Golf Tips

Golf Tips: Amateur to Pro

The best golf tip anyone can give is to focus more on your short game. Indulge me here – choose any day of the week and go the range. Watch amateurs like yourself begin their bucket of balls and I’ll bet you $1,000 that the first club they hit is the driver. Everyone wants to practice bombing the ball, but you need to remember that the 3-foot putt means just as much as the 300-yard drive.

With more than 60% of your strokes originating from within 100 yards, it is crucial that you invest a proportionate measure of energy in your short game. You ought to dedicate a large part of your practice time to putting and chipping. These two areas are game changers.

If you’re going to start on the range instead of the putting green, grab a wedge. Swing smoothly to get your timing down. Just like a clock – tick, tock – swing back, swing through.  The better the timing of your swing, the better the result you’ll get. Now, lay down two clubs aimed straight down the center of the range – one that your feet will be lined against and another that your eyes can latch onto to see that your body is aiming the right direction.

As you hit shots, check your alignment to ensure that you’re aimed where you think you are. If your feet are not parallel to the target line, the ball is going to either draw or fade, and my assumption here is that you want to hit it straight. When the ball hooks left, you might not have shifted your weight. When the ball fades hard to the right, it was too far forward in your stance or you tried to kill it. The funny thing about distance hit is that pro’s say they’re playing their best when they swing at 80%. Sure, once in a while they try to kill it, but what usually happens? They’ll mess up too. The ball goes in the lake, the rough, a bush, all over the place.

After hitting a few clean shots with each iron, step up to the 5 wood and 3 wood. Your swing will be on a flatter plane as you sweep the ball off the ground. Never try to “get the ball up.” Trust that the club will do the work if you produce the swing that you should be making. The different angles of club faces will change the distance the ball flies. There’s no need for you to swing like a maniac.  Save the driver for last. Again, don’t try to crush it. Get your timing down. The long distance will come.

After the bucket of balls is done, head over to the putting green.  Grab your wedge and make some chip shots. Line up 30 feet away from a hole, choose a 1-foot circle on the green you’re going to aim at, and try to hit the ball into that spot. Hit down on the ball and let the club do the work. Don’t try to scoop the ball into the air. Just because some other amateur has seemingly mastered a crappy swing doesn’t mean you need to copy it. The margin of error for scooping a ball is much higher than a clean downward strike that utilizes the angle of the club to get the job done.

Putting is your last item, but never ever neglect it. You can have the worst day of your life, hitting from the tee to the rough, through the trees, and eventually onto the green, but if you make the putt, you’re still OK. Don’t underestimate its importance. The putter saves you more strokes than any other club.  Grab 3 balls and practice getting the distance control down. How close can you get your putt to the imaginary line that runs perpendicular to the hole. Afterwards, try to read the break of the green. If you aim for lots of break, realize that you can hit the ball easier, whereas if you aim for less, you’ll need to hit the ball harder to keep it on line.

The last point here is that practice does not make perfect, it makes permanent. If you practice bad form, you ingrain bad form in your muscle memory. Not good! Get help from a professional if you need it. It’s worth every penny. When you roll in birdie putts, it feels really damn good.

Golf and Title IX

Title IX affects all schools, specifically those with sports teams.  There must be an equal number of sports for women and men.  Sometimes, this is challenging because if the school wants to add a new team for one gender, a team has to be added for the other gender too.  Using golf as an example, let’s say the school starts a men’s golf team and recruits a bunch of guys to play.  What happens if they can’t find enough women to make a team?  No guys team 🙁  Here are some other perspectives:

Dropped Varsity Lineup

In the article, Dropped Varsity Lineup, but No Longer Grumbling, by Bill Pennington, a writer for the New York Times, the elimination of dozens of college sports under Title IX is explicated. The most common result of a dropped varsity sport is the formation of a corresponding club sport. In most cases, club sport participants get the opportunity to participate in competition very similar to that of varsity play. For example, the archery club at James Madison University in Virginia “won a national championship last season at the same level of competition it had competed at as a varsity squad” (Pennington, p.2). Additionally, others believe that players receive a fuller experience from club sports. The competition is a little less demanding, which allows athletes to loosen up and enjoy themselves. David Skophammer, a freshman Yale water polo player, summed up the club experience congruently. He stated, “You are compromising a little quality but getting a lot more back from the overall experience” (Pennington, p.1). Skophammer forfeited the opportunity to play in the NCAA institutions in California in order to join Yale’s water polo club team.

