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5 Guidelines for Good Golf Etiquette

With golf season underway, you’re probably chomping at the bit to get onto the course at your favourite Whitby golf club for a few early-season rounds to get rid of the cobwebs. But sometimes that eagerness can make us forget our manners. That’s why we like to start each season with a reminder to follow the rules of golf etiquette and make the season more enjoyable for everyone.

Good Golf Etiquette Guidelines

We’ve covered a number of basic golf course etiquette rules in a previous post, including keeping the pace of play, golf cart etiquette and the golden rule on the greens, don’t step in anyone’s putting lines.

Here are five more good golf etiquette rules all golfers should observe on the course.

  1. Arrive Early at the First Tee Ready to Play – At very least, this means to not be late for your tee time and be ready to step into the tee box well before your tee time. You’ll get a lot more out of your golf game if you arrive early enough to take a few practice swings with both your drivers and irons, and a few practice putts too.
  2. Stay Out of Sight – Last year, we told you that silence is golden. The same is true for invisibility. As much as possible, stay out of the sight lines of your fellow golfers. On the tee, that means staying well behind the person who is teeing off – and that’s for your own safety as much as anything else.

  3. Practice Flagstick Etiquette – When’s the last time you brushed up on your flagstick etiquette? Here are just a few basics. If you are first onto the green or closest to the hole, it is good etiquette to offer to tend to the flag. Lift the flag from the bottom of the cup and let it rest in the cup so you can pull it out of the way quickly. Once it’s out of the hole, either hold the flag upright or lay it down flat on the ground, off the green.
  4. Mark Your Ball – If you are closest to the hole or at all close to anyone’s putting lines, you should offer to mark your ball.
  5. Stay Cool – Golf can be at once a highly exhilarating and highly vexing sport. However, while expressing some frustration may be expected, but uncontrolled outburst, including damaging the course with your club, throwing clubs, swearing, or being loud is absolutely unacceptable.

If you liked this post, check out our recent article about how to increase your club head speed in a golf swing.

4 Simple Tips for Better Golf from Jason Day

Jason Day has an impressive resume in professional golf. A former World Number 1 with 12 PGA Tour wins, a PGA Championship and a Players Championship under his belt, he also set the record for the lowest score in a major, 20 shots under par, in his first major win at the 2015 PGA Championship. Along with Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy, he is one of only three players who are multiple winners of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

So when a golfer of his calibre offers tips for better golf, we should all listen carefully.

Jason Day’s Tips for Better Golf

With the idea of simplifying the execution of main shots, so you can concentrate on your game, not just your swing, Day offers the following three keys to better golf.

  1. Position Yourself for a Good Drive – We all want to walk up to the tee and crush the ball with all everything we have. To improve your chances of doing exactly that,  Day stresses the importance of three elements of your positioning and swing before you actually hit the ball.

    First, use a good solid stance, including even weight distribution between both legs and your toes and heels. Second, position the ball so it’s not too far back or too far forward. Third, use a slow takeaway which helps you be more aggressive through the ball.

  2. Be Consistent with Your Irons – “No matter what iron I’m swinging, my process stays the same,” says Day. First, his set up is neutral, including his grip on the golf club. Then, to hit down on the ball with the centre of the club, Day uses a shorter three-quarter swing. Finally, you should finish in the classic post-swing wraparound position, which is a sign of a good swing tempo and rhythm.

  3. Go Big with Your Short Game – Again, Day recommends consistency in your shots, saying “no matter what iron I’m swinging, my process stays the same.” Focus on a spot in front of the ball for a clean hit. Minimize wrist action for easier contact and a square clubface. Use your big muscles, or whole body, to power your shot, instead of mostly your arms and hands.

  4. Putt Sensibly – “My process on the greens has helped me become one of the best putters in the game. This is one area where the right type of practice will allow you to focus on line and speed when you play,” advises Day.

    Eye and hand positioning are key when you address the ball. Focus on the projected path of the ball and the face of the club, ensuring it is square to the path. Overestimate the distance to the hole before you swing.

Now that you’re stoked with tips from one of the top professionals in the game, why not book a round at the top golf course in Durham Region!

If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article on how to increase your club head speed in your swing.

How to Win a Golf Match

You’ve had your golf swing analyzed. You’ve taken lessons. You’ve invested in good golf clubs. You try to get out on the course regularly. But, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to figure out how to win a golf match.

First, there’s a greater difference between match play competitions and regular stroke play than many golfers realize. But, fortunately or not, like everything else relating to golf, the differences are largely in your mental approach to the game and the strategies you use on each hole.

5 Tips for Winning a Golf Match

The following tips should help you make the adjustment to match play tournaments and improve your chances of actually winning them.

