ConnectingWomen

 

Tips for Success in Team Competition

Playing as a team is totally different experience than playing as an individual.

Most of us are familiar with watching team golf in the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup or the Presidents Cup. Not only can it be fun to watch in person or via a broadcast, it’s a fun format to play as well. Most events held are the normal stroke play, yet playing as part of a team is common in the EWGA Cup as well as at many golf clubs nationwide.

While you are still trying to score the lowest number, the main difference between stroke play and match play is instead of playing the entire field, you are playing against the two people in your group. You could have one player who plays safe and the other player then can hit a risk/reward type of shot. You can adjust your strategy based on how your opponents are playing.

If you are playing in a two person team event, hopefully your playing partner is someone you enjoy playing golf with and as a team, you compliment each another – meaning one person could excel when hitting from the tee while the other partner may be a good putter or have a great short game.

If you are playing in an alternate shot event, it requires a bit more strategy. Take a look at the golf course or scorecard to see how the par 3’s and par 5’s line up with your strength. Does one teammate have a stronger iron game to benefit being the person to hit from the par 3’s? Does the teammate who hits a longer tee ball benefit from hitting on the par 5’s to take advantage of the distance? Think about this when putting if the alternate shot format means the person who sinks a putt will not tee off on the next hole.

Another important factor in a team event is momentum. When you and your partner win a hole, it creates a bit of momentum to help win the next hole. Once you win multiple holes, your shots will seem easier and you will settle in to playing relaxed golf. Take advantage of the momentum and keep it going in a positive manner.

Additional tips for team competition include relaxing and staying positive. If you are lucky to win a few holes early, it’s easier to relax and not feel the pressure of being behind. By keeping a positive attitude, you can focus on one hole at a time – remember, if you are trailing in the match, that it’s not over until you run out of holes. If you lose a hole, remain positive and realize every new hole is a new opportunity to win a hole.

Many people compete in team play by being more aggressive and making sure all their putting attempts get to or past the hole. Especially if one partner is playing safe, it allows the other partner to go for it and be bold with all putt attempts – since most times a short putt has little chance of going in!

Regarding conceded putts, remember you should enter your match expecting to hole out all your putts. Don’t expect your opponent to concede any putts to you. However, if an opponent concedes a putt, gracefully pick up your ball. You and your partner will need to discuss when you will concede putts or if you will expect your opponents to hole all putts. It’s a delicate balancing act, because you may be willing to concede putts only to get few or little conceded putts from your opponents.

Finally, expect that your opponents will hit great shots and make long putts. This will help you control your nerves – as you are less likely to get uptight when your opponents play well. If you fall behind in the match, remember there are many holes left and you and your partner are bound to hit good shots, make some putts and get good breaks.

Remember it’s a team event and your partner is there to help calm you down, encourage you and celebrate your great shots. Have fun and enjoy the opportunity to play together as a team.  

 

Tips to Avoid Common Golf Injuries

Shoulder injuries are common among golfers.

We’ve all read articles about our favorite PGA or LPGA Tour professionals being side-lined with golf injuries. To non-golfers, they don’t understand how a non-contact sport like golf can produce short-term or even long-term injuries. However, if you’ve been on the pain-reliever, ice bag, hot pack or even surgical side of a golf injury, you know it’s not fun. To avoid golf injuries, you need to warm-up properly before practicing and playing with stretches and conditioning programs specifically designed for golf.

EWGA member and fellow LPGA Professional Karen Palacios-Jansen has created a perfect blend of fitness exercises designed to help your golf game, called Cardiogolf. Designed to trim your score and shape your swing, Cardiogolf is a way for golfers to improve their swing mechanics and fitness levels at the same time. You can work on these exercises in your home, at the gym or outside before you play. Checkout Karen’s website for more information.

In her years of teaching and playing, Karen has seen many common golf injuries that could have been prevented. Karen recently shared in Golf Fitness Magazine ways to avoid some of the most common golf injuries and how to avoid them.

