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Low impact exercises to help you play better golf

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Golf in itself is a good form of exercise. The average golfer walks approximately 5 miles per round of golf and swing the golf club over 200 times including practice swings. Couple this with carrying your 10 kilo golf bag on your back and this is a great low impact work out.

However if we want to improve our golf game and play 18 holes without fading away towards the end we need to tone up and build stamina. Golftalk have been looking at the best forms of low impact exercise to compliment your golf game and in this article we discuss our top 5.

  1. Swimming is a great form of low impact exercise. We use almost all of our muscles when swimming especially the arms, legs and core to give us a very good low impact all over workout. Swimming will also give you a good cardio work out that will improve your stamina out on the course.
  2. Yoga is another form of low impact exercise that is popular with many athletes because it combines strength training with stretching something that is particularly important to golfers. Also Yoga can be done in the comfort of your own home. There are many smartphone apps and youtube videos describing what you need to to to get started.
  3. Cycling is a fantastic way to get the legs working and the heart pumping. Whether you are outside on the roads or in a gym on a cycling machine, both will give you a good low impact workout that will help build your strength and stamina. An added benefit of cycling is that it can be worked into your daily routine, for example cycling to work.
  4. Pilates, like Yoga is a low impact workout that many athletes use to build strength and stamina. It focuses on strengthening the core which is very beneficial for golfers of all levels. Pilates also helps to quieten the mind and focus on breathing which again is particularly helpful for golfers. Some Pilates exercises use specific equipment so a good idea is to look for local classes in your area.
  5. Walking is, as already said a great form of exercise. So lets try and do more by looking for opportunities to walk instead of take the car or public transport. Walking will also improve your balance an co-ordination as well as strengthening your bones and muscles. It is also said that walking improves your mood so may also have phycological benefits. Why not try a Fitbit (available from the GolfTalk store) or other step counting device to keep you motivated.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

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Golf Course Management – How to play a par 5

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How to make the most out of Par-5s is a question we are often asked here at Golftalk.Golfer performs a golf shot from the fairway.

When we get to the Par-5 tee box many of us instantly reach for our driver with a plan of hitting the ball as far as we can. We hope that we will be able to get to the green in two and make an eagle or at worst a birdie, seldom does this happen so is this the right strategy? In this article we look at the course management of how to play a Par-5 and give you some thoughts on your own decision making.

The distance of a Par-5 is 471 yards – 690 yards for men and 401 yards – 575 yards for women and juniors. So the length of the hole and how it plays must be a key decision factor in deciding how to play a Par-5. For example if a good drive is 250 yards for you, and a well struck 3 wood in 220 yards then any hole over 470 yards is a three shot hole for you and only at the shorter Par-5 holes when the circumstances allow should you go for the green in two shots.

So which club should you play off the tee? Well again, this will be determined by how you are playing on the day and the golf hole. You will have to consider any hazards that you need to avoid, and the chances of pulling off that shot consistently well. It maybe that you are striking your driver well and are feeling confident with that club. So if using that club will enable you to hit the fairway even if you have a slight mishit then that may be a good club for you to select. On the other hand if you have consistently missed the fairway with your driver then maybe a 3 wood or longer iron maybe a better choice for you. Hitting the fairway is your number one priority off the tee. We all know that playing golf off the fairway is much easier than out of the rough.

We also need to consider how the course architect has designed the hole to be played. Sometimes they will have designed the hole so the green is fairly open, encouraging the golfer to have a go! Or the architect may have intended the hole to be played in 3 shots to the green and placed hazards strategically in the fairway and around the green. A quick glance at the course planned will soon show you how the hole should be played and what you will need to consider.

Man playing golfFor most amateurs hitting the green in regulation will give them the best chance of making a par, so this must be the your first thought. A conservative three shot strategy onto the green in most cases will outplay the two shot strategy. Think back to your last round of golf, how did you play the par-5s?

Finally, here’s something to try. When you are next on the course playing a practice round. Play two balls off the Par-5s. One where you intend to lay up and one where you will go for the green in two. Mark both score on your card and at the end of the round see where you came out best. In our experience for most amateur golfers the first option usually provides a better score.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

Also don’t forget to subscribe to Golf Talk to ensure you never miss a post.

The Golf Talk team

 

What is a Condor or an Ostrich in Golf?

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A male golfer finishes his swingYou may not of heard of a Condor before, it is not a common term used out on the golf course because it refers to a score of four under par … yes you did read that correctly four under par. Or a hole in one on a par-5.

I have been playing golf for over 20 years and have not witnessed a Condor so we are assuming that this type of score is only gong to be an opportunity on certain golf courses with a short downhill, dogleg, par-5 and in perfect conditions. However, with todays equipment enabling golfers to hit the ball longer and longer we are sure that before long we will see the PGA professionals reaching the green on Par-5’s off the tee!

