Posted by & filed under Blog.

The article below was written by Alex Perry, Digital Editor of National Club Golfer.

Need some ideas for Christmas, or a birthday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, or just for when you’re feeling generous? Alex Perry has sorted you out.

If I had a pound for every time someone has picked my brain for ideas for golf gifts, I would have at least £8.

My answer is always the same: “Golf balls.” Golfers love getting golf balls. It’s our favourite thing to get, because we lose them all the time. Or vouchers. Let them decide! But if you want other ideas, here are a few golf-related presents that people actually want.

Spoiler alert: No one – NO ONE – wants that putting game you play while sitting on the toilet. Or a bar of soap shaped like a golf ball.

No one.

Right, now that’s off my chest…

Ideas for golf gifts: Golf (!)

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But so few think of just buying someone a round of golf.

Think about the golfer in your life. If they are a member of a club, they will play there 99% of the time. If not, the likelihood is they stay local.

Golfers are always chatting about where they want to go and play. So try and drop into conversation about where they want to go and play. Or maybe just pick an area and see what you can find.

For ideas, visit the NCG Top 100s section of this website and see what takes your fancy. Might I suggest CornwallYorkshireWales, and the golf coasts of both England and Scotland? I think I just did.

Ideas for golf gifts: Golf (but with a twist)

Similarly, enter the golfer in your life into an event.

OK, bit of self-promotion here but I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in these – albeit on a very small scale compared to the people that run it – and they really are fantastic events.

You get well fed and you get to a play one of the finest golf courses in the UK all for a fraction of the standard green fee. There are wonderful prizes on offer and the grand prize is always spectacular. We’ve already sent one person to the Masters and this year’s winner is off to the Players Championship.

The 2022 line-up is bigger than ever before, so make sure you head to the NCG Top 100s Tour website for more details.

And hurry, places will sell out fast.

Ideas for golf gifts: Lessons

Whether we play off scratch or 54, we all need golf lessons.

The problem is when our golf game is going down the pan we tend to blame our equipment instead of ourselves. And we’re all happy to spend £500 on a new driver, but not happy to give a fraction of that to someone who can actually help.

Pros always have deals on to buy lessons in bundles – check the PGA’s website to find the best one near you.

The golfer in your life might feign insult, but really they’ll be buzzing – particularly come summer when their game is in much better shape than it was a few months previous…

Ideas for golf gifts: Tickets

The Open is in St Andrews in 2022 for the 150th edition of golf’s oldest major and, while general sale tickets were subject to a balloting system, there are plenty of other VIP-style options you can find on the Open’s website.

Failing that, there are plenty of tournaments in the UK on the DP World Tour schedule for next year – notably the BMW PGA Championship, Scottish Open, the British Masters, and the always-popular Dunhill Links.

This will make you very popular.

Ideas for golf gifts: Video games

There are a couple of options if you know someone who is a golfer and a gamer. (Yes, we exist.)

First up is the excellent PGA Tour 2K21 game.

The first officially licensed PGA Tour game since 2015, 2K21 features 11 of your favourite stars and dozens of real and fictional golf courses.

The gameplay is the best we’ve seen since the Tiger Woods franchise of games. I should know – I had them all – and I’ve been addicted to this since it came out.

That’s available to buy now on your preferred format.

Alternatively – and this is very exciting – EA Sports will be returning in 2022 with their impossibly popular series. I, for one, cannot wait.

So many wasted hours…

Ideas for golf gifts: Simulator

If you’re looking to get a little bit more extravagant, then the Phi Golf WGT mobile simulator is an awesome bit of kit.

Just fire up the latest version of the World Golf Tour game on your preferred device and use the state-of-the-art sensor and swing stick to take on the best golf courses in the world.

At just shy of £200 it’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. Can someone please buy it for me?

Click here to buy now

Ideas for golf gifts: Board game

Because what is Christmas without a board game? My pick is the brilliant Open Championship-themed Taxi Board Game.

Created by taxi driver Gordon Drysdale, the premise is simple: the more questions you get right, the more tips you earn.

The Open edition features 300 questions about your favourite major as well as 300 general knowledge questions, as well as giving you the opportunity to pretend you’re a cabbie for a few hours.

