Proper etiquette: Being Invited as a Private Country Club Guest

It’s your lucky day, you’ve been invited to play as a guest at a private country club.  An exclusive place where people typically pay high initiation fees and yearly dues to have a club to call their own.   Be a good guest and understand what is your responsibility.

 

  1. Look the part.  Ask about the dress code beforehand.  Common dress code for men is shorts or pants, with a polo shirt tucked in with a belt.  Many private country clubs will refuse cargo shorts and make you purchase a new pair in the golf shop.  Dress code for women is typically a polo shirt, and shorts or a skort that hits 3 inches above the knee.  It is not necessary for a woman to tuck in her shirt.
  2. Clubhouse behavior.  Depending on where you are located, wearing golf shoes through the clubhouse is forbidden, so be sure to arrive in loafers with your golf shoes toted in a nice shoe bag.  Changing into your shoes in the locker room is appropriate.    Also, be sure to take off your baseball cap in the clubhouse.  For women, it is appropriate to leave on your hat walking through the clubhouse.  Cell phone use is generally prohibited at private country clubs, check with your host before arrival.
  3. Arrive early.  Make sure to arrive with plenty of time before your scheduled tee time.  This will allow proper warm up and give you time to orient yourself with the country club.  Agree with your host when and where you will meet prior to arrival.
  4. Pay any extras for you and your host when you can.  If the country club allows for tipping, make sure to tip the valet, the outside staff (those boys that help schlep your clubs and clean your clubs) and anyone that may assist you in the locker room.   If a caddy is taken, offer to pay the caddie fees.  Offer to purchase snacks at the beverage cart, lunch at the turn and any drinks after the round.  Some  country clubs don’t allow cash exchange, the membership account is the only option for payment; if this is the case, offer to reciprocate their generosity at another comparable local golf course.
  5. Maintain your pace of play.  Your host might not want to hurry you during the round.  Use common sense to know when is the right time to pick up your golf ball.  Do your best to play ready golf.  2 hours 15 minutes is the typical time allowance for 9 holes and 4 hours 30 minutes is the time allowance for 18 holes at most golf courses.
  6. Compliment your host, when appropriate.  Make sure to acknowledge good shots.  Compliment the golf course.  Ask advice.  Seem genuinely interested in their country club.  They are paying for your greens fees for the day/ tournament, use common sense and be on your best behavior.
  7. Reciprocate the generous offer.  You don’t have to be a country club member to show appreciation.  Invite them to play at another golf course in the area within the next year.
  8. Most importantly, make sure to graciously thank your host.  It takes their time and money to show you a nice time, the least you can do is send them a handwritten note.

 

Enjoy your round!

Tennis players change their grips; why shouldn’t golfers?

It’s Sunday, July 6th, an important day of the year for tennis. It’s the “Gentlemen’s Final” at Wimbledon. As I sat on our couch with my tennis loving husband, watching the final match, a message from the commentator resonated with me, “it’s a good time for Federer to strengthen his grip.” I thought to myself, I wish more golfers had that creativity.

Good tennis players change their grip to alter their shots. Surprise! Good golfers do the same thing. The grip is an integral part of face control. In either sport, having a weak grip directly relates to an open face with the racquet or club. Whereas, a strong grip helps achieve a closed club face.

To become the best golfer you can become, it would be good to understand each of these two grips. As a right handed golfer (sorry lefties), a weak grip is when your hands rotate counterclockwise so you see more knuckles on your right hand. A strong grip is when your hands rotate clockwise from a birds eye view so you can see more knuckles on your left hand. A weak grip helps the ball go right and a strong grip helps the ball go left.

If you are playing on the golf course and struggling with one side of the fairway or another, a slight grip adjustment could be what you need to get the ball back into play. Otherwise, grip adjustments are particularly important for trouble shots. An example would be in an impossibly deep bunker. A weak grip creates an open face and the club face in turn creates a high lofted, cut shot.

On the other hand, a closed club face helps achieve a low draw or hook. An example of when you would need this technique would be getting yourself around a tree. Have you ever wondered how to purposely create a hook? Strengthening your grip is the first step.

I challenge you to play around with grip changes the next time you’re at the range. If you want to be a better golfer, practice like one.

