Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Golf Season Round-Up

This will be the final post of the year on Amateur Golfer. As such, here is a round-up of who won the Majors in 2011, as well as the amateur golf championships the Walker Cup and U.S. Amateur Championship.
  • Augusta Masters  - Schwartzel
  • UK Open – Clarke
  • US Open – McIlroy
  • PGA Championship – Bradley
  • The Walker Cup – Great Britain and Ireland
  • US Amateur Championships – Hills
As such, South Africa, NI and the United States have all celebrated Major golf championship victories in 2011. NI had two Major victories which was fantastic. In the amateur game Great Britain and Ireland were victorious in the Walker Cup with a 14 to 12 victory that was another highlight. Great Britain’s team therefore regained the Walker Cup after three American victories in the last three Walker Cups. 

55 posts have also been added to Amateur Golfer in 2011. As such, also consider browsing the archives of this blog. Or alternatively, check out the author’s Helium articles via the links included on this blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas this week, so why not decorate your Christmas tree with golf Christmas ornaments?  For example, you can decorate your tree with golf ball Christmas ornaments, and there are various other golf baubles that you could add to your Christmas tree. Check out the Golf D├ęcor website which has a range of golf Christmas ornaments, or input the Google keyword, golf Christmas tree decorations. And finally, merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Great Coastal Golf Courses

The Monterey Coastline of Pebble Beach
Golf courses beside the coast are usually among the more exciting. They can have some great ocean holes along their respective coastlines. As such, there are some great coastal golf courses.

Pebble Beach

The famed Pebble Beach course is one of the great coastal golf courses on the Monterey coastline of California. This golf course has some fantastic ocean holes such as the 7th par 3, and the 18th hole which plays alongside the ocean that is rated as one golf's best finishing holes. Pebble Beach is a venue of the PGA Tour and has hosted numerous U.S. Opens as well as other golf championships. It’s also a resort course so should be great for a golf vacation!

Cypress Point

Another of the great golf courses on the Monterey coastline is that of Cypress Point, a great alternative to the Pebble Beach course that is ranked second in Golf Magazine’s course rankings. This is a 6,525 yard golf course that has some classic holes that play alongside the Pacific. Among them is the great 16th hole, a 222 yard par three on headlands sixty feet above the sea that requires a tee shot over the sea to reach the green.

The Ocean Course

The Ocean Course is the highlight of the Kiawah Island golf resort on the eastern coastline. This championship golf course has formerly hosted the Ryder Cup. For further details on this course this previous Amateur Golfer post is worth noting.

The Mid Ocean Course

The Mid Ocean Course is scenic coastal golf course which is the best in Bermuda. The famed golf course is one of the older American courses that dates back to 1921, and has remained a great destination for golf. The course includes some great holes such as the 18th which borders the sea. The 5th long par 4 hole is another of the course’s highlights.

These are four great coastal golf courses and resorts at Kiawah Island, Pebble Beach and Bermuda. These courses have plenty of highlights and great coastal settings.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Golf Holidays in the Iberian Peninsula

When it comes to golf vacations the Iberian Peninsula is one of the hottest destinations. Spain and Portugal have a number of great golf vacation resorts on the coast and further inland that have a variety of golf holiday packages. Both for golf and more general vacations Spain and Portugal have plenty of highlights.

Among the notable golf resort in Spain is that of the Marbella Club Golf & Spa Resort on the Costa del Sol. This golf resort includes an 18-hole par 73 course that is located on the Mediterranean coast. It also includes a shorter 9-hole course. Further inland there is also the PGA Catalunya, a 7,200 yard course near Barcelona which has 36 holes of championship golf, and has also been ranked among the top 10 golf courses in Europe.

In Portugal there are also some great destinations for golfing vacations. The golf coast of Lisbon has numerous golf courses and some noteworthy resorts such as the Cascais golf resort.  Lisbon was also one of the IAGTO golf destinations of the year in 2007.

Among the best golf resorts of the Algarve region include Parque Da Floresta Golf & Leisure Resort in the Western Algarve. This includes the Parque Da Floresta course, a 6,295 yard par 71, which is set in rolling hills and is well placed to nearby beaches along the Algarve’s coastline. It also has various golf holiday packages.

So, you can be sure to find some great resorts in Spain and Portugal. The Marbella, Cascais, PGA Catalunya and Parque Da Floresta golf courses and resorts are just three of the noteworthy golfing destinations there. When the summer comes these resorts are meccas for golf vacations. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

End of the Golf Poll

The matchplay & strokeplay golf poll has now closed. While there were not a great number of votes in this poll, 66% voted for strokeplay as the best golf scoring format. As such, strokeplay wins the poll with two thirds of the vote!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cold Golf Balls

When playing in the winter do not expect the ball to travel so far as in the summer. Not only will it rain more during the winter, therefore reducing ball roll, but colder weather will also reduce the distance of the ball further. As a former PGA technical director has stated in his book Dear Frank, “at 40 degrees, the ball will travel about 10 to 12 1/2 yards less than at 90 degrees," Thomas wrote.

As such, you can expect a 10 – 20 yard drop in distance.  Factor in damp courses and less ball roll and that can reduce yardages by an extra few yards as well. So, you may want to use slightly longer clubs during the winter than you might for the same tee shots in the summer.

There are also some cold weather golf balls that you might want to note such as the ColdFusion Cold Weather Golf Ball. This golf ball is a winter golf ball that is supposed to travel further during the winter season. For further details on the ColdFusion golf ball check out their website.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Matchplay & Strokeplay Poll

At the moment Amateur Golfer's poll remains level at one one. There have not been many votes as of yet, so it would be good to have some more to ensure a winner at least. Please vote in the golf poll.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Golf Vacation Destinations: Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is one of the hottest golf vacation destinations in North America. This resort is located off the coast of South Carolina, close to Charleston. This barrier island has five award winning championship golf courses to play at: The Ocean Course, Osprey Point, Cougar Point and Turtle Point. This will also be the venue for the 2012 PGA Tour golf championship.

