GET INTO GOLF: Time to get back in the swing of things |

GET INTO GOLF: Time to get back in the swing of things

John Renslow
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

In many ways, golf is a year-round sport here in the Gold Country. Granted, the last few months have been quite moist. Most areas have received more rain than normal and we’re told the snow pack is 30% greater than average.

Finally…the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the grass is growing. It’s time to get serious about shaking the hibernation off our golf game.

Some of us might need a more extensive extraction process than others (not to mention several hundred milligrams of ibuprofen), but we all need to check a few things off the list in order to ensure a good swing into spring.

1: Go get a golf lesson….or, probably more than one. An old, wise golf pro had a sign in his pro shop. It read; “One lesson – $1,000, Series of six lessons $250” (adjusted for inflation, of course). Naturally, the typical reaction was, “How can one lesson be $1,000 and six lessons are only $250?”

With a wry grin that made only half of his mouth move, he replied, “Well, if you want a miracle, you’re gonna have to pay for it.”

We spend hundreds of dollars on golf balls, thousands of dollars on golf clubs and, much too often, zero on how to use them. So, get the season off to a good start with some help from a knowledgeable professional at your favorite course.

2: Watch some golf on television. For the next several weeks there is some great golf on the tube (does anyone still have a tube in their TV??…oh well). No, it’s not as good as the real thing (you playing golf), but it’s always fun to watch the “big boys” and it just might give you some inspiration to get out of your chair when it’s over.

This week is the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. This one’s a little change of pace as pairs of tour players two formats. Rounds one and three are four-ball (each player plays their own ball and the lower of the two recorded for each hole) and Rounds two and four are “foursome” (players alternate shots).

It is interesting which two compose the team. Understandably, many of the pairs are based on their country of origin. Yet, one intriguing partnership has Spain’s Sergio Garcia playing with England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

3: Invest in some new grips. We tend to overlook this one and don’t even realize when those old grips could be hurting our game. Aged grips can become too firm and lose their “tackiness.”

Then, unbeknownst to the hapless victim, the hands begin to tighten. The connection between the player and club becomes uncertain. As you can imagine, nothing good can come from this.

Like other advances in golf equipment, there are a lot of great new options in golf grips. Club makers have innovative materials and colors and types.

I have always liked leather grips, but they are too expensive and not the best surface for inclement conditions. But now, there are synthetic materials that feel like leather, while still performing well in wet weather. They last longer and are a fraction of the price.

Next time you’re at the course, ask the Staff in the pro shop to look at your clubs and determine if you need some new grips. This is a good, inexpensive “tune up” for your equipment.

4: Develop some goals for the year. We need a consistent them, a reference if we get off track. For some of us this might mean…averaging less than two putts per hole or hitting half of our fairways. You know who you are. Finally, some of us might just need a little adjustment. Consider a change to your pre-swing routine, a conscience effort observe the beauty around you, or take a walk rather than sitting in the cart.

Maybe it’s time to put some humor in your repertoire. Grab some good golf jokes or stories from Google. Or, perhaps a few new quips will enhance an entertaining round. Let me start you off with a few popular objectives, then I will leave you to create your own. “Tee it high and let it fly!” or “Grip it and rip it!” or, my personal favorite, “Swing hard in case you hit it!”

John Renslow is a PGA Professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.

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