 

Buying Golf Clubs from “Newbies” to Experienced Golfers

Very often I receive some form of communication asking my advice on purchasing his/her own set of golf clubs.  The concerns are: will the clubs fit me, how much will they cost, and where do I buy them.  These are my rules below:

1. Set your budget

Buying a Complete Set of Golf Clubs:

  • $200-$300 Brand new, not name brand, starter set of golf clubs
  • $500-$900 Brand new, name brand starter set of golf clubs
  • $300-$800 Used, name brand, set of irons

Buying Individual Golf Clubs:

  • $400- $1000 Name brand set of irons (SW- 5 iron)
  • $100-$300 Brand new, name brand putter
  • $200-$500 Brand new, name brand driver
  • $125- $300 Brand new, name brand hybrid
  • $150- $300 Brand new, name brand fairway wood
  • $150-$400 Brand new golf bag (either a stand bag or a carry bag)
  • $1000 > Custom set of brand new golf clubs

2. Ask your golf professional for his/her recommendation on length and shaft requirements.

  • There are 6 different “flexes” of shafts.  The more flexible the shaft, the easier it is to get the ball airborne.  The stiffer the shaft, the better for faster swing speeds.
  • In order of weak to strong shaft flex: – junior flex, -ladies flex, -men’s senior flex, -men’s regular flex, -men’s stiff flex, – men’s extra stiff flex

3. Do a little internet research to be an informed consumer

  • Brand Names- Callaway, Ping, Adams, Taylor Made, Cobra
  • Look into pricing

4. Browse your local golf shop

  • The local golf shops can be very competitive with internet pricing, be sure to check if you can get the set you are interested in locally before you pay for shipping.

5. Custom club fitters are specialized to fit golf clubs to your specifications

  • These people will generally spend 1-4 hours with you on a driving range assessing your lie angles, length, launch angles, shaft flex requirements, grip sizing and more.
  • The initial fitting is an additional cost
  • Custom golf clubs will last you years longer than purchasing “off the rack” because they are fit specifically for you and not built for the masses.
  • If you are serious about your golf game, a custom set of golf clubs will last you much longer than purchasing a standard set off the shelf.  Think about it- do all golfers swing the same?  So why should all golfers buy the same equipment?  It is important for your golf club to fit the way you swing, not for you to adjust to the golf club.

6. What extras do you really need?

  • A golf bag- I always suggest for my students to purchase a stand bag rather than a cart bag.  The difference is size and weight.  A stand bag generally has a double strap that makes it easy to carry your bag like a backpack, whereas a cart bag generally only has a shoulder strap.
  • Golf balls and tees- Make sure you have plenty for your first round of golf
  • Golf towel- some people enjoy having one towel for cleaning the clubs and another towel for cleaning their sweat.
  • Small emergency kit- I send my students to CVS or Walgreens for the $2.50 white small kit.  I would make sure to have plenty of bandaids, Neosporin, and white sports tape handy for those days you hit too many golf balls on the range.
  • Golf glove or two to help prevent blisters from forming.

 

WHERE TO BUY YOUR CLUBS ?

  • Your local golf shop
  • Your local custom club fitter
  • Online

THESE ARE MY “GO-TO” RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING

  • www.budgetgolf.com
  • www.rockbottomgolf.com
  • www.tgw.com
  • www.callawaypreowned.com
  • www.3balls.com
  • www.amazon.com

 

Some of my favorite products are listed on my ‘SHOP’ page here on Trudeaugolf.com, be sure to check out where to find my favorite products.

 

Happy Shopping!

Eye Dominance and Your Golf Game

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Are you left or right-eyed?

Make a circle with your thumb and first finger.

With both eyes open look at an object on the wall or in the distance, and center it inside the circle.

Now close one eye, and then the other.

What’s happening?

When you closed your left or right eye you should have found that the object jumps outside the circle.

If the object seemed to move when you closed your left eye – then you have left eye dominance.

If the object moved more when your right eye was closed, then your right eye is the dominant one.

Your brain builds up an image of the world around you using slightly different views from your right or left eye. Most people tend to have a dominant eye so that even when both eyes are open, one is giving priority information.
The object you chose was lined up to be in the circle using information from your dominant eye. When you close this one you can see that the object was not lined up for your other eye.
About 80% of the population are right-eyed, and a very small percentage seem to have no eye-dominance at all.

What it means and how it effects your golf game

Golfers who are right-eye dominant tend to see the hole to the right of its true location. The reason is that they set up with their right eye too far inside the ball and the target line when they putt. Initially, they push their putts to the right. Then they adjust their stroke accordingly (outside to in) and then pull their putts to the left.  The opposite is true for those who are left-eye dominant if the left eye is out of position. Initially, they pull their putts to the left.  Then they adjust their stroke accordingly (inside to out) and push their putts to the right.  You can read your putt’s break and hit a perfect stroke, but still end up missing it because your eyes deceived you. Learn which of your eyes is dominant to account for this optical illusion.

About 70 percent of the population is right-eye dominant, which puts the trailing eye (that’s the one farthest from the hole) in the driver’s seat when putting. If this eye is not positioned properly, your view of the hole becomes distorted, lessening your chances of holing out.

