Golf for BeginnersAuthor: Stacy and Barry Solomon
19 Oct 2018

Golf for Beginners

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    The 5 Phases of Scratch Golf - Lessons Learned for Breaking 80 - GUEST POST

    The Logic of Scratch Golf - Lessons learned from my journey to breaking 80 is a guest post written by Carlo Reumont of Fast Learners. 

    Please see below for his bio.

    golfer putting

    Playing a single handicap is a dream come true for most amateur golfers. And rightly so!


    In my personal experience, I can say golf is a lot more fun since I got my score below 80.


    Why?


    Because I am not working golf anymore, I am truly PLAYING golf. After all, it is still (just) a game.


    Looking back, emotionally it was an adventure full of ups and downs, twists and turns.


    Logically, however, my path was straightforward. I went through five phases in developing progressively as a golfer.


    Today I would like to share this logical process with you because I believe any golfer, with an ambition that results in smart, consistent practice, can break 80 and play scratch golf.



    Once you have the right practice routines cut out for you and found the right golf clubs for you, it just repetitions and smart practice.


    Naturally, this is only a small portion of the wealth of knowledge and exercises available to play scratch golf.



    For some handy ideas of how to save shots, without changing your swing, you can get and implement the steps from this 6 Step Guide.



    tour players golf

    The five phases to playing scratch golf

    So, where do we start?


    Let us start with the END IN MIND:

    Phase 5 - Bring your score home

    Yes, there are many reasons to go out and play golf: enjoy nature, connect with friends, get your mind off every-day life, exercise, hit a good shot or two (or three), the atmosphere of the country club and so on.


    Still,


    if golfers are honest, the greatest joy in golf is tied to numbers - to our score.


    But, what is a low score? For us amateurs, let us choose even PAR as a relatively objective indicator of solid golf.


    And how do we shoot PAR?


    Asking that would be like asking “How do you bring the horsepower of a car onto the road?” There are too many possible answers to point at only one thing.


    So again, for our purposes, and starting with the end in mind, let us go with the following:


    To score PAR, you must be able to bring your score home.


    Let me explain:


    Playing PAR or birdie once, or even twice, is NOT enough to play PAR on 18 holes. To bring our score home we want to stay out of trouble and, on top of that, be able to capitalize on the good shots we make hole by hole.

    It sounds easier than it is!

    Try playing two PARs or two birdies in a row and see how your mind and your heart start racing in excitement - excitement that distracts and gets you off course.


    Getting the score home has a lot to do with curbing our enthusiasm and staying focused. And this plays into our cards on the green as well. Putting is mostly mental. In conclusion, you will sink those PAR-saving putts and birdie chances more likely than not, once you can get your excitement out of the way.


    (As we break down this logic, we will see that the mental part of the golf game is not always essential. When you don’t have the mechanics of chipping and pitching down, for example, you can be in peak state all you want, it will not help!)


    Let’s move on!

    What brings the score home?

    Let us go another step backward keeping the end in mind. What are we building on, when we are bringing our score home?


    “Great ball striking!” you might be thinking.


    Close, but not quite there.


    There is an intermediate step. What if you have excellent ball striking skills that play the ball into the water or out of bounds?


    Good ball striking and playing good shots are two different things in golf. Not every good shot comes from good ball striking and not every good ball strike is a good shot.



    golf course bunker


    Phase 4 - Master the golf course

    To bring your score home you must learn to master the golf course.


    This is phase four.


    Golf courses are designed - with hazards, yardages, out of bounds and downright traps. Anyone can learn to play straight shots on the driving range. Yet managing to bring these skills on to the golf course is a skill per se.


    Mastering the course means to know your own game and to play it according to the conditions of the course and the weather; it means to calculate risk reasonably; to have multiple ideas to play one shot; to have options with the clubs available.


    As far as I can tell this is all about experience. In this phase, we transition from WORKING golf to PLAYING golf. Until here, the golf swing is very much in our head. But from here, we are to play freely and spontaneously.


    So, this was phase number 4. Let us think a step back again and ask the following questions with the end in mind.


    Where does mastering the golf course come from?

    What enables us to get this good, that we can play the course, instead of the course playing us?


    In other words:


    When do we have free capacities to put our focus on mastering the course?


    It all relies on the earlier phases.


    Phase 3 - Get consistent with all clubs

    Once we can skillfully swing the club at the ball with not only one club, but the range of clubs.


    This is phase three.


    Let us imagine for a second that hitting the ball well is simply a given part of your game (spoiler alert: this is phase two).