Of its golf courses, the Ocean Course is probably the most famous. This is the golf course that has already hosted the ’91 Ryder Cup, and it will also be the venue for the 2012 PGA Tour championship. This is a golf course that is located on the coastline, and has lots of seaside holes along the coast. With its miles of sand dunes the course is reminiscent of seaside link golf courses in the United Kingdom. The course is some 7,356 yards long from the championship golf tees, and has one of the highest course ratings. So, it’s probably not an ideal course if you just started playing, but nonetheless there are still four other golf courses at Kiawah Island which are alternatives. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2012 IAGTO Awards

When considering a potential golf vacation destination, take note of the IAGTO Awards. These are the official awards of the golf travel industry, and highlight some fantastic golfing destinations. The most recent destinations selected for the 2012 awards are as follows:

Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year

Golf Destination of the Year - Africa, Indian Ocean & Gulf States

Golf Destination of the Year - Asia & Australasia

Golf Destination of the Year - Europe

Golf Destination of the Year - Latin America & The Caribbean

Golf Destination of the Year - North America

Golf Resort of the Year - Europe

Golf Resort of the Year - North America

Golf Resort of the Year - Rest of World

As such, Palm Springs and FIFE are the best destinations in North America and Europe for a golf vacation in 2012. In addition to this, the golf resorts of Turnberry and St Andrews are also well worth noting. For further details on previous winners of the IAGTO Awards, check out their website which includes full listings of previous winners. Plus, take note of Amateur Golfer’s previous poll which voted the United Kingdom as Europe’s best golf destination!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Golf Digest's Best Public Courses

Among the other Golf Digest course rankings are the best public golf course listings. These are the best golf courses that are open to the public and so do not require any membership to play at. As such, they are ideal golf vacation courses.

And Golf Digest’s best public golf course is…drum roll please… Pebble Beach! Pebble Beach in California is ranked as one of the finest golf courses in America, one of the most exciting venues on the PGA Tour that remains a resort course. Pebble Beach has hosted five great U.S. Opens, and has a great coastal setting along the Monterey coastline. It includes famous holes such as the short 7th and the 18th hole which plays along the ocean and is rated as one of golf’s best finishing holes. For further details on their golf vacation packages check out the Pebble Beach website.

Another notable resort courses included in the top 10 is that of the Ocean Course. The Ocean Course is one of the famed resort courses on Kiawah Island on the eastern coast. Like Pebble Beach this has also hosted PGA Tour championships as well as the Ryder Cup in 1991. This golf course has more coastal holes than any other in the northern hemisphere. 10 holes run alongside its Atlantic coastline. Along with the other courses at Kiawah Island it is another great golf vacation destination.

Another notable championship golf course in the top 10 is that of Bethpage State Park which is ranked 7th. Bethpage has hosted two U.S. Opens golf championships, and is also great value. The course includes a variety of tees to tee-off from so its overall yardage ranges from a 7, 297 yards – 6223 from the red tees.

These are three of the great public courses included in Golf Digest’s top 10. For the full rankings, check out this page.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Strokeplay V Matchplay

As most golf fans will be aware, the two main scoring formats in golf are strokeplay and matchplay. Strokeplay is the format used in all of the Major golf championships, while matchplay is used in the Ryder Cup and other team based golf championships such as the Walker Cup. Which is the best scoring format?

Well, that’s for you to vote on in the latest Amateur Golfer poll. Do you prefer a strokeplay match with overall scoring total, or a matchplay contest in which the player who wins the most holes wins the round? For further details on the golf scoring formats check out this previous post on Amateur Golfer. 

Overall, I feel that matchplay is a touch underrated and could be included for more golfing cups. There have been some great Ryder Cups with the matchplay format, and it could be extended further for non-team golf championships. As such, matchplay gets my vote. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

White selected for French Rugby Team

Gregory White has quickly emerged as a key player for the Toulouse Olympique squad, the only French team to play in the Rugby League Championship 2011. Never before had White played a senior rugby league game in Australia before being spotted by French rugby scouts.

Now it’s an altogether different story as not only is White playing for Toulouse Olympique, but has also been selected for the French Rugby League squad for upcoming internationals with England, Wales and Ireland after some impressive try scoring form. As such, now White could be playing for France in the 2013 World Cup, possibly against the Kangaroos. For further details, check out some of the links included in this blog post.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Night Golf

Well it’s November, and that means shorter daylight hours. However, who says you cannot play night golf? In actual fact there are numerous floodlit golf courses which are lit up when daylight visibility diminishes, and even non floodlit golf courses may not change their summer course opening hours during the winter. Golf courses such as the Al Hamra Golf Club are good examples of floodlit courses for evening golf. Just input the keyword night golf into Google for a range of floodlit golf course images.

Al Hamra Golf Course
Even if you cannot find a floodlit course, you can still invest in glow in the dark light up golf balls which will illuminate at night. In addition to this, bring a torch out onto the course with you. For further details on evening golf check out this website which highlights how holes can be illuminated without floodlights.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Blog Posts

There have been 42 2011 blog posts on Amateur Golfer. A record number have been added in 2011 covering golf travel, golf championships, tips and golf courses and holes. Of course, you can find these in Amateur Golfer’s archives, but here are a few links to some of the more notable 2011 blog posts on Amateur Golfer.

This blog post covers the US Amateur Championship. It’s one of the biggest golf championships, and was once considered to be one of the Majors.

Putting off the green can be more effective than chipping. Here the Texas Wedge putt is covered in more detail.

This covers some of the great American golf holes in more detail. More specifically, the 18th at Pebble Beach, 12th at Augusta and 17th at the Stadium Course are all covered in this blog post with details for each hole.

Looking for some putting tips? Take note of this blog post which includes some.

Which are the best golf courses in America? This golf blog covers America’s top 10 golf courses in 2011. As such, it includes Golf Digest’s 2011 top 10 listing.

The longest golf hole in the United States is… Check out this blog post which provides further details on the longest golf hole in America.

Golf desktop wallpaper can be a great way to enhance the desktop. This blog post includes links to websites that have a good variety of golf desktop wallpaper.

