Start a golf fitness program now. Here are 11 reasons to do so!

I have always been a proponent of keeping fit and working out to either improve or maintain your golf game.  Strength and flexibility are necessary elements to do that.  Karen Palacios Jensen has put together a 31 day Golf Fitness Program Challenge to encourage you to get in golf shape.  Here is an excerpt from that challenge.

 lateral-bounding-jpeg-1038x576

1. Golf-Fitness Helps You Hit it Longer-Doing golf specific strength and speed exercises is one of the fastest ways to improve your distance off the tee. 2. Golf-Fitness Helps Hit More Solid Golf Shots– When you improve your fitness, you improve your body’s ability to move fluidly and effectively, therefore delivering more power to the ball with less effort. Improving your mobility, strength and balance will help you execute your golf swing more efficiently to make better and more consistent contact with the ball. 3. Golf-Fitness Prevents Injury-Last year golfers suffered approximately 35,000 injuries that required a trip to the emergency room or doctor, according to the National Safety Council. Strengthening your muscles especially in your body’s midsection or core offers protection to the rest of your body. A strong core improves the performance of your other muscles, therefore helping to prevent chronic nagging and acute injuries.
4. Golf-Fitness Helps You Play Longer-Being fit is the key to golf longevity. As we age, we lose flexibility and strength, so the more fit you are the more you can ward off the negative affects of aging. 5. Golf-Fitness Helps You Perform at Your Peak- When your body and mind are fit and strong, you are able to perform at your highest level. To read the rest of these 11 great fitness tips, go here! Source: Karen Palacios Jensen
Picture : Hotel Der Oeschberghof Golf Spa Tagung    

Fun Golf Games to Play on the Course.

There are many fun golf games you can play to spice up the normal routine of playing a straight round. Several of these like Wolf, Bingo Bango Bongo, you may be familiar with.

My favorite game is one that not many golfers know, but the minute I introduce them to it, they want to play it all the time.  It is called “Bellini” (don’t ask me why)

A fun game to play with your buddies because even someone who is having an off day with his golf can still win this game.

A friendly wager between friends always spices up the day!

A friendly wager between friends always spices up the day!

  The “Bellini” is a fictitious item.  On the 1st tee golfers spin  for player #1, #2, #3 & #4.

#1 has the Bellini.  The goal is to keep the Bellini as long as you can.  You can lose the Bellini one of four ways.

1. Hit it out of bounds

2. Hit it in a hazard

3. Three putt.

4. Score a double bogey (if the foursome has one or more higher handicap golfer(s) then you can change this to a triple bogey.

The moment player #1 does one of these four, the Bellini goes to player #2.  As soon as that player does one of the 4 errors, the Bellini goes to player #3 and so on.

The player who is holding the Bellini after all players have holed out on hole #9 will win the Bellini for the first 9.

The process is repeated on the back 9.

You can value the Bellini at whatever you want.  My group usually values it at $5  So the most you can lose is $10 but if there are 4 of you playing, the most you can win is $30.

To give you an understanding of how this works, I will give you a scenario that happed to me while playing Cougar Canyon in Trinidad, CO.

17th Hole, Par 3.  I had the Bellini (the person with the Bellini always tees off first regardless of the score on the previous hole.)  I hit my tee shot into the bunker next to the green so I lost the Bellini and it went to Player #2.  Player #2 hooked his tee shot out of bounds so the Bellini went to player #3 who hit her tee shot just short of the green, so retained the Bellini.  Player #4 hit his tee shot on the green but about 60 feet from the hole.  Player #3 chipped the ball over the green, hit her 3rd hot to about 10 feet.  Player #4 putted up and left his first putt 5 feet short of the hole.  Player #3 then putted and missed, thus making a double bogey, and the Bellini went to player #4.  He missed his putt thus losing the Bellini back to me because of his three putt.  I went to the 18th tee with the Bellini, made sure I did not hit any shot into a hazard, managed to make a bogey and won the Bellini and the money!

Any questions regarding this game can be sent to melsolegolf@gmail.com

Pay me the money!

