Posted by & filed under Blog.

Few sports offer more jargon and slang than golf. From ‘the unmentionables’ and ‘chilli dip’ to simpler terms such as Stableford, tee, birdie and bogey, the vocabulary of golf is a lengthy list.

Here’s another: shotgun start. What is a shotgun start in golf—and do you need to shout ‘fore!’ even louder than usual when it happens?

There’s no need to worry about the latter issue—well, not initially, anyway.


What is a shotgun start?

shotgun start in golf

The term shotgun start relates to 18 groups of golfers beginning their rounds at the same time.

It’s a good name for it, actually, as if the groups have been fired out of a shotgun like pellets, landing in at all parts of the course.

It’s a clever way of making competitions run efficiently. Let’s say every group started on the 1st tee, and with 10-minute intervals between times, it would mean three hours between the first and last times, which would obviously mean the first group would finish three hours before the last one.

That’s hardly conducive to a good atmosphere at the prize-giving dinner when the early groups will eat their roast beef and then promptly leave because they know their 46 Stableford better ball points aren’t going to get the job done.

With a shotgun start, however, everyone finishes at the same time. Of course, that means the most horrific fight for a towel, shower cubicle, or 12 inches of bench space in the locker room—but that’s a small price to pay.

Shotgun starts are especially popular on charity golf days when there might actually be more than 18 groups to somehow get on the course.

More than 18 brings added complications to what is already a complicated start to proceedings. How so, you may ask…


Shotgun start—the charity fourball

shotgun start in golf

Picture the scene. Your company has bought a fourball on a charity day, and you’ve been selected as one of the quartet.

It’s being held at a local course, but you haven’t played there before. Naturally, it’s nice to play a new course, but your lack of knowledge isn’t just restricted to the blind tee shot on the 5th—you also have no idea where the 13th hole is, which is a bit of a problem because that’s where you are starting from.

But wait, help is at hand. Jeremy, who heads up the sales team, played here* “about 10 or 11 years ago” and can remember the routing of the course, so “we’re sorted”.

Turns out there’s a shortcut down the side of the 1st and then a sharp 90˚ right turn through some woodland. It seems a bit unlikely as that land sits between the 1st and the 9th that returns golfers to the clubhouse after the front nine.

But Jeremy is convinced, and it “saves at least 10 minutes’ walking” compared to simply trekking down the 10th, 11th and 12th (which was Alan from Accounts’ play-it-safe suggestion).

You’ve guessed it. Team Aphrodite Alarm Systems yomp for a good 30 minutes before making it to the 13th tee. Still, at least they’ve seen what the line to take is on that blind drive on the 5th and also had a good look at the back left pin on the 7th.

The hooter hasn’t gone to signify the start yet, so they can chill out and cool down for a minute or two before thinking about the first shot.

Oh no, wait, the 13th is a par 3, and the organisers have reckoned the short holes are the ones to get the five extra groups out on the course.

So, sweaty and flustered, Team Aphrodite has to mutter something about “it being a maze out here” to Team FastFirst Haulage & Logistics—who are all disdainfully leaning on their 6-irons at the back of the tee—while rummaging for balls and tees.

The FastFirst lads, nominated as Team 13B, so the second to tee off, are obviously all fixated on watching Aphrodite tee off, too, and inevitably, none of the four balls find the green. Jeremy’s nine handicap looks iffy, too, and there are fears that the round 10 or 11 years ago may have been his last.

Alan scrambles a point with a brave putt, but it’s a slow start for Aphrodite, and they don’t trouble the prize-giving. Still, it’s a fun evening afterwards, made possible only because of the shotgun start.

*It later transpires he had played at Gracewood Park. This is Gracewood Hall.

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

Looking at the best golf headcovers on the market is a bit like being in a YouTube spiral. You start by clicking on a shot by Seve in the 1987 Ryder Cup, and before you know it, you’re watching Oh Oh Oh by the Golf Boys (Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane and Hunter Mahan, to save you from having to Google it).

Why? Because the choice is immense. You can go for a smart-looking option from your favourite equipment manufacturer. You can go for a sleek option from what is essentially a fashion designer. You can go for something that shows your allegiance to your football team or even your country. And you can go for something completely wacky that looks more like a soft toy from The Generation Game than anything to do with golf. And a hundred things in between.

In short, you have loads of choices when it comes to golf headcovers. So, to make your search easier, we’ve narrowed things down by picking out a few great options from the various categories. Who knew choosing a golf headcover could be so exhausting?!


