A wise man once told me that good course management on a golf course will help shave strokes off your game.  The only problem was when my father was teaching me this lesson I was still young and dumb and wanted stand over the ball and hit is as hard and as far as I could.  It wasn’t until a few years later that I remembered the lesson that he taught me on the 10th hole at Francis Byrne Golf Course.  The lesson was basically to think about the risk in the shot you are about to hit, and is the risk worth the reward.  So can good course management help out your game?  Well here are some of my thoughts on managing a round that I have learned over the course of my golfing career either through playing or a playing partner. 

Most of the time on a par 5 I leave myself about 225 to 250 yards away from the green on my drive, assuming I hit the fairway (and that’s a big assumption).  If I do leave myself 225 yards out, I may be able to hit the green with a three wood, but I would have to hit it perfectly off the fairway, which doesn’t happen too often since I don’t hit the three wood too many times in my round.  Plus I just don’t feel comfortable hitting that club in that spot.  There was once a point in my young golfing career in which I always would have went for the green I would estimate 90% of the time I would put myself in great danger because of how inconsistently I hit that club and walking away from the par 5 with a 7 or 8 on the score card.  These days I pull out iron, which when I hit it leaves me about 75-100 yards away from the green.  I feel most comfortable from that distance on the course and feel that I have the best shot from that distance to walk away with either a birdie or a par, and worst case scenario a bogey.  Thats not to say I will never go for a green in two on a par 5, I am just saying that there is a time and a place to go for it, you just have to be smart about it. 

During any given round I can be a disaster off the tee, which usually leaves me in some treacherous spots on the course.  One of the toughest lessons I have learned on the course is to take your medicine when you hit an errant shot.  I used to be the type of golfer that thought I could hit the miracle shot through the tiny break in the trees by keeping the ball low, hooking around a tree and onto the green.  Yeah the type of shot that only Tiger of Phil can pull off.  The majority of the time I would hit the tree and the ball would land behind me in an even worse spot than I was just in.  I have learned over the course of years to play it “safe” and punch out of trouble even if it means hitting it sideways in order to give yourself a decent third shot.  My thinking here is I might hit a decent third shot and give myself a decent look at par, but chances are worst case scenario I am walking away with bogey, which I will take in that spot.        

Finally, look at the danger in front of you.  There are always shots on the course that look so inviting and tempting to try.  Don’t let the course fool you, it is usually these shots that if you miss you will find yourself in some serious trouble.  There inviting for a reason.  Take a step back and think if I miss my intended shot, what type of danger can I expect to be in?  This seems like common sense, but I see it time and time again on the golf course where people attempt to take dead aim at a pin that is tucked away in the back corner and surrounded by bunkers instead of aiming for the center of the green, or trying to hit a cut shot on a dog leg left when they haven’t hit a straight drive all round.   By playing the safer shot and avoiding the trouble the course brings, I believe gives us the best shot at shooting more consistent rounds.
 
 
A little golf humor for all my fellow golf freaks out there, this one really made me chuckle.

 

One day an Irishman, who had been stranded on a deserted island for over 10 years, saw a speck on the horizon. He thought to himself, 'It's certainly not a ship.' And, as the speck got closer and closer, he began to rule out the possibilities of a small boat or even a raft.

Suddenly there emerged from the surf a wet-suited black clad figure. Putting aside the scuba gear and the top of the wet suit, there stood a drop-dead gorgeous blonde! The glamorous blonde strode up to the stunned Irishman and said to him, 'Tell me, how long has it been since you've had a cigarette?'


 

'Ten years,' replied the amazed Irishman. With that, she reached over and unzipped a waterproofed pocket on the left sleeve of her wet suit, and pulled out a fresh pack of cigarettes. He takes one, lights it, and takes a long drag. 'Faith and begorra,'said the man, 'that is so good I'd almost forgotten how great a smoke can be!'

'And how long has it been since you've had a drop of good Irish whiskey' asked the blonde .

Trembling, the castaway replied, 'Ten years.' Hearing that, the blonde reaches over to her right sleeve unzips a pocket there and removes a flask and hands it to him. He opened the flask and took a long drink. 'Tis nectar of the gods!' stated the Irishman. 'Tis truly
fantastic!!!'

