Golf Shoes – Are They Essential?

As most people know, there are shoes for practically every sport imaginable. There are relatively few sports that don’t have a special shoe that is intended to improve the way you perform when you are wearing them. Yet many people can’t always afford to buy all of the additional shoes that are a supposed necessity. This leaves a number of people to wonder if it is really necessary to buy golf shoes in order to play golf.  In trying to balance monetary considerations with safety considerations there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

Perhaps your first consideration should be your level of skill. A beginner golfer typically cannot justify the expense of buying golf shoes. Golf shoes are certainly not cheap, and since they can only really be worn on the golf course they have a very limited usage away from the golf course. The likes of basketball and tennis shoes can be worn for different circumstances, golf shoes must remain on the golf course in order to avoid damaging them unduly, or for that matter, the ground surface on which you walk.

Invest In A Decent Pair Of Golf ShoesGolf Shoes

If you happen to be a highly skilled player or even play the game on a regular basis, you will probably want to invest in a decent pair of golf shoes. When you do decide to invest in a pair of golf shoes you will want to find a pair of shoes that you are completely comfortable in. Bearing in mind that many golf courses require you to do a vast amount of walking you can see why it is so important that the fit is comfortable, something with plenty of cushioning as well as good support is essential.

It is always a good idea to check out or contact the golf courses where you plan to play golf in advance. There are some clubs that have a strict golf shoes policy, in other words, no golf shoes = no play. While this may seem draconian and a bit of a killjoy, especially if you were not planning to buy golf shoes initially, golf courses require golfers to wear the shoes as a safety consideration to ensure that you do not slip when you are playing a shot. A good pair of golf shoes will have spikes or a softspike system that will deliver exceptional grip in all conditions and ensure that you are not slipping when you swing your club.

Choose The Right Golf Shoes For You

Take your time to shop around for golf shoes, you will come to realise that this is a very wise move.  There are plenty of different colors to choose from, so selecting the color for you can turn out to be a harder decision than you might think. In addition, not all shoes are made the same. The shoes that are best for your feet may not be best for someone else’s feet.  Also, there are numerous diverse material styles that you can choose from such as hard materials to soft leathers.

Be assured that choosing the right shoes to play golf in will ensure that you are comfortable and well supported, just what you need to hit that great shot. If you happen to be playing a lot of golf, you will quickly see how a good pair of golf shoes can do wonders by helping to improve your comfort level as well as your game. Don’t dismiss the ability of a good pair of shoes to dramatically increase your overall golfing performance. Take your time when choosing your golf shoes, you will not regret it.


Heat Up Your Golf Balls

It is a recognised fact that warm golf balls will travel further than cold balls everything else being equal.

The simple reason for this is the fact that the additional heat influences the compression of the ball.

It is hard to say how much heat would be needed to gain additional length and the gain in distance would be relatively minimal anyway, but every little bit extra helps, right?

Having said that, I think it is fair to say that in golf it is all about making gains, no matter how big or small they are and in as many areas as possible.

Put Your Golf Balls In Your PocketGolf Balls

It is not uncommon for some golf pros to carry their golf balls in their pocket as this helps to retain heat within the ball. So whether this helps mentally or actually enhances the true distance they get, it is definitely going to benefit them at the end of the day.

If you happen to be playing in particularly cold conditions your golf balls will lose their heat quite quickly so you will only get the benefit of your first shot in all likelihood.

Once again, even if you can make just one gain in one particular area of your play at every hole, that will add up to a lot of good when your score card is tallied up after the eighteenth.

Heat Your Golf Balls Before You Play

You could always heat your golf balls before play but you had better make sure that you don’t damage the inner core of the ball while doing so or you will end up doing more harm than good.

With the mental part of golf being such an important part of the game, having your golf balls heated might just be the edge you need to give you the confidence to play that little bit better.

If that is the case, then the benefits will be far more than any increase in distance you might possibly gain.

One thing you could do is practice with a few heated golf balls and a few at normal temperature and if you notice a difference then you should just run with it.

Golf… Robin Williams Explains (IN MEMORY – LEGEND)

The Robin Williams on golf video clip is widely regarded as stand-up gold. You just have to visit any search engine, type in Robin Williams on golf and you will be bombarded with hundreds of sites hosting the world renowned clip.

I have yet to come across a site that doesn’t praise the clip’s virtues. However, it might not be to everyone's taste as some of the language that Robin uses is not for youngsters or those people that are easily offended.