  1. Back pain - While many Americans (75 to 85 percent) experience some type of back pain in their lifetime, it’s no surprise that back pain is the most common injury among golfers. When you think of the twisting, swinging, rotating, etc. that goes into the golf swing multiple times over a four or five hour round, it’s easy to see how golfers can have back pain that leads to serious injury. Much has been written lately about Tiger Woods and Freddy Couples regarding their back injuries. One of the top ways a golfer injures his/her back is taking the golf bag out of the trunk of the car – long before even getting to the first tee. Work with your physician or fitness expert to learn exercises that are designed to stretch and strengthen your back.
  2. Shoulder/Rotator Cuff - The four muscles located in your shoulders are often irritated when the muscles swell and pinch the space between the arm and shoulder bones (rotator cuff impingement). Worse than impingement, some people experience an actual tear of the tendons and muscles in the shoulder area, that are not only painful, but often times require surgical repair. Again, look for exercises designed to strengthen shoulder and back muscles.
  3. Golf/Tennis Elbow – Tendinitis in the elbow is known as Golf Elbow (irritation and inflammation of the inner elbow tendon) or Tennis Elbow (irritation and inflammation of the outer elbow tendon). Ironically, most golfers suffer from Tennis Elbow with the pain on the outer tendon of the elbow due to overuse of the tendons involved. This is usually treated with rest to allow the elbow to heal and ice to help in the inflammation. Look for exercises that will help strengthen the muscles and tendons as well as practicing proper swing basics that will help prevent the strain on your elbows.
  4. Wrist Tendonitis or Carpel Tunnel – The wrists are also susceptible to golf injuries due to the speed of the golf swing, the quick change of direction at the top of the backswing and connecting with the ball at impact. Some wrist injuries have resulted from taking swings from poor turf (rocks or tree roots) and force or sudden stopping when hitting rocks or roots. Include strength exercises for your wrists in your fitness warm-up and stretches.

In addition to these common injuries, also use common sense when playing. Use sunscreen, wear a hat with a visor to shade your face and eyes from the sun. Drink plenty of water and watch for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Remember to keep feet inside the golf cart (if you ride in a cart). Some golfers have broken ankles from having their feet outside a moving golf cart.

Most golf injuries can be avoided by practicing good swing mechanics and warming up properly. Take time to warm up for golf, make some easy swings rather than over swinging. Off season and in-season fitness programs will help you stretch and strengthen problem areas so you can be in the best condition to enjoy golf.

Your Guide to Women's Golf Day

Women's Golf Day is Tuesday June 6th, 2017

More than 500 golf facilities are hosting Women’s Golf Day events and activities nationwide. Women’s Golf Day is a four hour experience between 4 and 8 p.m. in every timezone where women and girls can experience golf for the first time or where current players can play and welcome women who are interested in golf.   

There are two formats for events:

  1. At a golf course...
    • Two hours of Golf – lessons or playing 9-holes – this will include two hours of lessons – one hour on the practice range and one hour with short game (chipping and putting)  OR
    • Two hours of Socializing/Networking – this format includes two hours of socializing, networking and distribution of golf information about instruction, league play plus other ways to get involved in golf.
       
  2. At a retail store...
    • This option includes up to four hours of basic instruction and socializing using retail store simulators and putting greens.  Instruction should include basics like grip, stance and swing and could include contests for driving and putting.

Women’s Golf Day is a collaborative effort by a dedicated team including allied golf association representatives, golf management companies, retailers and support from organizations working together to engage, empower and support women and girls through golf. The events are open to women and men of all ages, skill or interest levels.

Visit WomensGolfDay to find a participating location near you.  Join the global golf movement and post your photos to your favorite social media channel using the #WomensGolfDay hashtag.

 

Gear Up for Women's Golf Day

Women's Golf Day Banner

For a second consecutive year, Women’s Golf Day will be celebrated around the world on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 between 4 and 8 p.m. Women’s Golf Day is a one-day event celebrating women and girls playing golf, while learning skills that last a lifetime.

This one-day event is designed to welcome women and girls to the game of golf in a fun, non-intimidating environment. Golfers will be able to participate in golf instruction or play in a 9-hole scramble. Immediately following golf, attendees will participate in a celebratory gathering to network and make quality connections through golf.