This game is addictive. Once you have played it once you are going to want to keep playing it.  I play this game every time I tee it up.  Whether there are just 2 of you or a foursome, it is GREAT fun!

Pictures : Kuja Lurra Ashland

Tiger Toothless and Allenby Abducted?

One doesn’t normally associate golf with violence, but two PGA Tour players currently look like they went a few rounds in the boxing ring…. and lost.

Australian player Robert Allenby looks the worse for wear, and the story is a strange mix of cocktails with friends at a Hawaiian wine bar, robbery, assault, kidnapping, and even a homeless woman who claims that she rescued him. H-m-m-m. Wonder what really happened?

Robert Allenby in better days!

Robert Allenby in better days!

Allenby has quit discussing the incident and says developments in the investigation will come from local law authorities. Hopefully, he’ll recover fully and return to the Tour soon.

And now we have a new mystery regarding Tiger Woods’ missing front tooth. Pictures taken at girlfriend Lindsey Vonn’s ski event in Italy, Monday, reveal Tiger’s missing tooth. After Woods’ agent claimed a videographer accidentally knocked it out with his camera, race organizers vehemently deny it.

Tiger isn't smiling here!

Tiger isn’t smiling here!

No other story is forthcoming, but some are speculating on earlier damage to the tooth by ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, after learning about his indiscretions with other women, back in 2009.

H-m-m-m. Two mysteries in less than one week for the golf world. Yowza!

Source : msn.com  pagesix.com

Pictures : Keith Allison

Jimmy Walker – Who is this late blooming phenom?

Profesional golfers Rory Sabbatini (left) and Jimmy Walker pose for a group shot with cadets from the West Point cadet drill team, color guard and e golf team at The Barclays PGA Tournament during Military Appreciation Day Aug. 25 in Paramus, N.J.  Photo by Tommy Gilligan/PV

Profesional golfers Rory Sabbatini (left) and Jimmy Walker pose for a group shot with cadets from the West Point cadet drill team, color guard and e golf team at The Barclays PGA Tournament during Military Appreciation Day Aug. 25 in Paramus, N.J. Photo by Tommy Gilligan/PV

Jimmy Walker has just won the Valero Texas Open, to become the first multiple winner on Tour for 2015. He won the Sony Open by record 9 strokes back in January, when he became the first repeat winner of this tournament since Ernie Els in 2004.

For the last 2 years, this guy has been on fire. After a checkered past on the Nationwide Tour, stints on the PGA Tour and Q-school, Jimmy Walker started to develop a consistent game on the PGA Tour in 2011 and 2012.

His first win came in the Fall of 2013 (the beginning of the 2014 season) with the Frys.com Open, and he followed it up with a win in January of 2014 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Then in Feb. ’14 he won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. After 187 events without a victory, Walker racked up three wins in just eight starts, and went on to garner three Top-Ten finishes in three majors in the same year.

“He’s one of the hottest players in the world,” Scott Piercy, Walker’s closest competitor said.

“What he’s done the last year or two years, nobody’s catching him. It’s just a cake walk.”

Do you think he will contend at Augusta?  Bet your bottom dollar he will!

Source: msn.com

Pictures : West Point US Military Academy.  Tommy Gilligan  golf.com

6 Things you need to know on your first trip to Scotland or Ireland.

One of the highlights of my year is that in August of each year I organize a group trip to either Scotland, Ireland or South Africa. I recently took a group to Scotland and for all of them, it was their first trip over.   Although they all said it was a trip of a lifetime, most of them said what Craig Better from golfvacationinsider.com has so accurately described below.  I have also found out the hard way, but all obstacle can be overcome if you plan ahead.  
18th hole and clubhouse St Andrews Old Course