I have also recently heard the term ‘Ostrich’ this refers to a score of 5 under par. This is the rarest of scores in golf as this would mean a hole in one on a par-6, something that you do not see on many golf courses.

So now you know, if anyone asks you ‘What’s a Condor? or What’s an Ostrich? you can answer them confidently. Or you may want to test the knowledge of your golfing buddies know this weekend.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

Also don’t forget to subscribe to Golf Talk to ensure you never miss a post.

The Golf Talk team

Do you want to sharpen up your short game?

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Do you want to sharpen up your short game?

There are many putting and chipping training aids on the market and most of them are very good. The one that we have been testing here at Golf Talk is the Ultimate GOLF Ball Training Aid THE PILL . We have found The Pill to be very easy to use both indoors and outdoors for both putting and chipping practice.

What we liked the most about The Pill is that it gives instant feedback so you can work on specific detailed areas of your game like trying to keep the putter face square at impact or hitting down on the ball when chipping.

The Pill is used by many PGA tour players and has a number of drills on youtube to keep your practice sessions interesting.

Why not give The Pill a try for yourself and see if it improves your short game?

Course Management – How can you play your best golf if you don’t know your distances?

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Golf is a game where you play to a target. This means that to hit that target you need to know how far away you are from it, right? In this article we discuss a simple way for you to determine how far you hit each club and give you our recommendations of the best golf GPS devices.

First things first, you need to know how far you hit each club in your bag, excluding your putter. Our recommendation is to choose a calm day and take a bucket of balls to the practice tee. Hit ten balls starting with your Sand Wedge and pace out the average distance. Discard the furthest two and shortest two balls and mark that distance in a notebook. If you mishit a shot, shank, duff etc. then simply take another. Remember, you are just trying to find your average distances. Next choose your Pitching Wedge and do the same. Complete this task right the way through your bag, pacing out the average distance for each club. After 60 minutes you should have a clear picture of how far you hit each club. This will not only give you a boost in confidence when you are faced with a shot that you know you can easily achieve. It will also help you avoid certain obstacles on the course if you know you can either lay up short or play over them. This exercise should be done two or three times a year just to ensure that your distances are consistent.

So now you know how far you hit the ball with each club. Next you need to find a simple way to establish the distances to the green. Many courses will have the two hundred, one hundred and fifty and one hundred yards marked out with a coloured disc in the fairway. Others will have a distance marked from each sprinkler head on the fairway. Some, just have a post for one hundred and fifty yards. All of these are better than nothing, however they are assuming you are on the fairway. What happens when you find yourself out of position, maybe on another fairway?

A simple and effective device is the golf GPS. This will give you accurate distances around the course, for example to the green and to hazards. But there are so many to choose from. So which is best for you?

Firstly, lets look at the cheapest method which is simply an app on your phone. We have used many of these over the years and the one we would recommend is Golfshot: Golf GPS this is an extremely accurate application with distances to hazards, front, centre and back of the greens. It can also give you a fly over of the hole in the paid version. Which you may find useful if you are playing a course for the first time. The only downside to these types of applications is the hardware that they are on. Not only do they zap your phone battery but there is also the inconvenience of keep getting your phone out of your bag. When I have used these types of apps I can sometimes start checking messages and get distracted. Overall though they are better than nothing and usually have a lite version for free so worth giving it a try.

Next is the GPS watches. This is now a very popular choice for many golfers. Mainly because of their convenience. You simply charge it up, select your course and you are ready to play. A quick glance at your watch will give you distances to hazards, and as before front, middle and back of the green.
These devices are now very affordable and look stylish too. In fact when we have tested GPS watches we couldn’t really find a downside to them.

Another device that is popular amongst golfers is the Laser Rangefinder . These devices as the name suggests use laser technology to return distances to anything that you aim it at. We have found that for distances of two hundred yards and over you may need a few tries to return the distance. Again, they are extremely accurate, relatively inexpensive and very easy to use. Where these devices have the advantage is on your approach to the green. With a laser you can aim it at the pin and get the precise distance. With all the other devices you are aiming to a part of the green where you think the pin is located.

Finally, there are the new handheld devices that not only give you GPS data for your round but also tracks your shots as you play. You place a small disc that fits into the grip of each golf club. Start the device, and before you play each shot you tap the disc onto the device. This will then register your position on the golf course and the club that you are using. When you are ready to play your next shot you tap the device again with the club that you are about to play. The device then knows that this is a new shot and will mark the distance and whether you hit the fairway or green.
When you have finished your round you upload the data and you now have a statistical representation of your game. Including number of shots, fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts. It will also give you the distances that you hit each club. Overtime this will help you build up a picture of your game and where you can improve. We have used this GPS device and it works very well to identify areas for improvement. Mainly for the GT team missing fairways with the driver.

