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.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Organize Your Golf Bag Now To Focus Playing Later

"Having your golf bag organized will help you greatly as you improve your skills. Knowing where each club is within the bag, you will not lose focus on the shot you have planned, while you search for the proper club."

--John Hughes,

There is no written rule on how to correctly arrange your clubs in your bag during a golf trip. But having them organized in a way that makes sense to you, can do a lot to help a golfer. Perhaps it's the first step to improving your game. What you bring and how they are brought is also a matter of pride and can increase self-confidence.

So, here's a guide you on how to organize your golf bag and hit the course like a pro:

Check the sections
A golf bag consists of different sections and compartments. Knowing how to utilize each of these sections and what club to put in each will make it easier to focus on the actual golf play.

Know the two kinds of golf bags
2 basic types: (1) the one you carry while walking and (2) the one kept on the golf cart when riding. A cart bag has a front section, where the hand-carry is, and a back. Despite the difference, the set-up of your clubs remains the same.

Follow the club arrangement
To correctly place your clubs inside your bag, follow these steps:

  1. In the front compartment, all wood, putter and hybrid clubs (if you have each of them) should be placed here.
  2. In the second row, all your long and mid range irons. This would typically include 3 to 7-irons. You can also put the 3-iron on the compartment nearest to your body while the rest remains in order.
  3. The 8 and 9 irons, the pitching wedge, as well as the sand wedge should be placed on the final compartment (or the compartment near to your body). Noticeably, the longer clubs located toward the back, and the shorter ones toward the front compartment.

Towel placement
A towel may be your most important accessory to have when playing. The proper way to place your towel is to have it clipped at the front of your golf bag so it hangs down while on the move. This way, it's accessible when you clean your golf balls and clubs. Most golf towels have come with hole lined with metal for easy clipping.

Tees and Golf ball placement
Tees and golf balls are highly important and frequently used items on your game. Use the front side pockets to keep them. If you have other side pockets you may also put your spare balls and gloves, ball markers, divot repair tools, and other less frequently used items.

Above all, stay organized. Every time you pull out a club, you should also know where to place it when it's done being used. Make this a habit because later on, you won't have to think about where to place tool, instead, you can focus enjoying the game during your golf trip.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Golf Trip Tips: Teaching your tots the wonders of golf

Teaching your kids to play golf during your golf trip can be both challenging and rewarding. Starting as early as few years old, there is an ample opportunity for your kids to develop their games recreationally and competitively.

Before them get a grip on their clubs and swing away, consider some suggested precautions:

  1. Kids want to have fun
No matter how you fast you want your kids learn the sport, always remember that kids become excited to what their doing when they're having fun. So, avoid giving complicated instructions, lecture or advice. Instead, let them play on their own and allow them discover the sport. When you're on golf vacation, always remind yourself (and your kids) that this is just a game.

  1. Maximize the practice time
Practice late at night or at times when the course is not crowded. This way, you won't have to worry if your kids want to hit the golf ball and chase it.

  1. Give them the right equipment
The problem that most juniors encounter is that they have been given clubs that are long and heavy, which can make the game difficult. Thus, find a club relative to their height and it will be less difficult and should result in less frustrations.

  1. Don't give them lessons right away
At least not until they are 5 or 6 years old, don't try to teach and them the right way of swinging a club. When you add instructions into the mix too early, you'll run the risk of making the fun too much work, losing the interest of your kids. Instead, let them hit the club how they want.

  1. Make them play in an actual game
Instead of using a practice greens and range all the time, walk on the course. It will heighten their curiosity about the game. Once they do, introduce them to a competition. Kids love the little things like chipping and putting contests.

  1. Be supportive (instead of being critical)
Once they join a tourney, and whether they hit good or bad shots, always be supportive. Be less like coach and more of a cheerleader. And after the game, remind them of their good shots rather than the bad ones.

  1. Give them rewards
Whether they win or lose, if they reach a new personal best, or overcome a difficult opponent, reward their effort and individual progress. Kids love the encouragement from their family. A milkshake or ice cream afterwards, perhaps?

