Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Mallorca: The Ticket to the Ultimate Sports 2008 Golf Vacation

If you're planning a European vacation and you also happen to be a golf enthusiast, then Mallorca, Spain should be on your itinerary is an absolute "must do." Festive night life, year-round sunshine and great shopping aside, Mallorca has made a name for itself in the tourism industry as a "paradise for golf enthusiasts." So just what is it about Mallorca that makes it the perfect European golf vacation?

Alcudia, Mallorca is home to Pula, one of the world's finest golf resorts. Founded in 1995, Pula has become an internationally acclaimed golf course. Thanks to a world-class upgrade which began in 2005, Pula is now ranked number one in Alcudia out of 14 golf courses, boasting the longest and most demanding links and a par 70. Nestled at the foot of a majestic mountain range, golfers of all skill levels will get a thrill out of playing the scenic course at Pula. Pula also features a stunning driving range and two putting greens for golfers who want to fine tune their skills at one of the world's most astounding golf courses.

The upgrades that were made in 2005 were undertaken in part to bring Pula up to professional golf standards and now Pula has been put on the map for one more reason: the Mallorca Classic. The last of the European PGA tour stops on the circuit before the Volvo Masters, The Mallorca Classic draws the best PGA players from Europe every October. In fact, the Mallorca Classic at Pula is the last chance for PGA players to make the top 115 on the Order of Merit and hold onto their spot for the next season's tour.

The 2007 Mallorca classic wrapped up in October and those who were lucky enough to hold a ticket were able to see Gregory Bourdy of France win his first Mallorca Classic title. It appeared as though Robert-Jan Derksen of the Netherlands would edge Bourdy out the few days. Perhaps the fact that play was suspended for several days in a row due to uncharacteristically inclement weather threw Derksen's game off. Bourdy managed to slip ahead for a 3-under par win, becoming the 18th first time winner on the tour and setting a new record for the European PGA for the most maiden tournament winners in a single season.

Bourdy's maiden win at the Mallorca Classic in October only served to boost the image of Pula even more. Golfers from Europe and elsewhere can count themselves in an elitist class when they make a round at Pula a part of their vacation itinerary. While in Mallorca, tourists would also do well to take in as many of the other thirteen local golf resorts as they can, too. Although many of them have not had the exposure of Pula, they are still well worth including in a European golf vacation.

Golf aside; there are many other reasons to visit Mallorca. Mallorca is rich with cultural heritage, rife with top-notch night clubs and restaurants and has plenty of family-oriented destinations for those who are traveling with kids. However, for the avid golfer, nothing could make a European vacation finer than playing the links at the world-renowned Pula Club.

Golf Clubs - The Truths The Beginners Need To Know

Each set of clubs in the bag is different, yet with similar uses. It's vital that golfers get a clear understanding of the purpose of each club. After all, it would take you a bit of effort and time to get round just using a putter now, wouldn't it.

Driving Down The Fairway

First, you have to know that there are the woods. These are called the driver, the two wood, three wood, four wood, and the five wood. There is a six wood and seven wood but they are rare. The number describes the angle of the face of the head, with driver being the most upright and the lower numbers angled more, to give loft to the ball when it is hit.

Woods are used for getting the golf ball the farthest distance possible and do so by the weight they have behind the head. It's shape is bulky and weighty, so that when you swing you have all the meat of that weight built into the momentum of the swing, then POW - down the fairway you go!

If you want to hit the golf ball over two hundred yards off the tee then you may well use a wood. Incidentally and confusingly, they are nowadays made of metal!

Distance With Control

Second, you have to understand that there are the irons. These clubs are meant for greater accuracy and are most commonly, though not exclusively, used for short distance shots.

You see, you can use irons for distance too and especially with a tricky hole, or when the weather is a bit challenging, you will see pros using irons.

There are several types of irons. These are numbered one to nine, with an increasing loft, which also reduces the distance possible. These standard iron golf clubs are essential in getting the golf ball as close as possible to the pin, using loft and flight as the main tools.