In essence it is a thoroughly humorous way to look at how the game of golf was created in Scotland and there are numerous side-splitting jokes to guide us through and keep us captivated.

Robin tells us how the game of golf was invented by a drunk Scotsman. He then explains how the ball was hit with a crooked stick into a gopher hole situated hundreds of yards away but to make it more difficult there are obstacles in the way… so that you can lose your ball.

The clip, although comedic, is fact based and it makes you wonder how the game of golf has developed into the sport that it now is. After all, walking around the countryside for hours on end hitting a ball into a small hole doesn't really sound like a lot of fun, does it???

Robin then talks about the attire that golfers wear. The focus is on how golfers have the nerve to dress in such “loud” clothes, the kind that no one else would be seen dead in…

His routine is wound up by encouraging his audience to think about why people like to watch golf and he pokes fun at how commentators try to portray the game as being electrifying as they listen to the grass growing…

If you are not easily offended, please watch and enjoy.

World’s Oldest Golf Course ‘Totally Unplayable’

THE first golf course in the world to gain royal patronage is “totally unplayable”, it was claimed yesterday, as it emerged funding has been slashed just months after a council pledged to spend an extra £50,000 to save it.

There are fears the North Inch Golf Course in Perth will be closed forever because of flooding by the adjacent River Tay.

With the course having fallen into disrepair through flooding and a lack of investment, Perth and Kinross Council said in February it would put an extra £25,000 into North Inch over the next two years to secure its future.

But golfers have since learned the council has actually cut the funding for the course, one of the oldest in Scotland, by £23,800.

Donald Macleod, a former member of the Perth Artisans Golf Club, yesterday claimed the council had slashed the money it pays sports contractors McNab Sport to look after the grounds.

The Kinross-based firm refused to comment, but the council said the current maintenance contract had been reduced by almost £24,000.

Mr Macleod said: “They’ve said we’re getting this extra money, but they’re just cutting back and cutting back.”

He added that, as a result of the cut in grounds maintenance, the course is now “worse than ever”.

Eddie Thornton, greens convener of the Perth Artisans Golf Club, said the iconic course is “totally unplayable”.

He said: “I’ve been playing this course for 40 years and I’ve never seen it in such a mess.

“There’s so many of the greens damaged it’s unbelievable.

“The rough is absolutely horrendous. It’s taking guys umpteen shots to play out of it because it’s so thick. It’s been turned into a dog toilet.”

Both men have also raised questions over the council’s decision to employ a new golf course officer, whose role will be to “market and manage the course”.

A council spokesman said yesterday: “The council has altered the golf course maintenance contract by approximately £23,800. This will support the provision of a golf course officer to market and manage the course in the interests of increasing the use of the facility, as well as acting as a point of contact for local clubs.

“A range of regular duties for the upkeep of the course, such as litter picking, will now be dealt with by the council’s golf course operatives during the period 1 April to 30 September.”

He added: “The previously approved additional funding of £25,000 per year in 2014-15 and 2015-16 will be used as agreed at committee for course improvements, including additions to the maintenance contract, with the aim of enhancing the appeal and use of the course.”

St Andrews is known as the “home of golf”, with the first recording of golf being played there as far back as 1574.

However, Robin Valentine – captain of Perth Merchants Golf Club – has said it is Perth which should hold the title, after finding that King James IV played golf in the town more than 70 years earlier.



The Golfers Club – Slice Shot

The most common problem golf beginners have playing the game must surely be the slice shot.

This is where the golf ball curves through the air from left to right, assuming the player is right-handed.

The flight of the golf ball is determined by the spin of the ball and a slice shot is caused by the ball spinning clockwise thus causing it to travel through the air in a clockwise arch direction.

The Golfers Club – Slice Shot RemedySlice Shot

The most common reason why this happens is due to the fact that golfers, in general, tend to lift their head when they strike the golf ball.

The action of lifting your head causes the face of the golf club to hit across the ball and not through it.

By hitting across the golf ball you are essentially hitting the ball from the outside in and it is this action that causes the ball to spin in a clockwise direction.

If you happen to be one of those unfortunate enough to slice the ball try to keep your head down and still until after you have hit the ball.

By keeping your head down, and your eyes focused on the ball to the point of contact you will play through the ball and your swing will remain straight, resulting in the ball following a straight path.

Just remember to keep your head down until after the golf ball has taken flight keeping your head and shoulders solid.

The Golfers Club – Slice Shot Rule

Another reason for producing a slice shot is by trying to hit the ball too hard.