Sharp Debate Over Title IX

In the article, Sharp Debate Over Title IX, by Elia Powers, a journalist for Inside Higher ED, the main discrepancy was over the model survey released in 2005 by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights concerning Title IX. “The survey was seen as controversial because it is an easier way for colleges to show compliance with prong three, as it is called, of Title IX’s participation requirement and thus not have a ratio of female to male athletes similar to that of the student body” (Powers, p.1). Jocelyn Samuels, vice president for education and employment at the National Women’s Law Center, believed that the OCR’s orders were too lenient, allowing for colleges to pass with compliance, without changing their ways, which still secured past discrimination toward women. She supported the view that the OCR’s survey permitted colleges to evade their responsibilities to underrepresented athletes. Samuels also brought up that there was unnecessary pressure placed on female athletes to participate in the opportunities presented. However, she was rebutted by Jennifer Braceras, a commissioner, lawyer, and freelance writer, and Danciel Cohen, a lawyer who studied the implications of the 2005 clarification. Braceras argued that, overall, colleges are accommodating the interests of female athletes and continuing to provide more options. Cohen continued with the notion of available options, by stating that “the intention of the federal law was to accommodate current students, not predict or measure future interest” (Powers, p.2). Additionally, commissioners asserted that the method of which survey participation was not correctly imposed. Cohen responded by denoting that OCR made sure that the colleges would administer the survey in a way to capture the largest audience.

But I’m an Athlete

In April, the members and coach of the women’s volleyball team at Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut, sued the university for its plan to cut women’s volleyball on the grounds that it violated Title IX. The presiding judge issued an injunction, which ordered Quinnipiac to keep the women’s volleyball team. However, the plaintiffs remained bitter by the universities’ decision to promote its competitive cheerleading squad to varsity status. Robin Sparks, the aforementioned coach, argued that the purpose of Title IX was to ensure that women have opportunities beyond cheerleading. Nancy Hogshead Makar, legal advisor for the Women’s Sports Foundation, stated that cheerleading could only be considered a sport when treated with the same intensity as the other varsity sports. These requirement included such notions as the same focus on competition, criteria for winning/losing, school support with uniforms, and head-to-head competition to name a few. However, the requirements for a sport in the eyes of the OCR were much broader. One of the only criteria was that competition should be the chief objective, arguably a component in almost any physical activity. Even the National Collegiate Cheerleading Association doesn’t recognize cheerleading as a sport! As a result, lack of institutional support lessens the chances of competitive cheerleading being considered as a sport. Those universities, who have added it, did so, purely because of convenience and available capital. For Morgan State, an educational institution which already had a highly active cheering squad, it seemed like a smart move. In that atmosphere, cheerleading fit right in with their intercollegiate athletic program, and Floyd Kerr, the athletic director at Morgan, supported its quick assimilation to the fullest.

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Golf & Social Responsibility

In today’s world, there are many marketing practices that are socially irresponsible.  Two of these questionable practices are excessive markups and the sale of inferior, harmful, and unsafe products.  In order to cleanse the market place, businesses can do many things.  Two easy ways to help improve marketing for both the business and the consumer are consumer-oriented marketing and innovative.

The first of the irresponsible marketing practices is excessive markups.  This occurs when a business produces a product for cheap, and then jacks up the price to a very high level to make extra profit.  Golf clubs are a great example of this questionable practice.  I bought the Cleveland TA7 golf irons that I currently use.  Those clubs were $699.99, just for the irons.  Then, of course, you need a driver, woods, a putter, golf bag, and other accessories.  These particular clubs are made of steel (as most are), which can be produced relatively cheap.  They’re only worth about $100, but because of the fact that golf companies want to make a lot of money more quickly, they set extremely high prices.

The second major irresponsible marketing practice is creating products that are not good.  These useless products can be found everywhere.  The best example is the typical “dollar store” item.  Every one of those cheap toys breaks the first time they are used, but because the toys were only a dollar, they will not be replaced.  Some products may not work well, or may not last long, even though they sell at a high price.  This is not ethical or socially responsible.

Consumer-oriented marketing is the philosophy that holds that businesses should view and organize its marketing activities from the consumer’s point of view.  This means that the businesses need to analyze the market to find out what the consumers need, and then figure out the best way to satisfy those needs.  By looking at the market though the eyes of the consumer, the buyer-seller relationship can be improved so that both parties benefit.

Innovative marketing is similar to consumer-oriented marketing in that both ways deal with improving the relationship between the buyer and the seller, and making businesses more effective and efficient.  Innovative marketing is the philosophy that businesses should constantly be searching for ways to better their products and the marketing process itself.  For example, Apple Corporation has continually developed new, longer-lasting, higher-quality products over the past few years.  First, the iPod came out, then the iPod Mini, then the iPod Shuffle.  Currently, the iPod Mini is no longer in production because it was found to break very easily.  Taking the iPod Mini off the market is socially and ethically responsible because they will break too easily, not providing the services that Apple boasts of its products.

Although there have been many questionable marketing practices in the past, the future seems bright.  The sponsor of this post and a great example of striving to change the look of business is a company owned by Micheal Banish, specializing in pest control beaverton or.  He serves as proof that there are many businesses using ethical practices, such as innovative marketing and consumer-oriented marketing that are prevalent and continue to better the world we live in.  And, he’s just one example of a business making a difference.