At this point the gorgeous blonde started to slowly unzip the long front of her wet suit, right down the middle. She looked at the trembling man and asked, 'And how long has it been since you played around?'

With tears in his eyes, the Irishman fell to his knees and sobbed; 'Sweet Jesus! Don't tell me you've got golf clubs  in there too!'
 
 
Proper golf etiquette seems to be extremely important to all people who play the game.  I know for me it took me some time to fully understand all of them.  Sure there were some simple ones like never talk during someone’s back swing but their were others that I learned over time such as when playing a recreational round of golf you should take no longer then two minutes to look for a lost ball.  Below are some additional tips in regards to proper golf course etiquette.

 
Golf Carts

Make sure you drive you golf carts with care.  Always pay attention to the signs on the course.  If a sign states not to drive past a certain point don’t.  Also never drive into sand traps, onto tee boxes and stay at least 15 yards from the green at all times.

 
Ball Hunting:

As stated above golfers playing a recreational round should only spend two minutes searching for a lost ball.  As a courtesy golfers in the group should all keep an eye on each others tee shots to help is finding balls faster (insert joke here).  It should be noted that the official rule states that a golfer has five minutes to find a lost ball, this was meant for tournament golf only.

 The Flag:

 

Always wait for all golfers to hit their ball onto the green before removing the flag stick from the hole.  When you remove the flag stick, be sure to place it down softly to ensure that the green is not damage.  Preferably the flag should be placed on the fringe, but if placed directly on the green be sure to be gently.  Finally if a player wants the flag stick to remain in when they are putting make sure to hold the flag so that it does not blow in the wind, which could be distracting.  Also try and hold the flag in a way that your shadow does not cover the hole or the putting line for the golfer.

 

On the Green:

 

One of the most important rules is to never walk in front of someone’s putting line on the green.  So be sure to walk around a fellow golfer golf ball to ensure you do not inadvertently walk in his/her line.  Also be sure to replace all ball marks created by your approach shot when arriving at the green.

 

On the Tee:

 

As stated above you should be completely silent when others are hitting there tee-shots.  You should also try and remain out of eye sight from the golfer hitting the tee shot, which could serve as distraction.  Golfer should also remain still.  It should also be noted that the individual with the best score from the previous hole should be the first to tee-off on the next hole.
 
 
This post is dedicated to all the golf widows out there.  Husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, the Golf Gurus salute you for your patients with us.  Sometimes golf can consume all of your time.  I know at times it seems like I eat, drink and dream golf.  I even talk golf at the dinner table.  If I am not playing golf or talking about it, then I am watching it on TV.  So thank you to my wife for putting up with me and thank you to all the other significant others out there who put up with the same shenanigans.

 In fairness it’s not our fault.  Golf is like the Siren in Greek Mythology; she sings her song and we just can’t fight it, we have to play.  I know my fellow golf guru Mark is in the same boat, I think he plays more than me if that’s possible.

 So my fellow golf addicts make sure the next time you see your significant other say thank you for putting up with me.  And always remember when its there turn to watch something other then golf or ask you to take part in one of there hobbies you better abide because we all know inside that we owe them big time.
 
 
The clubs in my golf bag used to consist of a driver, irons (4-10), a sand wedge and a putter.  The one club that I was missing was a fairway wood.  The dilemma I always had was whether to carry a fairway wood or not.  Until recently I didn't carry the fairway wood because I couldn't hit it so why tempt myself by leaving one in the bag.  However, I decided this year to bite the bullet and get one for my birthday.  The problem I ran into, was with so many choices of clubs out there how do I select the right one.  Well here are a few things I learned along the way that may help you out when purchasing a new club.

 Hit different clubs and find the ones you like:

 So many golfers I know run to the closest sporting goods store, pick a club and purchase it on the spot.  I would strongly recommend not buying a club this way.  Many stores these days that sell golf clubs have an area that you can go to and test the clubs you are interested in purchasing.  I happened to purchase a three wood, but before I made the actual purchase I hit five different three woods, and believe it or not three right off the bat didn't feel as good as the others off the club.  So automatically they were crossed off the list.  It left me with two clubs, the Taylor Made Burner and the R9, and both felt terrific. My next concern was what shaft and degree of the club head to get.