These are a few noteworthy 2011 Amateur Golfer blog posts. And there are a good few more. For some further links to some of the best blog posts on this blog both before and during 2011 you should also check out this post.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Windows 7 Golf Theme

Windows 7 has a variety of customization options, among which include themes. So, why not add your own golf theme? I have already found a suitable golf theme that you can add to your desktop themes. Check out this golf theme.

In addition to this, you can also add a golfing screen saver to further enhance the theme. Visit this site which includes a range of golf screen savers which you can add to Windows 7. Or alternatively, you can add some further golf desktop wallpaper or photos which can then be included as part of the Windows Live Essentials screen saver. Just set up a folder for this, select Windows Live Essential screen saver settings and then the folder.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Free Drops

In some cases during a round, you may have a free drop if your ball lands in a specific lie as outlined by the R&A. With a free drop you can lift and drop the ball a little further back onto a playable lie. So, when can you free drop?

If your ball lands on something artificial you can have a free drop. However, as has been noted in the previous post, this is only the case if the artificial object cannot be moved. If you can move the artificial object away from the ball, then you should mark the position of the ball with tee marker and do so.

If your ball lands in casual water this is also another time that you can pick up your ball and drop it behind and out of the casual water. Note that casual water is any heavy and temporary accumulation of water on the course such as deep puddles or ice. As such, a lake is not casual water even if the water levels can rise and fall. If you land in casual water within a bunker, then you should still drop your ball back so that it lands in a dryer spot of the bunker if that is possible.

Some parts of a golf course may be ground under repair. Ground under repair are areas of course maintenance, and the golf course should highlight this with a ground under the repair sign. When your ball lands in a ground under repair area of the course, you can also pick your ball up and free drop it just behind the ground under repair area.

A number of golf courses may have carted paths. If your ball lands on a cart path, then you can also have a free drop.

So, you can free drop your ball if it lands on artificial object, casual water, ground under repair or a cart path. However, if that is not the case then you will usually have to add a stroke to your scorecard. Note than a dropped ball, either free or otherwise, should not be closer to the hole than it was before you dropped it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What if your Ball Lands Beside a Bunker Rake?

At least one bunker rake is included on a hole, usually in or near to a green side bunker. As such, your ball can end up landing on and rolling beside a bunker rake. Take my word for it, as this is exactly what happened during one of my rounds with my ball parked up beside a rake which ensured that with the rake there it was unplayable.

It is stated that you are entitled to a free drop if your ball lands on, or by, anything artificial which a bunker rake is. However, it is also stated that if it is a movable then you should move it away from the ball. So, mark the position of the ball with a tee marker, and then move the bunker rake away and place the ball back in its original position. As such:

There is no requirement for a free drop if you can move the artificial object away from the ball.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Golf Magazine’s 500 Greatest Golf Holes

Golf Magazine has provided regular listings as to the top golf courses in the sport, and their book also lists 500 of the best golf holes in the game. In fact, it does more than merely list them, but also includes some great photography and illustrations as well as a variety of lists such as the best golf holes by number. The Washington Times has stated that this is a golf book, “on par with no other” and the Journal Sentinal, “the definitive guide.

So, which are among the highly rated golf holes included? Among those included in the best 18:
  • The 4th at Banff Springs, 192 yard, par 3
  • The 15th at Cypress Point, 139 yard, par 3
  • The 17th at TPC Sawgrass, 132 yard, par 3
  • The 18 at Pebble Beach, 548 yards, par 5
  • The 13th at Augusta National, 510 yards, par 5
  • The 17th at St Andrews (Old), 461 yard, par 4
  • The 13th at Pine Valley Golf Club, 448 yard, par 4
  • The 12th at Southern Hills Country Club, 445 yards, par 4
  • The 5th at Bethpage, 451 yards, par 4
  • The 5th at the Mid Ocean Club, 433 yards, par 4
Those are 10 among the top 18 of Golf Magazine's best golf holes which are not ranked in a specific order. The 18th at Pebble Beach is rated as the best finishing hole in golf, which plays alongside the Monterey coastline. The famed 17th the TPC Sawgrass is also included which is a hole surrounded by water. Then there is the 17th Road Hole at St Andrews which has been one of the highlights of numerous Open Championships held there. Previous posts on Amateur Golfer provide further details on some of these holes, such as Great American Golf Holes and Famous Golf Holes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Golf Digest's Top 10 Nine-hole Golf Courses

Nine-hole golf courses are always a good alternative to 18-hole courses, as there are some great nine-hole golf courses. Golf Digest has also ranked some of the finest nine-hole golf courses in America. These are the top 10 nine-hole courses:

1.) The Dunes Club
2.) Whitinsville
3.) Northwood GC
4.) Aetna Springs GC
5.) Sunnylands
6.) Birchwood
7.) Signal Point Club
8.) Links at Fisher Island
9.) Starr Hollow GC
10.) Pocantino Hills GC

As such, it is the highly rated Dunes Club in New Buffalo, Michigan that is ranked the best nine-hole course in America. This course is approximately 3,478 yards long, and is also a private course. It includes some great holes such as the 513 yard par 8 which has an elevated tee and small green.

A number of publications rate the Dunes Club as one of the best American golf courses regardless of hole numbers. For example, in 2001 it ranked 76 in Golf Magazine’s top 100 golf courses. While there does not seem to be a website for this course, this Dunes Club slideshow is worth noting.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Putting Tips

The golf putt, and golf putting, is an important part of golf scoring. Any golf hole will most likely need at least two putts, amounting to at least 36 putts for 18 holes. More effective golf putting, will certainly enhance golf scores. There are a few tips worth considering for improving at putting.

It is worth noting, that on the green there are really two types of golf putt: lag putting and short putts. A lag putt will be a longer putt, perhaps longer than 10 or 12 feet, aimed to be as close to the hole as possible for a short putt to finish. Then there are shorter distance putts, which can be putted into the hole.