A global event on the same day creates critical mass through a collaborative effort and encourages women of all abilities to participate. Events are scheduled to take place at golf facilities, practice ranges and even golf retail locations. Local EWGA Chapters are encouraged to participate and welcome these new golfers as members of your Chapter.

Register online at WomensGolfDay.com to host an event, be an official ambassador or to find a participating location near you.

On June 6, join in the global golf movement and post your photos to your favorite social media channel using the #WomensGolfDay hashtag.

 

Balancing Etiquette with Pace of Play

Two women teammates compete in a 9-hole scramble

Having served as a tournament official various women’s golf events over the years, I observed instances that could have helped with the overall pace of play.  Most people don’t want to hold up play, but at the same time, they don’t want to play feeling rushed.  When you look at simple etiquette hints we all know, remember it becomes a key to pace of play - “being ready.”

When your group is on the teeing ground, make sure you have your glove, golf ball, tees and your club so you can hit.  Many times the three players stand to the side (or sit in the cart) and don’t get their club from the bag until it’s their turn – rather that doing that while another player is hitting.  As long as you are quiet, you can “get ready” while another player is hitting her shot.

In the fairway, we all know it’s okay to go to our ball and “get ready” while other players are hitting (as long as it’s safe).  This means when you ride a cart, it’s okay to walk over to your ball rather than waiting to drive to it or watching your playing partners go through their pre-shot routine and hit. 

On the putting green, good etiquette takes place when the first person to hole a putt is the player to put the flagstick back in the hole.  You can walk over to the flagstick and pick it up while player two and three are putting.  You should be holding the flagstick when player four hit the putt, so when the putt is holed, all you need to do is replace the flagstick.  The other two or three players can move toward the edge of the green so when all players have putted, you can quickly exit the green.

This may not seem like much, but it saves 30 seconds to a minute per hole – and that means you finish your round nine to 18 minutes quicker.  Now you’ve just saved time on the course without feeling rushed and will have more time to enjoy with your golf group in the clubhouse. 

 

Play Better in Competition

An EWGA Member escapes the bunker during the Ft. Lauderdale Chapter Championship

Whether you are gearing up for your Chapter championship, the upcoming District Championship or the club championship, here are some important things to keep in mind as your prepare for competition to help you play better:

  • Play a practice round if possible, especially if it’s a new course for you.  You will get a feel for any trouble on the course, can check out hazard locations and determine clubs for yardages on the par 3’s.  Be sure to take notes on a spare scorecard – and make sure the notes are in your golf bag on the day(s) of competition.
  • Practice with your driver and putter.  It’s great to have confidence going into a competition and the best way to maintain your confidence is to practice and feel comfortable with your driver and short game.  You are likely to use the driver 12-14 times in a round so feeling good about your tee shot is important.  Likewise, if you two putt every green, you use your putter for 36 (plus or minus) shots of your score.  Confidence in your putter is a must.
  • Plan your arrival time for the day of competition.  Plan to be on the first tee 10-minutes prior to your tee time.   Now work your schedule back from that tee time – allow 30-45 minutes for warm-up, allow 10-15 minutes to check-in, then allow travel time to the course (take traffic into consideration) and finally, allow time to eat prior to leaving for the course.
  • Use warm-up time well.  The warm-up time at the practice facility is just that – to help you warm-up.  This is not the time to try something new with your swing, grip, stance, etc.  Many players will warm-up with four or five clubs and only hit 5-10 balls with each club.  Divide your practice balls into four or five piles – using one pile per club.  Begin with a wedge or your shortest iron to loosen up, then hit some mid or long irons, some hybrids or fairway woods then finish with the driver.  Some golfers like to end the warm-up session hitting the clubs they might use on the first hole (i.e. driver, 7 iron, wedge, etc.)  Be sure to end with a good shot…this will help you take great confidence to the first tee.
  • Short game warm-up.  On the practice putting green, begin by trying to make five to ten 3 foot putts.  This will help build your confidence with making putts from the three-foot distance once you are on the course.  You may hit a few lag putts (20 to 30 feet) to get a feel for the speed on the greens – but remember some practice greens do not putt like the actual greens on the course.  You may also hit some pitch shots and/or bunker shots, if a pitching green is available.  (Some courses do not allow golfers to pitch/chip to a practice putting green – so watch for any signs that indicate no chipping, etc.)
  • Nerves and the pre-shot routine.  It’s natural to be nervous on the first tee or even during the first few holes of a tournament.  Relax by taking deep breaths and concentrating on your pre-shot routine.  Keeping things the same with your swing and pre-shot routine will help you be calm and settle into your round.  Don’t let a pre-shot routine slow your round down – be ready when it’s your turn and play “ready golf,” if available.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated.  Be sure to start your round properly fueled – eat a good meal (don’t skip breakfast or lunch).  Maintain your blood sugar by eating simple carbs, small snacks like nuts, fruit or other healthful snacks.  Avoid complex carbs and sugar snacks.  A general rule is to drink 16 oz. of water per hour and to begin by drinking water before playing.  Avoid alcohol, soda, sports drinks and fruit juices.
  • It’s just a game.  Regardless of how you play or what score may be, remember it’s just a game.  Like everyone else, you want to get the ball in the hole in the fewest number of strokes.  Some days this is easy - other days golf is hard work.  While we all want to play our best, it is a game and days, weeks and months later, no one will remember your score.  Play golf to have fun and you will continue to love this great game – regardless of the outcome!

