Travelling With Golf Clubs

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Ice Storm – I need a golfing vacation!

Another Christmas Day is in the books! I hope everyone enjoyed their time with their special someone and had time to relax, eat, and laugh until your belly hurt. For most of us, winter is still limiting our ability to hit the links. With cold temperatures limit our activities, thoughts of sugar plums in our heads has shifted to golf trips to warmer climates. If you are planning on travelling to play golf anytime soon, it is important to pack your clubs with care.

Packing golf clubs properly makes a tremendous difference to their well-being. Additionally, identifying them with a unique tag, cloth, or ribbon is a must to prevent confusion at your destination. But, these are just a few things that every golfer could do to make sure their golf vacation an overwhelming success.  Mark Aumann at the PGA has even more great tips. Here is he has to say:

  • Try to get a non-stop flight, if possible. 
  • Get a durable, well-made travel bag. 
  • If you use a soft-sided bag, don’t forget to pack a golf club protection device. 
  • Don’t forget that golf bags are considered “oversized check-in”. 
  • Add some personal ID marking to your bag. 
  • Don’t wind up with more luggage than you need. 
  • Think about a cab or car service (or ride to airport).
  • Pack your clubs so they won’t move around in the travel bag. 
  • Use your travel bag for additional storage. 
  • Don’t leave your expensive electronics in your golf bag. 
  • If you’re still leery of putting your equipment on a plane, do use a shipping service. 

For more details, you can read his entire article at PGA.com.

Planning a golf trip anywhere warm is always fun. Proper care of your golf clubs only enhances the experience. I am not planning a golf trip this year, but if you are, I would like to hear about it. So drop me a line and let me know where you are going! It is always fun to share golfing stories when snowbound for 4 months!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links

Does Golf Need Saving?

There is much talk about how golf is slowly dying as fewer people take up the sport. Golf is a game that is time-consuming, requires practice, is difficult to master and can be expensive to play. It is difficult to dispute these facts, however, is the golf industry really dying or is it going through an economic adjustment?

CTV News reported that, “a new survey finds the overall number of rounds played has dropped by nearly 15 per cent since 2008 — a tough hit for a multi-billion-dollar industry.” One of the current difficulties is keeping “under 30” players playing! If we match the rising costs of everything from fuel, fertilizer, wages, and equipment to the economic downturn from 2008-2012, there is no wonder that people with very little disposable income are finding something else to do.

Rick Harrow of Fox Sports is suggesting a different story. The golf industry and the PGA are doing fine. The influx of money from the Fox TV deal and the growth of club professionals are macro indicators that things are not as doom and gloom as some might suggest. Have a look below.

Does golf really need to adapt to survive? As a traditionalist, I suggest that some modifications to the game might be required, but not as to change the game dramatically. The “TEE IT FORWARD” initiative is a great example of modifying a round of golf without changing its integrity. However, even the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, thinks it is time to make changes to mainstream golf. See below.

Personally, I am not a fan of bigger golf holes, playing football on the golf course, or changing the basic premise of the game. However, I am already an avid golfer so my opinion is definitely biased!

Earlier I wrote an article for Punditarena.com called “Is Golf Imploding?” The landscape of golf is changing. New faces of golf are emerging everyday. I would suggest that golf is evolving instead of imploding. This multi-billion-dollar industry will make the economic adjustment required to survive and grow….it always does!

Do you think that golf needs saving?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

New Clubs for 2014

Previously, I discussed my annual trip to Golf Town to check out the deals and hopefully buy a new 3-wood or putter.  This yearly pilgrimage signifies the close of one season and the start of another.  I start by making a list of goals, hopes and aspirations for the upcoming golfing season.  To accomplish these amazing feats, I check my clubs and decide if I need any new equipment.  For me, purchasing new clubs is a want, but has to fit a need.

This year my list consisted of three major items (and some minor items that were definitely a want):

  1. 3-wood;
  2. putter; and
  3. rain gear.

Each of these items fills a goal of being able to have more options while on the tee and fairway, greater confidence around the green, and the ability to play in wet weather.  These goals seem very broad, but I will discuss them in greater detail in upcoming articles.

Back to my trip; as I entered the store, I followed my usual routine.  I walked around looking for sales, examined the new equipment, and then focused on the items on my list.  As a side note, I always go to the golf ball section to see the sales. Sometimes I impulse buy to try a new ball if the price is right.  But, not this trip.

I decided to start at the putters section.  The putter I use is approximately 10-years old.  It is a ProGear putter with a resign insert in the face.  I have had tremendous success with it through the years, unfortunately less so in the past two.  I did some research (checked out The White Dragon Putter – it is very interesting) to make sure I knew what I was looking before I tried them.  As my selection process started, I picked up a blade putter, mallet putter, offset putter….you name it I tried it.  I tried all the big named putters, not so bit name putters, and one was even a hockey stick (worked for Happy Gilmore!). Sadly or maybe not, I putted the same way with all the putters. It made no difference what so ever!  So after an hour and 500 putting strokes, I concluded that the reason for my failing putting stroke was not enough practice.  So I am going to start there before I buy a new club. Check out PGA.com for selecting a new putter, I found it very helpful.

