having the bottom of the ball level with the top of your driver's clubface. Otherwise, you run the risk of "popping-up" the ball on contact.

Fairway woods and hybrids. With these clubs, you still want to sweep the ball off the tee. However, because their clubfaces aren't as deep, you don't need to tee the ball as high as when using a driver. You will want to set your tee so the ball rests about one-half inch off the ground. A good rule of thumb for these clubs is to have one-half to a one-third of your ball resting above the clubface.

Long and mid irons. To achieve solid contact with one of these clubs (2-, 3-, 4- and 5-iron), less of the tee will be above ground than with a wood or hybrid. To make solid contact, you want to impact the ball closer to the bottom of the swing. Therefore, you should set the tee in the ground so the ball is about one-quarter inch off the ground.

Short irons. When using a short iron (any iron shorter than a 5-iron), you should press the tee all the way into the ground so only the head is above ground. This will allow your ball to sit just above the ground. This will help ensure you get the same height and distance as if you were hitting the ball off the ground, which is usually where the ball lies when hitting these clubs (usually anywhere other than the tee box). However, you give yourself a much better chance of solid contact with the ball on a tee.

If you're new to golf and asking, "How do I get better at golf?", follow these golf beginner tips to promote more solid contact off the tee. It leads to better ball-striking and lower scores, which is what every golfer wants!

Monday, June 18, 2012

4 Tips to Help You Score Well on a Wet Golf Course

Most golfers prefer a dry course, but inevitably you'll find yourself facing wet conditions.

Perhaps you are playing in a tournament or on a special out-of-town course and a quick shower passes through the course. It a special day and you don't want to pass up the opportunity. Whatever the reason, playing a wet course requires some special techniques and skills.

For those old and new to golf, here's a quick safety tip.

Never play golf during a thunderstorm. Being struck by lightning is no laughing matter. Standing out in the open, unprotected, or under a tree or near water, and holding a metal shaft in your hands, puts you at a drastically higher risk. Don't wait to hear the thunder or see the first lightning strike, as the first strike might be close to you. Be smart. Mark your ball and get to the clubhouse at the first sign of any inclement weather.

After the storm has passed and it is safe to return to the course, here are some tips to help you get through a wet course without sacrificing your score:

1. When you are playing a course that is truly wet, and not just damp, you may notice your feet sinking into the turf. Choke down on the club shaft, up to one inch to prevent making fat shots.

2. The first hole you play on a wet course should be considered a course evaluation hole. Many inexperienced golfers assume they can play the same club on a wet course as they would on a dry course, but this is almost never the case.

As you hit your first series of shots on the first hole, pay close attention to how your ball reacts when it lands. You'll most likely find that it will not roll anywhere near as much on wet turf as it would on dry.

If this is the case, don't be afraid to add more club to your future shots. You may find that you can add one, two, or even three clubs depending on how wet the course is and how far or little your ball rolls.

3. If you find yourself in the rough on a wet course, you may need to adjust your swing. Raining your hands slightly at address will make the club shaft more vertical. A more vertical swing will get through wet grass easier than a horizontal club shaft.

Playing out of the rough also requires more power to compensate for the sticky grass that slows down club head speed. Try not to swat at the ball on the downswing. Just add a little more power throughout the swing to increase club head speed.

When playing on a dry course in the rough, we are told not to grip the club too tightly. On a wet course, the deeper grass provides opposition. Make sure you are holding the club tight enough to keep the face of the club from flying open upon impact with the ball.

Take a couple of practice swings in the rough to get a feel for the amount of resistance the club head is getting from the wet grass.

4. Putting on a wet green is almost always slower than normal. Little rooster tails of water indicate increased drag on the ball. Take this into account when judging the pace of a putt. If you are starting your round after the rain, then get to the practice green quickly to get a feel for the break and resistance on the ball.

You will also find that balls do not break as much on a wet green (with the exception of a crnss-grain). You may find that your ball actually "slides" down the grain on very wet greens as it goes with the water flow.

In general, it is best to be more aggressive when playing on a wet course. Try to make more solid hits on a straighter target path to compensate for the drag caused by the water. This may not work in every case, but the odds are with you in these conditions.

Always repair the ball marks on the green. With wet play the ball generally hits and sticks. Repairing the ball mark on a wet green will allow the green to be in better shape after it dries.

Playing a wet course requires you to adjust your course management skills and play modified shots that work with the water rather than trying to fight it.

Be patient, be mindful of your shots, and don't be afraid to change your tactics as you move from hole to hole.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Golfing in Monroe, North Carolina

Golfing is popular in the Monroe, North Carolina area, which is just 30 minutes south of Uptown Charlotte. The area's moderate climate allows for outdoor recreational activities most of the year. Golfers can enjoy several great public and semi-private courses near Monroe.

Monroe Country Club is one of the older municipal golf clubs in the area. The back nine holes were designed by the legendary Donald Ross. The par 72 course plays 6,759 yards from the championship tees. Fairways are Bermuda grass. The club is located on US Hwy 601 South.

The Divide Golf Club, at 6803 Stevens Mill Road in nearby Stallings, North Carolina is another public course. The traditional 18-hole, par 72 course has Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens. The course is 6,922 yards long. Club facilities include a fully stocked pro shop, driving range, and a grill that serves breakfast and lunch. Greens fees on Monday-Thursday are $42 (after 2pm $37). Friday rates are $47 (after 2pm $39). Saturday and Sunday rates are $57 (after 2pm $44).

Pebble Creek Executive Course is a walkable par 3 course in nearby Indian Trail, North Carolina. The course provides a great opportunity for golfers to develop their short iron game. The course is Bermuda with water hazards on several holes. Tee times are not required. Greens fees on weekdays are $12 for 9 holes and $18 for 18 holes. Weekend greens fees are $14 for 9 holes and $20 for 18 holes. The course is located at 6709 US Hwy 74E.

