Monday, March 16, 2015

Golf Vacation Fitness: Why Do Calisthenics

Most people normally define a golf vacation as a byproduct of combining relaxation and contest. For patrons with a very competitive mind set, the possibility of getting floored by an opponent is enough to make the term “relaxation” disappear in their personal dictionary. In order to ease that intense mindset, it is important to subject oneself to intense training. It is truly challenging to find an intense physical program that does not throw off golfing proficiency when pushed to a whole new level. But there's a very good reason why one must choose calisthenics.

Nothing beats the most basic program
What would you say is the most basic exercise routine? If your guess is either push-ups or sit-ups, congratulations! Other traditional exercises in this category include jumping jacks, planks, dips, lunges, squats and pull ups. There's a reason every military organization on the planet prescribes calisthenics as a generic format for physical training. It's the most direct and least complicated conditioning procedure.

No equipment: the best deal ever
Another reason for choosing calisthenics as an important physical fitness routine for golf players is that this kind of exercise does not require using highly-technical equipment. Any tool you need can be found in various environments such as high beams (e.g. door frames) for pull ups and low platforms (e.g. benches or a chair) for tricep dips. Who doesn't love saving some money on a gym membership and put it towards their next golf vacation package!

Transforming your body into a precision tool
Golf is defined as a precision sport. Calisthenic exercises answer the question, “How fast can you turn an awkward and clumsy human into a precise golf-swinging machine?” The most basic workouts listed above, if done repeatedly at a steady increased pace, can actually turn anyone into “a flexible version of the Terminator”. Not only does calisthenics help you perform movements straight out of the Sports Science, it also helps increase metabolic rate and immune system.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Golf Trip Trips: Suggestions for getting lessons before a trip

Many golfers try to learn the golf game on their own or through a friend, which can be helpful but may not be the best solution for everyone. Another option to consider for improving your game before your golf trip is taking some lessons. Never any harm in asking for help and your friends will be dazzled by your new skill level. 

For those of you who consider getting lessons, there are a few suggestions to consider:

  1. Hire a credible instructor
You can ask the golf instructor for references from past students, or golfers he or she has taught.  The best information about the golf instructor's teaching methods comes from past students or other golfers that have taken lessons from the instructor. And don't be afraid to ask if they themselves had ever attempted a shot at the pro-level, you may be happily surprised by their response. 

  1. Know what skill level the instructor teaches
Make sure that the golf instructor has taught someone of your skill level. If you're a beginner, find a golf instructor who has taught beginners like yourself and not built their resume with many who came in at a high skill level.

  1. Stay within your price range
Decide on what you can afford before taking a lesson. Consider as many instructors as you can, because later on, you can trim down your list by checking how much each instructor charge. You'll know that every golf instructor makes up their own pricing. While one golf instructor may charge you $200 an hour, other instructor with the same experience may only charge you $60 an hour.

  1. Find an instructor you feel comfortable learning golf from
Sure you're not trying to find a best friend but nobody likes to listen to someone they can't stand. Hence, it's important that you look for a golf instructor whose personality matches yours because you need to feel comfortable taking instructions from who you choose. This way, the golf lessons will become more productive and interactive.

For example, if you think you need to be pushed to the limits to get better, then choose a golf instructor who'll do just that to you. Others prefer someone who is calm and laid back as they advise. Having a basic idea of the type of person you are out on the greens, and the kind of individual that works best to teach you, can be valuable.

  1. Know your commitment
Are you willing to devote a set amount of time each week for a lesson and time to practice what you've learned? With no commitment it will be hard to get the ideal results you may have in mind.

Golf lessons are by no means a requirement before your vacation, but most would say the overall improvement on their game is worth it, making the vacation time on and off the course more enjoyable. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Golf Trip Tip: Keep a Score Journal

“On my next golf trip, I'll play better”... That's easier said than done.

