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My journey finding golf – My history part 2

Many years have passed while I have been looking for a sport activity that I can partake in that won’t hinder my lumbar fusion as well as something I can be reasonably good at. I have been quite dedicated to the things I have done in the past, even when I was younger, I took the sport I did very seriously and I think because of that, it might have been the reason why it affected me so much when I wasn’t able to do any sport anymore.

I often wondered if golf would have been something worth doing but I just never had the motivation to really take the first step and go and hit a few balls at the range. Golf was an expensive sport, even more so today with all the expensive equipment and state of the art drivers and simulators, it often takes some investment if you are serious about it, which seems to be a bit unfair as only those who can afford it can participate in the sport.

During December 2019, something kept on making me think about golf, I started watching some videos about Tiger Woods as most wannabe golfers do, and I thought to myself, this looks like something that I might enjoy doing, besides, it looks so easy, if they can do it, so can I.

I have been pondering about it for that whole December and finally decided to make golf one of my new year’s resolutions. January the 1st, 2020, I bought my very own set of clubs. As most experienced golfers would tell you, you need to get fitted, I did exactly the opposite and I bought clubs that looked nice as supposed to something that would fit my swing, not that I had a swing at the time.

To give some context, I bought a left-handed box set. The assumption I had at the time was that because I was right-handed, but I played cricket left-handed, I needed left-handed golf clubs. I know what you are thinking, worst mistake ever, but at the time it made sense. Well, it happened nonetheless and so I went to the golf range for the first time ever and it was awful. For some reason everyone knew it was my first time, it wasn’t like I spoke to anyone, but they were all staring at me and my box golf set, I wasn’t sure if it was the outfit that attracted so much attention.

My wife borrowed right-handed clubs from her brother, she was entertaining the idea to play golf too so she went out with me to hit some balls. Since she hit her first ball, she was basically a natural, I was struggling excessively and got extremely frustrated with my left-handed clubs, so much so that I almost broke them after the first few sessions at the range and I couldn’t bear the thought that my wife could hit a golf ball much better than I could and she wasn’t even really trying.

The one day I took one of her right-handed clubs and practiced with it a bit, I struck the ball so nicely, it was the best shot I have had out of all my left-handed shots. As it turned out, it was a big mistake on my part buying left-handed clubs, I wasn’t a lefty after all. I traded in my lefty clubs the very next week and bought a right-handed set of Callaway Edge clubs. For beginner golfers, those who have had a beginner Callaway box set will know that they are not bad at all.

From that moment on, things started getting better. I wasn’t nearly ready to take on any golf course at that stage, but I saw a little bit of progress week after week, so I kept going and I put in the time. I got obsessed with watching YouTube video’s about swings while I was trying to figure out my own, trying to imitate other player’s swings, but it never felt like my swing, so I changed it regularly to try and find something more suited to me.

When you try so many different techniques as YouTube suggest, you find that hardly any of it really works for you which was the case for me. I tried so many things, I just couldn’t move past the barrier to the next level no matter what I tried. It often felt like only a hand full of people in the world held the secrets to golf and they are all on the PGA tour, them never really giving any obvious tips that might help you in one way or another, instead they just make things look so easy which often left me so aggravated because surely if they can do it, so can I.

It’s often easier to be a spectator that can cheer and criticize to their heart’s content rather than being the athlete that need to perform while everyone else is watching. It is very different when you transition from a spectator to doing the actual sport yourself, it is extremely hard and during this transition you develop an astonishing amount of respect for the players on tour because you now have a glimpse of what preparation they go through each day to make it look so easy, and sometimes they don’t event get it exactly right.

In that moment I came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to be proficient in the sport doing it on my own and that I needed some serious help. I wanted to compete in golf, but I also didn’t want to look like a fool thinking that I am good when I am actually not, I decided to put the word out on social media to see if there are any PGA golf instructors close enough to where I stay for me to go and speak to, just to get an idea of what I needed to do to get a plan in place based on what my goals were and what coaching we can start on that would have the most impact at the time on my game…

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My journey finding golf – My history part 1

I have been an athlete most of my live. Participating in sporting events has always given me a sense of purpose and encouragement. Many years into my youth, I had an accident in a public swimming pool jumping off a second story diving board, long story short it ended up me having a herniated disc. So for those who don’t know what that is, it is the disc between 2 vertebrae’s that pops which in most cases presses against your nerves causing excessing pain and numbness, as it happened I had no feeling in my lower body, I was terrified but the feeling came back soon after and I was quite relieved, never realizing what has just happened in my back.

