This Section has been added to offer some golf coaching ideas that may save a few strokes. We will be looking for the fun and different situations arise while playing golf courses throughout New England. These comments will not be reviews of the course but more of the impressions and challenges that happen while playing golf.

Pace of play in a round of golf

Here is a simple trick to safe between 10 and 20 minutes per round of golf.

When you exit the green you have just played, keep you clubs in your hand and do not mark down.

When you arrive at the next tee you will have plenty of time to put your clubs away and mark your score. You have just saved between 30 and 60 seconds. Due this for 18 holes and look at the time you just saved.

Golf Rule changes proposals 2019

USGA looking at 24 rules of golf, 10 fewer than previously. The proposed draft, of the Rules of Golf 2019, is more user-friendly, more understandable and more consistent.

Highlights include:

  • Elimination or reduction of “ball moved” penalties: There will be no penalty for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball; and you are not responsible for causing a ball to move unless it is “virtually certain” that you did so.
  • Relaxed putting green rules: There will be no penalty if a ball played from the putting green hits an unattended flagstick in the hole; you may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed. You may repair spike marks and other damage made by shoes, animal damage and other damage on the putting green, and there is no penalty for merely touching the line of putt.
  • Relaxed rules for “penalty areas” (currently called “water hazards”): Red- and yellow-marked penalty areas may cover areas of desert, jungle, lava rock, etc., in addition to areas of water; expanded use of red penalty areas where lateral relief is allowed; and there will be no penalty for moving loose impediments or touching the ground or water in a penalty area.
  • Relaxed bunker rules: There will be no penalty for moving loose impediments in a bunker or for generally touching the sand with a hand or club. A limited set of restrictions (such as not grounding the club next to the ball) is kept to preserve the challenge of playing from the sand; however, an extra relief option is added for an unplayable ball in a bunker, allowing the ball to be played from outside the bunker with a two-stroke penalty.
  • Relying on player integrity: Your “reasonable judgment” when estimating or measuring a spot, point, line, area or distance will be upheld, even if video evidence later shows it to be wrong; and elimination of announcement procedures when lifting a ball to identify it or to see if it is damaged.
  • Pace-of-play support: Reduced time for searching for a lost ball (from five minutes to three); affirmative encouragement of “ready golf” in stroke play; recommending that players take no more than 40 seconds to play a stroke and other changes intended to improve pace of play.
  • Simplified way of taking relief: A new procedure for taking relief by dropping a ball in and playing it from a specific relief area; relaxed procedures for dropping a ball, allowing the ball to be dropped from just above the ground or any growing thing or other object on the ground.

You can see the proposed changes at usga.org. Now’s your chance to let them know before the new code goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Heads or Tails

The driving range is for thinking while the golf course is for concentration!

When someone tells you to keep your head down while playing golf. Do not listen to them for several reasons. 1st because it will force you to start thinking which will affect your round of golf. 2nd it is the result of a problem not the solution. 3rd If it is during any tournament giving advice is not allowed by the rules of golf.

Now that you are or will be at a driving range, think tails not heads. Start with taking your stance. Let your tail hang out to balance your upper body. Weight should be balanced on your feet with a slight bend in the knees. After you have taken your stance to the golf ball, parallel to intended ball flight, rotate your body right (if right handed) so you could shake someone’s hand with your back to target. When you finish the swing rotation you should be facing the target and be able to shack someone’s hand.

The key is to keep you tail stable while rotating on you hips. We have two tendencies during the swing. 1st powering back beyond a stable swing. This causes the tail to move in and head moves up throwing off your swing. 2nd we try to help the swing and power down towards the ball. This causes the tail to move out and the head moves down throwing off your swing. Both cases cause a change in the swing plane causing the ball not to due what you though it would.

To me, it is much easier to concentrate on keeping the tail stable during the swing than thinking about head movements. Big step forward: do not over swing or over power your swing. Remember you bought those clubs to do a job let them do it, your score will improve.

Golf club selection

In reality, we typically do not hit a club as far as we think we do. How often on the shot to the green do we come up short? Ball distance is the result of many factors. In the spring, when the weather is cooler, the ball does not go as far as in the heat of the summer.  From about 160-170 yards through about 100 yards, go up at least one club and maybe two. Work your way down if it starts hitting it far. You may find a the new club selection really does work better for you.

Start of Golf Season

Common emotions of the new golfer just starting the game and an experienced golfer playing the first few rounds of the golf season are: anticipation, excitement, fear, frustration and embarrassment.

Anticipation both positive and negative grows as you face the first few rounds of golf. I for one have not swung a golf club since last year. Ending last year’s golf season playing well with one of the lowest GHIN (golf stroke average) of the year. My first of the season golf rounds are not pretty, sometimes just ugly. My preference is to play the 1st rounds alone or with strangers.

One of the best takeaways from the first golf rounds is empathy, understanding better what a new golfer goes through as they pick up this great game. It reminds me to have more patience and respect for the new golfer.

My approach for the first few round is to keep count of my UGLYS by hole. Understanding these ugly shots and looking for patterns helps get the game on track within a couple of rounds.

Anticipation, excitement, fear, frustration and embarrassment, let the golf games begin!