 

Take Advantage of USGA PLAY9™ Days

Play9 logo and USGA logo

For the fourth year in a row, the USGA is sponsoring and promoting PLAY9 Days across the United States.  This year, however, rather than focusing on a specific day, the USGA has designated the ninth day of each month as PLAY9 Day throughout the golf season.  (May 9, June 9, July 9, August 9, September 9 and October 9).

Launched in 2014, the USGA encourages golfers of all ages and abilities to take time to play 9 holes.  While many non-golfers state time and money as reasons they don’t play golf, this campaign is designed to encourage people to spend two hours on the golf course playing, rather than not playing at all.

New for 2017, all clubs are encouraged to support and promote PLAY9 days through the primary golf season between May and October.  Check out the USGA Toolkit for suggested PLAY9 activities and social media copy and images.

EWGA Foundation Board Member Jon Last from the Sports & Leisure Research Group shares a report with the USGA that states 60 percent of golfers perceive that 9-hole rounds are a great way to introduce non-golfers to the game.  It’s a great way to experience the game, without consuming large amounts of time to play or when time does not allow for an 18-hole round.

Some benefits of playing 9-holes include:

  • Less time commitment to play 9-holes than playing 18 holes
  • It helps new golfers learn the game’s fundamentals, Rules and etiquette in a less intimidating manner
  • Golfers may post nine-hole scores for handicap purposes
  • Nine-hole rounds may be more cost-effective than an 18-hole round

More than 30 percent of the public courses in the United States are nine-hole golf facilities and 90 percent of 18-hole public facilities offer rates to play 9-holes.  Building on the success from the first three years, the USGA hopes to increase awareness and have more facilities and golfers participate throughout the summer and fall months this year.  Golfers are encouraged to share their experiences on social media and post photos using the hashtag #PLAY9Golf.    

USGA Executive Director Mike Davis says, “What we love about PLAY9 is the opportunity to welcome more people – both recreational golfers and non-golfers alike – to enjoy the great game of golf.”

 
 
 
 
 
 

Meet EWGA CEO Jane Geddes

Newly appointed CEO Jane Geddes and her family

We are thrilled to have LPGA major champion and golf executive Jane Geddes join EWGA as our CEO. Jane is a 14-time winner worldwide, including two majors at the 1986 U.S. Women’s Open and the 1987 LPGA Championship. Following a successful career on the LPGA Tour, Jane earned a law degree from Stetson University, worked at LPGA headquarters, the WWE and most recently as the executive director with the International Association of Golf Administrators.

Let’s tour a quick 18 holes (questions) to meet our CEO, Jane Geddes.