  1. Practice Properly – Match play is more about consistency and winning each hole. On the driving range, work on the accuracy of your drives. On the practice green, take mostly long or short putts, they are the ones that can make you lose, or gain, the most strokes. While conceded putts might be part of match play, always assume you’ll have to hole out on every green.
  2. Don’t Try to Impress on the First Hole – Even if you’re a low-handicap golfer, save the intimidation factor for later. The risk of going for the jugular off the first tee is that, if you at all misplay it, it could affect your game for many holes to come.
  3. Be Ready to Change Your Strategy Quickly – The more aggressively you play, the higher the chance of misplaying a shot. If your opponent is playing well, you’ll have to stay aggressive. But, even if you start a hole in aggressive mode, be ready switch gears if your opponent gets into trouble. Continuing to be aggressive when you don’t have to can backfire.
  4. Treat it Like It’s a Normal Round – While you play the course with your match-play strategies in mind, over-thinking it and getting too involved in the ‘match’ thing can destabilize your game.
  5. Get to Know the Golf Course – If you’ve never played the course on which your match will take place, try to get in a round before the match. And if you’re looking for an excellent Durham Region golf course to set up a match-play tournament, look no further than Royal Ashburn.

If you liked this post, check out our recent article on how to swing a golf club: the stance.

How to Hold a Golf Club

If the overall mission in golf is to get the ball into the hole using a club, then the only thing between you and that club are your hands on the grip. So learning more about how to hold a golf club is crucial, even for seasoned golfers.

The Basic Grip

There are a number of ways to grip the club, including the baseball grip and interlocking grip. But mastering the basic golf grip first gives you a ‘baseline’ from where you can learn other grips and determine which one helps your golf swing the most.

How to Do a Basic Club Grip

You can try this at home, but its best to be in a space where you can swing the club to get a better feel for the grip.

  1. Place the Club Head on the Ground in Front of You – The face of the head should be perpendicular to the path of the ball or a line to the target. Rest the club grip on your forward leg.
  2. Grab the Club Shaft with Your Non-Dominant Hand – That’s your left-hand if you are right-handed, and vice versa if your swing is left-handed. Raise up the shaft so that it is at a 45% angle to the ground. With your palm facing up, lay the top of the grip across your dominant hand along the joints between your palm and fingers. The top of the grip should extend a few centimetres past the knuckle on your little finger.
  3. Grip the Club – Curl your fingers around the club while simultaneously bringing your thumb across the top of the grip to the other side of the grip. In its final position, your thumb should not be over your index finger, and it should be pointing slightly behind the club.
  4. Grab the Grip With Your Dominant Hand – Place it just below the upper hand with the grip going across the joints between your palm and fingers. The padding on your palm below your thumb should fit in the space between your forefinger and thumb of your upper hand. Your little finger should lie in the space between the index and middle fingers of the upper hand.

Want to find a local Whitby golf club to try out your new grip? Get in touch with us here Royal Ashburn Golf Club. And if you liked this post, make sure to check out our last article on 5 steps to great bunker raking.

How to Swing a Golf Club: The Stance

One of the great pleasures of golf is that it isn’t easy. That can make it a challenge for beginners and experts alike. But the more you learn about the game, the better you will be able to meet that challenge, regardless of your level of play. The most basic skill of all? How to swing a golf club!

The Importance of Learning How to Swing a Golf Club

The basic challenge in golf is learning how to swing to hit the ball consistently well. Without a good swing, no other part of the game, from club selection to the equipment you choose, will really matter.

The Basic Stance

Every golfer develops their own stances as their experience and knowledge expand. The following cover some of the basic starting points for developing a stance that works for you.

  1. The Placement of Your Feet – Keep your feet a little more than shoulder width apart, with your front foot slightly ahead of the ball. The ball should be at or close to the mid-point between your feet.
  2. The positioning of the Club and Ball – Align the ball with the middle of the club head. For the club to be in the right position, arms should be straight out, but elbows shouldn’t be locked. Your upper body should be bent slightly forward at the waist.
  3. Knees Slightly Bent – For a better understanding of the importance of bending your knees, and how much they should be bent, try a swing with your knees straight. Keep your weight balanced somewhat towards the balls of your feet and evenly distributed between your feet.
  4. Alignment to the Target – Your feet and shoulders should be aligned with the target for your shot, whether that’s a point on the fairway or the hole. For proper alignment, an imaginary line between your shoulders, and the toes of your shoes should point to your target. That way you’ll achieve ultimate precision when swinging the club.

To learn more about how to swing a golf club from a professional instructor at a premier Whitby golf club, get in touch with us here at Royal Ashburn Golf Club. If you liked this post, check out our last blog post on improving your confidence on the golf course.

