All posts by golf-information

Origin and evolution of the golf ball

Golf balls have evolved throughout the history of the game. Wooden balls were used until the early 17th century, when the ‘featherie’ ball was invented. Due to its superior flight characteristics, the featherie remained the standard ball for a good two and a half centuries.

From left to right: Haskell (c. 1900) Machine Gutty (c. 1880) Gutta Percha (c. 1850) Feathery (c. 1790) Wooden (c. 1590) Photo by David Kahn
From left to right:
Haskell (c. 1900) Machine Gutty (c. 1880) Gutta Percha (c. 1850) Feathery (c. 1790) Wooden (c. 1590)
Photo by David Kahn


1. The Feathery ball

A featherie is a hand sewn leather-covered ball stuffed with boiled and compressed goose feathers and coated with paint.

Featherie balls were a great improvement as compared to the wooden ball, but they were quite expensive and not perfectly spherical, which gave often gave them an irregular and unpredictable trajectory. An added disadvantage was that when the ball became wet, the stitches in the ball would rot, and the ball would also split open after hitting a hard surface.


2. The Gutta Percha Ball

gutta percha
Gutta percha collected from the Sapodilla Tree in Malaysia

For these reasons the featherie was replaced by the gutta percha ball from 1848. Gutta percha is a hard, resilient, easily molded substance derived from the sap of several Malaysian trees of the family Sapotaceae (Sapodilla Tree), of which golf balls and the cover of golf balls were made until the beginning of the 20th century. The sap had a rubber-like feel and could be made round by heating and shaping it while hot.

Gutta percha balls were first painted white in an attempt to hide the dark-colored gutta sap.

The new ball flew farther than the feathery and was much less expensive, bringing the game within the reach of the less well-off. It also made standardization easier, bringing the game to a higher level of precision.

With the industrialization the production of Gutties became mechanized. They were being made in moulds and could be manufactured with textured surfaces which further increased their aerodynamic qualities, affordability and consistency. Players had noticed that the perfectly spherical and smooth surface of the guttie did not fly as far as the scored featherie. Thus, makers started creating intentional defects in the surface to have a more consistent ball flight. Hand-hammered gutta-percha golf balls could be purchased at least by the 1860’s, and the most notable pattern of the period, the ‘Bramble’ with raised, round, bumps bumps rather than dents was in style from the late 1800’s to 1908.

The “gutty” was prone to break up in mid-air, thus forcing the rules to be adjusted and allowing the golfer to play a fresh ball from the point where the largest fragment had come to rest. This would be the last occasion on which the Rules of Golf had to be amended to adapt to the properties of the golf ball and not vice versa.


3. The rubber core ball and wound ball

Haskell golf balls
Haskell golf balls

In 1898, a wealthy American amateur golfer named Coburn Haskell, along with Goodrich Rubber company engineer Bertram Work, introduced the rubber cored wound ball. The “Haskell”, as it became known, was universally adopted by 1901 after it proved so effective in the British and US Opens. These balls looked just like Gutties but were made of rubber twine wound around a solid rubber core, and covered in gutta purcha.

Alternatively, Balata was sometimes used as a cover material for golf balls. Balata is a hard, resilient substance derived from the gum of the bully or balata tree (Manilkara bidentata). Balata covers can still be found today in the more expensive range of golf balls.

With the creation of an automatic winding machine coupled with the use of a bramble cover facilitated greater control, the average golfer gained an extra 20 yards from the tee with these new generation golf balls. Manufacturers fine-tuned the length, spin and “feel” characteristics of balls. Wound balls were especially valued for their soft feel.

Research went into the role played by covers and in the first two decades of the twentieth centry, players were able to select from at least 200 different named balls. In 1908, an Englishman, William Taylor, received a patent for a golf ball with indentations (dimples) that flew better and more accurately than golf balls with brambles. A. G. Spalding & Bros., purchased the U.S. rights to the patent and introduced the GLORY ball featuring the TAYLOR dimples. Until the 1970s, the GLORY ball, and most other golf balls with dimples had 336 dimples of the same size using the same pattern, the ATTI pattern. The ATTI pattern was an octohedron pattern, split into eight concentric straight line rows, which was named after the main producer of molds for golf balls.

Other inventions included covers of varying thickness and with multiform markings, from bramble (as mentioned earlier, made of raised, spherical bumps) to recessed crescent moons and triangles each of which was claimed to outfly the others. and squares (“mesh”). The only real innovation related to the surface of a golf ball during this sixty year period came from Albert Penfold who invented a mesh-pattern golf ball for Dunlop. This pattern was invented in 1912 and was accepted until the 1930’s.

