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Friday, 15 February 2013

Beginners Guide To Golf

Grassroots Golf

We must all start our golfing legacy somewhere, so I have put together a beginners guide to golf. 

The Aim

Getting the white dimpled ball into a hole signalled by a flag in a field isn't everyone's idea of an enjoyable time, however, millions of people around the world like doing nothing better on a Sunday morning. 

The aim is simple; take the fewest hits of the ball to sink it into the hole. In practise it isn't as straight forward, believe me.

The Warm-up Routine

The Warm-up technique of any Sunday morning golfer is simple. Turn up 10 minutes before you are due out and head straight to the first tee, there take out the driver and swing the club back and forth. Repeat several times. Now you are ready for that drive. 

The kit

If you are new to golf then you maybe unaware of the specific footwear that all golfers must adhere to while on the course. Most golf clubs state that proper golf shoes must be worn. Proper golf shoes are spiked shoes (not football boots, I have seem a pair of Puma King's worn of the course before) or the increasingly popular rubber-dimpled shoes, these are shoes that can be worn on the course and the street.

Most clubs have a strict dress code and they encourage their members to police this code (I myself have felt the blunt force of a dressing down by an old, stubborn, bitter, sullen pompous member for having an untucked shirt). This side of golf displeases me, but even I  must draw the line at 'shirts v skins' fourballs. At the posh private golf courses, a top with a collar is the norm along with a pair of trousers, no jeans. At your local municipal, anything goes. 

The Glove
Most golfers opt to wear a glove as this gives them more grip of the club in wet conditions (or if your in Manchester, whenever your golfing). The glove is usually worn on the dominate hand, i.e. right hand for right-handed golfers and the left for cack-handed golfers.

The glove is not mandatory, well known pro golfer's that don't wear a glove are Fred Couples and Lucas Glover (honestly, I didn't make that up). Also, I though I'd mention my dad prefers to spit on his hands than wear a glove. We don't shake his hand after the game.

The Clubs
It is compulsory at every course I have played that all golfers must have their own bag with bats in, sharing is prohibited. This is so the club can charge exorbitant fees to rent the shitest clubs you will ever see, honestly, these are worse than the Dunlop starter set.

The number of clubs allowed in the bag must not exceed 14. Why? The ban originates from the hipsters in the 30's that would carry varying lofted clubs for the perfect approach shot. Maybe it took to long to select the right club. It is left to the golfers to police this rule among themselves and usually comes into play on the 18th hole by the losing party who declares the two point penalty on the leading score or a void game (a tactic I have implemented a few times).

There are many types of golf balls on the market. There are balls for spin, balls for length and balls that wobble and steer away from the hole. The ball cannot be changed during the course of a hole, only when it is deemed lost or damaged. It is advised to mark your ball so that it not confused with anyone's else's. 


The rules of etiquette in golf could fill an entire library. There are many rules that must be adhered to at private courses and there are members who would love to pull a rule-breaker up. But for the average golfer the simplest rule to remember is to avoid slow play.

Slow golfers are the most hated and loathed on the course. I understand that newbies need time to bed in, but if you are hacking your way towards the hole and holding up a group of golfers, wave them through. You'll be thanked by the party behind and revered as a good saint. 

Happy golfing

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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Golf Burn News Week 43

Golf Burn News Week 43

The fog has yet to clear the mind of Graeme McDowell after his celebrations of retaining the Ryder Cup. It would seem the Northern Irishman has forgot which country he is from. McDowell is confused as to which nation he should support in the 2014 Olympics in Rio, Graeme would prefer a committee to make the decision for him. "The Olympic Committee should either step and tell us either ‘you guys are playing for Ireland’ or ‘you’re playing for Great Britain’,” said McDowell this week. If the IOC can't make the choice for you G-Mac then I suggest Ip dip dip, my blue ship.

Well done to Padraig Harrington for winning the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a tournament the Irishman wasn't even invited too. Harrington was a late edition to the competition after Erine Els cried off through injury, McDowell and Tiger Woods, the first two reserves both had better offers. For the two days of the tournament Padraig was looking great in Bermuda.

Not looking good in Bermuda (shorts) was Lee Westwood. On the first day in Antalya at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final Westwood opted for a shorter stride. Since the event The Telegraph has run a poll on whether professionals should be allowed to wear shorts. My opinion is yes, pros should wear shorts and thigh high leather boots and pink crop tops. Here is the link for the poll http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/golf/9598033/Poll-Lee-Westwood-dares-to-bear-his-legs-but-should-professional-golfers-be-allowed-to-wear-shorts-on-tour.html

Rumours have been circulating this week that Rory McIlroy is prepared to switch from Titleist to Nike in a deal said to be worth £156 million. Rory has played down the hype and is trying to concentrate on his golf. If Rory is to emulate the great Tiger Woods then what better way to achieve this than donning the same logo of the sportswear giant. Lets hope he doesn't go down like his hero too.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Golf Burn News Week 42

Golf News Week 42

There is a stench in the Van Pelt household today as BO wafted around. It is the sweet smell of victory. 