How To Keep Playing Golf in Cold Weather

We’re always optimistic about playing golf as long as we can each year. But any way you look at it, colder weather is on the way. We’ve had a long, hot summer (though it had its share of rain too) and it can be difficult to be ready for the change in weather when it arrives.

But there’s no reason you can’t keep playing golf comfortably in the cooler weather this fall.

How to Dress to Play Golf in Colder Weather

Of course, the basic idea is to stay warm and not let the cold get to you. You could wear a parka, but, well, that’ll play havoc with your swing dynamics. Layering is the answer and you only need three of them.

  • Base Layer – The layer closest to your body may be the most important. It should do two things well. In addition to helping you stay warm, it should also keep you dry from sweat. Look for compression wear that wicks moisture and dries fast.
  • Second Layer – This one should do most of the warming. A fleece or performance jacket works well. It’s always difficult to predict how cold you will be. A full zipper will let you adjust ventilation as needed.
  • Outer Layer – It’s important to remember that this layer is about keeping the cold wind out, versus adding another layer of warmth. A non-insulated, water-repellent windbreaker or rain jacket will do the trick nicely. A hood will be helpful if it starts to rain or get extra chilly.
  • Headgear – You lose more body heat through your head than any other part of your body. A compact, not tight, beanie-style toque that covers your ears will do a better job than your summer golf hat.
  • Cart Gloves/Mitts – You’ll want to make your shots wearing only your golf gloves, so keep a pair of warm gloves or, even better, mittens with hand warmers inside, in the cart for between shots.
  • Waterproof Golf Shoes – We don’t get any more rain in the fall than we do at other times of year. But cooler temperatures mean damp course conditions linger for longer. Even the most dedicated golfer doesn’t like playing with cold, wet feet.

When you’re ready to try all your cold-weather golf gear, we’ll be ready to book your tee time here at Royal Ashburn.

One Way to Help Improve Confidence on the Golf Course

In a way, after playing for the very first time, it’s amazing that anyone ever plays a second round of golf. Golf can at one moment be the most enjoyable and rewarding sport, and at the next moment, the most frustrating.

Anyone who has played a round of golf knows what we mean.

Golf’s Mental Game

It’s generally understood that golf is a competition against yourself, not the golfers in your foursome. Yes, at the end of the round you compare scores and declare a winner. But, at the moment you step up to play each shot, no one is between you and the ball. Whether it is a great shot, a hook, a slice or a duff, you are entirely responsible for it.

You and your thoughts that is.

More than any sport we know, golf is at least as much a mental game as it is physical. And the onslaught of challenges starts to chip away at your confidence from the moment you step up to the first tee. There you are, you haven’t settled into the round yet. The starter’s watching. Maybe another foursome too. It’s a par 5. No pressure.

Even if you manage to keep the shot on the fairway, away from the bunkers, the pressure’s still on. Now you have to make the most of what appears to be a relatively easy shot. You simply can’t misplay such a great lie.

Try This to Help Improve Your Confidence on the Golf Course

There are lots of ways to improve confidence in your golf game. Like anything else, the more you golf, the better you play. Lessons never hurt anyone’s golf game and simply knowing that you’ve made the investment can help your confidence. But, yes, it is an investment and you might have to play more often than you do.

So try putting away the scorecard.

In addition to all the mental challenges of playing the game, golfers also write down their scores at the end of every hole. Even if you did well on a hole, your three-over-par on that other hole glares at you every single time you look at the scorecard. Try playing a round without keeping score. Play just for the enjoyment. Enjoy the day. Enjoy the course. And enjoy the company of friends!

This doesn’t mean you stop trying to make the best shot every time. In fact, the idea is to try to focus on only the shot, not the score.

Not paying attention to your score may or may not work for you. It’s tough not to keep score in your head. But the idea is, if you find any way to improve your confidence and your ability to play the game, you’ll enjoy golf even more.

3 Ways Golf Lessons Can Improve Your Game

Whether you’re a beginner or you golf every week, when you have a difficult round, the thought of taking golf lessons can pop into your mind. But that’s usually all it does. Pop into your mind and right back out.

One of the reasons many golfers don’t take lessons, even if they’ve benefited from them before, is the idea that the lessons are all about improving your swing.

Of course, developing a great swing is one of the main benefits of golf lessons. But it is just one of many that golfers of all abilities can enjoy.

How Golf Lessons Can Help Every Golfer

Needless to say, lessons are especially helpful for beginners. That’s because they have more to learn. But every golfer can learn something by taking lessons from a golf pro.

1. Reveals The Nuances of the Game

To think that golf lessons are just about a better swing is really cheating yourself out of learning so much more about the game. And getting the added enjoyment that comes from it. From the different approaches to the long and short games, to learning how to get back on track after a bad swing, hole or round, all will help lower your scores.