Golf headcovers: our top picks


Ralph Lauren RLX Driver Headcover

golf headcovers


RL’s iconic logo and signature embroidered Pony adorn this driver headcover, which has a plush lining. It looks the part, and if you’re a fan of Ralph Lauren polo shirts, this might well team up nicely with it.

An American feel, as you’d expect—but we like it.


Ping Core Driver Headcover

golf headcovers


We’re big fans of Ping gear and enjoy how this manages to simultaneously look both retro and modern at the same time.

The black-and-white colour-way looks superb, and you can guarantee your driver will be protected inside the soft, velour-padded interior. It features a high-quality embroidered Ping logo with extra padding at the top and bottom.


Titleist Jet Black Leather Headcover

golf headcovers


Titleist only really does stylish, and this leather headcover fits in just right. It features a chic, jet-black quilted design and is built with a two-panel construction.

It’s made from 100% leather and boasts the distinctive Titleist Tour patch detail on the front with opulent quilting detail.


Glenmuir Saltire Driver Headcover

golf headcovers


OK, you might think this has limited appeal because it excludes the rest of the British Isles, but we reckon this might appeal to many golfers who love the Home of Golf. After all, you don’t have to cheer on John McGinn when the football is on to want this beauty.

It has a premium quilted soft inner for protection and is made with reinforced seams to prevent overstretching from repeated use and wear and tear. It’s made with 100% premium mock leather and has contrasting white Glenmuir 1891 embroidery on the top.


J Lindeberg Driver Headcover


If you want a Scandinavian vibe for your club protection duties, look no further than this one from J Lindeberg.

The Tour-grade synthetic leather is known for its durability, and the smooth but rugged fabric microfleece lining offers market-leading wear and colour resistance no matter how many rain and sleet storms you play in. Its black material contrasts with the fashionable JL Bridge logo embroidery—and bonus points, too, for being really easy to clean.


TaylorMade ‘Smash! Boom! Pow!’ Blade Putter Cover


This fun Comic Book-styled blade putter cover features action-packed classic onomatopoeia for a sense of nostalgia and levity, as well as bags of colour.

It features premium embroidery and a magnetic closure and is available for mallets, too.


Ping ‘Clubs of Paradise’ Putter Headcover

golf headcovers


Another super-colourful option to protect that all-important putter head.

Here, floral flair and bright colours pop off a dark, durable polyurethane background that’s super hardwearing. Add in the magnetic closure, navy felt lining, and the distinctive Mr PING logo embroidery, and you’ve got yourself a solid headcover.


The Open Hybrid Headcover

golf headcovers


This is a classy-looking headcover for your hybrid clubs. The leather sleeve sports the famous claret jug logo in white over a royal blue background, with two flashes of white across the lower end.


Glenmuir Tartan Putter Cover

golf headcovers


How golf used to be…

These classic knitted headcovers are perfect for modern hybrid clubs, which are essentially the size drivers used to be back in the day when knitted covers were a luxury.

This Tartan stripe headcover comes in a navy, green and light grey stripe and fully encompasses the head as well as protecting the bottom of the shaft no matter the head size or shape.

It has a knitted lining and reinforced seams to prevent overstretching from its original shape. It’s 100% acrylic, and there’s an embroidered Glenmuir 1891 logo on the front with the classic club indicator toggle.


Daphne’s Elk Headcover


Remember when we mentioned soft toys earlier? This import from the US is part of a high-quality range of animal headcovers from Daphne’s. Each headcover is fully lined and elasticated for a snug fit around your clubs yet will comfortably fit up to 460cc drivers.

As seen in the bags of LPGA and PGA Tour players, Daphne’s headcovers are made from premium quality materials. These headcovers will bring a smile to the faces of all your playing partners and remind us that golf is supposed to be fun!

Posted by & filed under Interviews.

We recently caught up with PGA pro Eddie Hammond on how to fix a slice and straighten up your golf game.

Here’s what he had to say…


How to fix a slice

For me, one of the main reasons golfers slice a ball is down to visual misconceptions—often called parallax.

As we address the ball, we stand to the side looking across at the target which causes a shift of the body alignment to where we perceive the target to be. This adjustment in alignment causes an over-the-top ‘pulling’ action into impact.

The more a right-hander swings left to stop the ball from slicing right, the more likely it is that the clubface will be open to the path, which causes a slice. This clubface usually feels like a powerless glancing blow or side swipe.


Why is the slice so common?

how to fix a slice

Clearly, poor technique is the underlying cause of a slice, but you could also put it down to poor understanding of what makes the golf ball go where it goes.

In many ways, golf can be a game of opposites. For example, if you want to curve the ball from right to left, you need to swing the club more right of the target. And it’s very hard, when you’ve just seen the last half a dozen shots slice to the right, to then attempt to swing the club in that same direction.