Several months later, I had my first back surgery when I was 16, the doctor told me I would never be able to do sports again. I was devastated and had no sense of purpose, I just became someone who was once a great athlete, who no longer had purpose and who was slowly being forgotten for the talent I had.

Many years later, despite all my other personal life struggles having several stepfathers and bouncing from home to home, its hard to image then the person I became despite so many bad choices I could have made, call it what you will, fate, destiny or someone looking out for me from above, I turned out to be the best version of myself.

Long story short, I started my first job. I worked in IT as a technician and I loved working will the cool gadgets and stuff, but I was often reminded that there was always something missing. That big void that I have been trying to fill ever since I couldn’t do any sports anymore just couldn’t be filled with anything else.

At the age of 23, I was told to get my second back surgery, this time it is far more serious. To receive a spinal fusion involves several long screws, some bone marrow and a cage to make 2 vertebrae’s into one. As straight forward as it sounds, it was terrifying for me as a young adult, not knowing how it would affect the rest of my life. After the surgery was over, I realized that there will be no chance for me to do any kind of physical sport every again and that there is no going back from this, it felt worse that the first time around, and its hard to try and replace something that you have loved for most of your live but also not have anything to replace it with…..

What is in my bag?

It has always been a curiosity by many golfers to see what is in another golfer’s bag, often the bag itself makes a statement or when you play with a stranger and they hit their clubs well, its only natural to wonder what clubs they have in the bag. Not that I play a great round of golf by any means, but here is mine:

Some might say I am a TaylorMade fan, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide for yourself.

TaylorMade Sim 2 Driver (Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX Stiff Flex shaft)

TaylorMade Sim 2 Ti Fairway Wood (Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX Stiff Flex shaft)

TaylorMade P770 irons (KBS 130x Stiff Flex shaft)

TaylorMade MG 2 Raw Face Wedges, 52 , 56 and 60 degree (S200 Stiff flex shaft)

TaylorMade Sim Staff bag

What lesson have you learned in golf?

When you are new to golf, you practice a lot, striving to hit every ball with precision and accuracy. As many experienced golfers know, that is purely a myth as there is no such thing as hitting a ball perfectly every time, not even for the best players in the world. Many new golfers give up before they really begin as they try and uphold the perception of perfection otherwise they are considered a failure, giving in and end up quitting because they think they are not good enough.

When I first started playing golf, I watched many US Open tournaments to get some insight into the world of golf, thinking that those professional golfers couldn’t make any mistakes, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. The first thing you need to make peace with is not hitting the ball perfectly all the time, it’s not going to happen, but you always have the opportunity to make up for it in the next shot.

As you gain experience in playing golf, one can’t argue that those bad shots will inevitably happen, but the change in mindset to ‘how you can turn that bad ball lie to you advantage’ will give you that edge above your opponents. Sure, there is a lot more work to put in, but when that bad lie turns into an amazing green shot, it’s all worth it and you will instantly feel better to play the next hole with confidence.

When you hit a bad hole, don’t ponder about it, let it go and make up for it in the next hole. The biggest mistake I have seen some players make is that they hold on to that grudge from the previous hole and it creates a dark cloud going into the next hole, affecting their game play negatively throughout the remaining holes. If you can shake it off, you will certainly play better going forward, it’s never easy to let go of the “If I had just ..” but if you do, you will gain the upper hand.

Golf is probably in more ways that one, the sport that has the most sportsmanship among players than in any other sport I have come across. It’s unreal to see fellow players congratulating the champion after finishing the 18th hole or giving recognition where it is due when someone has made a good putt, goes to show how high the standard of golf players is.

What is the Corona/ Covid-19 Virus Really Teaching us? – Bill Gates

I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad.

As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel the Corona/ Covid-19 virus is really doing to us:

1) It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally, perhaps we should to. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.

2) It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport. It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.

3) It is reminding us of how precious our health is and how we have moved to neglect it through eating nutrient poor manufactured food and drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals upon chemicals. If we don’t look after our health, we will, of course, get sick.

4) It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet roll.