 

 

  1. How did you get started in golf?

    My family moved to South Carolina from Long Island, New York when I was 16 and I was a bit unhappy with the move. I played a lot of other sports, but never golf. My mother saw an article in the Charleston newspaper talking about Beth Daniel winning her second U.S. Amateur and her teacher, Derek Hardy. My mom thought that maybe I would like to take golf lessons…my response to her was, “NO, I hate golf!” Needless to say, she ignored me, scheduled the lesson with Derek and the rest is history!

  2. When did you know golf would be your profession?

    I HOPED it would be my profession after my junior year in college at Florida State. Everyone thought I was crazy, except for my parents who always supported my decisions….thank goodness!

  3. What is your best memory from your years on the LPGA Tour?

    Winning the U.S. Open and LPGA Championship are my two best golf memories, but my best memory of the Tour will always be the friendships I made through the years. The women I played golf with were, and remain in my life, as family.

  4. What is your favorite golf club in your bag?

    My driver.

  5. Who are/were your role models/mentors?

    In golf - Beth Daniel was my role model and probably somewhat of a mentor early on especially since it was due to her that I even contemplated playing golf.

    At work – Mike Whan (LPGA Commissioner), Zayra Calderon (former Pres. and CEO of the Duramed Futures Tour), Libba Galloway(former LPGA General Counsel) and Carolyn Bivens (former LPGA Commissioner) who gave me my first job at the LPGA.

  6. What drives you or motivates you?

    I like a challenge….in golf it was succeeding on the LPGA Tour because no one thought I could. Outside of golf, it’s taking on challenges that require pulling people together to make a difference.

  7. Are there any unique experiences you’ve had that helped make you the leader you are now?

    My life has been one giant unique experience. I played on Tour for 20 years, left to finish school and go on to Law School, worked on the corporate side of golf and then moved on to work at the WWE…yes, World Wrestling Entertainment. I think my unique experiences in golf and the corporate world have provided amazing opportunities to learn to lead in a variety of different capacities.

  8. How can we continue to grow women’s golf?

    It has always been about awareness of opportunities. At the LPGA, it’s about awareness of the Tour, its players, etc. Outside the Tour, it’s about getting women interested in the game on THEIR terms. Women access the game in different ways than what we are used to with men. We must acknowledge those differences and create awareness around access to those opportunities.

  9. What can EWGA members do to impact golf locally?

    EWGA can impact golf locally by spreading the word about access to the game through the EWGA. More to come on that soon!!

  10. What advice would you offer for women in business, when it comes to golf?

    Doesn’t matter how you play…learn the rules of etiquette first, take lessons so you get the fundamentals, know how to “talk the game” on a basic level while on the course and know that you are most likely just as good as your male colleagues…the only difference is that they won’t admit it!

  11. Who is in your dream foursome? (living or not)

    I have played with so many great people in the world that I am not sure I have a dream foursome. If I could turn back time, however, my dream foursome would include my Mom, Dad and my wife Gigi somewhere out on the Monterey peninsula.

  12. What is your favorite food?

    Skirt steak with Chimichurri sauce.

  13. Where is your favorite place to vacation?

    For places I have been lately, it the BVIs on a boat. Otherwise, I like going places with my kids where they can have an amazing educational experience.

  14. Do you have any pets in your family?

    We are first time cat owners….and I am not going to justify it by saying that my cat is just like a dog. Our cat is a cat….an awesome cat but a cat, nonetheless!

  15. Your spouse is a former professional tennis player and two time Olympic gold medalist. Do you play tennis and if so, is it competitive or for fun?

    Yes, I do play tennis….for fun and competitively. I played tennis when I was in my teens (before playing golf) and took it up again a couple years ago. I play to a 4.0 level which in golf would be like a middle-teen handicap. I play in USTA leagues on the competitive side and participate Gigi’s teaching clinics.

  16. What is your best memory or funny story you can share about being the mother of twins?

    Every day is a new memory…sounds cliché but true. As far as a funny memory, it’s when they were infants and we had to keep a notebook on when we fed them because, even though it seems unlikely, they were not always hungry at the same time or ate the same amount so we had to keep track of each. Gigi was meticulous at keeping the records and I was, well….not as meticulous with my exact amounts of formula, etc. We called her the “Formula-Nazi” for that period of time! We still have the notebook….we always have a story that we reminisce about when we open it.