How to fix a slice: what should you check?

how to fix a slice

Start with your set-up position, as there are several factors before the club even moves that can set you up for a slice. Some of the reasons we slice the ball include:

  • Body alignment not being parallel to the clubface
  • A weak grip with hands rotated too far towards the target
  • Ball position too far forward in the stance
  • Poor posture
  • Too much weight in the heels

My best advice for fixing any swing problems is to visit your local PGA Professional, who’ll be able to guide you in the correct way.


How to fix a slice: things to try

how to fix a slice

Try these when looking at how to fix a slice.

1. For anyone with experience of playing other sports, there’s quite often a transferrable skill that can be used.

Whether it’s throwing a rugby ball, playing a top-spin forehand, or recreating a famous David Beckham free-kick into the top left corner, there’s usually something.

My favourite is the free-kick. As a right-hander, imagine the club shaft as your right leg and the heel/toe of the clubhead as your foot. Think about what angle you would approach the ball from and how you would move your foot through the ball to impart the required spin.


2. If you have a practice area where you’re able to hit shots with the ball above your feet, try hitting some and notice the added feeling of rotation in your arms throughout the swing, especially just prior to and after impact.

Think about what must happen for the sole of the clubhead to match the angle of the ground, creating a solid contact. After a few shots, you should hopefully start to see the ball flight straighten up and possibly even move with a little draw shape. After you’ve hit a few, move on to a more neutral area of ground and attempt to recreate the same. Some driving ranges will have specially designed mats that are sloped to create different lies such as ball above and below feet.


3. The split-grip drill will help you feel rotation in the swing, too. With a 7-iron, keep your top hand where it is and slide your lower hand to the bottom of the grip. From here, make some swings back and through, noticing how your lead arm folds on the way through. You should also feel how the grip end slows down through impact, and the right arm rotates over the left and hinges back up into the finish.


4. Hold the club out in front of you, level at the horizon with the clubhead level with your chin. From here, make swings around your body, keeping the clubhead level with the horizon, and look for any changes.

For instance, has the clubhead dropped in the backswing? Most slicers will notice that when the clubhead returns to the start, it’s coming from above the horizon, swinging across and downwards. Try repeating the exercise and have the clubhead travel more upwards from low to high through impact. Notice the feelings you are creating—possibly a more folded trail arm as you approach impact or more rotation in the arms through impact. See if you can hit some shots from a normal address position while maintaining these new feels.


What other factors should you consider when working out how to fix a slice?

how to fix a slice

For somebody who plays golf from the opposite side to their dominant arm, it’s worth noting that the lead arm being the stronger arm can overpower the downswing and pull both arms out in front of the body, causing a very outside-in path through impact.

We hear a lot about the search for a straight lead arm. Yes, a straight lead arm can add width and power to a swing, but it can also add tension. This added tension and stiffness in the lead elbow can delay the squaring of the clubface and leave it open through impact.


About Eddie Hammond

Eddie is the Head Assistant Professional at Moortown Golf Club in West Yorkshire. He is originally from Sheffield and moved to Moortown in 2005, qualifying as a PGA Professional in 2010. Eddie is also a Titleist ambassador.

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

The article below was written by Jack Backhouse of National Club Golfer.

Golfers can often have a love hate relationship with chipping, but it’s a vital part of the game if you want to shoot low scores. Here’s 5 mistakes to avoid if you want to start chipping better.

Amateur golfers will generally always miss at least 9 greens in regulation, which means on at least half the holes you play on the golf course, you will hit a chip shot, so it makes sense to be handy in this area of the game. Coaches often see 5 stupid mistakes golfers make when chipping. 


Have the right tools for the job

The first place to start when trying to improve your chipping is to ensure you have the right clubs to cover the full range of shots for all the different situations you face on the golf course. Different courses ask different questions about your wedge game, so it is essential to get fit into wedges that suit your swing for the turf type you play the majority of your golf on.

Once you have the right tools, selecting the correct one is the next vital step in improving your wedge play. Too often, amateur golfers and poor chippers take too much loft when it would be much lower risk and easier to play the shot with a 9 or an 8 iron. Low loft chipping has a much more significant margin for error and removes the chance of hitting a horror shot that could cost you a double bogey or worse.

Unless you have something to go over that the ball can’t run through, try chipping with your 8 or 9 iron next time you play and see how much easier it is to get the ball inside 10 feet.


Assess the lie

The next step on the road to short-game mastery is to assess the lie correctly. A common mistake amateur golfers make is getting to their ball and picking a club without considering how the ball is sitting in the grass, which can lead to more regular fat and thin chip shots.

