It’s never easy asking for help, but in golf, it is almost a necessity.  Unfortunately,  we often ask our buddies and partners, when in reality we should take a lesson or two.

We think that a Pro would critique harshly, but they are honest, positive and very helpful.  Lessons at the local course aren’t as expensive as you might think and they are worth it because your game will improve rapidly and cause you less frustration,  making the game much more enjoyable for you.

Of utmost importance, is being honest about your game.  The Pro will ask you what you want to start with; driving, chipping, putting or whatever you feel you need help with.  Listen carefully and follow the instructions. You may have doubts if the Pro changes your stance, your grip or your swing;  the Pro knows best.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Don’t worry about if the question or concern in stupid-they’ve heard it all before and will not make you feel like an idiot for asking.  If you don’t “get it”, tell him/her that you’re not getting it. You should never walk away from a lesson with unanswered questions.

You can concentrate on one thing during a lesson, or several. You might start with a lesson in driving;  get the right grip, the right stance, the right swing, the right follow-through in one lesson, and then practice it.  Next time, you might work on your short game, or putting.

You’ve invested in the equipment, doesn’t it make sense to learn how to use them to their advantage and improve your abilities?

Before you start a round of golf, it is important thatyou  remember to warm up for the match. People warm up for their chosen sports all the time, as it reduces the  risk of injury; golf is no different. By the time professionals step up to the first tee, they are fully  prepared to give their best from the first swing onward.

To get a good exercise round in, you will need to warm up; that will mean getting to the course early. You may need to take care of things in the golf shop or anything else  that you have planned, but you must not feel rushed to get all these things done just so you can get a good warm up  in. Get there early and get everything done so that you can get a nice exercise session done in time.

Putting is a big part of golf and as such, you will need to do some warming up before you start putting. It is the  slowest and smoothest of all strokes in golf, which means you will need a different warm up. So set some golf balls down, starting  putting; and you should be ready to tackle  any greens that come your way when golfing.

Stretching can improve your game radically, especially if  you stretch properly. It will also help you avoid injuries, which are often the result of tense muscles. 

Time your warm up so that you will make it to the first tee in time with everyone else. You do not want to stand there for a few minutes after you just finished warming up. If you do have a delay, stand by the side of the tee, make slow swings, and stretch so that you can stay loose.

If you choose not to warm up before a game, then you are  starting the game with a severe handicap.

What to keep in your golf bag.

There are many golf bags available, some designed for fashion, some for utility and some that combine both features. There are big bags, bigger bags and bags so big that they would keep everything I need for a long weekend vacation in one of the side pockets!

Generally speaking, you need a bag just large enough to hold your clubs, extra balls, your glove, tees, car keys, extra pencils, ball markers, a ball retriever, sunscreen, a windbreaker and a large umbrella.

It is also a good idea to have a packet of tissues, a band-aid or two, and if you play courses where insects are a problem, a can of bug repellent comes in very handy.

A small pack of baby wipes come in very handy; in your bag they get warmed by the heat, so when you get sweaty or a sand trap covered you with sand, a nice warm wipe can be very refreshing.

I happen to be allergic to bees, hornets and wasps, so my Epipen is an important addition to my bag. I am also hypoglycemic so I carry Lifesavers, which has to be replaced several times throughout the year because they tend to melt.

One item that doesn’t need to be in your golf bag is your cell phone. If you must carry it, turn off the ringer as a courtesy to other players. If you must use it, be aware of others who might be taking a swing or putting their ball. Be considerate!

Having these items in your golf bag should provide everything you will need, even in a minor emergency (like a blister) or a major inconvenience, like a sudden rainstorm. Being prepared makes the game a great deal more fun.

Buying golf equipment can be like dumping money into amoney pit, but armed with some knowledge you can save time and money in selecting the right clubs for yourself. As with most things in life, you can spend alot or you can spend a little several times before youget what you really need.

If you are first starting out and not completely sure you want to commit to this addictive game, you should either rent clubs at the golf course, or buy a starter set of clubs. Buying a set of started clubs enables you to become ccustomed to them; enabling you to concentrate on your swing instead of wondering how this set of miss-matched clubs you just rented are going to work out.

As you become better at the game, you should invest in a better set of clubs, fitted to you. Generally, a set includes a driver, one or two fairway woods, 4-9 irons, a wedge or two and perhaps a putter.

As you become more experienced and start thinking about new clubs, you may want to consider buying your driver separately. Some players want a driver to give them more accuracy; some need the distance.

There are numerous balls available and the box will usually have a chart on the back and direct you to the right ball for your needs. As you learn the game and get better at it, you should experiment with different balls which could improve your accuracy or distance.

Having the right equipment is an important aspect of the game; buy wisely!