Lag Putting:

Overall, more precise lag putts that finish up to 3 or 4 feet of the hole will likely reduce the number of putts required on the green. PGA tour player Ernie Els has said:

"Effective lag putting can turn a good round into a great one."

For Els recommends that careful attention be paid to the contours around the green and hole when lag putting. As such, it is most important to adjust the speed of a longer putt in relation to uphill and downhill slopes closer to the hole. A downhill slope will require a slightly lighter putt, while uphill putts will require a slightly firmer faster putt.

Overall, to get a good feel for lag putts, you should consider putting a number of longer putts from variable longer and shorter distances on an artificial putting green. Adjust the distance and position of the lag putts, and try to hit them within just a few feet of the hole.

Short Putting:

Shorter putts, can still be missed even up to 3 feet from the hole. They need to be more accurate that lag putts. Generally, a firm grip of the putter should avoid using the wrists when putting. While putting grips can be variable, a reverse-overlap grip has been favoured by golf pros as it keeps the wrists locked in. Another alternative is a cross-handed grip where the left hand is tucked under the right, and also keeps the wrists firm. Both grips are worth considering for golf putting.

With any putting grip, it should also be light, soft and not overly tight. Avoid a tight putting grip, which can reduce putting accuracy on the greens.

Putting clubs can be of variable design. The club heads can include markings to assist with aiming. In addition, they can be centre shafted or toe and heel putters. Overall, the hinged putter is recommended, which can assist with alignment and straight putting. If you are often putting three times on a green, then consider changing your putter. If is possible, trial any potential new putter at a club store.

So, there are a few ways that golf putting can be enhanced on the green. Reading the slope and contours with lag putts, can give a better chance of reducing putts. In addition, short putting will be more consistent with a soft but firm putting grip. Overall, two putts on the green is a good total to aim for.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amateur Golf Website

For more details on all the latest amateur golf championships why not check out this Amateur Golf website? This website lists, and provides updates on, a variety of amateur championships if you register with them. Further to this, the website includes lots of course reviews and player rankings. The website also has featured videos. For further details, follow this Amateur Golf website link.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Golf Spreadsheets

To record your golf scores spreadsheet software applications are ideal. With spreadsheet applications such as Excel you can record your golf scores, and even add some graphs as well. If you do not already have any spreadsheet software then consider the OpenOffice freeware software suite with its spreadsheet software Calc that is comparable to Excel.

For a basic spreadsheet layout you will need 20 columns. The first column will be for the golf course names, and the remaining 18 columns will be for the golf course holes. You can resize these columns and reduce the width appropriately. A final column will then be required for the golf score totals. Include a Sum function in the first cell of the column, and this can then be dragged and copied into further cells below. Of course, you can add plenty more to this spreadsheet with cell formatting and graphs.

Or alternatively, there are a few golf spreadsheet templates worth noting. This Excel template blog has one, and this website also has a golf spreadsheet template.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Top 10 Golf Courses in the World

In addition to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine also rank the top 100 golf courses in the world. Here is the 2011 rankings of Golf Magazine's world top 10 golf courses:

1 Pine Valley
George Crump, H.S. Colt, 1918 Pine Valley, N.J. US 95.99

2 Cypress Point
Alister MacKenzie, 1928 Pebble Beach, Calif. US 91.06

3 Augusta National
Alister MacKenzie, Bobby Jones, 1933 Augusta, Ga. US 87.95

4 St. Andrews (Old Course)
Nature, 1400 St. Andrews Scotland 86.27

5 Royal County Down
Old Tom Morris, 1889 Newcastle N. Ireland 82.92

6 Shinnecock Hills
William Flynn, 1931 Southampton, N.Y. US 82.63

7 Pebble Beach
Jack Neville, Douglas Grant, 1919 Pebble Beach, Calif. US 80.49

8 Oakmont
Henry Fownes, 1903 Oakmont, Pa. US 77.36

9 Muirfield
Old Tom Morris, 1891
H.S. Colt, 1925 Gullane Scotland 76.22

10 Merion (East)
Hugh Wilson, 1912 Ardmore, Pa. US 75.22

This top 10 is in fact similar to Golf Digest's top 10 as it is dominated by US golf courses. Approximately half of the overall rankings are US golf courses. However, Augusta is not rated the top golf course, and instead Pine Valley takes top spot. St Andrews, Muirfield and Royal County Down are the three best non-American golf courses included in the top 10.

Again, it is interesting to note that all the golf courses included in the top 10 are older golf courses that predate 1950. They have remained the best golf courses in the game for decades, regardless of the more recent course designs from architects such as Dye and Trent Jones.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

America's Top 10 Golf Courses in 2011

Golf Digest has revealed America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses listings for 2011. Their biennial listings were first established back in 1966, and so it is one of the oldest golf course rankings. These are the top 10 golf courses in Digest's 2011 rankings:

Augusta, Ga. / Alister Mackenzie & Bobby Jones (1933)

Pine Valley, N.J. / George Crump & H.S. Colt (1918)

Southampton, N.Y. / William Flynn (1931)

4. (5) OAKMONT C.C.
Oakmont, Pa. / Henry Fownes (1903)

Pebble Beach / Alister Mackenzie & Robert Hunter (1928)

Pebble Beach / Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919)

7. (7) MERION G.C. (East)
Ardmore, Pa. / Hugh Wilson (1912)

8. (8) WINGED FOOT G.C. (West)
Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923)

9. (13) SAND HILLS G.C.
Mullen, Neb. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1994)


As such, once again the Augusta National golf course is ranked as the best golf course in America. As the annual venue of the Masters it is undoubtedly the most famous championship golf course on the PGA Tour. At approximately 7,400 yards it is also one of the longer golf courses on the rankings.

The top 10 has not changed that much from the last 2009 rankings. Sand Hills and the National G. Links of America are two new entries into the top 10. However, aside from that the top five includes exactly the same golf courses.

The interesting thing about this top 10 is that it is dominated by older golf courses. With the exception of Sand Hills all the golf courses in the top 10 were constructed before 1950. As such, modern golf course design and architecture has not been able to eclipse these golf courses which have remained as the best in America for decades.