After all, they are kids and playing golf is a game. So, what you can do, most importantly, is to support them when they struggle and be enthusiastic when they succeed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why Women Should Go on Golf Trips

It’s sad, but certainly not surprising, that only a handful of women go on golf trips.  In a 2012 article, author Leslie Andrews explains that intimidation and fear of embarrassment are among the top reasons why you rarely see women on the greens.  Many women feel that in order to be part of what has always been considered an exclusively “gentleman’s club”, one has to be highly skilled at the game.

But PGA professional Suzy Whales argues that “No one picks up a golf club for the first time and is a good golfer.  As a matter of fact, there are more 'not so good golfers' than there are 'good golfers' ".

It wasn't until 2014 for St. Andrew's R&A Golf Club, and 2012 for Augusta National, that they started extending memberships to the sport’s most overlooked demographic. It could be just the start of a large number of women to tee it up with their peers, friends and family for plenty of good reasons:

Their career depends on it.  Well, not literally.  But it can help them propel themselves up the corporate ladder.  

Why?  Because golf is the “language of business”.  It has been used by countless executives and entrepreneurs to make transactions and close deals.  Golf has given them a chance to rub elbows with other corporate bigwigs and build relationships with existing clients and prospects.  By allowing yourself to miss out on these opportunities, you have done yourself great disservice.  

So don’t let apprehension paralyze you.  Get in the game and learn more about the sport.  You’ll be surprised with how much fun you can have when you start playing golf.

Socializing.  Again, it all boils down to networks.  Through golf, you are giving yourself another opportunity to expand your social and networking circles by meeting co-members (if you are a member of a golf course) or other golfers through a friendly round of golf or competition.

Plenty of sunshine and fresh air.  You get to breathe fresh air, bask in the sun, and marvel at nature in all its splendor. This can be beneficial to your health and well-being.

Travel opportunities.  With over 30,000 golf courses and possibly thousands of golf vacation destinations all over the world, each surrounded by an awe-inspiring backdrop of rolling hills or pristine beaches, golf is certainly a great way to combine sports and travel.

It’s a great way to lose weight.  Provided that you don’t mind walking under the heat of the sun, you’ll probably burn an average of 1500 calories per 18 holes of golf. 

Of course, it may help that you learn the fundamentals of the sport before you pick up the club and start swinging.  A certified golf instructor can teach you the basics of game and help you develop winning If you’re planning on your first golf trip with the rest of your family, or your friends, do make sure that golf lessons are part of your itinerary. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Benefits of Getting Golf Trip Packages

Planning a golf trip can be expensive.  Hotel and accommodation costs are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are tee times to reserve, green fees, caddy tips, and souvenirs to buy. But many golf resorts have made travel more convenient and easier on the budget by offering all-in-one golf packages, which can include transportation to and from the airport and the golf courses, and free meals, if you’re lucky.

Getting all-inclusive golf packages have numerous benefits, and here are a few of them;
  • No more having to book separately.  These types of packages mean you won’t have to go through the hassle of booking car rentals, hotel accommodations and tee times separately.  You can have all that in just a few clicks, or a quick call to your travel agent.  Once your travel package is booked, all you need o worry about is what to pack for your trip. 
  • Big discounts.  A huge perk of golf vacation packages are the discounts you get on green fees, cart fees, and even car rentals.  Through packages, you can stay at 5-star golf resorts and play in some of the country’s most upscale golf courses at a fraction of the usual costs. 
  • Packages are customizable.  One of the most common misconceptions people have about golf holiday packages is the details are set-in-stone.  Years ago, that might have been the norm.  But these days, golf holiday packages can be personalized according to your budget and preferred golf course or hotel.  Just give your travel agent a call, or check the website for a "Request a Quote” form page. 
  • Inclement weather and other satisfaction guarantee clauses.  If an unexpected rain made you cancel out your scheduled tee time, it's possible to get a refund or other perks as part of the satisfaction guarantee clauses that come with the specific package.
But do note that not all vacation packages come with this clause.  So it’s best to read the fineprint, or ask ahead to know if the vacation package you’re getting comes with this stipulation.   
Golf trip packages offer you more than just savings.  By getting an all-inclusive golf holiday deal, you are thereby sparing yourself the hassle of having too book flights, finding available hotel accommodations, and hoping to get available tee times on your preferred schedule. 