5) It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials that we need (food, water, medicine)
as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.

6) It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses so we can rebuild them into our home and
to strengthen our family unit.

7) It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what we do, not what we were created to do.
Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.

8) It is reminding us to keep our egos in check. It is reminding us that no matter how great we think we are or how great others think we are,
a virus can bring our world to a standstill.

9) It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to hoard, to look after only our self. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.

10) It is reminding us that we can be patient, or we can panic. We can either understand that this type of situation has happened many times before in history and will pass, or we can panic and see it as the end of the world and, consequently, cause ourselves more harm than good.

11) It is reminding us that this can either be an end or a new beginning. This can be a time of reflection and understanding, where we learn from our mistakes, or it can be the start of a cycle which will continue until we finally learn the lesson we are meant to.

12) It is reminding us that this Earth is sick. It is reminding us that we need to look at the rate of deforestation just as urgently as we look at the speed at which toilet rolls are disappearing off of shelves. We are sick because our home is sick.

13) It is reminding us that after every difficulty, there is always ease. Life is cyclical, and this is just a phase in this great cycle. We do not need to panic; this too shall pass.

14) Whereas many see the Corona/ Covid-19 virus as a great disaster, I prefer to see it as a “great corrector”

It is sent to remind us of the important lessons that we seem to have forgotten and it is up to us if we will learn them or not.

– Bill Gates

Our time will come, but not today COVID-19.

Today, no matter where you are in the world, we all share the same worry about an unknown future. Our situation serves as a reminder to take time out and reflect on our lives, be with people we love and cherish all the moments we’ve had the privilege of experiencing.

Times are tough but we have our family, friends and people that support each other through the worst of times no matter where it ends. Once it’s all over, play a round of golf and all in the world will be well again. Until then, practice indoors and remember, the world needs you so keep yourselves safe!

Thank you – USGA for this breathtaking video, it just a reminder why we do what we love.

Callaway Edge Combo Set Review

Amateur golfers want clubs that improve their game and give them as much forgiveness as possible at a reasonable price, given the price tag on the new Callaway Edge Combo Set, they do exactly just that. The Set is built and designed by the biggest research and development team in golf industry, offered to you by the easiest to hit and extremely forgiving hybrid irons ever made.

The Edge Combo Set features some of the best-looking clubs in the game, despite their good looks and great design, these irons use game-changing technology that’s bound to give your shots more distance, as well as reduce the impact of your mishits which is perfect for amateur golfers who are looking to take their game to a new level. These clubs might not turn you into a pro just yet anyway, but they will certainly give you an edge over your opponents.

The Edge Combo Set features a high launch hybrid design, producing the easiest to hit hybrids in the Callaway line-up that provides a lowered center of gravity with improved launch angles and forgiveness. Because the lofts of these irons are increased, the ball-launching task should be much easier trying to get that ball into the air.

Let’s see what is inside the Callaway Edge Combo 10-piece Golf Club Set:

Titanium Driver:

 The driver comes with a large club head made from titanium. It has a fast face and a very low center of gravity which will certainly improve your launch prowess. The driver’s shaft is made of graphite which makes it very lightweight, making it easy to swing and great for improving your distance.

3-Wood:

The shaft of the wood is made of graphite, making it lightweight and great for getting more distance. It’s aerodynamic club head and low center of gravity make the 3-wood great for launching the ball on a long flight with minimal effort.

5-Hybrid:

The 5-hybrid is very forgiving thanks to its cambered sole. It makes launching the ball from any type of lie an easy task without putting in too much effort.

#6, #7, #8, #9-Iron, PW, SW:

All the irons in this set come standard with steel shafts, providing a fast and very forgiving shot.

Odyssey White Hot Pro Putter:

The putter gives you a great feel, provided by the Super Stroke grip, this allows for a firm grip and an easy putt.

Choosing the right tee height for your driver

Being able to hit the ball in the center of the driver face is something all golfers aim for. There are several things that will affect your swing which can be anything from your grip, stance, to the pivoting of your hips. In some cases the flexibility of the shaft also comes into play as the driver head tries to align with the shaft on the down swing, impacting the loft at which the ball is struck.