Get your Swing Analyzed:

With today’s technology, there are stores out there such as Golfsmith that have the technology to analyze your swing.  The analysis tells you how hard you are swinging, where you are making contact, the flight of the ball.  Depending on the results, you may need a stiff shaft or a regular shaft with a low or medium torque.  Depending on the club, you may need a different degree on the face of the club.  There are different options when purchasing clubs and you want to get the ones that best suit your swing.  

When it was all said and done I ended up purchasing the Taylor Made Burner three wood.  Why did I choose that compared to the R9?  Quite simply I hit them both the same, except the burner was cheaper so I went with that.  I must say I am extremely happy that I went through the process of hitting different clubs and getting my swing analyzed.  Because of this I know I made the right purchase. 
 
 
I found myself in an interesting discussion over the weekend with my fellow golf guru Mark regarding drinking while playing a round of 18.  I have drank on a golf course on a few occasions, one in which I was over served, other times I had a nice glow and others only having one or two.

 

From our discussion I came to the conclusion that the majority of the time I don’t like to drink during a round with the exception of playing in a golf outing.  For some reason drinking and golf outings go together like peas and carrots.  However, during an ordinary round it just affects me too much.

 

It usually goes a little something like this.  I crack the first beer and take a sip, it tastes so good when it hits the lips.  After finishing the first brew, I feel a little relaxed and tend to stop over thinking.  Soon the second beer is cracked and again things remain relatively good.  My swing is nice and relaxed and my putting stroke is nice and smooth.  Once the third beer is cracked its all down hill.  The third beer seems like a good idea but once the empty can is rattling around the golf cart I quickly realize that I have a little buzz.  All of a sudden my concentration starts to lapse and my mechanics begin to break down. 

 

Now don’t get me wrong I am all for a nice cold brew after a round, but when it starts adversely effecting my round I have to draw the line.  My conclusion with Mark was, two beers is tops for me is when playing a round on the weekends, during golf outings just enjoy yourself.

 

But hey to each their own and remember stay thirsty my friends.
 
 
To all of our fellow golf lovers out there, the Golf Gurus have developed seven reasons why we love golf.  Let us know if you agree or have any others to add.

1) The freedom of being in the great outdoors

Over the course of my young golfing career, I have truly seen some of the most breathtaking sights and things in my life. Any time you show up to the course you may see something you have never seen before. I have seen the sun dropping into the ocean causing the most breathtaking sunset I have ever seen, I have seen a baby fox run up the cart path toward the tee box we were standing on, jump into the woods and come out with a chip monk in its mouth and trot back down the cart path, I have even seen a black bear sitting on top of a tree overlooking the green we were playing. It's during these moments that I really take a step back and truly appreciate this great game.

2) The gear is pretty sweet.

Come on admit it, the gear is pretty cool. From the golf spikes to the rain gear we can all look like pros even if we hit like the amateurs.

3) Playing alone

If you have never experienced playing alone, and alone I mean with no other people in your group, then I would definitely recommend it. If you have played by yourself, then you know what I am talking about. Sure it's great to tee it up with your buddies, but once in a while there is nothing like being on the course by yourself, just you vs. the course and its elements. While playing by yourself, there becomes a point that the course gets so quiet and peaceful, that you get the sense that you are the only person in the world. There is also a sense of purity and integrity in that you still count all your strokes and follow all the rules.

4) Finding Random Balls

I love the feeling of finding a brand spanking new golf ball in the ruff or a few feet into the woods. It's like the golf gods are shinning down on you, especially if the ball you find is a new a Pro V1.

5) The sounds

Ever stop and just listen to the sounds of the golf course? The pinging of a ball hit crisply off a driver, the whoosh of a nicely struck iron shot or the sweet sound of a ball when it drops into bottom of the cup. Not to mention the sounds of joy and frustration from other golfers on the course.

6) The perfect golf shot

It seems to happen at least once a round, usually on the 18th hole for me, but there is nothing like connecting perfectly with a ball. When everything aligns just right and you step up and hit the perfect golf shot. Whether it's a 200 yard iron shot, leaving a short iron 2 feet from the pin or crushing a 300 yard drive, there is nothing like it when everything clicks. It just keeps you coming back for more.