In summary there are lots of choices on the market to fit all budgets, so really there is no reason why you should be guessing your distance to the green. Get your device now and start lowering your scores and improving your game.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

Also don’t forget to subscribe to Golf Talk to ensure you never miss a post.

The Golf Talk team

A simple and effective way to mark your golf ball

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Did you know that according to Rule 15, the penalty for playing the wrong ball in Matchplay is lost of hole and in Strokeplay it is a two shot penalty.

Also If you are playing Stroke play, then you must go back and replay any shots with the correct ball. If you fail to correct your mistake before teeing off on the next hole you could be disqualified from the competition.

In addition the player whose ball was incorrectly played should drop a ball as close to the original spot as can be determined.

To avoid such mistakes why not try the Spider Golf Ball Stamper / Marker a very simple and effective way to mark you golf ball.

Why not give it a try?

Course Management – What to do when your golf ball is in the trees

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If you play any parkland course there is a strong possibility that you will find yourself in the trees at some stage of your round. It’s what you do next that is the most important factor in protecting your scorecard.

In this post we discuss how course management can help you make the correct decision and save valuable strokes out on the course and why the miracle shot is not always the best option.

Male Golfer On Golf Course After Swing

There is an old saying ‘never follow a bad shot with a bad decision’. Just watch the golf professionals on TV when they get out of position. Watch what they do, and how they handle this temporary set back. Now think about your game and what you typically do. If you are like most amateurs you reach for a club and try to play the shot of a lifetime. One that curls to the left and then to the right and lands on the green six feet from the hole to a rapture of applause. Unfortunately the reality is that we seldom play this shot successfully, and it often ends costing us two or three shots. In fact our own GT statistics tell us that you are far more likely to make par chipping the ball onto the fairway and back into play than you are trying to play the miracle shot.

So next time you hit a loose shot out of position and you find yourself in the trees we want you to consider FIRST playing the ball back onto the fairway. Unless your chances of getting the ball onto the green are above eighty percent then this is the shot we recommend.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

Also don’t forget to subscribe to Golf Talk to ensure you never miss a post.

The Golf Talk team

 

Golf Fundamentals – How to develop good swing tempo

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We have all seen it, and some of us do it on a regular basis. We stand over the ball, take the club back nice and smooth, and then lunge at the ball in a blur, only to see the ball scuffed a few yards down the fairway.

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In this post we are going to discuss one of golf’s often overlooked fundamentals, swing tempo and give you a better understanding of tempo, and a drill that you can take on the course with you.

So what do we mean when we say a good swing tempo? A good swing tempo allows you time to fully complete your backswing and transition into the downswing without casting the club head at the ball. It means that your hips, shoulders and arms are all working in harmony to return the club head back to the ball. It should feel relaxed, and approximately eighty percent of your effort for a full shot. Also your swing tempo should be the same for every club in your bag you should not be thinking that your swing tempo increases with your longer clubs. However, good swing tempo does not mean slow. Many professional golfers have a quick tempo, that’s just their swing. Look at great players like Nick Price or Jose Maria Olazabal as examples. They both have great swing tempo and a faster than usual swing.  It is important for you to find the correct swing tempo for your game. One that is repeatable and brings consistent results.

Many golfers have a swing thought when they play the game. This includes a saying or phrase to help them with their tempo. One that we have used at Golf Talk is simply saying the words out loud ‘back and through’. ‘Back’ being the start of the backswing, ‘and’ being the transition, and ‘through’ the downswing. Try this out on the practice tee and see if it helps your ball striking. It may also help you out on the course saying it in your head.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

Also don’t forget to subscribe to Golf Talk to ensure you never miss a post.

The Golf Talk team

 

Golf fundamentals – How to set up to the ball

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practice golfGetting into the correct position as you address the ball will help you strike the ball more consistently. Your
aim, ball position and posture are essential parts of the golf swing that cannot be overlooked. In this post we look at the correct set up that will help you achieve a better address position and more consistent ball striking.

Your goal should be a square position to the ball at address. Lay a golf club on the ground to act as your target line. Now stand parallel to the club with your feet, hips and shoulder square to that target line. This is what we mean by a square orthodox stance. Many golfers fail to get into this position simply by not having a good pre-shot routine that will help them get into the correct setup position. Please look through our back catalogue for posts on developing a good pre-shot routine.

Next we want to talk about ball position. The correct ball position can vary depending on the type of shot you are trying to play. For example if you are trying to hit a shot with a higher than normal trajectory you may position the ball slightly further in your stance to help achieve an ascending strike and higher ball flight. Or you may want to play the ball further back in your stance to hit a lower than usual shot. For this post we are going to assume that you are playing a standard shot with a standard trajectory for that club.