Another interesting point worth noting is that the list is also dominated by private golf courses. The only public golf course that makes the top 10 is that of Pebble Beach which ranks 6th. As such, Pebble Beach tops Golf Digest's America's Top 100 Public Golf Courses list. Along with St Andrews Old Course this is one of the few great PGA Tour venues that is a public course.

For further details on these rankings visit the Golf Digest website. This blog post on Amateur Golfer also covers some of the great America golf courses.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

End of Golf Poll

The first golf poll on Amateur Golfer has now closed. Although there were not a huge number of votes in the poll, the United Kingdom emerged as a clear winner with 75% of the votes. As such, it is Amateur Golfer's best European golf destination.

Can this be considered a surprise? After all, it does have some great and famous golf courses and is the home of golf. Although the golf season does well and truly end in northern parts of the United Kingdom when the winter sets in. This is not so much the case in Spain, which I voted for.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great American Golf Holes

Most of the most famous holes in golf are to be found on American golf courses. Three of golf’s four Majors are played in the United States, and so you can be sure to find some great golf holes on American courses. America’s most famous championship golf courses include the likes of the Augusta National, Pebble Beach and the Stadium Course in Florida. Golf courses such as these have famous golf holes, and there are plenty of other great golf holes on US golf courses that have not played host to one of the Majors or other PGA Tour championships. These are a few of the great American golf holes.

18th Hole at Pebble Beach:

The 18th hole at Pebble Beach is widely considered to be the best finishing hole in golf. That’s in golf, and not just the United States. This hole is a par 5 hole that extends some 543 yards from tee to the flag. Pebble Beach is a golf course located on the Monterey Coast and has a Pacific coastline which runs alongside the 18th hole. As such, the Pacific Ocean dominates the right side of the fairway from the tee up to the green. The green itself is also surrounded by bunkers for any balls that do not land on the green. As the finishing hole of the Pebble Beach course it has also been a great championship hole for the numerous US Opens that have been played on the course. This hole is therefore included in the book 500 World’s Greatest Golf Holes as the best 18th hole, and also as one of the great ocean holes.

12th Hole at Augusta:

The 12th hole at Augusta is another of America’s famous championship golf holes. The Masters is the annual golf championship that is played at the Augusta golf course, and one of the course’s highlights is that of the 12th Golden Bell hole. This hole is a 155 yard par 3 that is dominated by the water of Rae’s Creek. As such, this creek has to be cleared first before the players can cross the famous Ben Hogan Bridge that links the tee to the green across the water. The green itself is close to the water-side, and so any ball that lands on grass around it can potentially end up back in the water if the ball rolls the wrong way upon landing. As such, the Golden Bell is one of the key holes in the Masters where golfers can potentially add numbers to their scorecards if their ball lands in the water. It is perhaps the most famous championship golf hole.

17th Hole at the Stadium Course:

The Players’ Championship is one of the flagship events of the PGA Tour. It is not counted as one of the four Majors, but many consider the Players’ Championship to be a fifth Major that has always been among the highlights of the PGA Tour calendar. This golf championship is played at the Stadium Course, and the signature hole of this course is the 17th hole. The 17th hole is a short 132 yard par 3 that, to a greater extent than the Golden Bell at Augusta, is dominated by water. In fact, with the exception of the green the hole pretty much is water as it is located in a lake and the hole is called the Island Green. This ensures that the hole is one of the most exciting on the PGA Tour, and you can be sure that there are a lot of golf balls at the bottom of the surrounding lake!

These are three great American golf holes. The 18th at Pebble Beach, the 12th at Augusta and 16th at the TPC Scottsdale are all renowned golf holes at courses such as Pebble Beach, Augusta and Stadium Course.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Golf Poll Update

There is just now six days left to vote in the Amateur Golfer poll: Which is the best European Golf Destination? At the moment the United Kingdom has the most votes, but this can change with a few more votes for another country. So, please add your vote to the golf poll.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Ideal Half-Set of Golf Clubs

While you can take 14 golf clubs onto a golf course, in truth a half-set can be fine for a round of golf. However, you need to consider which golf clubs the half-set will include. As such, these are the seven good clubs to make up an ideal half-set.

The Putter:

To begin with the most obvious, as you probably will not putt so well with the iron golf clubs! As such, your putter is the most essential golf club of the half-set. Note that the putter can also be used off the green as well as a Texas Wedge.

Sand Wedge:

After the putter, you will need to take at least one wedge onto the course with you. For this the sand wedge is probably the best option as the club is specifically for bunker play. It can also be a good club for shorter distance chipping and pitching around the green.

The Irons:

You will need to take three irons onto the golf course. A longer distance, mid-distance and shorter distance iron should be included in the golf bag. In this respect, a 5-iron, 7-iron and 9-iron should be suitable iron clubs for a half-set.

The Woods:

Then a couple of woods can be taken out onto the course as well. A shorter distance and longer distance wood for the longer holes should therefore be included. 7-woods are good clubs that can be suitable for both the tees and the fairways, and even if you land in longer rough grass around the fairway. Take one of these onto the course, as well as a long wood of your choosing; anything from a 4-wood to the longest drivers depending on preference.

These seven golf clubs are a good selection of clubs for a half-set. One putter, three irons, a wedge and a couple of woods. If you must take one more eighth club onto the course then an additional longer distance wedge may be handy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

50 Posts on Amateur Golfer!

Well actually, it’s now 51 blog posts on Amateur Golfer with this blog post included. Still, it’s great to make it up to and over the 50 blog post mark. You can browse through the 50 blog posts included on this blog with the blog archive below the Helium article links. Or alternatively, note The Best of this Blog post which includes links to some of the best blog posts on Amateur Golfer. And of course there will be plenty more posts on AG.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Ryder Cup of Amateur Golf

The Ryder Cup was the Olympics of golf before golf was announced as an Olympic sport. Undoubtedly, alongside the Majors it is one of the great golf championships which includes most of golf’s top ranked players on the EU and US teams. In the amateur game there is also an equivalent of this great golf championship: the Walker Cup.