Special Golf Clubs

Third, there are the special golf clubs, most of which are very specific in nature.

The first of the special golf clubs that you have to understand is the wedge. The wedge is used to get the golf ball as high as possible. If you want to go over
a tree, or if you want the ball to drop like a stone with little forward bounce, like on the green, then this may be the golf club of choice.

The second of the special golf clubs is the sand wedge. Do you see the sand bunkers all over the golf course? When you get stuck in these sand bunkers, you need to use the sand wedge to get out of them. Due to the loft this club will, when used with the right technique, slice through the sand beneath the ball and lift it onto the grass.

The fourth of the special golf clubs is the pitching wedge. This pitching wedge is used so that you can get an accurate shot to the green. The pitching wedge is the second most accurate golf club in your golf bag.

The last of the special golf clubs is the putter. The putter is the most accurate of the golf clubs because this is what you use in order to get the golf ball into the hole. It's a very specialized club that you use nowhere else on the course.

What To Buy?

Now that you are familiar with all these types of golf club in your bag, you have to understand that aside from the types of golf clubs, there are also many, many brands out there. This is where your headaches really begin!

From used golf clubs to new ones, from clones to personalized fit clubs, you have the world of a choice to make. Whilst it's true to say that your performance should only be about your swing and skill, most manufacturers will say that their clubs make the difference.

It's for you to decide which golf clubs you buy and use. The fun begins!

Lower Golf Handicap – Learn Some Tips and Strategies to Help you Shoot Lower Scores

Golf is one of the most challenging games out there however it is not impossible to learn how to become a lower handicap player. It does however require a commitment on your part to learn the basics of the game. If you think that you can become a scratch golfer just practicing once a week or once a month then you may be chasing an illusion. Here are a few keys to reducing your handicap and becoming the best player you can be:

- Practice the right way

It is no secret that practice is critical in order for you to get better at this game. However practice alone will only get you so far. Practice does not make perfect. ‘Perfect practice’ makes perfect. If you are practicing the wrong way then your progress will plateau and you will be left scratching your head as to how to get better.

- Practice tips for the higher handicap player

If you are a high handicap player then you obviously need to work on sharpening your swing mechanics and short game skills. Make sure to take a lesson or two on the ideal golf swing mechanics and then practice them a few times a week. You do not need to spend hours practicing each day. However you do need to be consistent and do it at least 3 to 5 times a week.

Also if you are a higher handicap player then you will want to spend a lot of time of chipping, bunker play and wedge shots as these shorter shots can make a huge difference in lowering your handicap. Take a lesson from a local golf pro on the short game including putting. When it comes to putting you will want to pick a mechanical approach you feel comfortable with and then stick with that.

- Practice tips for the lower handicap player

If your handicap is under 10 then you have a fairly solid understanding of the golf swing mechanics. You need to focus on the short game and the mental game to bring your handicap down to scratch.

Make sure you are spending a lot of time on the wedge game and shots close to and around the green. Putting may be the greatest opportunity to lower your handicap to a scratch level. However never forget that putting is all about confidence and that it is primarily a mental game so do not get caught up in trying to develop the perfect putting stroke.

Make it a habit to think only about the best putts you have ever made and forget about your misses. Practice a lot of short putts because they will help to build up your confidence levels since you will make the majority of these. You focus must shift to the mental game in order to take your game to the next level.

- Mental game tips for all players

The mental game is what separates the best golfers in the world from all the amateurs. Even at the highest level it is the mindset of the number one ranked player in the world that makes them number one and it is that mindset that separates them from the rest of the players.

You must believe in your game and you have to think of yourself as a great player. You have to believe that when you are competing that you are good enough to beat anyone out there. This is particularly important for tournament players of all levels and is especially important the higher up you go in your golfing career.

