Sunday, October 21, 2012

When the Summer Ends

When the summer ends expect golf courses to be wetter than usual. This will ensure an accumulation of casual water on the course, soaking your balls and reducing their roll. Less roll equates to less distance, so consider some of the following suggestions.

Forget about longer distance chipping. Longer distance chips, otherwise bump-and-runs, rely on more extensive ball roll for the ball to reach the flag. In which case, on a water soaked course, your chip may not even make it to the green. Revert to pitching when required.

In much the same way the Texas Wedge putt will not be so effective either. In sunny Texas this could get you close to the hole from some distance, but when the rains left puddles it's usually best to leave the putter in the bag if you're off the green. Chipping is usually the better alternative. However, if you're still very close to the green it could still come off.

Select longer clubs than usual. For example, a chip that may require a sand wedge on a dry course could require something more like a 9-iron for the same distance on wet courses. In addition to this you should select longer irons on the fairway to provide some more roll for the ball.

If your ball lands in a puddle, otherwise casual water, remember that you do not have to leave the ball there. You can drop the ball out of the puddle without having to add a stroke. Just make sure that you drop the ball a little behind the puddle and not ahead of it. Never drop balls ahead of the original position.

On the green a little more pace will be required for your putts. Up the pace a little more than usual with firmer putting. But even on a wet green you can still over hit putts.

Wash your golf clubs when you can. They'll be more muddy than on dry courses, but can be rinsed down in deeper puddles on the courses. At the least you should rub your clubs down with a towel, or if nothing else your jumper to remove some of the mud from the club heads.

Those are just a few suggestions for wet golf courses. Check out this page for further details.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Great Public Golf Courses

You have to be a member to play at a private golf course. Such golf courses can have membership fees running into thousands of dollars, so for the casual golfer are not the best option. However, public golf courses do not require club membership to play on them, although they will likely still include membership packages. So, here are a few recommended public golf courses.

Pebble Beach Links

Pebble Beach Links is regarded as one of the best golf courses, and has hosted a number of top golf tournaments such as the US Open on five occasions. The best bit is that as a golf resort course it is open to the public, although admittedly has a high green fee approaching $300 dollars a round. Still, it is a great golf course that plays alongside the Pacific Ocean. Including some fantastic holes and setting, it can make for a great golfing vacation.

BethPage Statepark Black Course

Also featuring high on Golf Digest's top public golf courses is that of BethPage Black. This golf course played host to the 2009 US Open, and so is undoubtedly a tricky golf course. Although perhaps not ideal for beginner golfers, BethPage Black golf course is much more affordable than the likes of Pebble Beach with green fees ranging from $60 - $120.

The Ocean Course

The Ocean Course is the jewel in the crown of the Kiawah Island Golf resort. It is similar to Pebble Beach, in respect of its coastal setting, but is alongside the Atlantic shoreline. The course includes some great views of the Atlantic shoreline, although prevailing Atlantic winds can always impact a round at the Ocean Course. Notable golf tournaments such as the 1991 Ryder Cup have also been staged at the Ocean Course, as well as the World Cup of Golf.

Old Course at St Andrews

The Old Course of St Andrews is a great links course with a fine history. It is also a public venue for public golf, and so is recommended. The home of golf has played host to a number of UK Open tournaments, and has some great holes such as the road hole which is a long par 4, and the 11th par 3 hole. While the course is closed on Sundays, you can play it most other days providing there is no championships being played on it.

Kape Kidnappers

Kape Kidnapper's golf course in New Zealand is a golfing marvel. This golf course is a sea-side golf course, set alongside Hawke's Bay. Surrounding the golf course are 600ft cliffs that plunge into the sea, with some cliff-side greens for good measure. Course designer Tom Doak has said of Kape Kidnappers:

“Our goal in designing golf courses is to create interesting holes you wouldn't find anywhere else. That wasn't hard to do at Cape Kidnappers, because the site is not like anywhere else in golf.”

