Golf pro shares his top 5 tips for falling back in love with the game
- Credit: Archant
The Doctor Golf Academy’s Stuart Robertson on the joys of reconnecting with golf – and how you can get back into the swing of it.
“I’m sure this enforced lay-off has made us all re-evaluate what is important to us, and why we play this wonderful game,” says Stuart Robertson of Ufford Park’s Doctor Golf Academy. “Whether it is just to get some fresh air, take time out from our busy lives, meet up with friends and colleagues, or even to challenge ourselves to improve - I hope you have had some time to really discover your reason why.
“If it’s primarily just for fresh air, that’s great. This will help keep the mind active, as well as getting you out of the house. I know staring at the same walls for an extended period can affect how the mind sees the world.”
As many golfers are keen to get back to grips with their clubs, Stuart suggests taking a moment to soak up what’s going around you.
“While on the golf course, focus on the whole environment. Look at how the trees and bushes have started to flower, the wildlife that shares the same piece of land that we play this great game on, or even just the way the course has been defined with different heights of cut. It is still a nice walk around the countryside - whether you play well or not.
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“If you are taking time out from a busy life - certainly juggling work with homeschooling children has been an adventure for some - take some time to appreciate the surroundings. Don’t worry too much about the score, just enjoy being lost in the environment that surrounds you, and be patient of others.”
Now that you’re able to get back out there and meet up with those long-lost friends once again, a game of golf can also serve as the perfect excuse for a well-needed catch-up.
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“If your main reason for playing is to enjoy the social side of the game and meeting friends in a relaxed environment, I hope you are able to do more of that as some of the restrictions are lifted. A lot of golfers have missed having a conversation at the end of the game in the bar over a drink or two. This will have been felt hardest by those where this is their primary reason for being a member of the club.
“If you have missed the challenging, competitive nature of the sport, you probably will have been practising your putting in the house, chipping in the garden or even erected a makeshift net for the full swing shots.
“With all this practise, you may feel that the scores will be better than when we were in lockdown, but a lot of this practise will have been done without the consequence of seeing where the errant shots go - unless you missed the net you were aiming for.
As driving ranges and practise areas reopen, golf pros are able to offer lessons once again – something that Stuart recommends any golfer makes the most of, regardless of ability.
“Although they may not take the same format as before, take advantage of this to bolster any weaknesses that may have appeared over the past few months,” he says.
“This enforced lockdown has made all of us think about why playing this game is important to us, but don’t lose sight of this the next time we may not get the best bounce of the ball. Finish in a divot or an unraked bunker - there are far more important concerns in the world. Let’s just be happy that we all share the fact that we play this great game that can help us all obtain exactly what we crave on so many different levels.”
Here are Stuart’s top five tips to help you rekindle your love of golf:
1. Stretch and strengthen your joints and muscles - the last thing you want to do is not be able to complete your round.
2. Focus on rhythm and balance - it will be tempting to hit the ball as hard and as far as you can, but keep the body under control so that the ball finishes in the area you want it to.
3. Keep it simple around the green - putt if you can, chip if you can’t putt, and only pitch if you can’t chip.
4. Enjoy the scenery and wildlife. During the enforced time away from the course, there will have been many changes to trees, bushes, flowers as well as animals becoming more active.
5. Set yourself some goals. Be realistic about what you might achieve - it may be a few rounds before you play to your handicap.