The Walker Cup is a match-play team based golf championship just like the Ryder Cup, however it is an amateur golf championship played between the US and Great Britain & Ireland teams. As such, it includes top amateur players from these countries.

Like the Ryder Cup in recent decades the Walker Cup has been much more competitive. However, it did not require an EU team to make the difference, perhaps highlighting a notable improvement in British golf. Although, it is the US team that are defending the Walker Cup in 2011.

The Walker Cup is currently taking place at the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland. The latest score-line is 7 – 5 to Great Britain and Ireland after the first day’s play. Of course, this can still change, but if this score is anything to go by then British golf could have more to celebrate in 2011! For further details on the Walker Cup visit the Walker Cup website.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Golf Poll

Some may have noticed the golf poll at the top right of this blog, the first poll ever included on Amateur Golfer. This golf poll asks: which is the best European golf destination? I have included eleven of Europe’s bigger golfing destinations to vote for.

At the moment only one vote has been made on this golf poll. I voted for Spain as this is a great golfing destination that has a number of PGA Tour venues and golf resorts, as found at the Costa del Sol. The Costa del Sol includes the famous golf course Valderrama which has been a venue for the Ryder Cup. Further to this, the Costa Brava, Balearic Islands and the Andalusia also have some notable golf courses. So, for me this is Europe’s best golfing destination.

However, there are ten other potential alternative golfing destinations that you can vote for. So, please vote in the golf poll. The closing date of this poll is the 1st October, and I will post again proclaiming the winner of the best European golf destination poll.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Golf Course I Play At

The Golf Course that I play at is Westridge Golf Course. It’s a short 9 hole golf course that could almost be a par 3 golf course were it not for a couple of 300 yard plus holes. It has no par five holes. As such, it’s a great course for a quick round. Here’s a brief run-down of its holes.

Hole One: 176 Yard Par 3

The first hole is a fairly average straight par 3 hole, which includes a fairway running up to the green. So, you do not have to make it onto the green. You cannot really lose your ball on this one, but the green has bunkers on the left and right side.

Hole Two: 315 Yard Par 4

One of the longest holes on the course is the 2nd par 4 hole. It’s also one of the hardest on the golf course as is surrounded by trees and bushes so you can certainly lose balls on this one. The hole includes a sharp turn after about 200 yards, with another 100 yards leading up the green. As such, a 200 yard tee-shot is required to give you a clear shot to the green.

Hole Three: 232 Yard Par 3

This long par three is another hole surrounded by bushes and hedges, and requires a tee-shot over bushes to make it onto the fairway or green. On the score card it has a stroke index of one, so it is the course’s signature hole. As such, you can lose balls on this one as well.

Hole Four: 235 Yard Par 4

After those holes the bushes begin to disperse. However, this short par 4 still has bushes along the left side of the fairway.

Hole Five: 342 Yard Par 4

This is the longest hole on the golf course. A good one hundred yards is required to make it onto the fairway, and it also includes fairway bunkers. The green has two bunkers on its left and right side.

Hole Six: 240 Yard Par 4

After the longest hole on the course comes this short par 4. In fact, it was originally a long par 3. As a par 4 it’s one of the easier holes on the golf course with at least one hundred yards of fairway to aim for.

Hole Seven: 101 Yard Par 3

The shortest hole on the golf course is this 101 yard par 3. So, this has the highest stroke index of the course’s holes. However, some may over-hit on this hole even with a nine iron, so wedges can be an alternative. Two bunkers are also located in front of the green if your ball ends up falling short.

Hole Eight: 209 Yard Par 3

This hole is a longer distance par three that also includes the course's only water hazard. Two small lakes are located approximately half-way up this hole, so you require about 125 yard to make the fairway beyond these. The hole also has a sloped fairway which runs slightly up-hill towards the green.

Hole Nine: 130 Yard Par 3

The final hole is a much shorter par 3 that also includes a fairway. As such, a six or seven iron is usually a suitable club for this hole. Although the hole has a ropey sloped green which makes three putts more likely.

As such, with these holes the course is a par 32, and 64 over 18. Although, the course will get much bigger as a further nine holes are scheduled to be added to it which will extend it to an 18 hole golf course.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Texas Wedge Putt

The Texas Wedge is just another name for the putter. Except that it is only called a Texas Wedge when putting off the green. Mastering the Texas Wedge putt can be a great way to enhance your short game.

For example, you may be surprised how far you can putt a golf ball. In very dry conditions you can certainly putt over 25 yards and potentially up to the 50 yard mark. Given this, when your ball has landed on the fairway a little short of the green you should consider putting onto the green as an alternative to chipping. Even if you have landed on slightly longer grass around the green, if you are close to the green then you can Texas putt your ball onto the green, and even close to the flag.

When on the golf course, it’s best to pull out the Texas Wedge when the grass is very dry. As is the case on the greens, the dryer the course the further the ball will role and the further you will putt. If the course is wet then the Texas Wedge can be less effective, and under-hit putts can leave you some distance from the hole and may not even make the green. As such, if the course is very wet then chipping may be a better option.

My tip would be to try longer putting on practice putting greens. If possible try putting from distances further than 25 yards towards the flags. In addition to this, if it’s also possible to putt out of slightly longer grass around the green then you should try it. Aim to get these longer distance putts within five or six feet of the flag, while with a shorter lag putts you may aim for more like 3 ft – approximately the length of your putter.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Golfing Near the Lake of Ozarks, Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri is a fantastic setting for golf and golf vacations! Aside from the exceptional lake scenery, Ozark's golf courses are hardly a walk in the park with water features and elevation changes built into championship golf courses by famed designers like Robert Trent Jones, Tom Weiskopf and the great Arnold Palmer.

Undoubtedly, Arnold Palmer is one of the most exciting names in golfing history. As a player, he lit up the game with his bold and adventurous play. As a designer, his championship golf course in Ozarks, the Osage National, is one of his foremost creations.