As a general rule, the worse the lie, the less loft you should use. When the ball sits down, shots become more complicated as you have to adjust your angle of attack. If this sounds too complicated and you don’t have hours a week to practice, you are often better off using your pitching wedge and a putting stroke to semi-thin the shot and get it on the green. From a bad lie, it is much easier to make a double bogey than save par, so don’t try to be too clever and just get the ball on the green.


Use your wrists correctly

There is a myth in chipping that needs busting, and that is that you should keep your wrists stiff to stop hitting fat and thin shots. This is just simply not the case. If you want to hit great golf shots, then softer wrists will allow the club to swing more, which not only improves your distance control but also gives you more chance of a solid strike. Some of the greatest chippers of all time have actually been the players with the softest wrists!

Golfers should train themselves to hit the sand 1 inch behind the ball, keeping the ball position the same and then control their distance by varying the length of swing and club head speed, but always hit the sand in the same place. A great drill for this is to put an alignment stick down in the sand roughly 4 or 5 inches behind the ball and hit some shots trying to avoid hitting the stick. Moving your sand entry point closer to the ball will allow you to hit the ball high with spin and with more control than you have ever had before.

It also helps to have a specialised wedge to use in the sand, not just the sand wedge that comes as part of an iron set. This is because they are designed with specialised grinds and lower leading edges that help the club move through the sand smoothly and not dig. Keeping the divot shallow helps get the ball out more often, too.


Know your limitations

Something that gets amateur golfers into trouble all too often is trying to do more than they are capable of. This happens a lot around the greens as we see a lot of unbelievable shots on the PGA Tour coverage week in and week out, so not only are golfers conditioned to think those epic shots are normal when they are not, but also golfers have all at one time or another hit a world-class high-risk shot so believe that they are capable of doing it again.

The quicker amateur golfers realise they need to play for their average, not their best, the faster they start taking fewer shots around the greens. This means sometimes aiming away from flags when in bad short-sided positions or hitting a 9 iron from a bad lie when a sand wedge might allow them to hit it closer. Mid-handsappers need to remember that the way to lower their score is not to make more pars but to make fewer double bogeys, and by playing the easiest, lowest-risk shot around the greens, double bogeys will become a thing of the past.


Use the most simple chipping technique

If you haven’t got the picture by now, it is much easier to chip with your 9 iron than it is with a lofted wedge, and it can be made even easier if you have the right technical ideas in mind. The keys to the foolproof basic chip is in your set-up. A golfer should stand up tall to the ball and near the ball so that the toe of the club is down and the club’s heel is in the air. This will feel very upright but will make you employ a putting style technique which propels the ball low and running, with little chance of hitting it heavy.

It is even a good idea to try and hit these shots slightly thin, as a thin strike and a centred strike will go near enough the same distance with a 9 iron chip, so it is always better to err on the side of too thin rather than hitting the ground first, as this can result in disasters. This may seem counterintuitive, but if you get out onto the practice area and deliberately semi-thin some chip shots, you will not only quickly learn how hard to swing to get the ball to go the right distance, but you will realise how easy it is to chip well.

The fastest way to improve your scoring is to sharpen up your short game. This starts by removing any mistakes or bad shots and then continues by getting better and better at choosing the right club for the shot, picking a good landing spot and then learning how to hit the ball the right distance. Near enough, all good players have a respectable short game, so if you want to improve your scores and lower your handicap, sorting out your chipping is a great place to start.

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

The ability to download free golf apps has never been better. Golf apps offer a multitude of options and features which can save you hundreds of pounds on things like rangefinders, GPS devices, and even lessons.

Most of us spend a lot of our time on our phones, and within a few seconds, we can calculate what club to hit, book a tee time, or watch what’s going on with Rory on the other side of the world. 

In this article, we highlight some of our favourite free golf apps to help you get the most out of your game.


The best free golf apps


1. Arccos Caddie

free golf apps

The average new Arccos Caddie member improves their handicap by 5.71 strokes in the first year—that is some claim.

You’ll need a set of Arccos Caddie Smart Sensors to use this app (these are attached to the top of your grip and chart where your shots have gone), but it allows you to dig deep into your game.

Powered by A.I Custom mapping, there are over 40,000 courses on the system, and every aspect of your game is tracked alongside rangefinder and caddie advice, so you can quickly understand your game, make smarter decisions on the course, and see your scores tumble.



free golf apps

VPAR is a great accompaniment to any golf day, providing GPS technology to 30,000 courses, stat tracking, and challenges to maintain your interest.

