Fore! Golf Destinations

Golf is a popular recreation activity for retirees and with many other age groups. Regardless of ability, it is one of those activities where pals can get together to play a round, get some exercise, have lunch and kibitz about their counting accuracy, chips, divots, slices and how many balls have been lost.

Historically, golf was a sport for the privileged that could afford private club memberships, travel the world to play the legendary golf resorts and schmooze with the sports legendary players. However, in the past 50-plus years, the popularity of the game has spread and resulted in the development of numerous new community, executive and championship courses across North America. The once weekend golfer is now an aficionado who hones skills at driving ranges and putting greens, has exchanged the weekly poker game for a round of golf and found the course the ideal place to do business, to pal around with friends and to rub elbows with the communitys movers and shakers. And, they follow the sport and dream of the day they too will tee off where champions play.

Golf is now being enjoyed by a large and diverse population, young and old, men and women, spanning all economic levels. And, the sport is energized with a new breed of celebrity golfer who is young and amiable. Tiger Woods leads the pack and is joined by other greats like O Meara, Mickelson, Singh and Weir, and in womens golf by Sorenstam, Park, Ochoa, Mallon, Kerr, and Hee-Won-Hav. These and other professionals have set new benchmarks for the sport. They have become popular advertising icons, spokespersons for charitable causes, sport fashion trendsetters and they are in touch with the amateur golf enthusiast.

Golf continues to be a growing industry with 16,057 golf courses located in the United States and 160 new facilities scheduled to open this year, most being public courses. Many Western retirement residential communities feature one or more golf courses as part of their amenities packages and, at the other end of the golf age spectrum, high-schools offer golf in their sports program.

Golf is no longer an at-home sport for the amateur as players are eager to find the opportunity to include this recreation activity in their vacation plans. Golf may be the main focus for some trips while at other times it will be a bonus activity added to an itinerary plan. Trip planners eager to tap into this market need to look only as far as the local golf course to find eager golfers who want to play the sport on vacation.

Where are the Golf Destinations?

With the popularity of golf and the abundance of courses, most destinations offer an opportunity to accommodate visiting golfers. When planning golf trips you will find distinctive differences in golf destinations and there are considerations to be taken with regard to climate conditions, budget and players desired experience. A key element found at most golf destinations is the availability of a selection of courses which compliment varied ability levels. Another factor is to differentiate between public, public-private and private courses that may or may not have reciprocal club privileges. Most all locations will offer professional services for lessons, have equipment for rent (when not traveling with ones own), offer special packages for groups and may or may not require carts. Here are some basic guidelines in identifying various golf destinations:

The best known golf destinations have built reputations as golf meccas and include places like Palm Springs (115 courses), Monterey (22 courses), Phoenix-Scottsdale (200 courses) and Tucson (27 courses). You find these destinations are the principal sites for major tournaments tours (PGA, LPGA, Skins, and Senior) and while many courses are connected with country clubs and resorts, most all are available for play to area visitors. There are also many other popular destinations that offer outstanding golf options but are often better known for their other tourism attractions. These include places like Las Vegas (57 courses), San Diego (90 courses) and Hawaii (80 courses), and they also are frequently included on the professional tour circuit.

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Flexibility For Golf Will Not Be Lost With Weight Training

There is no doubt that flexibility for golf is extremely important to your golf game. Little wonder that one of the biggest fears among many golfers looking to improve their game is that of losing their flexibility specific to golf as a result of weight training that builds muscles and stretching exercises.

This is one of the reasons why many amateur golfers still avoid joining golf-specific exercise and conditioning programs. They mistakenly link every weight-training program with muscle building and bodybuilding.

Although it is true that muscle building and body building will tend to make somebody stiff, the facts are that weight training can either be used for body-building and building of muscles, or it can be used to build strength.

The golf specific weight training programs are aimed at building strength and endurance. Not muscles. A genuine golf exercise program will have nothing in its’ weight training routine to remotely relate it to muscle or bodybuilding.

In fact stronger conditioned muscles will tend to dramatically improve flexibility for golf, rather than reduce it. Flabby, weak, unexercised muscles are the ones that will tend to be very stiff and over time will take away the flexibility for golf in anybody.

Stretch exercises, which work best with strengthened muscles are very effective in helping to increase flexibility. These exercises usually have a major impact on the quality of the golf swing for most players.

Therefore it is not true that incorporating dumbbells into golf specific exercises makes a golfer lose flexibility. Rather the entire program plays a major role in enhancing flexibility for golf and the results from players who have tremendously improved their game, speak for themselves.

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Flexibility Exercise For Golf

Flexibility exercise for golf is a critical component to performing a repeatable, powerful, and mechanically sound golf swing. Senior golfers are the prime target to benefit the most from flexibility exercise for golf. With a declining level of both flexibility and strength, the muscles of the senior golfers are not as pliable and responsive to the physical demands of the golf swing.

The golf swing requires a higher level of flexibility to produce maximum power. Turning your upper body (shoulders) 90 degrees, while maintaining less than half that with your hip turn takes a tremendous amount of dynamic strength and flexibility.

It always surprises me when I speak to a golfer and really spell it out to them. I’ll even go through the swing visually and explain and certain points where physical restrictions can ruin your golf swing. I think the combination of my showing the golfer and explaining it really hits home for them.