Regarded as the must play course of the lake, it is not difficult to see why. Designed in 1992, this course offers 7,510 yards of zoysia fairways and bentgrass greens. The River and Mountain nine were Arnie's signature courses opened in 1992, with the Links 9 being added in 1999. 27 holes of championship golf provide the luxury of having three 18 hole combinations! With five golf tees, the course also caters for players of all skill levels.

The tranquil setting provides the backdrop for a fantastic round of golf. With the course laid out on forested rolling terrain surrounded by imposing lakes and the Osage River, such a variety of water hazards make it a hard to keep your golf balls dry!

The course has four-signature holes set-up nicely for aesthetics and playability. Two and nine on the River course are great holes, both challenging and scenic. Teeing up from the gold tee, hole 9 on the River course boasts the longest hole within Osage National with an alarming 626 yards of terrain separating the tee from the green! This, combined with water down the left side, makes it a tricky proposition.

On the Mountain course, numbers 3 and 8 are beautiful because of elevation changes. On hole 3, out of bounds and trees puts a premium on the tee shot. Hole 8 offers a forest of a hole, with trees throughout it. At 484 yards off the gold tee, it's also the longest part 4 on the course.

Aside from the courses, the Osage National resort offers a range of amenities for golf vacation seekers. A fitness center, within the clubhouse, is equipped with Nautilus equipment. In addition, an exciting new swimming pool complex is due to be opened in 2008. For dining, the club has the Eagle view bar and Grille boasting a good-sized menu.

Osage National also offers golf packages, which enable visitors to tailor a golf vacation on the Ozark Lake to suit them. This, along with specials such as discount twilight golf, is something that vacation seekers might wish to take advantage of.

With such course variety, combined with a range of amenities, the Osage National stands out as one of the Ozark's premier golfing destinations. An excellent choice for a golfing vacation!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Best of this Blog

Now there are almost 50 posts on this blog it’s worth browsing through some of the archives for older blog posts included on Amateur Golfer, in addition to the most recent blog posts that I have added. Here are a few links to some of the best posts and highlights of the blog to date.

On-line Golf Games

This post covers some of the great on-line golf games. The blog also includes links to the golf game web pages.

Golf at the Movies

Golf at the Movies covers some of the best golf related films for cinema. Great golf films such as Tin Cup and Caddyshack. The post also includes a video clip from the golf film Tin Cup.

Golf Stats for the Golf Course

There are a number of golf stats that can be recorded during any round. This covers some of the best golf stats such as putting averages etc and the mathematics behind them.

Longest Golf Hole in the United States

There are some very long golf holes on the PGA Tour. Some of these may even be new par 6 holes which are being added to some golf courses. However, none of these are the longest, and this post covers the Guinness Record listed longest golf hole in America.

Top 100 Golf Courses

This is an early post on this blog which includes the Golf Magazine’s top 100 golf course list. Although the list may have changed slightly since then, it is still a good guide as to which are the best golf courses in the sport.

These are a few of this blog’s posts that are worth revisiting. Just click on the links included above for the blog posts. Also consider browsing through some of the older posts I have included on my other blog which is included under my links.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Fifth Major – the US Amateur Championship

In the amateur game the US Amateur Championship is the golf trophy to win. The US Amateur Championship dates back to the late 19th century, and so predates both the USA PGA Championship and the US Masters. As such, before the US Masters or PGA Championships were established it was considered to be one of golf's Majors, alongside the UK and US Open.

The US Amateur Championship has a great history, and many of the game’s great players have played in and won the US Amateur Championship before they turned pro. These are just a few of the great golfers that have won the US Amateur Championship and the UK Open that is currently being played: Nicklaus, Woods, Palmer, Jones, Trevino, and O’Meara.

Woods won the US Amateur Championship three years running during the ‘90s. This was just a couple of years before winning the first Major at the Augusta Masters. Of the above listed golfers Jones was the most prolific in the US Amateur Championship winning five US Amateur titles. Jones never actually turned pro, but still won the UK and US Opens as an amateur.

So overall, as many great golfers have played in the US Amateur Championship today it can still be considered a fifth Major even if it not a pro golf championship. The US Amateur Championship provides the first glimpse of future UK Open champions and other Major champions. The 2011 US Amateur Championship will be played at the Erin Hills golf course next month in August.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Great American Golf Courses

There are some great golf courses in America, either private or public venues. Generally, they are regarded as some of the best golf courses you will find. So, here are a few of some of America's finest golf courses.

Augusta National Golf Course

The Augusta golf course hosts the Master’s golf championship each golf season. So undoubtedly, the Augusta course is a very hard championship golf course with some particularly notable holes. The 12th hole is one of the most notable holes on the course, known as Rae's Creek, where the creek passes by in front of the green and includes Ben Hogan's bridge crossing. Overall, Augusta is a scenic golf course which has very slick and fast greens. However, few except the top ranked players on the PGA Tour such as Woods and Phil Mickelson actually play on this fine course that is largely reserved for the Master’s golf championship.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach, in California, is a golf course that plays alongside the Pacific Ocean. It is a par 72 golf course, approximately 6828 yards overall. While Pebble Beach is a championship calibre golf course that has hosted US Opens, it is also open to public play. Many of the course's holes run along the Monterey coast line, with views of the ocean, and are susceptible to prevailing winds. Signature holes on the golf course include the 7th and 8th holes. The 8th 416 yard par 4 hole includes an elevated landing area on a cliff above the green. While the 7th hole is the shortest on the course, at a little over 100 yards, the hole has a cliff-side green.

Pine Valley golf course

The golf course of Pine Valley is regarded as one of America's best courses. Overall, the course is a par 70 at 7,000 yards in length. Set in hundreds of acres of virgin woodland, the course is also one the trickiest. It is a golf course which has a fine collection of par 3 and par 5 golf holes, and a particularly notable 18th hole.

Cypress Point Club

Cypress Point's golf course is another fine course located at Pebble Beach, California. Like Pebble Beach Links, it has some holes along the Pacific coast such as the 231 yard 16th hole which plays over the ocean. The first nine holes of the course run through the Del Monte forest, while the latter holes run out along the rocky Pacific coastline. Overall, it is regarded as one of America's best courses.