Bo Van Pelt won his first European Tour after beating Jason Dufner by two-shots in the ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia.

Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey was victorious in the PGA Tour McGladrey Classic at Sea Island, Georgia. I have been a couple of rounds with a bloke who wore two gloves. It was a knockout. 

Pat Hickey, President of the Olmypic of Ireland committee is trying to persuade Rory McIlroy to represent Ireland at the Rio 2016 games with a flag. Mr Hickey has offered Rory the opportunity to be the flag-bearer for Ireland at the next Olympics should he choose the Emerald Isle over Britain - I would give Rory a British flag and all the bunting he can carry if he picks to play for Britain. And I'm not alone. Padraig Harrington also thinks McIlroy should side for Great Britain - probably so there's more chance for him to be selected for Ireland. 

Rory has said in the past that he would "probably play for Great Britain" has he holds a British passport. I'm sure he also holds a watch but that didn't stop him from turning up late for his tee off. Rory's comment has not put Hickey from trying to seduce the Ulsterman. 

Hickey said “You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB. I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently.” It was last month when Rory said he feels more British than Irish. 

Tiger Woods and Darren Clark have both recently announced that they are assisting in designing new golf courses. Clark has teamed up with Team Niblick to design a championship course. We have exclusive pictures of his early concepts on a hole and clubhouse below. And we are patiently waiting to visit "El Cardonal", Tigers course which begun work last month. We are particularly interested to visit the lap dancing bar. Which brings a new meaning to 'a quick 18'. 

Darren Clark's vision of the 7th

Clark's clubhouse design 

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Gun Crime and Hackers

Today was a nightmare day at the golf track. First off the manager was robbed at gun point of his push bike and phone. Then worse of all we got stuck behind a bunch of newbies. 

Now I have no problem with beginners playing in front of me. We have all been there and they have to start somewhere. But what I detest is that these fresh-faced wannabe McIlorys show a blatant disrespect for the course and golfers. 

First of all they had a kid, say about twelve years old playing off the yellows; we pointed out that shorty should tee off from the reds just give him a chance of getting out of the tee box with his drive. Then they were dragged their feet on the green, this was after they each took fifteen shots to get there. They were literally dragged their feet, churning up the green. There was no point phoning the clubhouse to get someone out to have a word because the only bloke who would was in hospital dribbling and changing his underwear (and no one would blame him).

Due to the robbery, the first lot of golfers were late to tee off as the police were investigating the crime scene. So there was already a delay when the hackers turned up.  Daddy hacker would take three practice swings and then strike the ball ten feet. We were only playing nine holes and that took us three hours. I couldn't believe it. There was already a hold-up at the gate this morning and now we were being held-up on every hole. 

What I found absolutely remarkable was the hackers taking their tee shots on a 196 yard par-3 while the group in front were still on the green. They were safe though, they were on the green. 

The frustration of waiting got the better of me on the 9th. I had hit a tremendous drive to set me up for a barnstorming conclusion. A firm 3 iron onto the green and a birdie putt would have given me the win. Instead I hooked the iron out of bounds losing the ball and victory. 

What these selfish pricks don't realise is while they think it is fun for them taking seventeen shots to reach the green, everyone behind them are like a coiled spring, then having to wait. While they wait they cool, and lose that momentum. Then angst, frustration and anger creeps in. You try and remain calm. But after seven holes of this the blood starts to boil and when the time comes to hit, rhythm and timing are lost and the ball is shanked, topped, sliced or hooked. 

Now I don't blame the starter for letting out the beginners. It is a pay-&-play course and they have every right to play when they want. But they must have an iota of responsible to golfers behind them, a smidgen of respect, shred of duty, a piece of fucking consideration.  Step aside if your taking twenty minutes to complete a hole. Let the groups behind play through. No way should it take three hours to play nine holes! 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Golf Burn News Week 41

A lot of comparisons between football and golf have been made over the years, things like; the overachieving, lying, cheating, overpaid , shagging spoilt gobshits versus the gentile, respectable, sporting golfers. However this week both sports were full of apologies this week. 

Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand made grovelling apologies after both Chelsea stars took to Twitter to air their grievances with foul-mouth rants. The FA took the decision to give the pair slap on the wrists after they said sorry. 