Check out what current Hot Deals we have for Vacation Package Specials and be on the lookout for those that are "all inclusive"!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Golf Vacation Tips: The Basics of Handicap

You may hardly be concerned of the minuscule details about your game in your leisure golf vacation. Most leisurely golf enthusiasts who prefer simple enjoyment with friends and family are contented of the overly basic mechanics of playing golf. However, some aficionados would take it to the next level when it comes to playing better. It is important for them to learn about handicap to improve their golf expertise.

What is handicap?
You can pretty much comprehend golf handicap in the same way you would understand a video game's difficulty setting. Setting a higher difficulty level makes it harder for players to overcome simulated obstacles. A handicap, in this context, directly determines the golfer's skill level. But unlike the video game analogy, a higher handicap does not connote excellence. On the contrary, it is a numerical representation of a player's capability based on how many strokes he or she can make to finish one hole. If a player requires forty strokes to put the ball into a distant hole, it only means he or she either has a bad spatial capacity or a lousy swing. The lesser the handicap a player has, the more adept he or she is in playing.

How are handicaps determined?
There is a basic calculation when it comes to determining a player's handicap. The product of this initial calculation is called the “handicap index”. The factors that comprise the handicap index are “course rating” and “slope rating”. After determining the handicap index, it is then used to find out the “course handicap”. The latter determines how many allowable strokes a player has in a game in relation to his or her skill.

Why are handicaps helpful?
Handicaps pretty much set up the organized ranking system. It is only wise for golf trip players to know their potential opponent's handicap bracket if they pursue a serious contest. A 47-handicap player is simply no match for a 5-handicap player. Handicaps create fairness and equity among golfers.

By knowing your handicap, you can have a more clear idea of how good your golf game really is. This will give you better odds and make your golf vacation less daunting when competing with a relatively skilled opponent. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

9 Best tips on how to pack for your golf tip

One of the factors you need to take into account when planning your golf trip is packing your essentials. However, it can be a daunting task if you don’t pack carefully.

If you want a hassle-free trip, take note of these things:

Invest in a top quality travel cover
Instead of purchasing a cheap travel cover, choose the best quality brand. Although it's a bit pricey, you'll be ensured of your golf equipment's safety and protection.

Additionally, avoid buying an all-black cover so it you can tell it apart from other golfers' gear. Make sure also to place your name-tag or business card outside and the inside the bag, just in case the outside card is displaced.

A lightweight carry bag
If you’ve played golf in other parts of the world, you've probably noticed that the most experienced caddies favored to the lightest bag in the group. Bring one of those huge bags and you’ll be treated like a rookie.

Microfiber clothing
These amazing fabrics are made for golf travelers. They’re very lightweight, breathable, wrinkle resistant and dry quickly.

Take some stain-remover for mud
Otherwise, you might bring home a mud-splotched pair of golf slacks or khakis as a souvenir of your trip.

Bring two pairs of golf shoes
You must have an extra pair of golf shoes available in case you get caught in a downpour. Ideally, you need to bring at least two pairs of waterproof golf shoes, especially on golf trips consisting of four days or longer.

Quality golf umbrella
Don’t depend on the free umbrellas you received as a gift from your last corporate golf tournament. Instead, use a top quality umbrella that can withstand strong winds and can keep you dry.

Do a golf ball inventory
If you have high handicap, you’ll obviously need more golf balls. It's essential to evaluate your game first, then calculate how many golf balls will be needed.
Take note, buying golf balls outside America is usually expensive.

Bring healthy snacks
You’ll be glad you packed boxes of granola bars and peanut butter crackers, especially if you’re playing on challenging courses. While the beef barley soup, fish and chips are treasured favorites after a around, you’ll need some healthy snacks during play.