Today, the patterns have been replaced by dimples, which accentuate the effects of lift and minimize the amount of drag on the ball. Their exact shape and overall distribution is a continuing matter of intense study by manufacturers.
See golf ball facts >>

In the 1930’s through the 1960’s, the major innovations in golf balls related to core development. The first wound balls consisted of a solid or liquid-filled core wound with a layer of rubber thread and a thin outer shell. In the 1960’s, the development of ionomer materials, particularly the brand SURLYN.RTM. from Du Pont, became the major innovation for golf balls into the 1980’s. In the 1970’s, dimple pattern innovations also appeared from the major golf ball manufacturers. In 1973, Titleist introduced an icosahedron pattern which divides the golf ball into twenty triangular regions. In the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s, three-piece solid golf balls, as opposed to three-piece wound, began to appear from the major golf ball manufacturers. These three-piece solid golf balls involved two thermoplastic layers covering a core.


4. Multi-layer balls

Golf ball cross section Stock photo © theJIPEN
Golf ball cross section
Stock photo © theJIPEN

In the second half of the 20th century, multi-layer balls were developed. They usually consist of a three-, or four-layer design, (named either a three-piece, or four-piece ball) consisting of various synthetic materials like surlyn or urethane blends. They come in a great variety of playing characteristics to suit the needs of golfers of different abilities.

Several patents have been filed for four-piece golf balls, but not all have been commercialised. One example is Sun, U.S. Pat. No. 5,273,286 for a Multiple Concentric Section Golf Ball, which was filed in 1992. Sun discloses a golf ball with a solid inner core, a graphite intermediate core, a polybutadiene outer core and a cover composed of balata, ionomer or urethane materials.

Some Japanese manufacturers, as well, filed patents for innovative four-piece balls. One discloses a golf ball with a liquid filled core, a wound layer over the core, and inner and outer cover layers composed of an ionomer material. The primary objective of Maruko is to provide a golf ball with good distance, well-defined spin and greater durability. Another one discloses a golf ball with a rubber solid core containing an oil substance, an oil-resistant coating layer, a wound layer and an ionomer cover layer.

The solid-core Titleist Pro V1 became the first non-wound golf ball to gain wide accepteance among professional golfers. Wound balls all but disappeared from golf.

Many manufacturers have produced balls of new standards but most have been rejected for tournament usage. A few years ago, the USGA banned the Polara ball, claiming that it undermined the integrity of the game. The inventors of the ball engaged the USGA in expensive court proceedings but the prohibition was upheld.

There have been many attempts to develop a golf ball that can do everything for every golfer, a golf ball that has tremendous distance, with exceptional feel and outstanding durability. However, current golf balls have been unable to deliver everything.

See also:
More golf balls

Further reading:
History section golf balls
Space Structures 4: Volume 1 by G. A. R. Parke, C. M. Howard

Golfing with Sunglasses

Stock photo © Tuned_In
Stock photo © Tuned_In


by Catherine Marien

The majority of Pro golfers do not wear sunglasses. The reason is that they simply never have, and the best condition to get used to golfing with sunglasses is to start wearing them in your youth. Wearing sunglasses can distort depth perception and contrast, but is that enough of a reason to discard them altogether on the golf course ?

Of course, not. More and more recreational golfers and professional players of the new generation start wearing sunglasses to relieve their eyes from intense sunlight. An increasing number of alarming reports have made a connection between exposing eyes to sunlight and cataract and other degenerative eye diseases.

Here are a few key points to consider, if you decide to wear sunglasses on the golf course.


1. Polarization and nanometer rating

Choose polarized golf sunglasses with a high nanometer rating, which effectively block UV rays.


2. Frame

Your golf sunglasses should have an unbreakable and comfortable frame that perfectly fits your face so you won’t have to be distracted by continually adjusting them. Prefer frames that wrap well around your face so as to leave no room for wind, dust or debris to enter your eyes. A closely fitting frame would also prevent UV rays from entering the top or sides of the eyewear.


3. Lens Color

An excellent option for golfers are multiple interchangeable lenses (often offered in three or four different colors) that can be swapped out to adapt to your current golfing needs. Typically, these sun glass packages will include brown lenses for high glare conditions, grey lenses for general golfing conditions, yellow lenses for clarity when golfing in partly cloudy conditions, and clear lenses for times when you don’t need sun protection, but still wish to protect your eyes from wind and dirt on particularly windy golf courses.

