Monday, September 24, 2012

You Must Try To Avoid These Common Golfing Mistakes

From my earliest beginnings as a know-it-all teenage golfer to my present position of Expert Golf Pro who really does know almost all there is to know about golf, I have seen people make bad shots and dumb decisions, I have heard about them, and I have done them myself. Every one who ever steps foot on a golf course has made at least one of these common "boners" and usually more than one on any given day. Because golf is an unpredictable, subjective, and tricky sport, these mistakes are more common than most golfers want to admit.

Keeping in the "expert-helping" mode, I have gathered what I think are the 10 most common errors made on the golf course and a little advice on how to avoid them:

- The False Step . This is when you position your feet wrong as you address the ball causing your swing to be off and the ball to take all sorts of unexpected and unwanted directions when you hit it. If your feet are not squarely planted equi-distant from the ball in a straight line and just a little wider apart than your shoulders, then your ball will do "The False Step" and you will likely fall on your face, figuratively speaking.

- The Bobbled Grip. This is when you place your hands wrong on the club's grip or when you hold it too loosely or too tightly resulting in everything from a hook that sends the ball into the woods to a flying weapon that almost takes the heads off of your partners. Don't forget to hook the little finger of your non-dominant hand around the other hand and settle both hands into a comfortable and firm grip.

- The Howler . This is when you swing the club too hard - so hard it howls through the air. It's a common mistake to step up to the ball thinking more like a baseball player trying to send the ball out of the park than a golfer trying to reach the green in two strokes. Concentrate on striking the ball firmly and following through, letting the club lift it and speed it on its way.

- The Slip-Up. This is when you slip your head up just as or before you hit the ball so you can see where it's going. Of course, what really happens is you break the hand-eye connection that allows you to hit the ball squarely with the clubhead instead of grazing the top of the ball, which then just trickles along the ground. That's called a "Muff." To avoid them keep your head down.

- The Miscalculated Shot. This is when you use the wrong club for your shot. Just because your partner can reach the green on a 3-par hole with an 8-iron doesn't mean you can. The wrong club will inevitably cause you to either hit the ball too hard to get the distance or just over-shoot your mark. Study the course and choose wisely.

- The Misread Lie. This is when you fail to take into account the up-hill or down-hill lie of your ball, the break in the green, or the depth of the leaves at the base of the tree. Hitting the ball without this information is like walking to your car without noticing the ice on the ground. If you take for granted that your ball is on level ground because it looks like it is when you stand over top of it, you could easily put your next shot into the lake, the woods, or even OOB! Observe and evaluate your lie before hitting the ball.

- The Bungled Blunder. This is when you hit the ball into the woods, a sand trap, or  on the edge of the lake. That's the Blunder. When you get fancy and try to hit the ball around the tree instead of just hitting away from the trouble spot and maybe taking an extra stroke, you run the risk of either hitting the tree thus sending your ball deeper into the woods. Then you're likely looking at a triple or quadruple bogie.

- The Missed Green. This is when you either leave your shot short and do not make the green as you intended or overshoot the green and end up on the short side of the flag. Either way is sure to add at least one stroke to the hole. Choose the correct club for the distance remaining to the center of the green.

- The Fumble. This is when you try a tricky shot that you have never even tried before, much less perfected. Chips or wedges can be disastrous if you don't know how to hit the ball with a slanted clubhead. You'll either sail over the flag, the green, maybe even into the next fairway, or you'll stay in the trap or under the lip of the green. Practice is the only way to a good chip shot; the pros make it look so easy, we forget how many times they have practiced that same shot before they attempt it.

- The Illusion. This is when you go out on the course with a dream instead of a plan. Thinking you will get through a whole round of golf without a bad shot, without any of the above goofs, or without even a bad lie is an illusion that will quickly get you into trouble as you tend to let down your guard when you're not expecting trouble. At the first hint of a slice or a topped drive, your illusion will fly away like your errant shot and you will be left to play a terrible round of golf just like you expected11Thinking you can navigate a 68-par 18-hole course with soaring drives, long irons, and accurate putts is closer to being a "delusion of grandeur" than just an illusion. Remember: you are not a pro playing the Masters.

These are the most common mistakes made by golfers everywhere; without them I'd be out of business. The bottom line is there will never be a perfect anything, much less a perfect golfer. Of course, there are many pros who strive for perfection. There are a lot of struggling amateurs who would like to reach perfection just long enough to break into the professional ranks. Then there are the countless impatient and frustrated "weekend" and occasional golfers who dream of the perfect shot, hole, round, anything that will give them status in their local golf club and the envy and respect of their fellow golfers. All of these people who walk and ride around golf courses around the world know in their hearts that there is no such thing as the perfect shot, hole, round, or anything else in this game. But still they strive for perfection.

This can be hard on the self image, not to mention the blood pressure if one lets the striving become an obsession and take over the game so that it is no longer a game but an addiction. That being said, there is something inherently good about this need and desire for perfection. Kept in its proper perspective, our quest for the hole-in-one, dead-on 30-foot putt, and perfect drive gives us the competitive edge necessary to improve our game. If we had no desire to be a perfect golfer, none of us would ever take a lesson, read an eBook, practice chipping and putting, or use a driving range. We would all be satisfied with our less-than-perfect status quo.

What a boring game golf would be! This is why I write these posts, answer your questions, give you tips, and encourage weekend golfers, especially young people - to make the game of golf challenging, fun, and possible for everyone who likes a sport that does what golfing does. If you are one of those, it gets you outside, provides you with spectacular moments with the natural world as well as opportunities to build up stamina and strength by walking through some of the most beautiful and inspiring real estate there is anywhere, and it challenges you to be the best you can be!

This article was written by Keith Matthews.  Keith is keen to share more of his golfing tips and experience so sign-up for his free weekly emails at

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Golfing with Graeme McDowell and Guinness Black Lager

This past Monday I had the opportunity to play golf with Ryder Cup European team member Graeme McDowell at The Glen Club in Glenview. My new friends at Guinness Black Lager and Graeme were our hosts for the day, where we were treated to 18 holes of championship golf on one of Chicagoland’s best courses.

The outing format was quite unique and featured many gimmick holes throughout the round, including our 17th and 18th holes – played entirely in the dark. Aided only by glow sticks in the fairway and surrounding the green, we were tasked with launching a glow-in-the-dark golf ball toward an illuminated flagstick. Following the round, Graeme invited us back to the 17th tee for an impromptu ‘closest-to-the-pin’ contest’.

Forever the opportunist, McDowell showed us all how this game should be played and stuck his shot to three feet.

Guinness Black Lager is a new lager that perfectly combines the refreshing taste of lager with the unique character and flavor of Guinness. The Guinness Master Brewers have used the finest lager hops, yeast and traditional cold brewing methods, with their signature roasted barley, to create a truly original black lager with deliciously distinctive flavor and deeply refreshing taste.

The deep, dark color of the beer is one that tradition Guinness fans will recognize and have grown to love. However, this is not your grandfather’s stout beer. Instead, Guinness Black Lager is a cool, refreshing beverage that can be enjoyed year-round and especially on the golf course.
The taste is also unique: light and crisp from the start, quickly revealing a subtle sweet malt and roast character with a pleasant slight hop finish that invites the next sip. Overall, a taste that is uniquely flavorful yet deeply refreshing.

Guinness Black Lager retails for just over $8 a six-pack is available nationwide and can be found wherever Guinness products are sold.

This article was written by Chicago Duffer.  Check out other great articles at Chicago Duffer.