Your Never-ending Golf Season

Do you live on the East Coast or in the Northern part of the country?  If so, you are probably beginning to grieve the end of the golf season.   Aside from the rare mild day, tee times have all but hibernated from those entering a cold winter season.   But don’t put up your clubs just yet!   You can extend your golf season with a little creativity.

Just in time for the Christmas season, Acuity Sports is bringing you 7 ways that you can extend your golf season, along with gift suggestions for each.   Whether you are the golf enthusiast or you are shopping for one, these suggestions are sure to hit the mark and get you through the “off-season”


1) Research – Keep your mental game sharp by reading books about golf.   Find books by and about top golfers and learn how they prepare for the game; read about the rules and etiquette of the game; research the highlights of the top courses in your area and abroad.  Fill your mind with images, tips learn techniques that will keep you fresh and excited about your next round of golf.   This will help to build your anticipation and will give you great facts to use as small talk on the course.  Gift Suggestion: Magazine subscription to a popular golf magazine like Golf Digest.  Golf books such as: Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book and Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible


2) Stay Fit – Golf requires stamina and physical fitness.  To persist through the hot days; To proceed from hole to hole with your equipment; To continuously have controlled and complete swings, you want to be at your optimal physical performance level.   Staying fit during the cold season is a “must” for your golf game.   Don’t let indulgent holiday eating make you sluggish.  Hit the gym or get a DVD workout and keep your body warm and heartbeat up while you wait for the sun to come back out.  Gift Suggestion:  3 month membership to a local gym or bootcamp series


3) Mirror, Mirror –  The mirror tells all.   If you could stand in front of a mirror when you hit that perfect swing, you would have been able to see exactly what you did right so you can repeat it again and again.   It is not suggested that you try to focus on a mirror and the golf ball at the same time, but you can record yourself as your practice your swings to get the same effect.   Grab a club and a small video recording device and swing away.   Record your moves, your form, your focus, etc.   Note the slight tweaks you could make to perfect your game, modify and repeat.  Gift Suggestion: A small personal video recording device and tripod/stand


4) Game on! – Getting a video game system for the kids or grandkids for Christmas?   Grab a little something for you while you are there.   Most major video game consoles make golf-simulated games that you can play with pseudo-golf sticks.   While it may not be a perfect replication of the game, its enough to keep you fresh and maybe even to get someone else in your family interested in the sport.  Gift Suggestions:  Wii Golf Games and a SimStix


5) Be Creative – Look at your house in a different way.   Could the hallway leading to your laundry room be the perfect straight way to practice a swing?   What about the space in the basement that no one uses? Could you put a net or even a basket back there for a little practice?   All you need is a little bit of space and a target or goal and you can convert your space into a mini golf course for practicing.  Gift Suggestion: Indoor putting green mat or golf simulator hardware


6) Getaway –  The good news is, ts not cold everywhere.   This is the perfect time for a getaway to a warmer climate.   Jump on a plane;  visit a relative; take a ride to the South.   There are many ways for you to temporarily migrate to a climate that is more golf-friendly.    Tell a few of your golf buddies and make a annual trip out of it.  Gift Suggestions:  Airline gift card or gift certificate;  Hotel gift certificate


7) Go Indoors – Find an indoor golf facility.  These facilities will typically have driving ranges, practice putting greens, as well as, simulated games that will help you to bring the highlights of the course indoors.  Gift Suggestions:  Gift certificate for a local indoor golf facility

Learning to go the distance in business from golf

Golf is often referred to as the sport of business because the sport creates a great environment for people to get to know one another beyond what is typically shared in a scripted networking conversation or business interaction.

But golf is also a great business sport because the game has many similarities to business.   In both golf and business, participants are challenged to see if they can go the distance. .business-golf

If you live in the Northeastern part of the country , the typical golf season stretches from April to October, longer if the weather permits.   With the average 18-round game lasting an approximate 4-5 hours, that’s a lot of time spent on the greens!

Unlike most sports, where the goal is the same throughout the game, golf has 9 – 18 different goals, each which must be approached differently.   The inclines and declines, the obstacles, the wind speed, the distance, all of these critical factors vary at every hole and at every course.  The sport of golf requires endurance and mental fortitude.Business is the same way. The goal is conceptually the same each time – make contact, promote a call to action, convert to a sale.  Yet, the landscape changes with every transaction, every day and every new interaction.   This means that in both business and golf, it is important to embrace form, function and flexibility.    This requires all the great players to have the ability to stay focused with every swing and to pace each move, but to also be able to quickly shake off frustrations and missed swings so they can regroup and move ahead.

Every business owner can learn from the perspective of a golf player.  Focus on each swing, but play for the whole game.   Yes, it would be ideal for each swing to be a hole-in-one,but chances are you are going to experience a few over swings and under swings and some swings that you just can’t even describe. That is just the nature of the game.   The goal is to get the ball in the hole with the fewest amount of strokes, period.  Despite the many obstacles on the course. In business, sometimes your perfectly crafted sales page does not convert. Sometimes, an unhappy customer remains unhappy no matter how many times you attempt to resolve the issue.

Sometimes, your great product idea does not sell well or at all.  At times you will be able to pinpoint why you did not reach you goal, other times, a cause won’t be as obvious.   But regardless of the ‘why’ you need to keep your eye on the next hole or ‘what’s next’…the answer is to play another round, another game, another course.  It is important to go the distance, the longer you play the better chance you will have of having your good swings outweigh the ones that don’t quite mark.