Crossing from novice to expert level is not as simple as most would hope. Moving from A to B in golf (or any sport for that matter) proficiently is a slow process involving an effort that is “multifaceted”. The best way to track your progress over time is to keep a score journal, which here are some tips to remember when doing so:

My total score was...
Sure it's nice to see your overall score improve but there's more to it than that. The systematic score tallies only tell two things: how much improvement you've made and how much effort you need to exert to achieve your annual goal. The most important thing to remember is the more numbers you include in the score journal, the more you can understand what pieces of your game need improvement. 

Count fairways, greens and putts
In case you still can't wrap your head around the score tally journal stuff, you can segment your scoring into some basic skill-areas. This method involves identifying three aspects of your technical game handicap. You can count how many times you've managed a quality trajectory in hitting your ball around the fairways. You can also track how many times you've landed on the “putting greens” while avoiding the hazards. Lastly, count how many putt attempts it takes before getting successfully completely each hole.

Let technology help you
In case you're still having a difficulty in simplifying your score journal, let those nice little handheld devices do the math. After all, crunching all those numbers on your own takes away from what you're really there to do... play some golf! Depending on what device you use, there are some handy applications that can do all the math-y stuff for you. It'll also allow you to enjoy the impressive landscape of the golf vacation destination more leisurely!

Eventually you'll see the numbers don't lie. In the competitive (and occasionally frustrating) sport of golf, numbers will tell you your areas of strengths and weaknesses. Be patient with numbers on the next golf trip, and learn how to use them in your favor.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Golf Vacation Lesson: The Importance of Hand-Eye Coordination

Golf vacations are not only avenues for one to have a good time. Serious players also dedicate this alone time for honing his or her skill in playing the sport. One must be able to perfectly synchronize vision and body movement to achieve higher proficiency in playing golf. Almost every sport known to man employs a great deal of hand-eye coordination. Specifically, golf requires a highly complex scope of visual and motor skills to be in harmony.

To improve overall visual acumen in playing golf, one must take note of these three basic elements:
1. Focal flexibility allows players to be able to determine various targets by easily shifting from varying distances. Whether the target is near or far, a player can concentrate on the probable destination of the ball being struck. Understanding the difference of how to strike a ball according to the distance from where you stand and where the hole is can take lots of experience to perfect. 

2. Contrast sensitivity is the ability to differentiate the smallest of details like the varying shades or hues of color that are being presented to you. Sensitive tincture vision allows players to easily gauge the irregularities of the terrain regardless of the various golf vacation he or she is playing at. Players with high level of contrast sensitivity can ascertain useful geographical features of the golf course location such as sand craters and slopes, or even if the grass appears to be thicker in one area versus another part of the course. 

3. Peripheral vision is a very important element in playing golf because it allows players to have a wider area of visibility. After all, golf courses are vast. It is relatively difficult for golf players to have a narrow peripheral vision because the sequence of the flags do not necessarily follow a linear path. A broader horizontal area of visibility makes it easier for golf players to evaluate their location and the ball's destination.

When it comes to moving the ball at a short distance, a player must have good kinetic precision. It is relatively difficult for most people to apply minimal amounts of force to move objects. Golf players encounter the same level of difficulty one would experience when striking a billiard cue ball against a ciphered ball sitting at the hair's breadth edge of the pocket hole.

But despite its relative level of difficulty, playing golf has appealed to a lot of people with a considerable degree of competitive spirit. Golfvacations can be a creative outdoor pastime that enhances hand-eye coordination for efficient movement, which is not only important in such chosen sport but also in all other aspects of life requiring mobility.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Golf Trip Reflections: How it Started in Scotland

You can name a lot of places within the schedule your golf trip. But all people who at least knew the basic history of the sport would consider Scotland as a pilgrimage site. As far as tradition goes, Scottish people have patented the invention of modern golf as we know it. Have you ever really stopped to consider how it all started? Here is a simple but out-of-the-box breakdown of modern golf's very humble beginnings:

The Dutch contraband
Like all modern sports, it has potential foreign predecessors. Around the early middle ages it was known as kolf, an indoor sport in Netherlands that, for some reason, earned the ire of the authorities. So the Dutch did what all law-abiding citizens would do – bring it overseas. So when it was sold it across the North Sea, it was one of the few contraband goods that hit the market for commoners and aristocrats. There goes the first golf vacation in Scotland. By around early 1400's, Scottish people finally understood why it was banned in Netherlands (or did they?) so they followed their neighbor's example and prohibited it.