18th hole and clubhouse St Andrews Old Course

              Have you ever taken a golf trip “across the pond?” Do you remember “discovering” some things you wish you would have known in advance? I certainly do, and to this day, I’m shocked that nobody told me these important details…
  1. Jet Lag Most flights from North America are overnighters, during which you get little sleep (but sometimes lots of alcohol), so when you step off the plane early the next morning, your every instinct is to put your head in a bed. Advice I’d give a first timer: Don’t do it. Instead, take the latest flight you can and do whatever possible to sleep on the plane. But even if you can’t, just land then go play golf. The faster you get on local time, the better.
  2. Rental Cars Again, while sleep deprived and bleary eyed, you’ll be expected to drive a stick-shift vehicle on the opposite side of the road (while sitting on the right-hand side and operating the stick with your left hand). Oh, and if you’re head isn’t already mixed up enough, you’ll usually have to navigate a traffic circle, or “roundabout,” within five minutes. Advice I’d give a first timer: Hire a driver, which is quite common over there. If you insist on driving, at least request an automatic transmission. And, get a mini van (or pack light). The rental cars tend to be quite small for groups with golf clubs.
  3. Practice Facilities OK, so you’re less than alert and not ready for golf, but it’s nothing a few range balls can’t fix. Well, that’s a problem, too. While there are a few exceptions, you’re generally not going to find a practice range (or a conveniently located one) at the great, classic links courses in the UK and Ireland. Advice I’d give a first timer: Do some light stretching before you tee off and concentrate on just keeping your ball out of trouble for the first few holes.
Group with caddies at Kingsbarns, Scotland

Group with caddies at Kingsbarns, Scotland

 
            To see the other 3 things you need to know when playing Scotland and Ireland for the first time, go here! Source: Golf Vacation Insider       Craig Better Pictures: Gregory Stewart  

10 Reasons to use Golf as a Powerful Business Tool!

In today’s tough economy, every business deal is vital, every customer is important.  Retaining customers and getting new business is an art, and using golf to achieve those ends is more of a necessity now than it has ever been.
The Ringer!

The Ringer!

                  Andrew Wood of Legendary Marketing gives you 10 reasons below to use golf as a powerful business tool.  
 Anyone reading the mainstream media and their constant efforts to trumpet the demise of golf could be forgiven for thinking that golf as a business tool is a little passé. Sure participation is down, but 25 million players in the USA alone, is not exactly a small number. Then when you look at the number of top CEO’s, sports stars, movie stars and entrepreneurs who are avid golfers, those numbers are actually pretty impressive. An estimated 90% of Fortune 500 CEO’s play golf as have almost all of the US presidents since Ike. Better still, executives who play golf make an average of 17% more than those who don’t. Yes, business golf is not just surviving it’s thriving and for the sake of your business or career here are ten reasons you’d better get in on the action!
  1. Face Time: Where else can you spend four quality hours with your company CEO or valued customers? With today’s busy schedules most of us are lucky if we can get five minutes! There is simply no other sport with the amount of quiet time between shots that allows for wide-ranging conversations and mutual interests to be discovered.
  2. Serene Surroundings: You can plan a client meeting in an office surrounded by water, nature and sand instead of four white walls. This instantly creates a more relaxed and friendly environment in which to do business without the normal distractions.
  3. Business Intelligence: You can learn more about a person in four hours golfing than a lifetime of meetings. Not just be what they say but by how they handle themselves on the course. Do they play by the rules and control their emotions? Or do they fudge and blow a fuse.
  4. Friendships Forged: An interest in golf alone can be enough to move your friendships several notches up the corporate ladder. Best of all, the friendships built around golf tend to last a lifetime so as people move around new opportunities will open up for you.
Business Golf 3                   5. Open Doors on the Road: When you travel, golf is a great way to open doors by letting prospects know you are in the area and up for a game. I have had many amazing           relationships around the world by looking on LinkedIn and suggesting a game to someone in the area I am planning to visit. 6. Perfect Gifting: When someone is a golfer it’s easy to give a small gift that makes an impact. A golf book, logoed hat or towel from St Andrews can quickly and cheaply enhance a relationship. 7. Game for Life: It’s a sport that suits all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Thanks to the handicap system, people of widely different abilities can play together and still compete. So the 60 something CEO can still beat his 30 something prospect or employee. While the 30 something executive can look forward to decades of on-course meetings and deals. Try doing that on the squash court! 8. Advantage Women: If you are a businesswoman, playing golf is an even greater advantage. Adrienne Wax, co-author of Even Par: How Golf helps Women Gain the Upper Hand In Business says “Outside the office, you can communicate differently with your higher-level peers and get to know one another in a way that the office can’t provide. Being able to talk golf in the office gives you a chance to bond with the bigwigs. If you can talk about golf, suddenly you have reasons to talk with the CEO. 9. Networking: One of the great things about golf is you can just show up at a club and get a game. Depending on your business, you could be looking at three prospects each and every time you tee it up! Either way, golf is the ultimate networking environment for all kinds of professionals and services. 10. The 19th Hole: After your round, the 19th holes provides the perfect setting to take your newly enhanced relationship to the next level or indeed go ahead and ask for the order! So don’t wait any longer, get out of the office and head to the course, to boost your business today!
  Source: Andrew Wood     Legendary Marketing Pictures: flickr    Neville Wootton