An important tip to keep in mind is your mindset just before you are about to hit the ball. You must learn to develop a quiet mind that is sharply focused on the target only. Do not allow other thoughts to enter your head as you are about to strike the ball, instead you need to trust that you have trained your swing and that the ball will go where you want it to regardless of what happened with the previous shot. Good luck on your quest to become a lower handicap player.

The Joy of a Golf Holiday Tour

While you might always enjoy a good game of golf on your favorite golf course, take a golf holiday tour if you want to expand your horizons to other places that you might enjoy. If you are a golfing enthusiast, golf holiday tours give you the chance to get out and check out other golf courses all over the world.

There's no shortage of golf courses for you to visit, with places like Orlando, Las Vegas, and Myrtle Beach often catering exclusivily to golfers.

Orlando is popular because of it being the home of Disney World, but you can also find a wide variety of golf courses to enjoy. After you enjoy the roller coasters, you'll love golfing in sunny Orlando, Florida. There's plenty of opportunities for the golfing enthusiast to enjoy.

While Las Vegas is wildly popular for its gambling opportunities, there's also plenty of places for you to golf after you're done at the poker tables. Las Vegas is not only the perfect place to improve your poker hand, but also your golf swing.

Myrtle Beach is quickly becoming a super popular resort get-away for golfers across the world. It plays host to miles and miles of gorgeous beaches, as well as 100+ different golf courses. There's a huge variety of different golf courses for you to check out in Myrtle Beach. After you're done golfing during the day, you'll be suprised to find out that this place also has a great nightlife.

Take care when planning your next golf holiday tour – not just any place has a good number of high quality golf courses for you to visit. If you don't plan on golfing all day, also make sure that the place your visiting has other activities for you to enjoy. If you love the excitement of a good theme park, head for Orlando. If you love sun, relaxation, and the beach head for Myrtle Beach. If you enjoy the rush of gambling, check out Las Vegas.

When it comes to golf vacations, locations are really just the tip of the iceberg!

Where Is The Top Of Your Golf Swing?

Where the top of the golf swing is has been debated for a long time. A question we address all of the time is "Where is the top of the swing?" It is not unusual to hear the answer from most amateurs is: the top of the swing is when the club is at parallel to the ground. Really? Have you thought that answer out or is that what you have been told for years? See if you agree with this logic.....

The first question I would ask is: what club is being used? Swinging a driver to parallel at the top of the swing is a different ball game from swinging your nine iron to parallel. Think about it or go to the garage and grab both and try to do it. With the shaft of the nine iron being shorter, the club does not need to get to parallel to achieve maximum results.

The second question would be: are you getting properly coiled or loaded in your golf swing? ON YOUR BACKSWING, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU NEED TO BE PROPERLY COILED OR LOADED. Coiled? Loaded? What does that mean? It simply means that you are stretching muscles away from the target so they will want to move in the opposite direction which should be at your target. Imagine stretching a rubber band. If you do not pull it tight enough, it could go anywhere and not very fast. If you pull it correctly, it moves where you are aiming it and fairly quickly. Finally, if you pull it too far, the rubber band can not handle the tension and breaks. OUCH!

The third question that gets asked is: where do you think the top of your swing is? Ninety plus percent of the time, the student will take the club to parallel. In order to do this, the student will over turn their hips or move their right knee to allow their body to turn far enough to get to parallel. Is this a powerful move? NO! Think about pushing something heavy like a golf cart. Stand away from the cart and attempt to push the cart with your arm(s) extended. Now get closer to the cart and put your weight into it. Is this not easier? It makes it easier to hit a golf ball as well.

So with this info have we answered where the top of your swing should be? YES! It should be when your muscles are stretched away from your target and you are coiled and/or loaded. This should leave your left arm and club shaft in the shape of an "L" in the spirit of the illustration above. The new top of your swing means an extended left arm to create the base of the "L" and not a broken arm at the elbow. A broken arm at the elbow results in us creating a "J" and losing power and accuracy. Yes, I have gotten some funny looks when people think they are going to need to "shorten" their full swing but let me explain further....