Click here to buy now

Ideas for golf gifts: Books

Books are a classic Christmas present, but more often than not you end up with something you’ll flick through while EastEnders is on before consigning it to its dusty grave on your bookshelf. (Mum, I’m nearly 40, I haven’t read a Beano Annual for quarter of a century).

My team have put together a handy list of their various favourite golf-related books. Here’s what they came up with…

Ideas for golf gifts: National Club Golfer

And, saving the best until last, why not treat someone to a subscription for National Club Golfer magazine? I’m viased, I know, but it’s absolutely worth every penny.

I think that’s enough to keep you going for now. I hope I don’t cause any arguments when you buy someone something from this meticulously researched list only to find they’ve bought you socks…

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

Every golfer is looking for ways to improve their game. However, sometimes it’s the most obvious thing that you need to work on that can completely change your skill set. This guide will look at the six best ways to improve your golf game. Give them a go yourself and see what difference it can make to your golfing experience.

Get your eyes checked

There are two areas of focus here: visual acuity and eye dominance:

  • Visual acuity is the sharpness of the image you see on the golf course. The better your visual acuity, the more clearly you will be able to read the green and judge distances.
  • Eye dominance is simply which eye you use to focus on distant objects. Everyone has a dominant eye, so it’s important to know which one it is in order to take full advantage of it while practising. Use your non-dominant eye for range finding and your dominant eye to line up the ball, as this will help you make a more consistent swing.

You should get these factors checked out before you give up the game completely. You might just need new glasses.

Get fit for your putter

A putter that feels comfortable and allows you to make good contact with the ball is massively important. If you’re struggling to consistently get it close to the hole, try a different model or brand of putter. You need something that feels natural in your hands. The best way to find out is to go and try some different putters at your local golf store.

Use training aids to improve your swing speed

You can use training aids such as weighted clubs or momentum trainers to build up strength and learn correct movement patterns. These tools are available cheaply or for free at all golf clubs. They’re a great way to get stronger without going to the gym.

One example is a momentum trainer, which is a metal rod with resistance bands attached. You hold the rod behind you and swing it forward, allowing the momentum to build up until your whole body is moving through impact. This works on both swing speed and force application, so it will improve your game no end.

Walk more and sit less

Golf is a fantastic way to get out and enjoy the natural world, but too many golfers fail to take advantage of this. As well as taking your clubs for a walk down to the local course, avoid driving everywhere or taking cabs when you could cycle to the next tee. It’s good for your fitness and reduces carbon emissions.

Take some time off

Taking a break from the game and returning to it after two months can help you fill in some of the holes in your game. Use this time away from the course to practice your approach shots or any other aspect that is lacking in your current skill set. Sometimes you just need some time away from the course to fix your game. Put your feet up, watch some TV, and visit Lucky Nugget Casino for some great fun. 

Swing more at home

Without a target to aim for, you can practice your swing at home. This might seem like an odd idea, but many professionals have small training areas in their homes where they spend hours working on new parts of their game. You can create your own home range with some tees, balls, and a couple of hours to kill.

The above article was originally published by our partner, National Club Golfer.

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

The article below was written by Andrew Wright, Instruction Editor of National Club Golfer.

Here are some tips to get you through if you’re out on the course and the heavens open.

Up and down the country, courses have been subjected to ridiculous amounts of rainfall. However, if this isn’t enough to deter you, we’ve got some advice on how to play golf in the rain which could see you rewarded for your bravery…

How to play golf in the rain: Mud balls

Ah, the dreaded mud ball. We hear about them all the time but how do they impact your golf?

For starters, if your ball is coated in any amount of mud, you can be sure it won’t fly as far and the flight will be less consistent.

Here’s a simple breakdown of what you can expect…

Mud on left side: Ball will curve to the right

Mud on right side: Ball will curve to the left

Mud at contact point: Distance will be greatly impacted

Generally, the more mud on the ball, the more distance you’ll lose. This is due to the increased drag effect and the extra weight the club has to accelerate.

It’s far from ideal but take this knowledge to the course this winter and hopefully you’ll be better equipped when you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

How to play golf in the rain: Wet clubface on wet ball

When you’ve got water on your clubface and ball, the friction created at contact is greatly reduced. Generally, this will result in shots that launch higher with less spin and land on a steeper angle. Therefore, it’s essential you keep your clubs as dry as possible.