  17. You are preparing for an upcoming Legends Tour event in Wisconsin – what do you focus on as you prepare for competition? (Sandra Palmer once said she starts practicing five days before the event!)

    I don’t practice at all…my theory is that if I am not playing all the time, I operate on the law of diminishing returns. My best days are my first few and it’s downhill from there! I was never a big practicer…just ask my friends. So, this should surprise no one who knows me!

  18. What are you most looking forward to as CEO of the EWGA?

    I am looking forward the challenge to continue to grow the women’s game. It’s where I spent most of my life, so I am very much looking forward to giving back by creating awareness and opportunities for women that play the game and for those who will play in the future.

 
 

Celebrate National Golf Day on Capitol Hill

National Golf Day celebrates the economic impact of golf in the United States

WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners, returns to Capitol Hill for the 10th annual National Golf Day tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26.  During the day, leaders from many associations representing the golf industry meet with Members of Congress to discuss the game’s tax benefits to local communities and ask for equal treatment as a legitimate industry. 

The national economic impact from the game is nearly $70 billion, with a $4 billion annual charitable impact along with providing both environmental and fitness benefits.  Industry leaders continue to report on golf’s 15,204 facilities in the U.S., with more than 10,000 facilities open to the public.  One in 75 U.S. jobs is impacted by the golf industry, accounting for $55.6 billion wage income from about two million U.S. jobs.  While the public believes the cost to play golf is expensive, WE ARE GOLF reports the median green fee in the U.S. is $37 and eight out of 10 golfers play at public golf facilities.   

New for 2017, golf industry leaders will participate in a community service initiative on the national Mall to focus on the beautification, preservation and helping the National park Service with turf-deferred maintenance.

In 2016, National Golf Day was the most successful event to date, with members attending more than 120 scheduled Congressional meetings in one day.  WE ARE GOLF encourages golfers to participate in the annual social media campaign to help create awareness and spread the good news about golf.  Last year the #NGD16 Twitter campaign had 52 million impressions and reached 17.7 million accounts, with 4.4 million users in a one-hour span.

Golfers are encouraged to join the conversation by visiting the social media hub for suggested Tweets and social media posts.  Use #NGD17 and tag @wearegolf for Twitter and Instagram to show your support for the golf industry. 

 

Short Game Essentials

Practice your short game to improve your scores.

The quickest way to see immediate improvement in your golf scores is to practice the short game.  Golfers know this and yet most people don’t practice chipping, pitching, bunker shots or putting like they should.  The general rule of thumb is to practice 50 percent of the time on these areas.  

Part of practicing the short game is to know the difference between a chip shot and a pitch shot and when to use them.  For a chip shot, the ball stays low to the ground so it’s a great shot when you want to land the ball on the green and have it roll to the hole.

To hit a chip shot, use a wedge or short iron and play the ball closer to your back foot (right foot for right-handed golfers, left foot for left-handed golfers).  You want your weight more on your front foot with your club shaft and hands pressed slightly forward.  Make a short back and through motion and you will feel the ball “pop” off the clubface.  The back of your lead hand (left hand for right-handed players) finishes toward your target.  The club head stays below your hands and finishes low to the ground.

Here are some Chipping secrets:

  • Weight forward
  • Ball back of center in stance
  • Club selection - not as much loft (pitch shots have more loft)
  • Small motion, like sweeping in a dust pan (swing motion wouldn’t go in pan)
  • Club runs into the ball
  • Back of lead hand must finish first (flat wrist)
  • Club head finishes low to the ground
  • Ball has low trajectory

Learn and own a 50-yard shot – it’s imperative for women to get great at it.  You will be amazed how the increased confidence will carry over to other areas of your swing and game.  Even if you play with golfers who hit the ball farther than you do, once you get comfortable with the 50-yard shot, you will score better with your new and improved short game.