Arizona National Golf Club

Arizona National Golf Club has been rated as one of the top 100 golf courses in the USA. As such, it is one of the best venues for Tucson golf. The golf course was designed by Trent Jones, and is set in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. As such, the course has some great scenery along its 6, 735 yards.

These are a few great American golf courses. The Augusta and Pebble Beach courses are two fine courses that have hosted Major championships, while Pine Valley and Cypress Point have some of the best finishing holes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Famous Golf Holes

In the game of golf there are a few famous holes. They have become famous as notable holes on championship golf courses such as Augusta and St Andrews. Or alternatively, simply because of their excellent design and setting. So, here are a few the famous golf holes in the game.

Pebble Beach No 7: 106 yards

Pebble Beach is a fine golf course set alongside the Pacific Ocean. As such, there are a few notable holes on the golf course. However, one of the most famous is this short par 3 golf hole. It may be a short hole, but it is not an easy one. For this hole plays out into the Pacific, and with the prevailing winds can seem a good deal longer. It has been said that golfers sometimes use mid-irons to reach the green. In addition to this, golfers that over-hit will not find their ball! With two large bunkers on the left and right side it is important to make the green.

St Andrews Old Course No 17: 455 yards

The St Andrews Old Course is one that is steeped in history. As a championship course that has staged the UK Open, one of its more famous holes is the 17th hole, called the 'road hole'. The 17th hole at St Andrews has been a pitfall for golfers in pursuit of the Claret Jug. Overall, for length it is a long par 4 hole, and it is something of a golfing relic. The hole also has some very deep bunkers such as the road hole bunker on the left side of the fairway.

Augusta National No 12: 155 yards

This par 3 hole is perhaps one of the most notable par 3 holes of the Augusta golf course, and therefore the Master's golf championship. Located on Amen Corner, the hole has a green that is protected by Rae's Creek where a misplaced tee shot can land. The green also has numerous bunkers surrounding the green. In addition to this, the hole includes Ben Hogan's bridge which crosses over the creek.

So, these are just five famous golf holes in the sport of golf. Holes such as the 17th at the Old Course, and the 12th and 7th holes of Augusta and Pebble Beach. They are great golf holes.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Longest Golf Hole in the United States

The United States has some long golf courses, and most of the holes on these courses go up to 500-600 yards. However, as courses and holes have expanded, now par 6 holes are being included on some golf courses. These are usually reserved for holes that are seemingly too long to be par 5s.

The longest golf hole in the United States is indeed a par 6. This golf hole is the 12 hole at the Meadows Farm golf course. This hole is 841 yards in length which makes it the longest golf hole in the United States. As this hole is also included in the Guiness Book of Records as the longest American golf hole, Guiness have confirmed this as a record. As such, it is also one of the longest golf holes in the world.

At 841 yards long this hole is actually the equivalent of two 420 yard holes which is an average for par 4 holes. Given this, it seems that this hole should be more like a par 8 hole than a par 6! I doubt that many golfers would be able to par this hole. At any rate, If new golf club designs continue to make further distances possible then par 6 holes will surely become more prevalent at golf courses.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Golf Desktop Wallpaper

There are a few websites that include a variety of golf wallpaper for desktops. Here are a few sites worth browsing for golf wallpaper.

The first worth noting is that of Golf Select. The website includes a number of pages with golf course desktop wallpaper. In addition to this, it has a handy text search box if you are searching for desktop wallpaper for a specific golf course.

In addition to this, DesktopNexus is another good website which includes a few pages of golf wallpaper. This includes a range of golf wallpaper, and some famous holes such as the 7th at Pebble Beach and Rae's Creek at the 12th Augusta hole.

Finally, this sport desktop wallpaper website also has a variety of golf wallpaper. There are nine pages of golf wallpaper here including both animation and photography.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chip shot golf video

For some further golf tips on the short game, here is a short chip shot golf tutorial. The tutorial is provided by an IMG Leadbitter Golf Academy tutor.

So, to summarize some of the key points:

7 or 9 Iron club selection
Ball inside of back foot
Grip like putter
Strike down on ball

What could also have been noted would be to put most of the weight on the left foot. In addition to this, if your ball has landed in the rough around the green then the wedges will most likely get the ball out with minimum roll on the green.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

On-line Golf games

For a bit of golfing action off the golf course there are a variety of on-line golf games at various websites. Here are a few that are certainly worth noting.

Supreme Golf:

Supreme Golf is an on-line golf game that has some good graphics & some audio effects. The game includes a full 18 hole golf course, and has a third person perspective like most golf games on the various console formats. Although the targeting options are a little limited, and the golf bag does not include a sand wedge, aside from this Supreme Golf is one of the better on-line golf games.

Stroke it Lucky:

Among some of the highlights of the BBC website is the Stroke it Lucky flash game. This golf game provides a more birds-eye view of each hole, and three opponents to select from. Although the club selection is limited to only six clubs, with a driver, 3 wood, 6 wood, 9 iron, putter, and wedge this is a reasonable range of clubs.

World Golf Tour:

Quite possibly the best on-line golf game around is that of the multi-player World Golf Tour. This golf game takes advantage of 3D photorealistic georeferencing technology, and includes text chatting options as well. In addition to this, the game is also based on a variety of real-life golf courses such as Bethpage Black, Kiawah Island Ocean Course, and St Andrews Old Course. The best bit is that World Golf Tour has free registration, and for this a password and e-mail address need to be provided.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour On-line:

This is the on-line version of the Tiger Wood golf games, and so has some of the most advanced 3D effects of any on-line alternative. No download is required, and you can sign up at the at website and select from either a monthly or yearly subscription package. Alternatively, if you choose neither you can still play a few rounds a day. Micro-transaction points can be gained, and are required to play on the variety of courses. Overall, there are a number of famous courses included such as Bethpage and the TPC at Sawgrass.

These are just a few great on-line golf games. For further details select the links provided here.