Lets start with the driver. This club is almost always played off a tee peg so we are trying to hit this shot on the upswing. To help us achieve this ascending hit we must position the ball forward in our stance in-line with our left heel. This will encourage the correct strike on the ball and a high flying shot.

As we move into our fairway woods and longer irons we move the ball slightly back in our stance, just forward of centre, two or three ball widths. These clubs are struck with a sweeping motion so the ball should be positioned just forward of our sternum where our swing reaches its lowest point.

Our shorter irons are positioned further back still, around the centre of our stance. This will encourage a ball then turf contact and apply the correct spin on the ball as it is compressed against the ground.

What about your weight distribution? Many golfers ask whether their weight should be favouring their left or right foot. This is not something that you should consciously do. However, you will feel that you are more behind the ball with a driver and that your weight is more on your right foot. Also when you are playing shorter irons you may feel that you are favouring your left foot because of your smaller width stance.

The set up is much more important than many golfers give credit. If you are finding that your shots are inconsistent then go back to basics with your set up to see if there are some bad habits that are creeping into your game. At your next friendly round of golf ask a friend to video you with your cell phone so you can analyse your set up and find any faults. A good set up is something that the best players in the world work on regularly. Start dedicating some time at the driving range to your set up. Only with constant repetition will you start to build muscle memory that you can take on the course and play your best golf

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

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The Golf Talk team

 

Golf fundamentals – How to grip the golf club

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grip de golfeurHaving a good golf grip is imperative to playing well. As the saying goes ‘ you’ll never see a good golfer with a poor grip’, after all your grip is the only connection you have with the golf club. A good repeatable golf grip will help you control the position of the clubface and ultimately give you more consistency out on the course. In this article we discuss the benefits of a good golf grip and how you can master one of golf’s fundamentals.

Let’s start by saying that the best golf grip is one that works for the individual player. We have seen many golf professionals with unorthodox grips that can play the game very well. This is usually due to the fact that they practice for many hours and over time have honed this grip to work for them. We are assuming that you are a mid to high handicap golfer who does not have thousands of hours to train an unorthodox golf grip so a more orthodox option may work better for you.

Take your golf stance and hang your arms down in front of you with your palms facing inwards. Now take hold of a golf club with you left hand. The grip of the club should be across the centre of your index finger and the fleshy pad of your palm rests on the top of the golf handle. Close your fingers around the golf grip and feel that you are gripping the club lightly with all fingers but giving more support from the last three fingers. Your left thumb should be slightly to the right of the centre of the golf grip with the ‘v’ formed between your thumb and index finger pointing towards your right shoulder. As you look down at your left hand on the golf grip you should be able to see two or three knuckles. If you are seeing more knuckles then the grip is to strong and may result in a shot that travels to the left or if you see less knuckles then your grip is considered weak and will result in a shot that travels to the right.

Next place your right hand on the golf grip. As you do so your right hand should cover your left thumb. Again the ‘v’ formed between your thumb and index finger will point towards your right shoulder. As a checkpoint you should now only be able to see the knuckle of your index finger on your right hand.

There are three ways in which you can connect your left and right hands on the golf club. The Vardon grip as developed by Harry Vardon where the left hand holds the club as already described and the right hand little finger overlaps the index finger of the left hand. The interlocking grip as the name suggest interlocks the little finger of the right hand with the index finger of the left hand. This is a great grip for beginner golfers and easily give the correct feeling of both hands working together. Finally the Baseball grip is where both hands are placed on the golf grip with no interlocking. The left and right hand butt together. Again a useful grip for beginners whose grip tends to be weak with shots tending to go to the right.

Which ever grip you decide to use one thing that is common thought is how tight you hold the club. You must ensure that you hold the golf club in your fingers with a light grip that allows your wrists to hinge properly and swing freely through the ball. If you imagine a scale of one to ten. One being the lightest grip and ten the strongest. You should be holding the club no higher than a six. Your playing partner should be able to pull the club out of your hands with little effort. If you are holding the club to tight you will struggle to play to your potential and lose valuable distance with your clubs.

Trying to change any part of your golf game can feel very strange. The slightest change not even visible to you or your playing partners can feel very dramatic to you. We suggest that if you are trying to change your grip then have golf clubs around you house and back yard so you can practice your golf grip throughout the day. Alternatively why not try a swing trainer with a grip already formed.

If you have enjoyed this article please comment and share below. You can also email any questions you may have to info@golftalk.club

Also don’t forget to subscribe to Golf Talk to ensure you never miss a post.

The Golf Talk team