    Once this has become a part of our game, we naturally look for refinement options outside of our own swing, meaning our decision making on the course:


    tee off positions,


    thinking a shot or two ahead to get into an advantageous angle when playing onto the green,


    when to challenge your luck and when to play it safe,


    which club to use when approaching (depending on how much green you have to play with)


    ...and so on.


    Playing well with one club of the tee is not good enough. You must learn to play well with various clubs from various lies. All professional golfers show how this is done.


    One of the best examples ever to be seen on tour was the Spaniard Seve Ballesteros. Seve would play out of a green-side bunker with a 3-iron.


    Now...


    You don’t have to do like Seve to play scratch golf. But you do want to be so flexible in your options of playing a shot.


    Scratch golfers are willing and able to play a range of options that come spontaneously. In the end, this point is all about increasing your options to navigate around the golf course.


    So far we have collected the following logic:


    1. We want a low score.

    2. To play a low score, we want to be able to bring our score home. (Phase 5)

    3. Before that, we want to be able to master the course. (Phase 4)

    4. Before that, we want to swing the club at the ball with a range of different clubs. (Phase 3)

    Why trying to hit the ball fails

    So, thinking backward again, what might we need to master shot-variations with a range of clubs?

    golfer hitting ball


    Phase 2 - Master ball striking by swinging at the ball

    We need to learn to swing the club at the ball!


    Notice:


    this does NOT mean we want to learn to hit the ball.


    Think logically here: We cannot hit the ball. The golf club hits the ball. We can merely swing the club at the ball.


    There is a world of difference!


    Hitting the ball implies trying to swing. Swinging the club at the ball implies getting in flow and trusting it.


    You catch my drift?


    So, yes, we want to get the ball closer to the hole. Still, we will only achieve that once we have a way of swinging the club precisely.


    Next time you hit the range, don’t practice hitting balls. Practice swinging the club at the ball. See what a difference it makes!


    One of the most empowering aspects of this approach is that focus on what we can control: our body movements.


    golfer raking bunker
    Appreciate the Process

    We can practice the fundamentals of the swing step by step, session by session, and learn to appreciate the process that makes a great golfer.


    PROCESS comes before performance. It’s logical, isn’t it!?


    And still we are not done with digging to the core of the process of becoming a scratch golfer.



    The end of the yellow brick road


    You have come quite a way with me in this post. Congratulations! It will be worth, trust me!


    There is still one step to think of even before we swing the club at the ball.


    It’s a baby step, yet a very crucial one.


    A logical step only very few amateur golfers make and most professionals and naturally good amateurs speed through naturally:


    golfer hitting shot


    Phase 1 - Forget the ball and develop a proper golf swing

    “Develop a proper golf swing!” Yea, this may sound self-evident, but it might be one of the best kept “secrets” in golf.


    As long as we do not swing the club properly, we cannot hit the ball properly.


    Logical, right!?


    Yet what do most golfers do when starting out?


    They try to hit the ball.


    But I ask you:


    How can you hit the ball if you cannot swing the club??


    You and I both know:


    it does not take a ball to determine whether we can swing the club or not.


    Swinging the club is as different from hitting the ball, as hitting the ball is from playing a good shot; as hitting a good shot is different from mastering the course; as mastering the course is different from bringing the score home)


    You see the logic here?


    It is simple, but it is difficult at the same time.


    This is the bottom line:

    Learning to swing the golf club is the starting point of your journey to play scratch golf.


    When we now look at where we started, we have the following learning path:


    1. Forget the ball and develop a proper golf swing

    2. Master ball striking by swinging at the ball

    3. Get consistent with all clubs

    4. Master the course

    5. Bring your score home


    So, how does this sit with you? How are you feeling? Motivated? Overwhelmed? Inspired? Ready for action? Curious to find out more?


    This is a journey that has worked for me. And trust me, it will work for you if you work it - no matter where you stand in golf right now.


    Learn to swing the golf club

    Starting with this simple exercise is something you can practice anywhere - even without a ball.


    Practicing without a ball might even be beneficial. Swinging the club back and forth in your backyard, in your living room or in the park can get you focused on what matters in your swing, instead of getting all revved up about hitting the ball.


    As stated earlier, this is only a small portion of the wealth of knowledge and exercises available to play scratch golf. For some handy ideas of how to save shots, without changing your swing, please find out more at www.thefastlearners.com.






    Carlo Reumont Fast Learners

    Hi, I’m Carlo Reumont.

    I started playing golf in 2001 and recently achieved my goal of becoming a scratch golfer. Now I help people to play golf – simple, good, repeatable golf – whether they are beginning, re-starting or finetuning.