It’s tough via an article like this, or any of my websites to get the golfer to understand these physical demands on flexibility (and strength). I can, and will do my best to always explain it in a way that gives you a good visual.

The sooner you realize flexibility exercise for golf is a necessity, the sooner you will see improvement. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience total “golf transformations” with the golfers I’ve worked with.

Testing them before they started, on backswing range; follow through range; initial posture set up and restrictions: I’ve seen miraculous results with golfers. The senior golfers are the ones who see the biggest improvement. That’s mostly based on their initial level of fitness when they started.

That’s why I always tell golfers I come intact with…”it’s NEVER too late!” Never! Everyday that goes by is another day you’ll have wished you would have started. Don’t let one more day go by. Get started right away!

Now…to define flexibility exercise for golf you just need to take a look at the golf swing. Get in your golf posture right now, and bring the swing down into phases. Imagine taking a club back just a couple of feet.

Where do you feel the tension so far?

If you’re really paying attention to your body, you will feel the back of your legs (hamstrings), your left hip, the back of your left arm, and even your lower back. This is if you are a right-handed golfer.

Now take it back further. Where do you feel it now?

You’ll start feeling tension in your right shoulder, your core (from rotating), more in your upper left back muscle and shoulder.

Isn’t it amazing to slow the swing down and realize how restricted you are? It’s a wake-up call to embark in flexibility exercise for golf right now.

I don’t want to spend 5 more pages going through the entire swing, but hopefully you get the idea of the muscles that need to be stretched regularly to release the tension in your golf swing and improve the power you can produce.

The key now, is to start stretching those ‘golf muscles’ we just talked about. Get back in your posture, make a partial swing and stop. Take that position just a little farther and hold for 15 seconds. You can literally do this throughout the entire swing. This is called static (holding) stretching. You will definitely want to incorporate some dynamic (moving) stretching as well.

I hope you new realize the importance of flexibility exercise for golf.

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Fix Your Finish To Improve Your Golf Handicap

How you finish often reveals what’s happening during your swing In fact, I often key on a player’s finish in my golf lessons to determine exactly how to help he or she can improve their game. You can do the same for yourself—if you know what to look for.

Below I describe four of the more common finishes I see when giving golf lessons, possible causes of the finish, and ideas on how to eliminate, the swing faults that cause them.

High Finish
The high finish position is among the most common. Hands held high and a flying left elbow (for right handers) characterize the position, associated with pushes, thins shots, and shots struck toward the clubface’s heel. High finishers tend to swing on an in to out path that’s extreme, with the club traveling to the right of the target, minimizing control.

If you read my golf tips, you’ll find that the in-to-out swing is my preferred approach; however, in this case, it’s extreme. When the inside-out move becomes severe, you push the shot. When club comes too far inside with a closed clubface, you pull the shot. Also, swinging too far inside delivers the club below the swing plane, preventing the club from striking the ball on a descending path. The key is not to exaggerate the move too much.

Low Finish
The low finish stems from an overly out-to-in swing path, caused by a downswing motion initiated by the arms instead of the body. Players developing this finish come over the top of the plane, as I’ve explained in my golf tips, causing the clubhead to cut across the ball through the impact zone. The position is associated with pull slices, pull hooks, and shots off the toe. Since the club is moving steeply and across the ball, none of the shots are well struck. Nor do they fly toward the intended target.

If you freeze this finish, you’ll notice that the player’s hands and arms seemed to be all jammed up. That’s because the arms have moved earlier than the body, impeding the arm’s movement and limiting their extension. To fix this problem, you obviously need to work on the body/arm synchronization, so your arms don’t out race your body on the downswing.

Lunge Finish
I don’t know how popular this finish is statistically, but I often see it in my golf lessons. With this type of finish, the player’s head is in front of his or her left leg, or the golfer feels himself or herself falling forward. It stems from a poor rotation of the lower body through the hitting zone, causing the upper body to get ahead of the ball. The end result: the player fails to stay behind the ball during the swing.

To correct this fault, you need to work on your hip rotation. Try leading the down swing with your hips instead of your body. Try placing a chair to your front side, with the back of the chair just touching your hips. Take a few practice swings being careful to stay in contact with the chair’s back as you turn through impact. Also, try finishing with your head over your left leg.

Reverse C Finish
The Reverse C Finish, in many golf instruction courses, was thought of as the perfect finish— that is, up until a few years ago. Now, it’s not as highly regarded. With the reverse C, the golfer slides his legs and body laterally to the left (for right-handers) and too fast through impact. The weight, however, remains on the back foot. A reverse pivot—which occurs when you fail to transfer your weight from the front foot to the back foot—also produces a Reverse C finish configuration.

To correct this fault, you need more hip rotation and less slide. To cure the reverse pivot, you need more weight transfer. If your problem is the reverse pivot, try making your ordinary swing while lifting your front foot of the ground on your back swing, then replant it on the downswing. This helps transfer the weight from the front foot to the back foot, as it should. If you want to build more hip rotation in the swing, try taking practice swings with a shaft placed on right side of your hips. Your hips should rotate so that they never touch the shafts. If they touch, you slid.

The reverse C finish is one of the more prominent finishes. But like the lunge, low, or high finishes, it can indicate hidden swing faults that need correcting. The sooner you start working on correcting the swing faults discussed here, the sooner you’ll start lowering your golf handicap.

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