Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Pros of Educating Kids about Golf Vacation

Consider the scenario of telling your kids your next vacation isn't just any other trip, but a golf vacation!... The enthusiasm might not be mutual. But there are also families that share their passion for the sport and even make these outings an annual event. If you are a part of one of those families, you can probably see how these experiences correlate to more than just golf and more than just a vacation. For those of you who are still a little skeptical of the notion, here are the obvious reasons why it's worth it:

Strong bonding
The best thing about sharing this personal interest with children is that it has the strong potential to strengthen parent-child rapport. To some kids, it might be the place mom or dad used to go enjoy time with their friends for a few days. But to a golf-loving child, it could be the one place where you and your child are most comfortable together.

Sportsmanship is a good virtue to impart at the very young age. By the time they reach teenage years, they won’t be too culture-shocked with old school concepts like “honor” and “respect” (the latter proves to become more ironic these days). Kids may not often take losing too kindly but the wisdom to gain that virtue often comes with age.

Educating precision
It may be a little too early for children to comprehend the idea of precision. However, allowing them to get used to the ways of this precision sport is a better idea when done a little too early. Adults may be excellent imitators, but science and common knowledge have proven that they fall a little too short on reflexes and muscle memory. Adults are more into the “why we do it” basis than how it is really being done. This is the very reason why martial arts experts encourage learning new things as early as possible. If the child gets used to swinging the golf club even without fully knowing the principles, he or she might have a shorter learning curve later on.

A family golf trip is guaranteed to be enjoyable for all parties involved!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Golf Tip: Respect your Caddie

If you watched the recent Masters Tournament, or any professional golf for that matter, there’s one thing you should realize:  Behind the success of every golfer lies an exceptional caddie. 

Yes, a golfer’s relationship with his caddie can make or break his chances of winning.  But looking for the perfect caddie is only half of the equation.  The other half is how you build the relationship with them. Here are a few tips and etiquette rules in engaging with your caddie, whether you’re in it for the long haul, or would just love to have a great game on your golfvacation:

You’re not his master

Your relationship with your caddie goes beyond the whole “master-servant” deal.  But while part of a caddie’s job description is carrying the golf bag and cleaning the clubs upon request, it does not entitle the golfer to treat the caddie like his or her personal bellhop or assistant.  Remember that your caddie is working WITH you - not for you.      

Respect begets respect, and giving your caddie the same amount of respect you’d expect from anyone can go a long way.  But with that sad;

Don’t get too chummy with your caddie either

It’s for the benefit of your game and anyone else’s who’s within earshot.  Keep it to golf talk with how you can improve your swing or your game in general, don’t over-engage with your caddie.  The last thing he’d want to hear from you is your problems at work or what's happening at home. 

Tip generously

Remember that your caddie will do anything to make sure that you play the best possible game, from keeping you out of trouble to giving you a tip or two about your swing.  Carrying that bag, too can be difficult, especially if you’re walking on uneven terrain.  A generous tip should be in order. The rule of thumb in giving tips is 50% for a good job done, or 100% on top of the regular fee for an exceptional one. 

Don’t forget to say thank you

It only takes a simple gesture of appreciation to let your caddie know how much he has helped you improve your game big time. Caddies have been pivotal to the success of many golfers.  Just ask Jordan Spieth, who won the recently concluded Masters.  His relationship with his caddie, Michael Greller, has been crucial to his win in the Masters. 

It all comes down to respect.  If you treat your caddie with respect and gratitude for helping you in your game, you get something back, tenfold.  It’s not just the rule of the game.  It’s the rule of karma. 
Don't forget these small things on your next golf trip!  

Friday, April 03, 2015

Golf Vacation Fitness: The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga might seem like the furthest activity to relate to golf but it brings a whole new meaning to the definition of golf fitness. In golf, you need to take control of every permissible factor. By comparison, yoga requires you to relax and let distractions pass your immediate senses. Ultimately, yoga teaches its practitioners to let go of the “illusion of control”.

Oddly enough there is a universe where yoga and golf can coexist. Thus, this extremely popular and generic Hindu exercise may even be the exact treatment you need to remedy your golf trip gameplay. Here are some benefits yoga can provide to the typical golfer:

I have trouble breathing… no more!
While it might not seem like the most endurance-demanding sport, think about how long it takes to play an 18-hole course with no down time. And even more in-tune with the avid golfer is having a specific breathing pattern. This helps your body relax and allows your body to practice muscle memory down to even the smallest of details. Yoga teaches proper breathing techniques (and doing it amidst unbelievable body postures) and can help ease some tension in your swing, while creating a more consistent pattern in how your body moves.

Instant cheat sheet to a mental test
Another advantage that yoga brings to the table for golfers concerns mental sharpness. As mentioned earlier, proper breathing takes you to a faster detour to the “concentration superhighway”. Yoga includes meditation drills in its overall program. People who are used to this activity find it easy to organize their thoughts. You’d be surprised at how easy it was come up with a strategy to pull off that nearly impossible par-3 hole.    

“Let the ball go!”
Another serious matter that gritty golfers go through is indecisiveness. Mental pressure has a way of wrecking one’s nerves. In effect, the player is left with bad impulses to decide on their final (and painfully irreversible) split-second move. Yoga practitioners, on the other hand, are taught to “let go of the illusion of control”. You may not be able to fully control the outcome of your golf vacation duel, but at the very least you can control your nerves and your every movement (and that’s all there is to it).

Don't brush off the yoga class offer next time one of your buddies brings it up. Be open minded to how it can improve your game! Just think how improved your handicap will be post-yoga as compared to your friends who are still "too tough" to attend a few classes. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Golf Trip Forecast: Expectations During Spring

You may think that seasons can only have a minor effect on your scheduled golf trip. However, some factors can surely make you think differently. Being prepared for spring season (for better or worst) will surely prevent you from saying, “I've never been so wrong in my life”.

It can get a little wet out there
Early spring time can still have a bit of winter aftertaste. The typical saying about "spring showers..." is something we can all be a little too familiar with. The air is damp and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a light sun-shower and the start of a torrential downpour. At times it might be a wiser decision to bring that umbrella with you to stay on the safe side rather than tough it out.

Morning golf... "dew" it?
As if the rain itself wasn't enough, adding in the morning dew isn't the most ideal of situations. For a few weeks, rain or shine, the grass will have a slick covering in the early hours of play. Taking that into consideration before getting to the course can ease your mind once you get to the greens. Most golfers are aware of these conditions and can adjust their play rather seamlessly. 

Better to be safe than sorry
Be smart and check the forecast before heading out. Sure a small amount of rain may not effect some courses to make them unplayable and just require a small delay in start time. But if a thunderstorm is expected to be coming in right at tee-off, can't blame anyone for that and only thing you can do is be aware of how the course handles those situations.

Spring season can be quite an extraordinary experience on a day to day basis due to the weather, nevermind where you are playing. It's not ideal for everyone's golf trip but don't rule it out for your next golf trip.

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.