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  • Posted on 17 Oct 2018

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    Three Ways To Recover After Playing Too Much Golf

    Your focus is gone, your strength has waned and your muscles have left you sore to the core. What can the average golfer do to recover after playing too much golf?

    how to recover after too much golf

    Some golfers say, no matter how much golf they play it is never enough! Recently, the Myrtle Beach Patriots attempted to play one-hundred holes of golf to benefit disabled veteran and their families - a noble cause.

    After a long, and tiring, golf season, Phil Mickelson mentioned after the Ryder Cup, that he believed he "made a bit of a mistake" by playing too many events in a row. As amateur golfers, we may not play in tournament after tournament, but the same might be said if we decide on another nine holes after a grueling eighteen comes to a close.


    Golf for Beginners tends to agree with Mickelson...twenty-four golf starts in a row for a PGA Tour pro are way too many rounds...especially for a more seasoned player who is no longer in his twenties and who quietly suffers from Psoriatic Arthritis. In this article, we give you three ways to stay in good health and bounce back when your body says no.

    1. Hydration and Food: Sounds simple enough but most golfers don't drink enough water and don't grab snacks that will energize them during a round. Try a drink that has low sugar content and electrolytes like Vitamin Water Zero. I also keep healthy snacks in my golf bag - a snack at around the tenth hole is a fruit and nut bar or a 10th Tee Golf Nutrition bar.


    2. Get Loose: Make sure you stretch your muscles before you hit your first shot of the day and keep loose throughout the day. If you are playing golf several days in a row, follow the same routine and don't overwork yourself on the driving range. Practice correctly with most of your shots being chips, pitches, and putts.

    3. Rest: No matter how many holes of golf you will be playing, take time to rest both body and mind in between shots and rounds - you need both to function well for your best chances of success.

    Feel free to comment at the bottom of our Golf for Beginners blog.
    Follow @Golf4Beginners on Twitter and friend us on Facebook!

  • Posted on 11 Oct 2018

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    How Team USA can Take Back the Ryder Cup in 2020

    Although Team USA golf fans grasped onto some small level of hope during the Ryder Cup singles matches, Europe held off their opponents and reclaimed the chalice.

    You win some, you lose some...but a thrashing should never have taken place.

    "Our studs," said an anonymous someone in the U.S. team room, "didn’t play like studs this week."

    The final Ryder Cup count was Team Europe with 17.5 points and Team USA at 10.5 points. Tiger Woods failed to thrill (but brought a large audience by just being on the team) and Mickelson, who is on-again, off-again about this being his final Ryder Cup appearance, was benched on Saturday and had a lackluster overall performance.

    It is understandable why these two great golfers continually play in the Ryder Cup although it doesn't help Team USA secure a win. Mickelson, for example, according to RyderCup.com, "has the most losses than any player in U.S. history, though Tiger Woods is now only one behind after three straight defeats in France."

    So, how can Team USA take back the Ryder Cup in 2020?

    The first fix is fairly obvious; don't choose Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as captains pick for Team USA. Of course, if the captain agrees, this means a large loss of overall viewership, from the USA to across the pond (although I believe that the two, working together, would make interesting Team Captain/Assistant Captain). If either of the golfers makes it onto the team due to their own merits, this option will not work.

    The second fix involves rescheduling the FedEx Cup finale... the Tour Championship, as it is possible for those players to be very tired going into the following week and performing at their peak. Perhaps the Ryder Cup needs to be moved ahead on the schedule one extra week to allow the players flight time and a short rest period before this stressful event?

    According to several online blogs, Tiger Woods, looked "tired" and "listless" during all of his Ryder Cup matches and that is being blamed on his tight Tour Championship schedule which bled into the following week's matches.

    Finally, how do you think Jim Furyk did as the Team USA Ryder Cup captain?

    In my opinion, he did not utilize Patrick Reed to his best advantage - Reed sat on the sidelines during foursomes matches...and this is where he shines, and where he has been unbeaten.

    "For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice," Reed said when interviewed by the New York Times.

    What do you think can be done so Team USA has a chance at the 2020 Ryder Cup? Comments are welcome in this golf blog and tag us with your ideas on Twitter @Golf4Beginners.
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  • Posted on 03 Oct 2018

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    Tiger Woods' Tour Championship Game Plan Can Help You Win at Golf

    There was always a mystique which surrounded Tiger Woods; whether he won or not in golf, throngs of fans have followed his progress (and decline) through a five-year winless streak on the PGA Tour. The influence Woods has had in over the past twenty years has changed the face of golf.

    Tiger Woods Tour Championship

    The outcome of the Tour Championship changed both our perception of the former number one player in the world as well as his own self-esteem as he smiled broadly during his round knowing he also had the slim possibility of a FedEx Cup victory.

