Golfing in the depths of December or early in the new year is nowhere near as attractive as playing a round on a fine summer’s day, but that doesn’t mean the clubs have to be left aside for several months of the year.
Instead, by making a few modifications to your play – and even to your routine as you prepare to play, and what you do afterwards – you can continue to enjoy the game even at this time of year.
Read on for my Top 12 Golf Tips for this Christmas:
Henrik Stenson with the Claret Jug after winning The Open at Royal Troon
2016 has brought us another great year of great golf, but for me, the undoubted highlight on the Tour scene was Henrik Stenson’s brilliant victory in The Open at Royal Troon.
Stenson is one of my favourite golfers anyway. I love his competitive spirit and his style of play. He’s also a great character, as can be seen on his social media account. For example, have a look at his official Facebook page if you’ve never done so before, to see what I mean.
His Open victory saw him post a record score of 20 under par, and was also history-making in that it made him the first ever golfer from Sweden to win a Major.
The countdown to Christmas is traditionally a time to look back on the year gone by – and in 2016, one of my personal highlights was continuing to work with promising young golfer, Jake Whelan from Newlands Golf Club.
Jake enjoyed a tremendous year that saw him top the Leinster Under-21 Order of Merit with a fantastic 120 points – a full 50 ahead of his nearest rival, Conor Purcell from Portmarnock.
He achieved this by finishing as runner-up in both the Leinster Youths Open and Ulster Youths Open, by making the semi-finals of the Irish Amateur Close at Ballyliffin, and the last 16 of the South of Ireland Championship at Lahinch.
Bad habits are notoriously hard to break – and this is the time when many golfers develop bad habits that will affect their game right throughout the following year.
The bad habits come from how the weather conditions and lack of daylight see many golfers heading for the driving range during the winter, instead of playing a round like they do on summer evenings or weekends.
While the driving range can be a great way to stay on top of your game, it can also be a way to damage it – because if a small mistake or bad habit begins to creep into your swing, it gets replicated far more often and far more quickly than would normally be the case.
These next few days just outside Minneapolis a dozen golfers, their caddies, half dozen vice captains’ from two differing teams, a whole host of back room officials and hangers on take part in the 2016 Ryder Cup. These being the 41st matches and a battle which already promises to be a bloated commercial exercise that culminates on Sunday evening after the 12 single matches complete between US and European players.
The event now hostage to an endless series of money spinners and one that has taken the original concept of Samuel Ryder well beyond the imagination of even Mark McCormack – the founder of sports management in the last century. But the untimely loss of Arnold Palmer this week is a reminder however of some more basic sporting values, and another great supporter of the tournament and all that was good about golf.
Nike recently reported flat to down annual sales last month in its golf business for the last two years at $700 million. A business that has been running since 1984 and introduced the first clubs after bringing in a design team in the year 2000. Its first efforts appeared within a year in the form of the Nike Forged Blades irons and then followed in 2002 with Pro Combo irons, which uniquely combined three different kinds of irons within the same set. Sales in 2013 and 2014 were nearly $800 million a year. The company also had recruited a young Tiger Woods as its clothes peg for shoes and apparel, and ultimately the clubs were to come sometime later. Woods however making that transition to the clubs very gradually – showing a wisdom beyond his years.
A few weeks ago, TrackMan asked Social Media followers what they would like to know if they could ask Fredrik Tuxen the CTO of TrackMan one question. See the selected list of questions here.
Q: Will you measure putting one day?
A: We already measure on puts in a simulator environment, so we now offer a complete simulator experience with the TM4. Going further down this road is something we are exploring!
Q: Where do you see golf ball and club tracking in 5 years time? 10 years time?
A: There will be smaller, more accurate devices that measures even more parameters than today. I think relevant feedback device will be used more and more widely and be a natural part of any training session.
I also see the technology being used more for entertainment in future, and we will probably see a different kind of golf being played on driving ranges that offers some of the same competitive and entertainment values as playing a real golf course but through the use of technology.
, Fort Worth
, Mark Steinberg
, Michelle Wie
, PGA Championship
, Phil Mickelson
, Rory McIlroy
, Ryder Cup
, Tiger Woods
Not sure if it’s just me. But there seems little hype in Ireland about the 41st Ryder Cup matches at Hazeltine National Golf club next month. May be just my imagination as I’m busy with lessons all day. Suppose it was a bit the same with the Olympic golf also, which all of a sudden last week kicked into action and became interesting. Particularly when Seamus Power made a run up the leaderboard on Sunday reaching the turn in 30 strokes. Only to fade from a chance of the Bronze medal in the last few holes. The Waterford native certainly justifying his selection albeit because the bigger names were no shows. Regardless of the Zika driven thinking of the absentees, Power’s form must be reassuring for a good second half the season in the US.
Speed of play on a golf course has become a more concerning issues in the game today with rounds edging towards six hours on some occasions. This issue impacts us all and this week the European Tour addressed the problem with an innovative idea of six-hole golf. With chief executive Keith Pelley insisting golf must embrace new formats and so he plans new events as early as next year. Pelley, who succeeded George O’Grady last year, has been keen to modernise the game and has already permitted players to wear shorts in pro-ams and introduced measures aimed at tackling slow play.
“Golf and tennis has to be a little more open to letting the youth actually participate,” Pelley told BBC Radio 5Live recently. “There’s no question that is something we believe in as well.
“You look at some of the new formats that have been created — when you look at adventure golf, or the brand Top Golf, and there’s one 15 minutes from where I live in Virginia Water. It’s really geared towards millennials, so the way that people are participating in the game is completely different.
Padraig Harrington returns to Scotland once again, the scene of his first major victory in 2007 where he won a play-off at Carnoustie against Sergio Garcia. That victory came in the four-hole play-off – after dropping his one shot lead in regulation on the eighteenth fairway – following a visit to the Barry Burn. A lead which would have secured him the title outright but instead allowed García a putt for the title. Fortunately for Padraig the Spaniard missed.
History now records what happened next and that Harrington won the first of what was to become two Open Championship titles in consecutive years. The trip to Scotland this year has started well with a few good rounds at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open last week and hint that the Rio bound player is moving into form at the right time. So think he might have a bit of a run this week at Royal Troon. But my favourite would be the American Dustin Johnson, now number two in the world, who is also on a bit of a roll.