It may sound counter-intuitive but hitting the ball lower is your best bet, especially with the driver. The shallower landing will maximise roll and therefore reduce the chances of getting the mud ball. And the process of hitting the ball lower will help you create more spin and counteract the impact of the reduced friction caused by the presence of water. This will increase the control you have in these difficult conditions.

How to play golf in the rain: Course management

It goes without saying but you’ll get less roll on a wet course. Accommodate for this by hitting putts firmer and altering shot choices around the greens. Instead of the bump and run, higher trajectory short game shots will be more effective as they reduce the impact of surface moisture.

And if being in the rough wasn’t penalty enough, in wet conditions, the grass becomes much denser and therefore harder to escape from. I find it helps to go down the grip slightly, keep your left wrist firm and feel like you’re trying to hit a fade out of there.

How to play golf in the rain: Final thoughts

To add insult to injury, rain is often accompanied by an increase in humidity, wind and a drop in temperature – all things that decrease distance further. If this is the case, it’s important to factor in as well.

Other than that I’d advise ensuring the basics are covered. Wet weather gloves are a must – FootJoy excel in this department – as are good waterproofs and shoes. If you’ve taken the decision to play in the rain, you may as well make it worthwhile.

Posted by & filed under Miscellaneous.

Has your club gone back exclusively to using paper golf scorecards? Have you slotted right back into the routine, or do you pine for your phone and a digital signature?

For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic ushered a digital revolution at our clubs.

Whether it was booking tee times online, entering our scores through our phones, or watching hole-by-hole live leaderboards, the restrictions we endured to play the game opened up our eyes to technology and how it could influence the game.

In many ways, the sport was just catching up. In other areas of our lives, whether we are checking our bank balances or paying for products, tech has made things simpler and quicker.

Golf has been slow to get in on the act, but is it now down the rabbit hole? Will the opportunities presented by technology change it forever?

David Cederholm, Europe, Middle East and Africa sales director at Toptracer, thinks so. He’s National Club Golfer’s guest on the From the Clubhouse podcast as they consider the future of technology at golf clubs…

The From the Clubhouse podcast with David Cederholm

Listen to the full episode in the player here, or search ‘The NCG Podcast’ in your preferred podcast platform.

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

The below article was written by Hannah Holden, Equipment and Instruction Editor of National Club Golfer.

I visited Rudding Park Golf Club to put four of Ping’s long-distance club options to the test.

I was joined by Dan Murphy as we put fairway woods, hybrids and long irons to the test to see which is the best option for your golf bag.

So which option came out on top? Hit the play button below to find out or click through to the next page to read Dan’s conclusion…

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

The below article was written by Hannah Holden, Equipment and Instruction Editor of National Club Golfer.

How often should you change your irons? It’s actually a question I get asked a lot. The draw of new golf equipment can be tempting, but how long do your irons actually last before you need to start thinking about replacing them?

Firstly, it is worth noting golf clubs are extremely durable products and, if looked after, will last a very long time. But using them for too long will lead to a drop off in performance through general wear and tear. Also for every year you keep your old clubs in the bag, the technology is improving which means you’re missing out on extra yardage and forgiveness.

How often should you change your irons?

As with all things the answer here is going to vary depending on a few factors. How often you play, and how often you practice are both huge variables.

Professional golfers who practice and play virtually every day can go through multiple sets of irons a year due to how quickly they can wear down the grooves.

Generally for club golfers changing your irons every year is going to be overkill and looking at new options every three to four years is a better time frame. The research says you can get a good 300 rounds out of irons before you need to start looking at replacements.

Really you need new irons when you start to notice a drop off in performance. If the grooves have worn away you are likely to get less spin which can produce a variety of outcomes. You may notice shots flying higher but not carrying as far, or you might get a low shot that struggles to hold its line.

Unless you are playing extremely irregularly, you should be replacing your irons every five years to make sure you are getting the most out of them.

How can you make your irons last longer?

Keeping your clubs clean has a huge impact on how well they age, especially making sure to dry your clubs well after they get wet out on the course.

Iron covers get a bad rep for looking unfashionable but they are a great way to reduce wear and tear on your irons and keep your club heads scuff free.

It is also worth getting your loft and lies checked once a year as they can move over time which will affect the performance too.

If you’re after more equipment content, be sure to subscribe to National Club Golfer’s YouTube channel.