To escape from the bunker in one shot, use a sand wedge or lofted club with some bounce.  (Bounce is an angle measurement in degrees, of how much the sole of the club head lifts the leading edge.)  Bounce is what helps the club glide through the sand to help get the ball up and out of the bunker.  Start by opening your stance so you are lined up just left of your intended target and have your weight on your forward foot.  (Just like when hitting a pitch shot, this helps you avoid the tendency to want to “lift” the ball out of the bunker. 

Open the clubface and swing out to in through the sand, hitting about an inch or two behind the ball.  Be sure to accelerate through the swing and follow-through to the target.  Many times golfers stop swinging at the ball as soon as they hit the sand.  The key to getting the ball out on the first attempt is to swing to the target.  By hitting behind the ball, the sand forces the ball out of the bunker – the club head never really hits the ball.

Practice these short game shots and you will have increased confidence and lower scores.

 

Manage Your Game By What You Measure

Golf scorecard with pencil

We’ve all heard the best way to lower your score is to practice your short game – where you can save valuable strokes by chipping the ball close to the hole or by avoiding the dreaded three-putt.  Yet another way to improve your golf game and lower your score is to keep track of your stats.

Studies show the best way to make a difference in your score is to hit greens in regulation (GIR), however, due to the length of most golf courses, this is a tough feat for many women.  Greens in regulation for women don’t have to be the same as men…so maybe your personal goal is to reach the green in three shots on a par 4 vs. two shots.  Keep track on your scorecard how many strokes it takes you to reach the green and look for a pattern (or consistent number of shots to reach the green).  If you feel like you are always hitting a chip shot to the green, you could take one more club to try to reach the green and not end up chipping on, if your previous shot was short of the green. 

Another important stat to record on your score card is the number of putts.  Many golfers keep track of putts for little side-bet games but pay close attention to your putting stats.  You should try to finish an 18-hole round with fewer than 36 putts.  If you are in the 37-40 range on a regular basis, take time to practice your putting and get rid of the three-putts.  Golf Digest reports that a typical golfer who shoots 95, averages 37 putts a round while a typical Professional who shoots 71, averages 29 putts.  To break 90, you need to have 34 putts per round and to break 80, get to 31 or 32 putts per round.

If you think about it, greens in regulation and putts account for most golfers ups and downs in their game.  If you struggle getting from the tee to the green, great putting can help you immensely. 

An easy way to track your stats on your scorecard is to circle the hole number on the scorecard when you hit a green in regulation.  Another way is to make an X in the box below your score when you hit a GIR.  Simply add up the circles or X’s to determine how many greens you hit.  Increase that GIR goal each time you play and watch how the results track over your four or five next rounds.  For putting, since your goal is two putts per green, I like to record only one-putts or three-putts (no sense writing all those 2’s on the card).  Total your putts after each round and see how GIR and putting help lower your score.

You can track and record any number of other shots as well.  Some people like to track hitting fairways with their tee shot.  Assuming there are four par 3’s during the round, you can track how many fairways you hit out of a possible 14 tee shots.  Also keep track of the par 3’s you hit in regulation and try to score 3’s and 4’s on every par 3. 

When you finish a round, you can create a spreadsheet to record the stats from each round.  Keeping track of your stats is the best way to see what areas of your game need more concentration and practice.  By tracking your stats, you can note your progress to an improved game and lower scores.

 

Talk Like The Pros: Masters Edition

For many, the Masters Tournament marks the unofficial start of the golf season.

The Masters Tournament is the first of the four major championships in men’s professional golf.  While the other three majors are played on a different venue each year, the Masters is held at the same location every year.  Augusta National Golf Club, a private club in Augusta, Georgia has hosted the event for 83 years.  While the tickets are not expensive, they are the most difficult sporting ticket to obtain.  Practice round tickets are available every year for Monday through Wednesday, but the actual Tournament Badges for Thursday through Sunday have been sold out for years.  Many corporations and individuals offer their tickets for sale every year, much to the delight of people who have attending the Masters at the top of their “bucket list.”