Banned by James the Fiery Face
James II was crowned king of Scotland in March of 1437. He earned the nickname Fiery Face because of the vermilion facial birthmark often associated with quick temper. You might expect a king who just executed a courtier and banned golf because the latter held clubs with a wrong hand. But ironically, he was far from what one would expect from a “fiery face”. His reign was regarded for its relative peace and prosperity. If a king stoops to chat amiably with commoners, you'd know for sure he's quite too reasonable for medieval standards. So there must be a very good reason for banning golf, right? According to him, it disrupts archery practice (like all other sports).

When Sweet Mary decided to hit some balls
Golf was banned throughout the reign of the Stuart dynasty since these monarchs are at a perpetual feud with their southern neighbors. But its prohibition has gone crazier when the Scots were under the rule of Queen Mary in 1567. Apparently, her fondness for golf was repeatedly mentioned when her husband was murdered. George Buchanan, a Scottish historian, commented how golf “is a sport clearly unsuitable for women”. Clearly in this day and age, we know that is not true.

Thus, modern golf didn't have so much beginner's luck in Scotland. Here we are centuries later and golf trips have become an activity excepted by many.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Golf Trip Forecast: Expectations During the Winter

Golf in the winter is a whole new ball game than any other time of the year. Here's what makes winter golf the kryptonite of every golfer:

Where did my ball go?!
This question is just as frustrating as whatever conceivable reason for deciding to play the game in this time of the year. If you hit the ball in the midst of the fine snowfall, you'd be surprised to know that it may probably be the first and last swing you'll make within the entire flaky day. Finding that precious round object is something close to impossible.

Hit the ball... But which one?
Some weather conditions in winter are so bad it is simply not advisable to be staying outside, let alone play golf. Though it can be an acme of clumsiness not to find the ball you yourself have laid on the tee, it is easy to miss that annoying projectile at first casual swing. Furthermore, its flight trajectory can be greatly impaired. Even if the wind velocity is not that substantial, winter breeze is chock full of “almost solid” spray. In case your ball's trajectory don't make sense, your decision to play can definitely relate.

At least you get a “cooler” outfit
Is there anything good about playing golf in winter? Fortunately, there is one redeeming quality on top of the heap-load of challenges this hostile season has to offer. Playing in winter makes you wear a very “cool” attire (pun intended). On top of the awesome ski jacket, your footwear has spikes... which can serve for more than one purpose! On such expected weather, this wicked footwear helps you with the crucial task of “walking”.

Nineteenth hole: the best - and only - place to be
Winter golf games are what separates boys from men, and men from....... supermen? In any case, it's definitely the worst season to play a normal game. Which is why the best place to be around the ski vacation destination is none other than the nineteenth hole (pub or restaurant) lounge guzzling a full glass of beer next to a nearby fireplace. Cheers to the normal people!

It is also fitting to remember that golf courses might be practically deserted during winter. At list scheduling this serene golf trip doesn't run the risk of hecklers.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Reducing Your Handicap Before Your Next Golf Trip

Some people merely consider their golf trip as a chance to unwind with like-minded companions. However, there are people who take these outdoor excursions as sacred opportunities to improve their game. Just like every sport, practice yields great improvement. Others are hoping to reduce the number of swings it takes them to finish a round. Overall improvement requires a systematic approach. Here are the important aspects you need to cultivate for you to improve your proficiency and reduce your handicap:

Range and Trajectory
Just like most ball games, golf is a game about judging distances. But compared to other sports, the magnitude that golf players have to consider is colossal. The flight of the ball on the very first tee is what sets the tone for everything that follows. If you aim to become a proficient player, you must be able to judge the range accurately in relation to the force of your swing. How you swing your club also has a direct effect to the curvature of the ball's flight. This is one aspect that requires arduous repetitive performance.