10 Reasons to get your kids started in Golf.

I really enjoy teaching juniors!  They have such enthusiasm and love for what they are doing, and to start them off on a path that will not only make them better golfers, but better people, is a pleasure I enjoy every time I get a junior as a new student. I myself had a very positive experience from the very first day I ever picked up a golf club, and it has led me through life learning a lot of life’s lessons along the way.  I recently took my son on a golf trip to Scotland (picture below) and this was a great experience for both of us.  As parents, we are doing our kids a HUGE favor by starting them off on a path they will never regret.
A trip of a lifetime!

A trip of a lifetime!

              As a golf instructor, I meet hundreds of people every year and some of those have become lifelong friends, people I look forward to seeing and golfing with every year. If you need any encouragement to get your kids into golf, below  is an excerpt from Andrew Wood of Legendary Marketing‘s top 10 reasons.
 I didn’t know it at the time, I was only 10, but the day the old golf pro, at Cow Glen Golf Club, near Glasgow died, would prove be the start of the amazing odyssey that has been my life. A life dominated by chasing a little white ball around the World. The friends I have met, the money I have made, the lifestyle I have enjoyed all link back to that dumpster! The dumpster where they put 60 years worth of old clubs, balls and rubbish that the old pro had accumulated in his tiny little pro shop. From it my uncle Forbes, whom I happened to be visiting, rescued a hand full of hickory-shafted clubs, which were promptly cut down and sent back with me in England. My parents didn’t play golf so I started hitting balls on my own on a playing field. Soon after I persuaded my parents to get me into a club as a junior member. For the next 8 years I spent every waking hour, other than school, at Llilleshall and later Shifinal golf clubs. The handful of kids I played with there are still my best friends today although I moved 4,000 miles away. The knowledge I gained about life and business on those fairways surpassed anything I ever learned in college. Although my golf did get me a full scholarship J Make no mistake about it, getting your kids involved in golf will be one of the greatest and most valuable gifts you will ever give them! I grew up in the late 70’s and sure we had video games like Space Invaders and Pac-man but it was an afterthought, not a lifestyle. Today’s kids need more than ever to get away from the computer games and get out and socialize with real people not virtual people. Golf is by far the very best way to accomplish that and set your kids up for success in life. Here is Why:
  1. Anyone Can Play: Golfers come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be particularly strong, tall, lean or fast to succeed. Golf champions come in every shape and size imaginable. It’s never too early to start, and unlike most other sports you can enjoy golf your entire life!
  2. Minimal Risk: Unlike many other popular sports like baseball, soccer and Football, the chances of injury, especially serious injury, are almost non- existent; golf is a non-contact sport.
  3. Safe and positive environment: The golf course is a safe place and facilitates mentoring relationships.
  4. Lifelong friendships: You never know who you will meet on a golf course, but it’s one of the easiest place in the world to make friends. Success breeds success and people who play golf are by in large more successful than the average bear. Those are the people you want your kids hanging out with! Best of all, golf creates a unique bond so those friendships can be developed all over the world and last a lifetime!
  5. Prepare for business: It’s hard to think about it now but kids grow up and the people they meet as children can play a huge part in their success later in life. Golf is a sport that helps prepare kids and teens for careers in business and other professional arenas. Even at 12 I was learning about real life business every day from all the adults I played with.
  6. Time Spent Outdoors: In today’s world of video games, smart phones and child obesity, it can be hard to drag your son or daughter off the couch. Golf is the perfect excuse to spend an entire day enjoying nature and presents the opportunity to develop healthy lifelong exercise habits!
  7. Important Life Lessons: Golf closely parallels real life as one experiences the highs and lows of the game. The range of experience, from birdies to bogeys, rewards a young person’s ability to keep each shot in perspective, manage one’s emotions, maintain a positive outlook and focus on the shot at hand. Golf is a sport that will teach your child things like integrity, discipline and respect. As they learn to conduct themselves on the golf course, these lessons will translate directly into everyday life. (See http://traitsofchampions.com)
  8. College Scholarships: Avid golfers have a lot of opportunities when it comes to college funding. The earlier your child starts, the greater his or her chance is of gaining access to scholarship money.
  9. Spend time with family: Golf is a game that encourages family participation. When children are young, they enjoy doing just about anything with you (but it doesn’t long last so start now). Golf is an opportunity for quality bonding time and it’s one that can last a lifetime.
  10. It’s FUN: This should probably be at the top of the list, but one of the best reasons to get your son or daughter involved with golf is that they’ll have an absolute blast. They’ll have the chance to learn new skills both physical and mental, make new friends and discover new opportunities.There are a million things you can buy your kids or gift your kids in the hope that it helps them learn and grow, only a few make a real impact. Next Steps:
    • Get your kids some lessons with a local pro.
    • Get them a junior membership, normally amazingly cheap compared to other activities.
    • Give yourself a high five for doing something that will make a real difference in your child’s life!
    I know it did in mine… I can’t tell you, what an amazing difference golf has made to my life. Although I had hoped to become a golf professional, I never did. In the end it didn’t really matter, the travel, friendships, business opportunities and the fact that at 52 I’m can sill easily walk 36 holes in a day, more than made up for it!
Source : Andrew Wood     Legendary Marketing Picture : Peter MacKey