I was perusing Golf for Women the other day and wondered where are the women who wear the golf attire modeled in women’s golf magazines? I’ve never seen women, professionals included, who would dress in such expensive and outrageous clothes!

It’s easy to spend money outfitting yourself for golf. Hats, sunglasses, gloves, shirts, shorts, socks, windbreakers and shoes all add up quickly, even if you shop the sales. Add in equipment, bag and cart and you have to play quite often to keep down the “CPU” – cost per use.

One glossy advertisement showed a model in short shorts (like that’s allowed on courses!) that cost $275, the Tse golf shirt ($595), jacket by Ralph Lauren ($185) and two-toned Utuser shoes ($425). That comes up to $1480; I could never hope to get the CPU on that outfit anywhere near a normal level in my lifetime! Don’t get me wrong; I love clothes. I really love shoes, but could never afford, or want, golf shoes that cost more than the national budget of some small countries.

Granted, you want comfortable shoes that don’t look like something your grandmother would wear, but you can easily find less expensive and fashionable shoes.

I have several really stylish golf outfits, none of them brand name. If I totaled the cost of all of them up it would not come up to the price of the Tse golf shirt. Personally, I’d rather have several stylish outfits and one outrageously priced one.

If I were to wear a $1480 outfit to play golf, I would simply be too worried about getting dirty or perspiring to play a decent round.

Golf is a dignified game of rules,  manners, etiquette and fashion as well. it’s important to know the basics before you play for the first time.

Whether you are playing alone, in a twosome or a foursome, you must wait your turn. You must keep aware of the group on the next hole and wait until they are well ahead of you before hitting your ball.

It’s never cool to “push” the group in front of you. If you are playing with others, wait for your turn to hit the ball; never hit at the same time as another player.

While you wait for your turn, go to your ball and determine what club you’ll need and how you are goingto hit it. This is called “ready golf” and keeps the game moving. Don’t rush, just be ready.

If your team is holding up the players behind you, let them play through. You would simply wave them through, or if they are close enough, ask them if they’d like to play through. You will never make an enemy in doing this!

When someone is making a shot, you should be behind them and you shouldn’t make a sound! It is so distracting to be ready to tee off and just as you pull back, someone decides to jingle in coins in their pocket or noisily unwrap a piece of candy.

Replace your divots. When, in the fairway, you hit the ball and a clod of dirt and grass goes flying, replace it. On some courses you just put the clod back and step on it to press it on; on most courses, there is a sand/seed mixture on your card to put into the divot. If your ball makes a deep impression when it lands on the green, use your divot tool to repair it.

As soon as you have completed a hole, replace the flag and leave the green so that the next players can play. Count your score and write it on the scorecard when you’re back at your cart.

Of course, there are many more rules of golf, but these simple ones will enable you to get through the course without coming to blows with anyone. We must all keep the game dignified, right? Next we talk some fashion!

The popularity of golf has increased tremendously over the past forty five years, giving us champions like Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and world-renowned courses like Pinehurst,  Augusta National and the Blue Monster at Doral.

Why has golf become so popular? It’s the opportunity to be outside, to get a good whole body workout, network with friends or business colleagues at a leisurely pace, and to play a game that you can never perfect.

Your scorecard, over time, shows your improvement, which keeps you playing again and again. 

Here is a very basic lesson in golf for the person who has no clue about the game.

Golf is played on an eighteen-hole course;  each hole has its “par”, which is the number of tee shots (drives),  fairway shots, chips (short hits as you approach the green), and putts.

The par number is based on the length and difficulty of the hole. Pars range from 3 to 6. If you get the ball in the hole in five shots on a par five hole, you “made par.”  If it took you six shots, it’s called a bogie, if you made it in four, it’s a birdie.

There are usually “hazards” of some sort on all the holes. Bodies of water, sand traps, and trees are strategically placed to make the hole more challenging. Beginner golfers should seek to find courses to play that are easier to play, with fewer hazards.

Each player keeps their own score, marking the number of total number of shots for each hole. At the end, each person adds their scores-the lowest number is the winner.

It is important for beginner golfers to not take themselves too seriously. It takes a long time to get good at this game; even though the professionals make it look so easy.

Take a lesson or two at the onset; it will help you develop a proper swing and help you get off to a good start.

Remember that it’s just a game. Have fun and look at the big picture-you’re outside and you’re not at work!

Golf is an easy game – It’s just hard to play! There has probably never been a truer word spoken.

In principle the game is about striking a small ball with a stick with a heavy end some distance into a little hole. Then repeating the exercise 17 more times over holes of different lengths and degree of difficulty. Sounds easy!

Golf immense popularity is largely attributed to charismatic players like Tiger Woods who capture the attention of everyone, including those who have never picked up a golf club.

The Golf Digest Blog was created to reach out to Golf enthusiastic!

Fred Lotgering

LotCon Biz Solutions