Physical Fitness
Fitness plays a crucial role in your success on the greens. Improving your health is the basis of a good training regimen. You must be able to withstand the walking distance it takes to go from the tee box, to the fairway, to the putting area and do that again for however many holes you are playing. In addition, your muscles must be able to sustain a multitude of long range swings. Then there's the unfortunate occurrence of  unpleasant climate or sudden changes in the weather. The best way to combat this is to have good health and on shape so you it has minimal effects on your game.

Equipment Upgrade
Honing your natural aptitude is one thing. But serious golf players often neglect the importance of the quality of their equipment. It is imperative to remember that when a player's skill develops, the trusty old golf club may no longer feel right in his or her hand. Being uncomfortable with your equipment can always be the surest way to lose. Buying a new golf club that feels appropriate to your touch can give you an edge.

Remembering these factors can certainly reduce the number of swings it would take to finish a game. However, you must increase your practice frequency and duration of you personal program for you to see the most obvious changes. With dedication to making these changes, your next golf trip may render you victorious.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Cons of a Solitary Golf Trip

There are several advantages to having a solitary golf trip. Among the most obvious is the serenity; an escape from society's noise especially, if you live in a very busy environment. Some people cherish being alone because of the liberty it brings. However, the downsides may not ring loud and clear until you get to experience the practical difficulties. Here are some of the reasons why going solo on golf vacation is not a ideal for some people:

Cannot save expenses
One of the most obvious disadvantages of spending time alone in a golf resort is the cost. Contrary to popular belief, expenditure is efficient if you have some people with you. You can often get a break on the per person price with a group of people. Think about how much you pay for one person to stay in a room on their own versus getting a room with a double bed... half the price you would have paid! This is even true when you're on the trip with things like a caddie tip, going out to dinner, and other activities outside of golfing.

What if I have no idea of what I'm doing?
If you want a positive experience from this kind of vacation and you haven't yet played golf before, it's best to have some companionship (not the type who would get a good laugh out of seeing you blunder about). There may be several reasons why you “suddenly” liked golf. Perhaps you're drawn to cool complicated math behind the handicap scoring. Maybe because this sport has 80% of its origin from Scotland, and you just love Scotland. In fact, maybe you thought Tiger Woods has a great smile and it was good enough to make his sport your new favorite pastime. But if it is your first time to ever play this sport, you'll likely need someone (or group of someones) to show you the ropes. 

Excitement is a rare commodity
If golf beginners have a hard time being alone, experts are also not without their cons. An out-of-town golf getaway is a good chance to practice one's skill. But you can rarely get excited for another day after your 47th consecutive day of range drill. A vacation that offers no excitement sounds “ironic” or downright “self defeating”. It is best to avoid experiencing that unbelievable “what exactly am I doing here” moment by the time your enthusiasm is completely exhausted.

Not everyone can handle the one-person golf trip, there are select individuals who can. So don't be discouraged no matter the size of your golf vacation group, take advantage of the benefits both can provide while you can.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Golf Vacation Tips: Weather Your Game

The effort required to beat ordinary players during your golf vacation outing is tremendous. In fact, the extent that passionate players go through almost puts ordinary superlative adjectives to shame. Pushing the limits in terms of training is often their definition of fun (as wacky as it may sound).

Thus, Tiger Woods has gone through extraordinary lengths any self-respecting golf addict would also put themselves through. But will you still practice your epic club-swinging even in the midst of terrible weather? If you're the kind of passionate athlete meticulous physicians would love to put on a leash, there's valid reason far more convincing than “for the love of the game” (Yes, Michael Jordan plays golf too).

