Some Tips on How to Enjoy the Game More
Thereís been a lot of negative talk in the last year about the declining state of golf. Of course, like everything else in life, itís all a matter of perspective.
Are rounds down from the boom years of the 1990ís? Sure. But there are several million more Americans playing golf now than there were 20 years ago. And thatís a good thing. Have several golf courses in New England closed during the last few years? Yes. But the region has seen a number of great new daily fee layouts come on line as well--such as Connecticutís Great River Golf Club, Wintonbury Hills Golf Course and Gillette Ridge Golf Club, Massachusettsí The Ranch and Red Tail golf clubs, and Rhode Islandís Newport National Golf Club. Simply put, public golf doesnít get much better.
So, letís stop the whining. We all know the popularity of any given sport or activity is a cyclical thing. People jump onto the bandwagon of any activity that becomes ďhotĒ and ďcool.Ē Everybody a few years ago wanted to be like Tiger. But many found that they didnít have the time to invest in an 18-hole round or the inclination to work and improve at a game that can be very frustrating. Sill others drifted away to the next big thing, whether it was kayaking or bicycling.
Here a few tips on how to enjoy the game and make sure it stays an important part of your recreational pursuits.
Play more nine-hole rounds. There is no law that your must play 18 holes of golf. Nine holes can be easily fit into almost any day of the week, either before or after work. Save the 18 hole rounds for off days or getaways.
Practice. Go the driving range and hit a bucket of balls once or twice a week instead of playing. Even chip balls in your backyard and putt on your living room rug on rainy days. Youíll be surprised how much it will help improve your game and your attitude.
Encourage a kid to take up the game, whether itís your child or the neighborís son or daughter. Children want to play golf but they are easily intimidated. Take advantage of the youth programs that many clubs in the region offer. If we are truly going to grow the game we must do it through our children.
Talk golf. Hang out in the clubhouse before or after a round and chat with the local pro and other players. Itís a great way to pick up a few playing tips and form bonds that may develop into friendships.
Take a trip to the Golf House and Museum at the United States Golf Association headquarters in Far Hills, N.J. Immerse yourself the history of the game. Read books on golf and sign up for The Golf Channel.
Donít quit on yourself. Golf is not an easy game and can seem overly penal at times. But thatís the way it was meant to be. Golf will challenge your physical and mental skills and stamina. Work to overcome your deficiencies and you will be richly rewarded.
Savor those great rounds or even single shots. Remember how it felt when you pured that eight-iron to within three feet on number seven. Itís the great shots that burn into our memories and keep us coming back for more.
Get away from your comfort zone, i.e. your usual place of play. Take a ride with a few buddies and play a course youíve never seen before. So what if it is a tough track and you have a few forced carries? The experience will make you a better player.
Donít take the game too seriously. Davis Love III said that he began to play better a few years ago when he told himself that how he did on a golf course was not a barometer for his overall life. Enjoy the views while you are out there.
And, take advantage of Golfing Magazineís amazing offer of free golf at 24 regional courses for the price of a subscription ($39). Yes, it is true and there are only a few restrictions. It will be the best money youíve ever spent.