2011 July 13

Golf is both a hot topic and big business. Tiger Woods apart, the world seems to be full of talented young golfers and many people want to get into golf.  It can be an expensive hobby though, so here are some tips to help you get started without a massive financial investment.

Golf Essentials

1.    A good set of clubs the right size for you. The absolute minimum is a driver, a putter, at least one iron (7 iron is the best choice if you can only afford one) plus a wood for the fairway. And a bag, of course. Tees and balls are necessary, and a newbie needs a lot more balls (excuse the pun) that a more experienced golfer. A budget choice is cheap or ‘refurbed’ balls, they can usually be purchased at your club and save you a fortune in lost balls as you find your swing.
2.    Easy to wear shoes and clothes. They need to be comfortable and to meet the dress code at whatever club you visit. Remember that if you’re travelling around local clubs to find one that suits you as a base, the dress code may vary. Virtually no clubs allow vests or sleeveless T-shirts, and many privately-owned clubs are much stricter about the rules, some insisting on shirts with full-length sleeves and ‘golf shoes’ rather than trainers or loafers, for example. Polo-shirts work well for nearly all golf clubs.
3.    Accessories. A good hat is really necessary – something that shades your eyes but doesn’t catch your arm on the swing, so nothing with a brim that sticks out sideways from your head. Most people wear some variety of the baseball cap. Gloves are often seen as optional but for beginners they are close to vital, as they improve the grip and protect you from blisters. Remember that sun cream may be necessary but a good water-resistant jacket is more likely to be of long-term value!

2008 December 23

There’s a habit spreading from the States – where winter weather can make play difficult – some golf course committees have taken to putting up a sign reading: winter rules in effect today or preferred lies today. This doesn’t mean that you can wander round the clubhouse claiming you hit a hole in one as your preferred lie but rather, golfers are allowed  improve their lies on the fairway. That means that if your ball lands in a tuft of grass or a heap of snow, winter rules mean you can move it back onto the good grass of the fairway.

What this shows is that winter golf is booming, and it’s a great idea to make use of golf courses all year round. This year many British clubs have great incentives for winter use, ranging from PGA pro training being available through to free rounds for ladies and even winter cup competitions.  But what do you wear to take advantage of these offers?

Since most golf games are played during the warmer months, you need to choose your winter tops more carefully – polo-shirts are worn in summer, often with a thin sweater over the top to keep the muscles warm. The same system can operate in winter, but with a light jacket over the polo and a scarf to ensure the neck stays warm so that you can sight your swing with loose muscles. New technical processes mean that polo and rugby shirts are being made lighter without sacrificing their weave, so they remain just as warm and insulating without you having to add weight to your upper body.

One thing that’s often forgotten is the effect of winter sun on the face. After an hour or so on the course, both the damage caused to your skin and the strain that low winter sun puts on your eyes will be damaging you.  It’s vital to wear well-fitting hat with a good brim, to protect your eyes from eyestrain and to shield your face from the worst of the sun’s rays. If you happen to be thinning a little on top, this will also stop you burning the crown of your head without realising it.