When you try to hit the ball ‘hard’ you could be using your arms to pull the club in and this will also cause the golf ball to spin.

If you hit your shot for less distance you can then concentrate on getting the correct golf swing and play for accuracy rather than length. Try reducing your golf swing with these smaller shots to see if this helps to correct the problem.

When you start to hit the golf ball straighter you can then begin to increase the length of your back swing and go for more distance.

Concentrate on your accuracy first and the distance will follow – a good rule to always play by if you want to permanently get rid of that dreaded slice shot.

Ryder Cup 2014: More Tickets To Go On Sale

AROUND 5,000 extra tickets for each match day of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles are to go on sale to the public.

The tickets were initially earmarked for purchase by ‘stakeholders’ involved with the event, but the deadline for those groups to buy up their allocations has passed.

The briefs, ranging from single day tickets to full season tickets for the event, will go on sale on 26 March to those who completed the ticketing application process last summer but were not successful in getting tickets.

Richard Hills, Europe’s Ryder Cup Director, said: “We’re delighted to be able to release further tickets to the general public. Those who were unsuccessful in last year’s sales process now have a final opportunity to snap up a Ryder Cup match day ticket.”

The remaining tickets for the 2014 Ryder Cup, to be held at Gleneagles in Perthshire from 26-28 September, go on sale at 3pm on 26 March on the Ryder Cup website.


Ryder Cup: Torrance, Smyth Named as Vice-Captains

AFTER biting his lip for more than a year, Sam Torrance was 
finally able to share his secret yesterday as another chapter was added to an illustrious Ryder Cup career.

“It’s like getting an honour from The Queen – I’d known for bloody months but couldn’t tell anyone,” said the 60-year-old after being named along with Irishman Des Smyth as one of Paul McGinley’s vice-captains for September’s match at Gleneagles. His wife, Suzanne, knew but was sworn to secrecy in the Sunningdale stockbroker belt. So, too, were his parents, Bob and June, back in Largs. “Four bookies that would take my bet also knew,” he joked.

Others had to be kept in the dark. “I couldn’t tell my best friend Queeny (former European Tour player Michael King) as you might as well have put it in the newspapers if he’d known,” he revealed. “It’s been a bloody nightmare!”

Following yesterday’s ann-ouncement in the Irish Government Buildings in the heart of Dublin, it has turned into a dream scenario for Torrance.

The man who played in eight Ryder Cups, providing one of the event’s most iconic moments with his arms raised in celebration on the 18th green at The Belfry in 1985, then captained a winning European team at the same venue in 2002, is rolling up his sleeves again in preparation to fight the US.

“This is a different one for me as I’ve been brought in for a reason – my knowledge,” he said. “There’s nothing like being told you are the Ryder Cup captain – it was the highlight of my career by a billion miles – but this is a great honour for me, too.”

It was in the offing from the moment McGinley appointed Torrance as one of the captains for the Seve Trophy in Paris last October, though, even before that, you didn’t have to be a genius to work it out.

The pair are close friends, play regular “money matches” at Sunningdale and have the greatest respect for each other. Even before his appointment in Abu Dhabi last January, the event’s first Irish captain had eulogised about Torrance’s leadership skills in 2002, revealing how the Scot had helped him feel at ease for a match that saw McGinley hole the winning putt – in particular, by making a special journey up to the Midlands in the build-up to the event and over a bottle or two of champagne in the back of a chauffeur-driven car on the journey back home, listening to Torrance tell his Ryder Cup tales.

“Paul says I drank all the champagne on that journey – but he’s a lying git,” said Torrance in jest. “Seriously, though, there was nothing premeditated about that at all. It was just a case of me going up there with a couple of players and having a laugh with them. I did explain a lot of things to Paul on the way back and he obviously soaked that up, which was great.”

McGinley, making the first of his three playing appearances in the event before serving as an assistant to both Colin Montgomerie in 2010 and Jose Maria Olazabal two years later, duly delivered for Torrance, who now wants to repay the favour. “If I can do a tenth for Paul’s team what he did for my team, we’ll both be very happy men,” he admitted.

Torrance said he expects to be an “errand boy” in Perthshire. He knows, however, that he’ll have a bigger role than that in the European team. “I’ll try and inspire them,” he said. “There’s no question that playing in a Ryder Cup was the most nervous thing in my career. If you’ve come off the last green having three-putted as an individual, even to lose a tournament, you get it over it pretty quickly.