People watching the Masters have all heard CBS Analyst Jim Nantz’ famous line “It’s a tradition unlike any other.”  Here are some of those great Masters traditions…   

Here are some of the best traditions and some trivia from the Masters to share with your friends as you are viewing the broadcast this week:

  • Magnolia Lane – the 300-yard tree lined entrance to Augusta National.  There are 61 Magnolia trees – more than 150 years old – that form an archway down the road to the clubhouse.  Whether a TOUR player is playing in his first or 20th Masters, many describe getting chills when driving down Magnolia Lane.
  • Founders Circle – the flower garden shaped like the Masters logo outside the clubhouse at the end of Magnolia Lane.  At Founders Circle patrons line up for a photograph next to the famous flower garden.
  • Azaleas – more than 30 varieties are planted on the grounds and are typically in bloom every spring for the tournament.  This year however, the Azaleas bloomed early in March.
  • The Champions’ Dinner – held on Tuesday night of the tournament with the current champion hosting all the past champions for dinner in the clubhouse.  The current champion selects the menu for the evening – many times featuring food unique to their home state/country or simply their favorite food.
  • Skipping golf balls on the 16th hole – it’s a practice round tradition for players to intentionally skip golf balls across the water hazard on the Par 3 16th hole – sometimes even for a hole-in-one.
  • The Par 3 Contest – a fun, casual event held on Wednesday afternoon on the par 27 short course.  Players take advantage of the casual, fun event by having their spouses or kids caddy and even hit shots for them.  The event has become so popular it is now a televised on Wednesday afternoon.  There are usually multiple hole-in-ones plus a crystal trophy presented to the low scorer.  Many players will not putt-out or post a score as it is considered bad luck to win the Par 3 event since no Par 3 winner has ever won the Masters in the same year.
  • Ceremonial Tee Shot – prior to the start of the event on Thursday morning there is a ceremonial tee shot by honorary starters – players who are no longer competing.  This tradition started in 1963 by Jock Hutchinson and has included Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
  • Amen Corner – the most famous three holes in golf are Augusta National par 4 11th (505 yards downhill with a pond on the left side), par 3 12th (crosses Rae’s Creek to a narrow green) and par 5 13th (510 yard dogleg left that crosses Rae’s Creek twice).  The phrase was coined by golf historian Herbert Warren Wind feeling that if a player on Sunday can navigate those three holes without making a mistake, he can sigh and think “Amen.”
  • Pimento Cheese Sandwiches – a staple tournament favorite made from pimento cheese and mayonnaise served on soft white bread in a green sandwich bag for $1.50.  Food prices have stayed consistent for decades and it’s been said you can eat everything on the menu for less than $30.
  • Caddie Bib – the Caddies are required to wear a white jumpsuit, a green Masters Cap and white tennis shoes.  The number on the left pocket of the jumpsuit is important - Number 1 is reserved for the defending champion with the other numbers indicating when players registered for the tournament.
  • Green Jacket – the ultimate prize in golf – the Green Jacket.  In 1937 members began wearing green blazers to identify themselves as guides, should patrons need information.  In 1949, the club started awarding a green jacket to the tournament champion that is presented by the previous year champion on the 18thgreen as well as in Butler Cabin.  The green jacket is allowed off-property only by the current champion and is then returned to the club house one year after the victory, to be worn anytime the player is on the grounds.  The tournament has had three players win consecutively – Jack Nicklaus in 1965 & 1966, Nick Faldo 1989 & 1990 and Tiger Woods in 2001 & 2002 – when there is a consecutive champion, the Chairman presents the green jacket.
  • Special terms used at Augusta National:
    • The people viewing the tournament are patrons (not spectators or gallery)
    • To enter the event, you need a badge (not a ticket)
    • Holes 1-9 are the first nine and holes 10-18 are the second nine (not front nine and back nine)
  • All buildings, garbage bags, even sandwich bags and drink cups are “Masters green” so they “blend in” and don’t distract television viewers.

With years of tradition and the first men’s major of the year, many golfers feel spring has officially arrived when they watch the Masters Tournament.  Who will 2016 Champion Danny Willet slip the Green Jacket on this year?