This golf app is perhaps best known, though, for its live leaderboards, so whether you’re playing in a competition, society or just in a club roll-up, you can keep track of what all your fellow golfers are up to.

The app also provides great feedback on how you play the game to help you understand where your strengths and weaknesses are—far simpler and more informative than the days of the old-school pencil and scorecard.


3. My England Golf

We’ve seen the introduction of the World Handicap System in the last couple of years, and this app makes keeping your Handicap Index up to date very straightforward.

Everything is done for you in the app, which is well laid out to help you keep check of your overall playing record and where your good (and bad) scores have come. You can also follow your golfing friends for more of a community feel, too. The actual inputting of your scores couldn’t be easier, so you can add cards with minimal fuss.


4. SwingU

free golf apps

SwingU comes highly recommended among all the free golf apps available. There’s a GPS, a digital scorecard with basic stats, a free unofficial handicap after three rounds, manual shot tracking, and Apple watch connectivity that provides front, middle, and back distances.

You can also upgrade to an AI-powered digital caddie to tap into the ‘plays-like’ distances, live wind speed, elevation, and even club recommendations. There’s also the option to take advantage of green-reading maps and hole insights to tally with how you might tackle it.


5. Hole 19

free golf apps

Without paying a penny, this app gives you accurate GPS yardages to the front, middle and back of your green on over 43,000 courses, as well as where the main hazards are located and a complete overview of each hole.

You can also track your scores, and there’s an archive of every shot you’ve hit. The device offers a bright and detailed screen and can be paired with your Apple Watch or Wear OS smartwatch.

Hole 19 claims its users can expect a three-shot reduction each year they use the app!


6. V1 Golf

free golf apps

If you’re interested in monitoring and working on your swing, V1 Golf is brilliant.

There are many functions to take advantage of here; you can accelerate to key positions and view things frame-by-frame, use drawing tools to measure and highlight key moves, compare two swings side-by-side, and everything is saved to the Cloud.

You can also group your swing videos and lessons so you can easily watch them later rather than having to scroll through all your videos. This is a great app to improve your game and to see how your swing marries up with the textbook moves.


7. The Masters

The Masters app is widely considered one of the best sports apps, even though it’s only operational for one week of the year.

No other tournament gets close to what Augusta and IBM pull together. Throughout Masters week, there is what is essentially a streaming service where you can watch every single shot of every single player in the tournament. That’s around 20,000 shots over the course of the week!

The leaderboard is more functional than on other golf apps, too. And it must be said—tuning into the beautiful sights and sounds of Augusta National is a great pick-me-up during the other 51 weeks of the year.


8. BRS Golf

Thousands of golf clubs use this free golf app as their booking system, as it’s an easy way of getting a tee time.

The Tee Sheet takes you straight to your club’s tee times, allowing you to add names and make a booking in a matter of seconds, as well as scroll across the coming weeks to ensure your starting spot.

You can also use this app to keep abreast of club and open competitions and important club messages. It’s far easier than logging on to the club website or even ringing the pro shop (which was still the case not so long ago!)

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer.

Sometimes we enter into something with best intentions. For me, it’s playing the club match play competitions. I know I’m probably not going to have the time to play them, but I can’t help it. The whiff of combat gets the blood flowing.

Most of the time, these games take place for me in a rush. I’m squeezing them into the calendar. More fool me, right?

But are there things I can do to speed things along? If my opponent agrees, can we agree to shorten a match by conceding holes? Before we’ve even teed off, could I give you the 1st and you give me the 2nd? Let’s consider some golf concession rules…


Concession golf rules: can you concede holes to shorten a match?

You can concede the next stroke of your opponent, a hole, or even the match. Rule 3.2b (1) has more.

It says you can concede that stroke at any time before it is made. You are allowed to concede a hole at any time before it’s completed. And you can concede the match at ant point before the result is decided.

What you can’t do, though, is club together and concede holes to ensure you get off the course a bit quicker. You’ll need to delve into the clarifications for this one, but it is there in Rule 3.2b (1)/1.

“A player and opponent are not allowed to agree to concede holes to each other to shorten the match,” it says.

It then gives a clear example of what this looks like in practice. “For example, before starting a match, a player and their opponent agree to alternate the concession of holes 6, 7, 8 and 9 to each other.”

The penalty for doing this depends on how ignorant you are of the rules. If the pair of you know that this is not allowed – and here I am telling you that it isn’t – and you start the match without first cancelling that agreement then you both get disqualified under Rule 1.3b (1).

But, if you didn’t know you were breaking the rules and that the agreement was not allowed then the result of the match would stand.