Stonebridge Golf Club is a semi-private club in Monroe. The course is considered one of the best conditioned courses in the greater Charlotte area, and it recently received a 4 star rating from Golf Digest. The par 72 course plays 6,963 yards from the championship tees. Other club facilities include a pro shop, practice facilities, and a grill that serves breakfast and lunch. Greens fees on Monday-Thursday are $39 (after 2pm $34). Rates on Fridays are $49 (after 2pm $37). Weekend rates are $59 (after 2pm $39). Stonebridge Golf Club is located at 2721 Swilcan Burn Drive.

Emerald Lake Golf Club is another good semi-private course in the area. The club is located at 9750 Tournament Drive in nearby Stallings, North Carolina. Emerald Lake is a par 71 course, measuring 6,820 yards long. There is a fully stocked pro shop, and the Lakeside Grille serves breakfast and lunch. Greens fees on Monday-Friday are $39 (after 2pm $32). Rates on Saturday and Sunday are $52 (after 2pm $37).

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Things You Should Look for When Choosing a Golf Glove

Although a few people choose to play golf without a golf glove, you will not find it happening much anymore. Professional golfer Fred Couples is one, saying that it decreases the feel he has for the golf club. But he is a rare exception. It is a key piece of equipment to your golf game, and is the connection between you and your swing and your precious golf clubs that we give advice on all the time.

They offer protection for the hands, plus they give the golfer a better grip on the club, which is always important but imperative when the weather is damp or the hands get sweaty.

Protection. In everyone's golf swing there is some friction between the hands and the club, and the fingers moving against each other. The golf glove will prevent the hands and fingers from blistering, particularly if you haven't played for some time and the hands have yet to callous. Normally a right-handed golfer would wear a golf glove on his left hand, but you may opt for one on each hand if your hands are still soft from not playing.

Grip. Not only do you not want the club to slip out of your hands, but you don't want to be compensating with the slippage to have to clutch the club too tightly. Many amateur golfers do this, and it diminishes the suppleness in the hands necessary to generate maximum power. As golfing great Sam Snead once said, "If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they'd starve to death". The traction on a golf glove will allow you to loosen your grip.

Now that you know why you need a golf glove, what should you be looking for in purchasing a glove? First, it has to fit on your hand snuggly. If it's loose, it will allow the club to twist in your hand, taking away a main advantage. Plus it will loosen and stretch some with use. But it should still feel comfortable on your hand. The best ones will have plenty of ventilation between the fingers to allow moisture to vent.

The best gloves in the United States are Brazilian sheepskin, and they have a great feel and will last longer. On the other end of the quality spectrum are synthetic fabrics, which will do the job fine but will probably wear out quicker. It also will not have the nice, soft feel of the more expensive varieties will. Not only will quality vary, but there are those that perform better in rain as well as those which are heavier and will protect the hands against the elements.

I usually go with the moderately priced glove, and prefer to get a new one a little more often. You can prolong their life by keeping them dry when you are finished with a round, but don't dry them on direct heat or they'll become brittle.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Top Golf Shoes

Footwear is a key part of the serious golfer's game. The right, or wrong, shoes can make a major difference. And in recent years, many courses have shifted away from metal spikes and to soft spikes. It's possible you may need to update your shoes.

The problem is, there are many options for golf footwear. Perhaps too many options. It can be overwhelming, when you step into the pro shop or sporting goods store and start browsing row after row of shoes.

Here are some pairs that every serious, committed golfer should at least consider before their next trip to the links.

>>Adidas Adicros

Price: $90

These shoes are spikeless and light weight. They have great resistance to slipping and strong flexibility. You'll love the 124 traction nodules that will really change the way you swing. Comfortable and light weight, you can do much worse than these. Adidas, while not the typical brand you think about when you think about golf, has years and years and years of experience making shoes for all different kinds of sports. That experience shows through. They are also available in several different colors if you're interested in some fashion coordination as you golf.

>>Footjoy Contour Casuals

Price: $100

Much like the Adidas Adicros, these shoes are spikeless with great slip resistance and the perfect amount of flexibility. They're understand and classy looking. In fact, you can wear these shoes on our off the course - they'll fit in almost anywhere. The shoe is waterproof with a rubber-nub outsole, which designers have used to enhance both comfort and traction. These shoes are highly customizable with a total of 47 possible size and width combinations. This company, Footjoy, is definitely accurately named.

>>Callaway Razr

Price: $185

These athletic shoes have perfect slip resistance with high flexibility. This is a higher-end shoe with full-grain leather. Callaway, one of the most well-known and reliable names in golf, offers a two-year waterproof guarantee. The Razr features a low-profile cleat receptacle developed by Softspikes. The goal is to improve feel and decrease the overall spike pressure. Designers of this piece of high quality footwear have also added a special layer inside the shoe is designed to mitigate any and all temperatures. Players rave about the comfortable yet secure feel of these shoes.

>>Nike Dunk NG

Price: $130

Hard to imagine that golf, with all its classic tradition, could have anything at all in common with skateboarding, an upstart sport for kids in baggy clothes with blaring headphones. Yet these shoes prove that it's possible. Nike Dunks, originally a classic basketball shoe, have seen popularity among the skateboard crowd. And now you can also get a pair perfect for the golf course. This shoe comes with a rubber cupsole with seven cleats and full-grain leather upper with a two-year waterproof warranty. A full-length, contoured sock liner brings it to a whole new level of comfort. Available in many colors and designs, these could be the ideal choice for the golfer who wants to maintain hipness and style on the course.