It's become the game of businesspeople. From the green to the fairway, the perfectly manicured grass makes for an ideal setting. Friendly competition and relaxing recreation is the name of the game.
But when the game is played with the boss or a potential client, more is at stake than a handicap. From terms to know before you tee and the etiquette you must master to look like a pro, these basics will get the most novice golfer started en route to a better game.
While practice is the surest way to turn a hobby into a skill, these gadgets will help too. For use at home between courses, and for use on the green, these accessories can help improve swing, accuracy and scoring.
Laser Alignment Putting Trainer
Golf and lasers. Still want further explanation? This pocket-size gadget uses laser technology to help you see when your putter is aligned perfectly. A small, L-shaped mirror attaches to the putter to reflect the beam from the module. A red dot indicates alignment, and continuous use may help trigger muscle memory for improved putting on the green.
Average Price: $60
Backyard Driving Range
Skip the drive to the course and spend more time practicing your drive in the backyard. This compact machine holds 150 balls and automatically places them on an included tee, which means less bending over and less back pain. Worried about pitching those balls straight into your neighbor's backyard? Fear not! The machine also comes with a nylon net, complete with side panels to catch even the hardest-swung shots. Also included is a handheld tube to pick up stray balls. This miniature range allows you to hone your swing in the most convenient of ways.
Average Price: $250
This little tool is perfectly sized to clip onto your belt. It's an unobtrusive four-in-one device. It's a ball marker, and has a ball-mark repair tool and a tee. A stainless-steel divot tool folds out to aerate the green and repair any damage caused by an aggressive swing. The divot tool also doubles as a club rest when stuck into the ground, so your handle always stays dry. Industrial-strength Velcro also keeps your glove securely in place. Best part? It's recommended by nine out of 10 PGA Tour Partners Members.
Average Price: $15
Callaway UPRO MX
It's a golf GPS. This device has a touchscreen and is the size of an average cell phone. You can preview upcoming holes on the more than 25,000 preloaded golf courses, and take an aerial tour of the hole before you swing. This helps you strategize your game, and convenient 200-, 150- and 100-yardage markers also appear on the screen. Smart view mode calculates your position on the course, and targets areas for your next shot.
Average Price: $250
The stylish, white leather glove has a computer built in that constantly measures the pressure of your grip. The sensors then provide detailed feedback to help correct the grip—maximizing optimal club head speed. Four small sensors are sewn into the glove, measuring your pressure during the address and the swing, which often varies. Once you find the best pressure, you can save it to the glove's memory, helping improve your game and keep it consistent. The glove can be used for driving, chipping and putting. It's sweat-proof, and no, it doesn't need to be plugged in to function.
Average Price: $90
This voice and audio GPS device easily clips onto your visor, shirt collar or your golf cart. Essentially, it's a golf pro, right in your ear, offering advice and warnings of hazardous greens. It's voice activated by the golfer's command, giving the distance to greens, waters and more. It's made for golfers of any skill level, holds up to 2,000 courses and conforms to the United States Golf Association rulings. It hasn't been shown to find the nearest refreshment cart—yet.
Average Price: $300
PGA Tour Electronic Golf Scorecard
Avoid any discrepancies and leave the pencils and paper at home. This device is small enough to hook onto your golf bag, key ring or belt loop, and the LCD display makes it easy to read. It can score up to four players simultaneously, and a sliding cover keeps it protected from the elements and stray golf balls. It's battery operated, so keep extras on hand to avoid a mid-game freeze-up.
Average Price: $15
Courtesy of "The Oxford Press."
The player whose ball lies farthest from the hole is described as away.
The second nine holes of an 18-hole course.
A shot that is sliced off line, causing the ball flight to take the shape of a banana.
A hole played in one under par.
A hole whose green is not visible from the tee.
A hole played one over par.
A hole played in three strokes less than par.
The mowed area between the tee and the green
An allocation of one or more strokes that allows one player to be competitive with another player of greater skill.
A short, but easily missable putt.
An additional shot taken, usually on the first tee after the first shot goes out of bounds, into the trees or into the water. No stroke is charged.
The number of strokes assigned to a hole.
A situation in which a player may move the ball without penalty.
A shot that hits off the edge of a club or the shaft and goes dead, left or right.
The place on the clubface that produces maximum accuracy and power.
THE GAME OF ETIQUETTE
Courtesy of the Golf Channel
• Don't move, talk or stand close to the player who's about to hit the ball.
• Don't hit your ball until the group ahead is out of the way.
• Play without delay.
• Invite faster groups to play through.
• Replace divots.
• Don't step on the line of another player's putt.
• Don't drop clubs on the putting green.
• Replace the flagstick carefully.
• During the round, ask advice only from your partner or caddie—never from another player.
• Put an identification mark on your ball.
• Play the ball where it lies.
The basics build the foundation. Golf is a sport, and like every sport, it takes time and practice to master it. Follow the etiquette and heed specific rules. Just make sure to leave the hat with the furry ball at home.
TIPS FROM A PRO
He's taught players who have gone on to be victorious at the PGA, LPGA, Champions and Nationwide tours. Steve Wozeniak is a PGA Director of Instruction in Bellevue, and has worked with players such as Jim Colbert, Emily Klein and Rocco Mediate, among others.
Steve boasts a record of swinging with more than 300 PGA and LPGA golfers, and he's all about ditching the nonsense before taking the swing.
Below are his tips to perfecting the stroke:
If you can get in the simple positions shown here, you will have a lot of fun while playing this great game.
Notice in the backswing picture that both elbows are pointing down to the ground. If the left elbow rolls out toward the bill of my cap, the club will get behind me while trapping my right side, and if the right elbow rolls out behind my back too much, the club gets across the line of flight and weakens the right side.
Gently squeeze both elbows together until you feel your pecs and lats engage.
This is what a full release of the body, which releases the club, looks like. Notice how both elbows are facing the ground and the head, spine and body are all going to the target. Gently feel your pecs and lats engage in this position. All great players use their core muscles primarily while the arms and hands just hold onto the club and go for the ride.
A fantastic drill would be to throw a medicine ball underhanded toward a target after getting into your position. This helps build muscle and muscle memory.
Good luck and have a great season playing golf. If you'd like to learn more about, or from, Steve, visit www.stevewozeniak.com.