Bryan Brothers of SC are getting our attention!

Trick Shot

       

The Bryan brothers from South Carolina are on a mission to change the way you think about golf through trick shots and other fresh ideas.  I admire these two innovative guys who perform amazing shots on beaches at Pinehurst, at Medieval Festivals, at football fields, over cars and much more.

Have fun watching this one!

Top 10 Trick Shots of 2014

Can you think of a better way to close out the year than to put all our best golf trick shots into one video? We couldn’t either so that’s why we’re dropping this gem for you today! We’ve had an amazing year traveling across the country to perform trick shots from South Carolina to California on some pretty awesome golf courses and in some pretty amazing places. It’s amazing to think of what’s happened in just this year alone, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us! Thank you to everyone who’s supported us along the way, our social media fans, golf courses who’ve tolerated our craziness, other crazy people out there who’ve joined our trick shot quest, friends, family, and all those who’ve watched, liked, and commented on our videos. Happy new year to everyone! We look forward to sharing 2015 with you!
 Click here to watch this amazing video  Source :  CBSsports.com Picture : Kevin Stanchfield  

Mel Sole's Top 3 Training Aids!

As an instructor who teaches golfers from beginners to Tour Players, I sometimes have to find a way to get my students to “feel” what it is I’m trying to get him/her to accomplish.  As I’ve always said “There is perception, and then there is reality”  Those two things are VERY different.  The way I get these students to accomplish the move they are looking for I use training aids.  I am a great believer in training aids and here is my definition of practice.  “Focused repetition with feedback” 1. Focused – you are focusing on one thing and one thing only.  Whether it is keeping your arm straight, weight shift or balance, you should not be trying to work on more than one thing at a time. 2. Repetition – Doing the task over and over again in order to make it a habit 3. With Feedback – How do you know if you are doing it correctly?  With a training aid designed specifically for the fault or move you are working on, you will get feedback (even if you don’t like the feedback you get at first) Here are my Top 3 Training Aids and why I use them. 1. Arm Tac-Tic – My most used training aid.  Really helps students who have trouble getting rid of the dreaded “chicken wing”  
Training aid to help keep your lead arm straight.