Next was the wet weather gear.  It was a quick look.  I did not find anything I liked under $400.  I am not ready to spend that kind of cash on golf clothes……yet!

Callaway WarBird – 1998

Click On Image for Club Review from Golf.com

Last was my search for a new 3-wood.  I went around to all the different makes and models and tried a couple in Golf Town’s practice facility.  Most had a lower profile face; this is different for me because I still use my 1998 Callaway Warbird 3-wood.  It has a Memphis 10 shaft which I hit straight, but have lost some distance, hence the need for a change.

Ultimately, I chose the Callaway Razr Fit.  It suited my eyes well; it felt solid; and the ball appeared to jump off the club head.  It is a couple of years old, but I liked it better than the new technology clubs. Additionally, it was at the right price.  It has a stiff shaft and that fits the rest of my clubs.

Well, the 2014 season has officially started.  I am excited to see what this year brings.  As per earlier years, I am filled with hope and excitement for the links to open.  So the count down has started.  106 days!

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!

Making A Difference In Someone’s Life

Making a difference in someone’s life as easy as smiling and saying hello! Sometimes, it only  takes a second change someone’s world.  Just listening or offering a helping hand may be enough to make a difference.  Any small positive token of acceptance can occur anywhere; even on the golf course.  Golfers have a long history of helping others.  There are many golf charities that raise money for the military, the homeless, cancer research, under privileged kids, and many more.  All are important and provide support to those who may need it most.

Each year I try to play in charity golf tournaments or events to promote worth causes. It is a great way to give, play golf and support many charities.  Last year, I participated in the True Patriot Love Foundation event in North Bay, Ontario and in the 8 Wing Commander’s Golf Tournament in support of the local United Way Charity.

Next year, I plan on helping organize some events because giving your time is as important was a financial donation.  I believe it is important that everyone gives back and if we can do it through golf charities, then why not!  The PGA leads by example by giving back all year; Together, anything’s possible.

On an unrelated note, but in the spirit of Christmas and giving, I wanted to bring your attention to a young 17-year-old Winnipeg artist whose video went viral back in 2011. Sean Quigley isn’t just a musician but is very involved in charity and social justice movements. When “little Drummer Boy” and its music video where released, CD’s were sold under one condition, “All the money has to go to charity” said Quigley. In collaboration with a local radio station, CD’s where pressed and sold out in a matter of hours. Their agreement was honoured and every penny made from CD sales went to an organization whose goal is to end homelessness and poverty in Quigley’s hometown of Winnipeg.  Enjoy the video!

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!

Finding Weaknesses In Your Game

Golf is a simply complicated sport.  Everytime a player hits the links, they have the opportunity to score really low or really high relative to their skill level.  Most think that is the best time to pinpoint what is going right or wrong.  Or is it?

Finding Weaknesses

Keep head Down; Left Arm Straight; Slow Tempo; What did the Grateful Golfer Say…..Oh never mind, just Grip It and Rip It!

If a player consistently shoots in the low 100, 90, 80 or 70, identifying positive and challenging aspects of their game is important.  This process, if the player really wants to improve, is continuous and unrelenting.  However, identifying areas to improvement is specific to each player and it is impossible to use generalities to guarantee a better golf swing. Therefore, which is the best method?  Who can help?  Are there methods?

The short answer is yes, there are methods.  Which is the best…..depends on the player. Who can help….basically it is up to the person to seek and conquer the challenges of improving their golf game.  Having said that, the following are my suggestions on how to improve your game:

BroNet. Sometimes referred to as the buddy system.  While out on the course your friend will notice something in your swing that they believe you should correct.  Generally, it varies on a shot by shot basis.  It has a tendency to cause more confusion that success, but sometimes it is helpful.  The quality of the advice depends on the skill level of the player giving it.

Self-Taught.  This is where a player will research various skills, look for tips, watch others and try to duplicate.  This method can be very good, especially if you use websites like Hit It Solid, Slice of Golf, Gorilla Golf, All About Golf or Mind Body Golf.  And of course The Grateful Golfer site!  (Sorry for the shameless plug….just could not help myself) They offer tips on golf, the challenging aspects of the mental game of golf, course reviews and will allow for interaction via comments/questions to help improve your game.  This method is generally how most players start.

PGA.  Having your local professional, like Dan Garagan at Pinewood Park Golf Course, North Bay, Ontario, Canada, analyse your swing and provide helpful tips on how to improve is definitely a winner.  They have the skill and expertise to help.  The only draw back on this method is that you must be willing to learn from their sage advice.  It is difficult and sometimes causes a player to initially score higher, but in the long run it is probably the best way to learn golf.

Wing It!  The last method is the most fun!  Basically, you have no plan nor want one. Each day is an adventure and you real goal is enjoy the experience.  The million dollar shot you can brag about is what you seek.  There is nothing wrong with this method, however your game will develop slowly if at all.  This is not a problem because you play for the fun of the game.

Finding weaknesses in your game is relatively easy.  Fixing them is usually the problem. For me, the best method to use in order of effectiveness is local professional, self-taught, Bronet, and finally, Wing It!  Ultimately, chose the method that best fits your goals and desires.  I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!