“But, in a Ryder Cup, when you’ve got to walk into a team room where the others have been heroes that day but you’ve lost is a terrible feeling – and they know you’ve lost as soon as you walk in there.”

McGinley had originally intended hanging off until the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event, in May before officially unveiling both Torrance and Smyth, the man who mentored him in the early part of his career.

The reason he brought that forward, though, was more down to him also appointing Smyth as assistant captain to Miguel Angel Jimenez for the new EurAsia Cup in Malaysia later this month than responding to opposite number Tom Watson opting for experience in the shape of Raymond Floyd and Andy North as his assistants.

“Absolutely not,” replied Torrance to the latter. “Once Paul made me a Seve Trophy captain, I thought it was brilliant and now it’s the same with Des for the EurAsia Cup. It gives us experience of seeing the players again and getting involved.

“Paul has a gameplan. I have looked at the Ryder Cup and asked ‘Is there anything that he can’t handle’ and there is nothing about the Ryder Cup that 
he won’t do 100 per cent well. He is meticulous, he thinks about everything, he gets the right people in, he takes his time about things. He’ll be fantastic.”

There were a couple of instances yesterday when Torrance showed the wit that McGinley will be looking for in that home team room in September. First, he jokingly pulled up this correspondent for wrongly suggesting he was 61 in a live TV broadcast. “Who is 61, by the way? You?” he jokingly replied, revealing afterwards that he’d have made his point in more colourful fashion if it hadn’t been in such a public setting.

Then, as all three protagonists took part in a series of interviews in a nearby hotel, he walked past McGinley to hear the Irishman singing his praises and declared, with that cheeky smile on his face: “Bollocks!”


Sergio Garcia ‘Disgusted’ Over Cheating Claims

If Sergio Garcia was hoping to stay out of the spotlight a bit more in 2014 than he managed last year, he has failed miserably so far.Sergio Garcia

But, after only having himself to blame on day one in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship by branding the rough “dangerous”, it wasn’t down to him that it happened again yesterday.

Overnight, footage had been posted on a website that showed the Spaniard tapping down something on the line of his putt on the 18th green, which would have been in breach of the rules if it was a spike mark.

However, the world No 10 and John Paramor, the European Tour’s chief referee, went out to the exact spot yesterday morning and Paramor was satisfied with Garcia’s explanation that he had tapped down a repaired pitch mark.

On the back of the Simon Dyson incident in October that led to the Englishman being hit with a two-month suspended ban, Garcia was livid nonetheless that he was the subject of a “cheating” claim.

“It’s the most disgusting thing that can happen to someone, especially someone like me that has never, ever cheated,” he said after scraping into the final two rounds following a spirited 68.

“To be related to that word, when people have no proof, hurts. I’ve never cheated in my whole life. And I’ve imposed plenty of penalty strokes on myself when nobody saw it and I did.”

Asked if it was wrong for players to be accused through such a process, he added: “No, I think the people who say that without any proof are wrong.

“If you can really tell, you can really see that it’s wrong, that someone has cheated, it’s fine.

“But, if you have no proof at all and you’re just guessing what happened, that’s wrong.”

Royal Burgess To Host Prestigious EuroPro Tour

EDINBURGH is set to stage its biggest golf tournament for some time after Royal Burgess was included on the PGA EuroPro Tour fixture list this year.

The third-tier circuit, where the likes of major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel cut their competitive teeth in the paid ranks, is heading to the Edinburgh course in July.

One of four Scottish events on the 2014 schedule, it will mark a welcome return of Tour action to the oldest golfing society in the world. Royal Burgess was once a regular host to such events, having staged tournaments such as the Swallow/Penfold, Pringle, Martini and the Scottish Professional Championship.

An event on the European Tour, the 1956 Swallow-Penfold was won there by Eric Lester while the current course record of 63 was established by Paul Leonard in the Martini Tournament in 1973. More than 40 years on, Leonard’s effort is still listed among the European Tour’s top scoring statistics, his round having contained three eagles and five birdies.

The 54-hole event from July 16-18 – the same week as The Open at Hoylake on Merseyside – is one of 15 on the 2014 PGA EuroPro Tour schedule.

It will feature a mix of new recruits to the professional ranks and seasoned performers either still trying to climb the ladder or bidding to reignite careers.

Ironically, Duddingston-based John Gallagher, a regular on the PGA EuroPro Tour since leaving the amateur ranks, will be focusing on the Alps Tour instead this year. But the likes of Archerfield’s Elliot Saltman, his younger brother Zack and Craigielaw’s Shaun McAllister are all likely to get at least one event this season where they’ll be able to sleep in their own bed.