Training aid to help keep your lead arm straight.

  2.  Putting Mirror.  A “must have” training aid.  This will help you achieve two of the most important aspects of putting that 90% of good putters have.  Eyes over the ball and shoulders square to the intended line! Putting Mirror 3. Swing Gyde – This training aid is for the golfers who do not swing the club back “on plane” Put the club “in the slot” every time with this training aid. swinggyde   Find all 3 training aids here

Who are the Best and Worst Golf Announcers?

This topic produces wildly varying opinions.  Seems that some of you love Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo, David Feherty, etc., and some of you think they are hacks! (or worse) Who do you like to listen to when watching coverage of your favorite tournament?  Tell me why they impress you or turn you off.  You can include past announcers, as some of the writers below have done, in addition to current commentators. Here is Lou Vozza‘s take while writing for bleacherreport.com
BEST Johnny Miller  Johnny Miller                     Miller is a man among boys in this business.  Always insightful, consistently makes great calls, not afraid to be politically incorrect.  Oddly subversive for a straight laced Mormon type.  Drives 120 mph in his Ferrari to church. Full disclosure: one of his from-the-booth golf tips solved an early release problem in my golf swing that dropped my handicap from 12 to eight.  I should send the guy a freakin’ check. I know he has an army of detractors, but that’s probably a good sign.  He’s not trying to please everybody Jim Nantz Cool and corporate compared to Miller, the hot instigator.  Best voice, though, which counts extra for the play by play guy.  Likeable for some reason you can’t put your finger on.   Miller and Nantz together would be a dream team. Dan Hicks Solid play by play. Nick Faldo Nothing brilliant going on between the ears here, but pleasant enough personality.  He’s slightly clever without being annoying.  Not being annoying counts for a lot.  If you sit down and watch an entire tournament, these guys are on air for as much as 16 hours. David Feherty Legitimately amusing.   WORST Gary McCord Not funny.  Not cool. Aging wanna-be frat boy.  Pathetic case of arrested development. Paul Azinger Fortunately, lost his job.  Still shows up occasionally on the Golf Channel and the odd ABC telecast.  He has all the negative qualities of Dennis Miller without the redemptive wit. Can’t stand him personally.  He’s a Rush Limbaugh conservative, which wouldn’t bother me if he could keep his opinions to himself.  After a Ryder Cup victory, he turned down an invitation to the Clinton White House in  1993 because he “refused to meet with a draft dodger”.    I don’t care what your politics are, that’s disrespecting the Commander-in-Chief. Should have been permanently banned from Ryder Cup play. In an interview with Tiger at Tiger’s annual charity tournament in California, he praised Tiger’s learning centers for ‘turning tax burdens into tax payers”.  What an idiot.  Rich guys like Azinger are the biggest tax freeloaders of all.  What about the fact that he’s allowed to write off the interest on his million dollar mortgage?  More tax dollars get siphoned off into that rich man’s boondoggle than all the welfare payments combined. Limbaugh once praised Azinger because golf professionals are “entrepeneurs”.  What a load!  “Lucky guys with freaky hand-eye coordination who probably had parents with at least moderate financial resources” is more like it. I’m not tuning into a golf tournament to listen to Azinger turn the broadcast into a moronic right wing radio show. Mike Tirico Lost his job wiith Azinger when the PGA cancelled ABC’s contract.  He’s now being gradually drummed out of TV football broadcasting into radio.  Smart enough guy with a slick delivery, but unlikeable.  Way too nerdy. Chris Berman I know he only gets an hour or so every year,  and even then only when ABC/ESPN gets the U.S. Open.  But even a couple of hours a year of Chris Berman calling golf is a crime against broadcasting. Kelly Tilghman  She’s not awful, but in over her head.  It’s a tougher job than you think.  Would be fine walking the fairways and doing the side commentary.  If they need a token woman, put Dottie Pepper or Judy Rankis in there. Takes on this subject by other writers include: Chris Hibler            Article List of NBC Commentators  
Source: Lou Vozza   bleacherreport.com Pictures : Dan Perry