2. Immerses You in a Golf Conversation

Yes, you can visit the driving range and practice green to work on your swing on your own. But when you take lessons from a professional instructor, you engage in a conversation about golf. One that’s centered on your game. And one that can reveal parts of your game you might never think about on your own.

3. Reinvigorates Your Love of the Golf

Regardless of if you’ve ever had a lesson or ever will, you love golf. But imagine what happens if, after just one lesson, you learn something new. Something that injects a new level of enthusiasm for your game. And imagine if that happened after every lesson. Just the boost to your activity in and enthusiasm for the sport and how you play it can improve your game immensely.

The Royal Ashburn Golf Club offers private and semi-private lessons from CPGA professionals Dave Castellan and Justin Hawe. Contact us today to find out more about how golf lessons can improve your game.  

4 Reasons to Use Golf Club Head Covers

The jury is out on the benefits of golf club head covers. You’ll get as many points of view on if, how and why to use them as the number of golfers you ask. In the end, it’s up to your personal preference.

The Benefits of Golf Club Head Covers

Whether you choose to use them constantly, regularly or just occasionally (like for travel), here are just some of the benefits that golf club head covers offer.

1. Protect Your Clubs

This is the basic reason for using head covers. When woods were actually made of wood, they were easily bruised and scratched. Head covers not only protected them from that damage, but also from the elements.
Still, even today’s metal woods can benefit from head covers. The graphite shafts on many woods are susceptible to damage that can be prevented by covers that feature longer necks for the shaft. Covers will also reduce damage to the face of your clubs; damage that can affect the shots you make.

2. Stop the Clanging

Golf is a game of etiquette and consideration for others on the course. The clanging of clubs, whether you carry your bag, use a pull cart or even a power cart, is silenced when you use head covers. Remember, every single clang you hear from uncovered clubs is potentially another bit of damage to them.

3. Club Identification

Simply put, you can choose head covers that let you quickly spot the club you need for your next shot.

4. Add a Bit of Personality

Considering the variety of materials and designs used for club head covers, many golfers put covers on their golf clubs to reflect a bit of their personality on the course.

You Don’t Need to Use Them Constantly

Like we said, the jury is still out on the benefits of head covers. Even if you are not convinced of their benefits and like to play without them, you can still protect your clubs between rounds and remove them before you head out on the course.

If you’re looking to get a set of golf club head covers to protect the investment you’ve made in your clubs, be sure to visit the Pro Shop here at Royal Ashburn Golf Club.

4 Warm-Up Stretches to Do Before You Tee Off

Whether you do or you don’t, warming up, or improving your warm up, before a round of golf can have a bottom-line benefit on your scorecard.

Even if you visit the driving range before a round to get your swing in gear, warming up can speed up the process and get your swing into mid-round form even on the early holes.

Warming up also helps minimize aggravating any soreness or minor injuries too. You should definitely warm-up if you have any sensitivity in your shoulders, knees or just about anywhere because golf is truly a full-body sport.

To get a better idea of what stretches to do before golfing, think of every part of your body that you use in a golf swing from the ground up. Now stretch each part. ( NOTE: If you feel any pain, twinges or sensations while warming up, stop immediately.)

1. Legs & Lower Body

Squats and lunges are great for your legs, hips and lower back.

A. Squats

A good squat starts with your legs shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, bend at the hips, pushing your butt backward. Lower your hips to the ground. Do not let your knees move forward past the ends of your toes.

B. Lunges

Keep your upper body vertically straight, hold your shoulders back and your chin up while staring at a point straight in front of you. Step forward with one leg, and lower your body until both knees, are at about a 90-degree angle. Don’t let your lower knee touch the floor. Push back up to a standing position and repeat the lunge with your other leg. Try 10 reps to start.

2. Core

While just about every warmup you do will engage your core, you need to stretch it too. A few side bends will do the trick. With your legs shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips, bend at the waist, first to the left, then to the right. Repeat 10 to 15 times. You can try the side bends while holding a club across your shoulders with both arms.

3. Arms & Shoulders

Standing straight, legs shoulder-width apart, hold your swing arm straight across your body, towards your other arm, parallel to the ground. Using your other arm, pull your extended swing arm close to your body. You can add a turn at the waist to the direction your swing arm is pointing. Do the same for the other arm. Repeat three to five times.

4. Neck

Neck rolls are always a good way to stretch your neck. Facing forward, slowly rotate your head in a circular, clockwise direction. Repeat the full rotation three times, then do the same for a counter-clockwise rotation.

Every little bit helps in golf and warming up can make a big difference. Why not reserve a tee time here at Royal Ashburn Golf Club so you can practice your new warm-up routine!

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