7) The 19th hole

You know I couldn't leave this out. A cold brew after playing 18 with your friends is a great way to end a round. The beer is cold and it's always fun rehashing the round and talking about the shots and sites of the day.
 
 
Am I addicted to golf?  That is the question I was asking myself as I drove up to Sunset Valley this past weekend.  I should note that it was 5:00 am in the morning.  Yup that’s right five in the morning.  With a wife and two kids at home I try to play as early as possible on the weekends so that I can be home for most of the day on the Saturdays that I play.

 

I know a lot of people love golf but who else is getting up with me at 4:50 on a Saturday to make sure they get to their tee-time at 6:00 am?  Well let me answer that, a lot of people.  Driving up to the course I was the only one on the road, and as I turned the corner to pull into the golf course I expected to be the first car in.  However to my surprise the course was buzzing with energy.  People on the putting green, people in the club house, the rangers were out greeting people and lining up golf carts for the day.

 

I quickly realized that there are not golf addicts rather those who golf and those who don’t.  Once you are bit by the golf bug all rational thought is lost and 6 o’clock wake up calls and $110 rounds make perfect sense.  So to all my fellow golfers Ill be seeing you on the course, Ill be the one holding the gallon of coffee.
 
 
Over the weekend I found myself in the golf section at Dick’s Sporting Goods and was pulled to the very large golf ball assortment that they offer.  They had oodles and oodles of offerings from Nike Raw Distance to Titlist Pro V1’s all ranging in price form $12 to $60 which got me to thinking does the golf ball really matter for a weekend warrior such as myself?  After pondering this thought for a moment, I came to the conclusion that the answer is yes to a certain extent.

 

At first I thought about it from the psychological aspect.  I can’t explain it but I just feel different when I am standing over a Pro V1 vs. a Top Flight.  In my head I have made myself believe that a ball can help me shave strokes off my game.   Maybe it is the $45 price point vs the $14 price point between the two balls.  In a game that I believe is often won or lost in your head this can be a big factor.

 

My second thought was do some of the higher priced balls that Calloway and Titlist offer provide more distance off the tee for me?  Over the past 15 years I have played many different types of balls and have found that balls like the Pro V1 and Callaway Warbirds provide at least an additional 10 yards on my drives.  With that being said I never score better.  Distance is one thing but if you can’t hit it straight does it really matter?

 

Finally, different balls offer things such as better spin control; others offer higher trajectories and softer landings.  Now don’t get me wrong, for golfers better then myself the ball does matter, however I am not good enough to even pretend that all that stuff matters and I think this is the case for the majority of weekend players.

 

So ultimately do I think the type of golf ball matters?  From a mental standpoint, I know I feel like I play and hit a “nicer/more expensive” ball better than a “cheaper/less expensive” ball.  As far as the distance and feel aspects go, if I am hitting the ball straight, then it doesn’t matter what I am playing.

 

When it was all said and done I pulled two cases of Callaway Warbirds off the shelf on sale for $35.  A nice middle of the line ball that will have me believing on the course that they are helping and providing a little extra distance but won’t break the bank either. 
 
 
It has been awhile since the Golf Gurus posted to our blog.  Rather then provide course reviews which can now be found on our site (www.golfcoursereviewgurus.com), we would like to use this blog to review and discuss golf equipment and products.

 

Today I would like to talk about Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.  I was introduced to this book a few years ago from a golfing buddy of mine Alex.  From the time I picked up a club till the time I read this book I had always gripped the golf club like a baseball bat.  Alex saw this and told me I should look at Ben Hogan’s book, in which it devotes an entire chapter on how to properly hold a golf club. 

 

As an avid golfer I figured what the heck and ran out to the local book store to pick up a copy.  Man was I floored.  Hogan may be the biggest golf freak out of all of us.  The first chapter talked all about how to properly hold a golf club.  He provided diagrams and practice exercises.  I remember practicing my grip for two hours, I think my wife thought I was nuts.

 

The following chapters went on to discuss the mechanics of the proper swing, what your back swing should look like as well has how you should align your feet.  Overall the book was  very good and a very quick read.  However the best section was the grip section for me.  After reading it I saw an immediate improvement in my ball striking and saw a lot more consistency in the distance and accuracy of my shots. 

 

This book is definitely worth a read.
 

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