This "L" position will more than likely be a position in your "Mind's Eye" or in your head. Everyone has seen someone, maybe even you, look at video of their swing and have a gap between the reality of what is happening and what they are feeling. Depending on the length of the club you are using, going to the "L" in your "mind's eye" will take the club back to the proper position and more importantly allow you to stay loaded. You will not look silly, you will look much better as your shots will greatly improve with YOUR TOP OF THE SWING!

What You Must Take To Golf School

So, you are going to go to a golf school!!! No matter whether it will be part of your vacation or the golf school is local, everybody has the same question. What should you expect while at your golf school? As you are very excited to get your golf game on track, you stop and think. Now what do I do? Below are some things to expect and some tips to enjoy your decision.

1. You should consider another golf school, if the school you're interested in, doesn't have at least a four to one student/teacher ratio.

2. You will hit more golf balls in one day than you ever have in your entire life.

3. Take a note pad to jot down notes before, during and after an instructor is speaking. You will be receiving more information on golf than you have ever heard before as well. In turn do not be afraid to take notes and ask questions. This is why you are there, right?

4. The golf school you attend should include at least one playing lesson with an instructor in the group. It is one thing to practice by hitting golf balls but another step up onto a tee and play the golf course and put your golf tips into practice.

5. The golf school should offer video analysis of your golf game as part of the schedule. This should not be an extra expense to you.

6. In your free time what other activities are available? You may want to play golf however you will be hitting more golf balls than usual and may be ready to do something else before the sun goes down.

What should you do prior to your arrival to your golf school? Depending on how much time you have until you depart for your trip, begin to stretch on a daily basis as soon as possible. Many people will find themselves sore as they will be hitting more golf balls than you typically do. Also be sure to pack the following:

Sun block
Comfortable hat with proper sun protection
Sun Glasses - polarized
Band-Aids or athletic tape
At least a dozen golf balls
Insect repellent
Rain jacket and rain pants
Comfortable golf shoes

How much should you improve over a three or four day golf school? Do not expect to extremely cut your handicap after attending a 3 day school. This is just an unrealistic goal after such a short period of instruction. Remember the adage if it sounds to good to be true, it usually is. If the golf school is guaranteeing you to cut your handicap in half, be wary.

A golf school is a good beginning to start your improvement. When you leave the golf school you should have a plan to sustain your strengths and improve your weaknesses. This should be a comprehensive plan for all aspects of your game. Upon you return, you will have a good base or plan to go to work on with your local PGA Professional.

Golf Swing Instruction - are you Looking for the Perfect Golf Swing?

Are you still looking for the perfect golf swing? If you answered yes, you may want to stop for a minute and consider what golf professionals and instructors all over the world say; there is no one golf swing that is perfect for all golfers. With that said though, here is what will help you the most in your golf swing.

We all have our own unique golf swings. What works well for you may not work at all for me. Perhaps the best example of this is Jim Furyk. Who do you know that has a swing like that? And how could anyone learn that swing? But, he's a champion on the PGA Tour, so his swing works great for him.

The key to developing your perfect golf swing is to work on the fundamentals and build a strong repeating golf swing that becomes second nature in your mind. Here are some tips to help you build this type of swing.

1. Relax

As you step up to the tee box and get positioned over your ball, take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Tense muscles produce bad golf shots.

2. Backswing

Take the club back wit a one piece takeaway. You want your shoulders and lower body to turn naturally. Your weight will gradually transfer to the right side as the club comes back.

Set your wrists when the club comes back to the halfway point. Then, continue to take the club back until your left hand is up to being even with your ear.

3. Downswing

As you begin your downswing, you always want to lead with your hips and then let your shoulders and arms follow. It's your lower body that develops the power, not your arms. When you watch professional golfers on TV you will always notice this is how they swing the club.

4. Follow Through

Be sure to finish with a high follow through with your weight on your left side and your right knee pointing toward the target.

While there may never be a "perfect golf swing", these tips will help you build a repeating golf swing that will lead to lower scores on the course and having a more enjoyable time.