Ah ha moments for girls perfecting their golf game.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Warming Up for Golf

I have two back stories for you: One is my girlfriend, Yukiko, who played golf on a crisp autumn day in Vancouver last year without stretching beforehand. The next day as she arrived at the airport en route to catch a plane for Japan, she found to her horror that she could not get out of the taxi. Her husband ended up cancelling their trip and heading for the emergency at the nearest hospital. She was in bed recuperating for two weeks.

The second story is my husband who began the golfing season with three days in a row of driving range, and two games. The fourth day he went to water the plants on the balcony just before preparing to leave for the local pitch and putt with me. Instead of pitching a golf ball, he pitched sideways onto the floor of the patio. I found him in agony, unable to move. I quickly called our golfing friends who rushed over with a physio friend in tow. After 30 minutes of manipulation, we managed to prop him up against a barstool. A week of daily chiropractic therapy was needed to recover and then another week of daily stretching and back exercises before my husband could move normally.

Moral of story: Take ten minutes of overall stretching before you play and also after you finish your round. Your back will be much healthier if you do this. Happy Golfing!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Golf in the Now

Probably one of the best tips I can offer a fellow rookie golfer is the powerful advice of always being in the present when you’re playing golf. Especially when you’re at the first tee and have to tee off in front of other golfers impatiently waiting for their turn. Especially when you have to make that crucial chip on to the green. Especially when you're on the green and have to make your final putt. Don’t worry about your financial situation; don’t plan what’s for dinner; don’t dwell on your daughter’s latest problem at school. Instead, take a deep breath and empty your mind. Repeat your favourite mantra. As I mentioned before, mine is "smooth as silk". Find a calming phrase that will help you focus on your swing. All you should be focusing is on that little white ball. Take it from me.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Get Rid of Negative Thoughts

As a rookie golfer, I find it difficult not to get nervous on the first tee when there's a large group of eager golfers waiting for their tee time. The best thing to do is take a few deep breaths and stay calm. If you can repeat a favourite mantra in your head as you're walking up to the tee, even better for relaxing your thoughts. Mine is "smooth as silk" which I repeat as I take my drive. If you flub this first shot, it's important to remain positive and look at the first hole as a practise warm up for the remaining holes.

Negative thoughts are toxic. Positive visualization is beneficial. I've heard that the best golfers visualize each shot. It becomes automatic for them to imagine a positive outcome every time they hit the ball. So the next time you miss the green by a few yards, look at it as a great way to practise chipping. Sometimes I purposely aim for the bunker because I so desperately need to practise my sand wedge. Since my aim is still in the learning stage, I always seem to miss the bunker despite my best efforts! So I'm getting really good at chipping.

It's all good. Just being able to spend a few hours away from working, prepping meals, cleaning house, weeding garden, and doing all the other tedious daily chores is a treat. Happy Golfing!

Friday, July 4, 2008

I Love the New Grips on My Clubs...

My new grips are quite amazing. My hands do not slip or twist anymore as I take a stroke. My hold on the clubs feels more solid and stable. However my putter is taking a while to get used to because of its much larger grip (probably twice the original size). My husband/golf mentor (!) reassures me that this larger grip will prevent my wrist from twisting so that my putting stroke will have a much straighter aim. I have to say that my overall golf strokes are becoming more consistent and true.

My advice to the novice golfer would be to check out your grips before beginning to play regularily. If your fingertips touch the palm of your hand as you hold the club, you need a bigger grip. New grips cost anywhere from $8.00 to $10.00 per club depending on style of grip and whether it is orthopedic (softer) or regular and whether it is smooth or ribbed. You will be spending around $100.00 for a full set of clubs, but it is well worth the added expense.

Happy Golfing!