Roy Hodgson was full of apologies for telling a tube train full of passengers that Rio Ferdinand's international career was effectively over without telling the Man United player first. You would have though Rio new that after being rejected for the European Championships and the fact that he past his best form. 

In the world of golf, Tiger Woods was saying sorry to his Ryder Cup debutant  teammates for his dismal performance of the weekend in which Europe regained their trophy. 

Later on in the week the president of the Turkish Golf Federation apologised for head-butting a journalist. Mr Ahmet Agaoglu delivered the Glasgow kiss while escorting Tiger Woods to the first tee. Woods may be called as a witness if the case goes to court, but that won't be the first Tiger has been in the box.

The tournament has been a PR disaster following the head butt saga; Justin Rose wasn't the organisers first choice as the winner, or second, or third; and Rory McIlroys performance was dismal. Last week the Northern Irishman nearly never turned up on the final day of the Ryder Cup. This week he never turned up at all. Or at least he wishes he never. 

The Turkish Airlines World Golf final was held to promote the addition of the Turkish Open to the European calendar from 2013. World War 3 should well and truly be underway by then so the organisers might wish to erect similar signs that donned the Richmond Golf Club during the Second World War. 

Follow me on Twitter: @golf_burn

Monday, 1 October 2012

Rydering To Victory

Europe's victory on Sunday in the US was their best since the colonisation of the Americas in 1607. 

Going in to the final day on six points to America's ten seem insurmountable. The US players had been in awesome form during the first two days. So on Sunday morning Europe was in turmoil. Some how José Maria Olazábal rallied his troops. He made the brave decision to put out his in form players first to try to turn the scoreboard blue. And this tactic worked. Eight of the twelve singles matches went to the away side.  

There were so many stand out performances, Rose's 35 metre putt (every article I read has a different measurement); McIlroy's policeman driver, Martin Kaymers winning putt;  but the most iconic and momentous image has to be that of Ian Poulter's exhilarating fist pump of the air after five straight birdies on Saturday. All weekend Poulter was inspirational, Seve-esk, a future Captain maybe.

But let's give credit where credit is due, the Americans put on a fabulous show. The course was set up beautifully, the US players were gracious in defeat and they thoroughly deserve respect for their meritorious service. 

I didn't care for Tiger's time-wasting tactics during the weekend. No one can hit the ball into the crowds that many times and not mean it. I'm surprised he didn't attempt to take the ball to the corner while defending America's lead.

In two years time golf returns to its home for some long overdue deep fried salad. Two years after that golf makes first appearance in the Olympics. I for one am looking forward to that. I am hoping the golf will be in the matchplay format because the performances we witnessed last weekend was intoxicating. If the Europeans can be worked up for their continent can you imagine what it would be like for some nation on nation action. 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Ryder Cup

The European's Ryder Cup defence has not met with expectation that we had hoped for at the moment. The visitors are currently in second-place, led by the the Spaniard Olazábal, surging ahead is the neighbours across the pond, Team USA.

Of course, the competition is still only two days old and on Sunday positions are likely to shift more dramatically than Woods replicating the Karma Sutra with a gaggle of ho's. It’d take a brave man to bet on US to take away the trophy, although the Yanks are looking good.

One golfer worth particular focus this weekend has been the very inconsistent Tiger Woods. Tiger was dropped for the morning session on Saturday and he probably should have sat out the afternoon game too. Steve Stricker, Tiger's playing partner, got fed up saying "It's still your turn". 

So what’s happened to Europe? Mcllroy has wowed everyone with his skills, determination, relentless talent in recent months. The lad from Northern Ireland, current World Number One, was tipped to lead the charge to retain the cup. This has not materialised in the team games, but Rory has been blitzing the competition in most tournaments as an individual so I expect him come good on the final day. 

So who do the Europeans have to look up too? Well whoever is organising those sky writings of course. 

Well what do have to look forward to on Sunday? The weather looks very promising in Chicago. There is a chance of gale force winds coming from a hoard of Yanks screaming "Get in the hole!" after every shot, including a tee shot on a par 5.

There will be tremors first thing as the Americans rock up in their SUV's, RV's and pick-up trucks. More tremors expected later on as they amble down the fairway.
The current score is 10 - 6 in favour of the Americans. It is not an impossible task, but the hosts have a tight hold of the cup. The Europeans need to dig deep and find that fighting spirit that drove the pilgrims out of their homelands in the seventeen hundreds. Actually that's probably a bad analogy has that resulted in fighting between the Europeans after the English gave the Americans blankets riddled with Small Pox. Maybe we could hand out caps laced with the pox. 

Follow me on Twitter @golf_burn