    Tiger Woods' Strategy for Tour Championship victory

    Woods looked like the Tiger of old as he proceeded to implement his plan for victory and he could not hide his joy as he stepped out onto the 18th green, sunk a par putt, and accepted his reward for a job well done.

    "The game plan was to shoot under par, and I birdied the first hole right out of the gate,'' Tiger Woods said after winning the Tour Championship. "I just had to suck it up and hit shots."

    But there was more to Tiger Woods' plan than to shoot under par and "suck it up" on the course. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced amateur, creating a strategy before playing your round will benefit you by lowering your score.

    Below are three golf tips which Tiger Woods implemented at the Tour Championship.

    1. Leave your ball below the hole - an uphill putt is better than a downhill slide as you can give the ball a good, solid roll as opposed to tenderly judging your speed.

    2. View putt from behind the hole. Tiger Woods looked at the green from several angles to determine the lie and angle of his putt.

    3. Place your tee shot on the correct side of the fairway to give yourself the right approach onto the green. Take trouble out of play and visualize your next shot.

    Tiger Woods went back to the basics to win after a five-year drought - if he can do it, so can you.

    Tiger Woods Justin Rose FedEx Cup

    Although Justin Rose struggled to a FedEx Cup victory while Tiger Woods dominated at the Tour Championship, Golf for Beginners wishes hearty congratulations to both the current and former world number-one golfers in the world.
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  • Posted on 27 Sep 2018

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    Why Play the 2018 South Beach International Amateur Golf Tournament - Guest Post

    A few weeks ago, quite possibly the largest, and most fun, annual golf tournament in the United States was played; the Myrtle Beach World Golf Amateur Tournament #MBWorldAm.


    South Beach International Amateur Golf Tournament
    There are many amateur golf tournaments for players to show their skills but, after the MB Am was played, a reader wrote in to tell us about the 2018 South Beach International Amateur Golf Tournament. 

    Although we cannot bring all of these events to light, Golf for Beginners would like to share this guest post with our readers.

    The South Beach International Amateur (SBIA) is held in Miami, Florida and is the world’s 5th-ranked amateur golf tournament

    Every December, more than two hundred of the best amateur golfers across the globe come to The Sunshine State to compete. The amateur golf competition takes place at the Miami Beach Golf Club and Normandy Shores Golf Club - is a great experience for amateur golfers and their families, thanks to a warm ocean, the finest beaches, and the world-class nightlife.


    Who Can Compete in the SBIA? 

    The SBIA is an open tournament. Registration opened July 1, 2018, and closes officially on December 7, 2018. 

    The requirements to compete in this amateur golf tournament for non-exempt men age 14 thru 60 is as follows:


    ·       All Players who have at least a 1 handicap

    ·       The top 150 ranked worldwide Junior golfers

    ·       All 2018 US Open amateur Section qualifiers

    ·       All 2018 British Amateur Championship qualifiers

    ·       Players recommended by their prospective collegiate coach or their nation’s Association or Federation

    ·       All NAIA players and Division I, II, and III players


    A full playing resume must accompany the application of any player who is not exempt. 

    The tournament website is the source for full details (see above SBIA link).

    About the South Beach Golf Courses
    Golf course architect Arthur Hills increased the challenge and classic nature of both Miami Beach Golf Club and Normandy Shores Golf Club using modern, masterful design tactics. 

    For the seven years since the inception of the amateur event, these golf courses have been the home of the SBIA Championships. The courses are recognized as stern tests for the world’s top golf amateurs. 

    Miami Beach Golf Club is a par 71, for the tournament and Normandy Shores Golf Club is a par 70 (both at about 6,800 yards).

    Prizes Awarded at the South Beach Amateur Golf Tournament

    The following prizes will be awarded to the Champion of the SBIA:



    ·       The winner of the South Beach International Amateur will win the Champions Trophy, a Lifetime Champions Exemption, Merchandise, world amateur ranking points, and invitations/exemptions to most of the major amateur events in the world.

         SBIA Ranking and International Participation

    The only amateur golf tournaments that rank higher than this amateur golf competition in Florida in only its seventh year are the NCAA Division I Championship, the Western Amateur, The Amateur, and the United States Amateur. Each of these four tournaments is historic and have an average of 120 years in existence. 

    Almost half of the field in the 2017 SBIA was from outside its host country, representing 30 countries, placing it 2nd in international participation.



    Opportunities for amateur golfers abound, fortunately, but few can compare to playing on these Florida golf courses on Miami Beach used for the annual South Beach International Amateur Tournament!



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  • Posted on 18 Sep 2018

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