Bring some extra items
If you’re traveling just away from the US, make sure you take extra tees, pencils and divot repair tools which aren’t as readily available at golf courses outside the country.

Packing for your golf essentials can make or break your escapade. So, do it properly to make your golf trip memorable without any hassle.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Check out Florida Highlands Golf

How About “Mountain Golf” in Florida?

The diverse landscape of the area just north of Orlando known as the “Florida Highlands”, is home to some of the most scenic vistas in the state of Florida – and great, natural terrain golf courses. In fact, the highest point on peninsular Florida is in this same area. OK…we’re not talking the Rockies or the Appalachians, but in a state most think as flat and ringed with sugar-white sand beaches, we do have some good elevations.  

Fortunately for us golfers, these elevations are within minutes of Orlando and are home to some of the highest-rated courses in the state. Check out the courses we refer to as Florida “Mountain Golf”… Club at Bella Collina, Sanctuary Ridge, The Legends Club, and Mission Inn. 

The designers of the courses noted above, did not move much earth during course construction. The natural “mountain” terrain, sand barrens, natural lakes and native vegetation mostly dictated the course design characteristics. El Campeon, “The Champion” at Mission Inn was designed and built in 1917, and like other courses born during that era, the natural terrain - not a bulldozer, was “the designer”. Some thoughts from Nick Faldo when building his Bella Collina masterpiece include, “the natural rolling site with steep elevation changes is very unusual for Orlando”, and “the course will provide an inspiring golfing experience for members and guests for years to come.”

These courses are all within a 45-minute drive (and well worth the trip) of the popular Orlando hotel and condo choices. Also, Golf Zoo has made playing these courses easier by offering   “Florida Highlands Golf Trail” Packages that include great accommodations and great golf courses that places our golf customers within minutes of the courses noted above.

Call us today to book these great Golf Courses!
Visit our GolfZoo Website and check-out the Florida Highlands Golf Trail!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

6 ways to lower scores and fix common golf errors

It's okay to hit bad shots during your rounds on a golf vacation. Playing golf is not about hitting perfect shots every time (even pro-golfers make errant shots every now and then). It's how you minimize your mistakes that are the key.
Thus, recognize your playing flaws and make a way to minimize them. If you'd like to know how, here are some tips:

Grip the club with your fingers to hit the ball farther

It is more effective to grip the club more with the fingers than with the palms. To do this: Flip the club upside down, grip the skinniest part of the club shaft and take a few swings.

Tilt your shoulders for a better swing

To do this: Hit the ball with the clubhead a few inches away from the ball at address. This way, you can perform the correct swing position with your shoulders tilt. Tilting promotes more rounded and forward swing arcs.

Don't take the club too far inside to avoid reverse pivot

Once you take the club too far back to the inside, it'll make you lean too much over the ball. As a result, your weight will shift to your right side, which is the opposite of the proper direction on the downswing.

Rotate for a successful arc

Your head position must be aligned with your right knee when you do your backswing, to rotate your body correctly. Then, you need to put your hands behind the ball, turn your hips about 45 degrees, and rotate your shoulder about 90 degrees. This way, you can make bigger and more powerful arc into the ball.

Avoid too much sway for a better control
Rotating is different from shifting your weight while you swing. To check if you're doing it right, try this drill on your
golf trips:

Lean your golf bag against your hips and make a full backswing. If you didn't hit the bag or knock it over, you're on the right track. Otherwise, you probably shifted your body weight and swayed your hips too much.

Chicken wing is no power!

Your body should be rotating, your left arm should be in line with your club shaft and left leg, and your club should make solid contact with your golf ball. If they don't, you won't be able to release the club through impact, causing your arms to fold, and ending up with a chicken wing (the shortening of your left or right arm in the downsizing and impact). 

To avoid this, allow your arms and hands to rotate through the shot, keeping your arms extended through the hit. This will eventually make your ungloved hand cross over the gloved, and it will place your arms in front of your chest. 

With the right guidance, and ample time to practice, you'll see lower scores in no time on your golf vacations.