On the golf course and in the boardroom, always strive for success and remember that a winning season isn’t winning every game, its winning more than you lose.  As long as you hang in there you have a chance to make it a winning season.  No one swing, or one game, or one contract or one sale defines your bottom line in golf or in business.

Just keep swinging.

10 Rules for Good Golf Etiquette by Arnold Palmer

I. Don’t be the slowest player

In my casual games at Bay Hill, we get around in under four hours — and that’s in fivesomes. Evaluate your pace of play honestly and often, and if you’re consistently the slowest one in your group, you’re a slow player, period. Encourage everyone to move quickly enough so you find yourself right behind the group in front several times, both early and late in the round.

Remember the old staples of getting around in good time: Play “ready golf” (hit when ready, even if you aren’t away) until you reach the green, be prepared to play when it’s your turn on the tee and green, and never search for a lost ball for more than five minutes.

II. Keep your temper under control

In the final of the Western Pennsylvania Junior when I was 17, I let my putter fly over the gallery after missing a short putt. I won the match, but when I got in the car with my parents for the ride home, there were no congratulations, just dead silence. Eventually my father said, “If I ever see you throw a club again, you will never play in another golf tournament.” That wake-up call stayed with me. I haven’t thrown a club since.  Throwing clubs, sulking and barking profanity make everyone uneasy. We all have our moments of frustration, but the trick is to vent in an inoffensive way. For example, I often follow a bad hole by hitting the next tee shot a little harder — for better or worse.

III. Respect other people’s time

Because time is our most valuable commodity, there are few good reasons for breaking a golf date. Deciding last-minute to clean the garage on Saturday, or getting a call that the auto-repair shop can move up your appointment by a day, just doesn’t cut it.  Always make your tee times, and show up for your lesson with the pro a little early. Social functions are no exception.

IV. Repair the ground you play on

I have a penknife that’s my pet tool for fixing ball marks, but a tee or one of those two-pronged devices is fine. As for divots, replace them or use the seed mix packed on the side of your cart.  Rake bunkers like you mean it. Ever notice that the worse the bunker shot, the poorer the job a guy does raking the sand? Make the area nice and smooth — don’t leave deep furrows from the rake. Before you exit the bunker, ask yourself, Would I be upset if I had to play from that spot?

V. Be a silent partner

During one of my last tour events as a player, I noticed another pro making practice swings in my field of vision as I was getting ready to hit a shot. I stopped, walked over and reminded him (maybe too sternly) that it was my turn to play. The point is, stand still from the time a player sets himself until the ball has left the club.  Even with the advent of spikeless shoes, the etiquette rule of never walking in someone’s line of play on the putting green is an absolute. The area around the hole in particular is sacred ground. The first thing to note when you walk onto a green is the location of every ball in your group, then steer clear of their lines to the hole.  Know where to stand and when to keep quiet. Position yourself directly across or at a diagonal from a player setting up. Never stand on the line of play, either beyond the hole or directly behind the ball. When a player is about to hit a shot, think of the fairway as a cathedral, the green a library.

VI. Make your golf cart ‘invisible’

Carts are very much a part of the modern game. Think about it: They’re mentioned on the backs of scorecards, discussed in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf, bags and other items are designed specifically for them, and they’re used at most courses. The sheer pervasiveness of them makes cart etiquette vitally important.  Your goal when driving a cart should be to leave no trace you were there. Because we tend to look where we’re going and not where we’ve been, it’s easy to damage the turf and not realize it. Avoid wet areas and spots that are getting beaten up from traffic. Golfers tend to play “follow the leader” and drive in single file out to the fairway before branching off. It’s usually better to “scatter” — everyone take a different route — so cart traffic is spread out.

VII. Always look your best

From Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen to Ben Hogan and Sam Snead to Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the best players have been meticulous about their appearance. Their clothing has been sharp, and not one of them has shown up on the first tee with his cap backward, mud caked on his shoes, or his shirttail hanging out. (My shirt often came untucked, but it was my swing that did it. I started with it tucked in!)  Your appearance speaks volumes about you as a person, and the neatly appointed golfer, like a businessman or someone headed to church, gives the impression he thinks the golf course and the people there are special.

VIII. Turn off the cell phone

Nobody knows less about technology than I do. But I know enough to recognize a cell phone when it rings in my backswing. If I had my way, cell phones would be turned off at all times on the course, but most clubs have given in to the fact that people are going to use them. I don’t know all the gadgets and settings on those phones, but do whatever you have to do to keep it quiet. And if you absolutely have to make a call, move away from the other players. And keep the call so brief that they don’t even know you made it.

IX. Lend a hand when you can

It’s easy to help out your fellow players, if you just pay attention. One obvious way is looking for lost balls — better yet, watching errant shots so they don’t turn into lost balls. Pick up that extra club left on the fringe or the headcover dropped next to the tee, and return it to its owner after saying, “Nice shot!” And if you see a cart out of position or a provisional ball that needs picking up, don’t just walk by.

X. Learn the little things

There are a hundred bits of etiquette I haven’t mentioned, like laying the flagstick down carefully, tamping down spike marks when you’re walking off a green, letting faster groups play through, and so on. All of these things are learned by observing, with a sharp eye and a considerate heart. Just know that golf has a way of returning favors, and every piece of etiquette you practice will be repaid tenfold.

Source: Golf Digest by Arnold Palmer with Guy Yocom