There is no exact science for hitting the ball correctly as each golf player swing is unique to them, although there are some mechanics I mentioned before that you can focus on which will generally improve your swing. Hitting the ball in the center of the driver face though is often trial and error by experimenting with the different tee heights that will give you the best and consistent shot. The height of the ball on the tee usually affects where the ball will impact the driver face, this directs how high and how far the ball will travel based on the loft angle the ball is struck and the amount of spin the ball generates.

Often overlooked is the angle of the driver face and where the perfect hitting spot is. If you are using a 10.5 degree driver, it means that the 10.5 degrees is roughly in the center of the face, hitting lower than the center the loft decreases, causing the ball to fly lower with more spin and the opposite for when you hit the ball above the center. Sometimes the ball is hit too high on the face that you can see the marks on the top edge of the driver, this normally means that the tee you are using is too high. For a visual representation of how to hit it properly, an article by Hirekogolf shows it very clearly all the way from the driver face to hitting up or down on the ball.

The most common used tee setup is to have half the ball on the tee above the top edge of the driver face and the other half of the ball below it. This would be a great starting point to try and figure out where you need to go from there. If you still hit too high on the driver face, then the tee could still be too high. Experimenting enough should get you to the proper height that is perfect for your swing. If it feels like you are swinging a hosepipe, try hitting with a driver that has a stiffer shaft, this might help hitting the ball more accurately rather than trying to compensate for the bending of the shaft which can end up opening the driver face on impact, resulting in a slice or a hook shot.

Why Golf is the 51st Shade of Grey

Why do many people play golf? For us, it’s mostly the sensation of raw power that comes from hitting a little white ball as far as we can see with such technique and finesse that it becomes so effortless. The feeling of striking the ball the right way and watching it fly is, very arguably, an intense excitement and happiness unmatched in any other sport. we play golf to ‘compete against ourselves’ in the presence of others, I’ve never found a sport in which I ‘compete against myself’ more often than I do during a round of golf.

Unlike many sports, golf is personal. You play against yourself to try to beat your own previous record. This motivates you to work harder and try to do better than the last time you played. As you get better, you can set new goals for yourself to knock more strokes off your score. The great thing about this game is that at no point are you done improving, you can always shoot a lower score or play more difficult courses to challenge yourself to try and improve your handicap.

Playing golf is a great cardiovascular exercise which comes with several physical and mental health perks, just by swinging a golf club, you build muscle and strengthen your core, if you prefer carrying your golf bag instead of using a golf cart, you will certainly reach you daily steps in no time. The fresh air and beautiful countryside that we experience on the course can make you feel happy and relaxed,  when it’s just you, your club, and your ball, it allows you to clear your mind and put things into perspective while only focusing on the one problem at hand, which is getting that ball into the hole.

The game would get boring fairly quickly if you could hit the perfect shot every time, so the rarity of success is what makes it so captivating, since golf is a very different sport to that of basketball, you have the chance to savor a great shot for a good few minutes and not have to get back into the game almost immediately. The feeling you get from a well-struck ball is better than any drink, drug, or orgasm you most probably ever experienced and the despair at messing up the next shot is deeper and more painful than any hangover, withdrawal or breakup you’ve probably ever had.

Golf is an extremely sociable sport, this is generally a good way to connect with people and make new friends. One of the easiest ways is to head to the course alone. Let the clubhouse know you’re willing to join others, and they’ll be more than happy to set you up with other willing groups. Before you know it, you’ll be heading out for a celebratory drink with a new friend or two. The course is also known as a good place to make new business deals as it is a game played by many other business professionals, if you’re looking to improve your career, it might be time to take up golfing so you can take out colleagues or bosses out for a round. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and have a neutral location where it’s easy to talk about anything.  This is one of the very few sports where practically anyone can play, you can enjoy a game with friends, colleagues, partners, spouses and children, where anyone can compete with a different handicap.

Using a ball marker on the green

Removing a golf ball from the field can be due to many reasons, a courtesy towards other players that are also putting on the green, the need to clean the ball or to a replacement due to severe damage.

A ball marker can represent anything from a small plastic object to your favorite coin, this can be placed directly behind the golf ball before the ball is removed, using a proper ball marker is recommended as it is rarely seen that a PGA golfer would use anything other than a plastic ball marker or small coin to mark the golf ball’s location.

According to an article published by the FSGA, there are many recommended ball markers that can be used so that you can easily identify which one is yours.