Accuracy vs weather
On a fine day, achieving excellent trajectory in hurling a missile in midair is no big deal. But on a “not so fine” day, you'd be surprised how bad your aim is. As far as science is concerned, windy and rainy climate is not a good time to be practicing the accuracy of your shot. Golfers share the same frustration that archers and snipers feel when they shoot bullets through uncooperative weather. Heavy rain not only obstructs your sight with its innumerable droplets, these droplets also pelt your ball in its flight. With strong winds bending the ball mid-flight, consider how far it can blow it off course. Alas, despite this obstacle, there is no substandard performance that repetitive practice cannot remedy.

Be adaptable
Many don't realize it but unpredictable weather effects how the human body works internally. Heavy snowfall followed by a brief interval of searing sunlight can confuse the body. Fever and flu resulting from these sudden changes is your body's gentle way of reminding you to stay indoors at your golf vacation destination. But undeterred fanatics do not only physically adapt, they also learn clever ways of dressing up in preparation for sudden weather changes that can throw off their game. Check the forecast ahead of time and if your destination is known for sporadic changes in the weather, be prepared even for what isn't in the forecast.

Watch and feel your step
Familiarity with the weather can always help you navigate the terrain of the golf course. Simply put it, some people are not accustomed to playing after a heavy rain. Snow is also an excellent way to stumble on your pace in finding that elusive ball (probably damning it for its camouflage whiteness). If you are accustomed to playing in different seasons, you have an edge over players who simply rely on their club-swinging skills and cross their fingers for the clouds to cooperate.

In case you are not as skilled as other players, your adaptability to changing weather can become a “score multiplier” working on your behalf. And it's hard to complain about bad weather during your golf vacation if you are accustomed to the whims of the intemperate skies!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Golf Vacation Practice: Range Drills

Some people define a golf vacation as a simple recreation. Something that is meant to be fun and not warrant seriousness. But there are other golf enthusiasts who are simply filled with passion for their chosen sport enough to make a few sacrifices. They cherish victories and take every defeat as a painful reminder to excel further. With proficiency aptly defined by handicaps (the number of strikes it takes to finish a hole), a dedicated golfer will do his or her best to reduce the frequency of those swings... If you'd like a refresher on the handicap concept, look back to our "Basics of Handicap" post to have a better understanding for these tips.  

One of the first things to improve when reducing handicaps is the spatial skill. Practicing this skill requires dogged repetition. If you are interested in skillfully launching your ball at an approximate distance your eyes have determined, you need to keep doing the range drills.

Why the Golf Range?
A golf range is pretty similar to a shooting range. You stand at an aisle and send forth a ball's flight to the prescribed distance (your target). Unlike an actual leisure game, you don't move towards the landing site of the ball. The reason for the stationary position is that it allows you to focus on individual aspects of your game – like distance, accuracy, and flight of the ball.

Muscle Memory
This is the first hurdle to being an adept player. It takes hundreds of club swinging for your body to be familiarized. A dozen trials would not yield a desirable result simply because the mind and the body is not yet fully synchronized. Muscle memory works the same in golf as it does with other sports. You often need at least a month of repetition to have smooth and fluid reflexes, making the swing of a golf club second nature.

As your body gets accustomed to launching golf balls with ease, the next concern is accuracy. It takes a certain tweak in the swinging curve to redirect the flight of the ball to an actual target. Muscle memory is crucial in order to be able to pull off split-second modifications in your swing. Practicing accuracy is a matter of recurring calculations of distance. It is one thing to let yourself drift in the “second nature” of club swinging, it's another thing to curb that impulse and take full control of it.

Repetitive drills can be tedious and time consuming, but positive results will eventually unfold in the latter part of the process. If you are truly committed to improving your game, always visit the range. It will never be a waste of time even if you delegate fractional hours of it into your golf vacation.