In addition to South African duo Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, Englishman Ross Fisher and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts both used the circuit as Ryder Cup stepping stones. Others to graduate to the European 
Tour after playing on the PGA EuroPro Tour include Scottish stars Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson. Their compatriot, Paul Lawrie (pictured), welcomed the news that Royal Burgess, Montrose Links, The Carrick on Loch Lomond and Mar Hall are all staging events on the 2014 schedule. “Fantastic news,” wrote the former Open champion on Twitter.




WHILE confident that Gleneagles will remain on the schedule after it hosts next year’s Ryder Cup, European Tour, chief executive George O’Grady reckons it will require some “thinking out of the box” for any future tournaments at the Perthshire venue.

Due to the logistics of staging Europe’s clash against the Americans in September, the Johnnie Walker Championship, held on the PGA Centenary Championship under various guises since 1999, was dropped from the 2014 calendar.

There is nothing to suggest Gleneagles won’t be welcoming the European Tour back the following year and many more thereafter, but it remains to be seen what the event will be, with O’Grady aware that the Ryder Cup is a hard act to follow.

“I think all of that is still under discussion,” he said in reply to being asked if the Johnnie Walker Championship, won this year in a play-off by Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, was definitely returning in 2015.

“Gleneagles certainly want to remain as a venue on the European Tour. Gleneagles acknowledge that golf is good for Gleneagles. It’s a matter of getting the right event for Gleneagles and we continue to discuss it with [resort owners] Diageo.

“We’re looking at lots of different alternatives, either exactly what was there before or whether we can come up with a new way forward and what’s available. We haven’t crystalised it yet. At the moment, it’s just sitting around the table brainstorming.

“Personally, I’d like to think there will be something. Gleneagles is a great venue and I think the Ryder Cup will be a catalyst. But anything after the Ryder Cup is after the Lord Mayor’s Show slightly, so we have to think outside the box. Maybe they will consider waiting a year, if it was right for them. But, at the moment, it is a very positive, genial discussion, and we are just trying to find out what is right.”

In addition to the Ryder Cup, the European Tour caravan will roll into Royal Aberdeen for the first time next year when it stages the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. It is set to host a star-studded field, with defending champion Phil Mickelson likely to be joined by Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell.

As with this year’s event at Castle Stuart, it will again be beamed into homes in America through a ten-year broadcasting deal with NBC and the Golf Channel, one that O’Grady is delighted with. “A lot of people don’t quite understand what a big deal this is,” he said. “We don’t even have two TV companies competing in Britain. We have Sky, which is a great commitment, and BBC do The Open, but that’s it.

“NBC specifically trail the Scottish Open in all their other coverage and Castle Stuart looked so scenically beautiful on TV cameras. And, of course, we struck it fractionally lucky with Phil Mickelson winning the tournament and winning it the way he did. First, we thought he had lost it then he won at the first extra hole [in a play-off against South African Branden Grace] with that great pitch.

“Henrik Stenson, of course, began his great run by finishing third there. For a regular European Tournament to be on network television on America, and get great viewing figures as well, has shown other sponsors what we can do. It would have been great even without Mickelson, but the way he won it was the icing on the cake.”

While Scotland staging such tournaments is often taken for granted, it is down to the drive of both First Minister Alex Salmond and Martin Gilbert, Aberdeen Asset Management’s chief executive, that the Scottish Open’s future has been secured for the next four years.

Johann Rupert, the South African businessman, also deserves enormous credit for his role in the Dunhill Links Championship, which will be held at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns for the 14th year running the week after the Ryder Cup.

“The Scottish Open is immensely powerful for the European Tour,” admitted O’Grady. “I’ve praised the First Minister before for taking the leadership on this with Aberdeen Asset, a great Scottish company, which needs visibility in America for their business. As for the future of the Dunhill Links, I have agreed this with Johann Rupert. I’m not too certain what we have contracted, but his handshake is his bond and I think the last time I saw him at the Presidents Cup he is continuing, and I think quite a lengthy continuation.”

At the moment, the BMW PGA Championship, the Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth, is the only English stop on the 2014 schedule but talks are ongoing about the Volvo Match Play Championship finding a new home there, with The London Club believed to be in the frame. “We’ve done some work to try and bring it back to England and hopefully that will happen,” said O’Grady. [by Martin Dempster]