To set up correctly for eye dominance, follow this routine

Read your putt from behind the ball, crouching down so that your eyes are at the same height they’ll be during the actual putt. This way, you don’t confuse your brain and your initial read when you set up over the putt. The taller you stand, the farther away the hole appears.
Walk into the ball, aim the club face and then take your stance, making sure to place your dominant eye directly over the ball and your target line. Your body should be parallel, or square, to the putt’s starting line.
Once your eyes are over the target line, swivel your head to take one last look at the hole (with both eyes) and then stroke away.

golfer-putting

Thank you to golf.com and sciencymadesimple.co.uk for some info in this post!

Anchored Putters

Anchored Putters

With all this discussion about the new rule in effect, do you understand what it means?  This link explains exactly what is going into effect January 2016.  The rule is going to be 14-1B stating that “a golfer in making a stroke must not anchor the club, either ‘directly’ or by the use of an anchor point.

More importantly for the discussion of golf, the decision was made without any statistical data.  Surprising?  Not really.  Particularly because of the lack of authority in golf.  Next up for discussion- why TV viewers can influence a ruling in golf?

How to practice hitting better chip shots with two clubs

On a good chip shot, the hands lead the clubhead through impact.  However, many golfers try to add loft by letting the clubhead lead the hands through impact causing the arms and wrists to collapse at the finish.  Here is a drill to practice making the correct motion:

  1.   When going to practice, take the club that you are practicing with and one extra iron.  
  2.   With your second iron, turn it around and place the narrowest part of the shaft (nearest to the clubhead) behind the grip on your current practice club.
  3.   For right-handed golfers, place the elongated shaft under your left arm.
  4.   Swing at the chip shot with a putt-like motion.  Your wrists should be firm, lower body steady and the swing length short and controlled.   The second club is in place to give you instant feedback if you are executing incorrectly.

 

It may feel uncomfortable at first, but once you take the second club away, be happy with your new chipping technique.

 

Lose the intimidation factor when playing golf with strangers

From a teaching professional to a recreational golfer, here is my advice on how to play with anyone you meet:

1. Dress the part. Ok, so I am woman and speaking to all other women out there, dressing the part if half the fun.  For everyone else, if you look like a golfer, you think, act and play like one, too.  Most importantly, dressing the part gives you the extra confidence you need for the next four hours.

2. Introduce yourself to your group and start a conversation.  I’m not suggesting that you be the golfer that won’t stop talking for the next 4 hours, because everyone finds that annoying.  But I am suggesting to ask the basics (where are you from, do you play often, did you see the recent golf tournament?) A quick, simple conversation will make you and your playing partners more comfortable playing with one another.

3. Identify a favorite club in your bag.  The most important part of the game is confidence.  If you have a favorite club, you can always use it when you are nervous on the golf course.  It is the easiest way to get yourself out of a slump, rather than calling your local teaching professional.

4. Keep up. Have you ever heard the term, pace of play?  In case you haven’t, let me introduce it to you.  Every golf course expects that a group play nine holes in two hours and fifteen minutes for nine holes and double that time for eighteen holes.  If you are struggling on a hole, pick up your ball, and take double par (6 on a Par 3, 8 on a Par 4 and 10 on a Par 5).  Most seasoned golfers will be impressed with someone who knows when it is time to pick the ball up and move on.

5. Prepare for your shot in advance.  Preparation helps to be a faster golfer.  Many times when I am playing with amateurs, I see someone leave their cart behind as they walk up to hit their ball 50+ yards in front of them.  This is not proper preparation because at the conclusion of the shot, the golfer is required to walk back to get the cart.  It is much faster to leave you cart as close to the green and flagstick as possible.  Also at the end of each hole, make sure to drive to the next tee box before writing down a score or starting a conversation with your group.  This will also help maintain your pace of play.

 

The next time you are thinking of going out to play as a single at a golf course, don’t be intimidated.  Use these tools to gain the confidence you need to play with strangers. Who knows, that stranger may turn into your best friend.

How to Prevent the Sway with a Doorstop

Swaying occurs when your body moves laterally towards the back foot on your backswing rather than coiling around a central axis.  Most often, swaying causes the weight to shift to the outside of the back foot (the right foot for all right-handed golfers) on the backswing.

 Many people will try to correct a sway by preventing their weight from shifting at all.  Keeping the weight towards the front foot (the left foot for all right-handed golfers) prevents a full hip turn and unnecessarily restricts the backswing.

To prevent swaying, make sure ample pressure is maintained on the inside portion of the back foot, which will help you coil your body around the central axis as you swing the club back. An excellent drill to feel the pressure on the inside portion or instep of the back foot is to place a doorstop under the outside portion of the back foot.  As you swing the club back, the doorstop will force your weight to stay to the inside.