So overall, Kape Kidnappers is a spectacular public golf course and resort. The golf course has been ranked as one of the world's top golf courses by publications such as Golf Magazine. Admittedly, green fees are almost as steep as the cliffs at Kape Kidnappers, but it is a recommended public golf course.

So, these are five recommended public golf courses. The golf courses of Pebble Beach Links, Kape Kidnappers, St Andrews Old Course, BethPage Black, and the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island are all excellent public golf courses and resorts that have variable green fees.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Red, White and Yellow Stakes

If you've played a few courses, you'll probably have noticed a few multi-colored stakes on some of their holes. These are usually wooden stakes, located around lakes, near to fences or other parts of a hole some way to the left or the right of the fairway. This is what the stakes are highlighting.

Red Stakes

The red stakes will be located alongside lateral water, such as a meandering stream, which may be running along the side of a hole. If your ball lands in one of these, then you've probably lost it if the stream is full of water. During the summer months streams might not be full of water, and you may still be able to find your ball to play out. However, if not then you'll have to drop you ball within a couple of club lengths behind one of the red stakes nearest to the point where you ball fell in the water.

White Stakes

White stakes are something else, and highlight those points of a golf course which are out of bounds. If you find that your ball has landed beyond a series of white stakes, possibly 25 yards apart, then it's gone out of bounds. In which case you'll have to pick your ball up, if you can find it, and go back to the approximate spot where you made the previous out-of-bound shot to drop ball. As a tip, you might want to leave a tee-marker at the original spot before searching for the ball if it may have gone out-of-bounds. Add an extra number to your scorecard and proceed.

Yellow Stakes 

Thirdly, there are also yellow stakes which will most likely be located around golf course lakes or smaller ponds. They're pretty similar to the red stakes, except that the lake or pond is not lateral. As such, if your ball lands in the water here you'll just have to drop the ball a little behind one of the yellow stakes closest to where you ball landed in the water. And of course, add a penalty stroke as well.

So, when on the course you should drop replacement balls close to these stakes if your ball goes in the water. Drop the balls a little behind them, no nearer to the hole where the ball originally landed. Or alternatively, return to the point where you made the original shot if the ball is out-of-bounds.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

When the Golf Season Ends

November means the main golf season is all but over. However, that does not mean that all golf courses close, and so golfing can continue during the off-season. So, why not?

Certainly, the climate will drop a few degrees as winter sets in. But in certain parts of the US you can certainly expect mild climates to remain in those southern US states such as Florida, Arizona etc. Beyond winter, as spring emerges you can expect milder climates still before the golf season really begins.

However, playing golf in colder weather may still require warmer clothing. A good golf jumper should be okay. In addition to this, vests, gloves, and woolly hats are recommended. In addition to this, a Thermos flask with tea or cocoa will also be worth taking onto the golf course.

You can also expect that golf course conditions will likely be wetter. That is to say, with annual precipitation greater beyond summer and during the winter months. If the weather is colder still, frost can also make golf courses damp. Damp golf courses will mean that the ball will not roll as far, and so in this respect less distance. For putting, putts can be under-hit and missed on damp greens.

The chances of downpours may also be greater off-season. In this respect, if it starts to rain heavily you might have to abandon the course. Take an umbrella out on the golf course, and do not play if overhead clouds are very grey.

Despite this, there are a few advantages to playing golf during the off-season. Some golf courses may reduce rates during the off-peak periods. As such, off-season golf can be more economical.

During the off-season golf courses you can expect the golf courses to be more empty. Emptier golf courses means that you can play round the course more quickly. Alternatively, quite the opposite if no golfers are behind you can take your time. Overall, golf courses will be easier to get on to with no advance book that may be required during the summer.

Still, if you must not play on a golf course during the off-season, then ranges are a better alternative. Whether it's pouring or not, golf ranges will be open. As such, this can be the next best thing to playing on course.

So, playing golf in the off-season has its advantages and disadvantages. For sure, weather conditions can vary, and golf courses will certainly be wetter during the off-season. However, during the early spring you can expect more sunshine, and potential discounts during the off-season