As the sense of sight and especially depth perception, contrast and a full 180-degree are fundamental, golfers should choose sun glasses that do not limit their peripheral vision, depth perception, and reading of shadows.


4. Weight

Golf sunglasses should be lightweight as they are worn for quite some time during a round.

Further reading:
Newton on the tee

World’s Hardest Golf Courses

The most challenging, the most extreme and the most unusual golf courses in the world

compiled by Catherine Marien

Hans Merensky Country Club, Phalaborwa, South Africa. Photo © Martin Pritchard
Hans Merensky Country Club, Phalaborwa, South Africa. Photo © Martin Pritchard


Alice Springs Golf Club, Northern Territory, Australia

The toughest part is the climate here. Alice Springs Golf Club is known as the hottest golf course on earth. The temperature can rise to 122 °f (50° C) and hot winds whistle across the fairways. Accuracy is a must, as menacing rocky outcrops lurk at the edges of several of the fairways. More about other extreme golf courses on our Awesome Eight Golf Challenge page.


Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

A difficult opening hole is a prelude of things to come: gullies, cross bunkers, deep fairway bunkers and a 70ft drop on the right and a 500ft cliff on the left at hole 15.

Photo by Tony
One of the views from a Cape Kidnappers tee block. Photo by Tony


Cypress Point Golf Club, Pebble Beach, California

Cypress Point’s 15th, 16th and 17th holes are among the most spectacular and strategically challenging in the world. The course record is 63.


Doral Blue Monster, Florida

A challenging and spectacular golf course, featuring long fairways, undulating green, a deep Bermuda rough and a unique assortment of water hazards and strategically placed bunkers, where both length and finesse are needed to score well. This historic course, originally designed by Dick Wilson, and later restored by Raymond Floyd, has hosted the prestigious PGA Tour event for the past 40 years.

The famous 18th hole, with its signature fountain, was ranked by GOLF Magazine as one of the Top 100 Holes in the World and by Today’s Golfer as one of the 18 hardest holes in the world.


Dubai Country Club

A grassless course in the Arabian Desert that looks like one giant bunker. Players are allowed to hit off a plastic grass mat they carry round with them, if the ball winds up in a marked area. The “browns”, the course’s equivalent of greens, are smoother than grass and consist of a mixture of sand and oil raised above the desert floor. They putt slower but truer than most greens. The club has even passed a local rule offering a free drop for buried lies in the sandy bunkers.


Hans Merensky Country Club, North Province, South Africa

The holes run alongside the Kruger National Park and the chief attraction of this golf course is the danger to play around all kinds of wild animals.


The Himalayan Club, Pokhara, Nepal

Possibly one of the world’s most hidden courses, set in the foothills of the Annapuras and designed by an ex-British Army officer, Major Ram Gurung MBE. This nine-hole course measures just 3,360 yards (3,072m) but takes more than three hours to complete because of the unusual terrain and playing conditions. The grass is tick and wiry, reminding the original, rustic links of Scotland centuries ago.


Kiawah Island, Ocean Course, South Carolina

Part of the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance was filmed here. Named America’s toughest resort course by Golf Digest magazine The biggest enemy on this course is the wind, blowing from all sides during a round. The raised fairways expose the holes even more. The course was deliberately laid out to offer a side where the player can afford to miss and a side where he/she can’t. Only good course management skills can help you tell which side is which.


Ko’olau Golf Club, Oahu, Hawaii

Ko'olau Golf Club, Hawaii. Photo by Derek K. Miller
Ko’olau Golf Club, Hawaii. Photo by Derek K. Miller


Considered by most to be THE hardest golf course in the world. Carved through the thick rainforest on the lower slopes of the windward side of the mountains, winding between ravines and waterfalls, leaving no chances of playing a recovery shot. If you miss the fairways, consider your ball lost. The course record is 67. Also see our extreme golf courses page.


La Paz Golf Club, Bolivia

Described as the loftiest golf course in the world, as its height point is 10,650 feet (3,246m) above sea level. At this altitude the air is so thin that most of your shots will reach much farther than expected. The ball even seems to fly straighter. However, the course has been cleverly designed to cancel any advantage a player could get from this high-altitude ball flight. Trees and doglegs reward accuracy, rather than power.

But the course’s most striking feature is its lunar landscape with deep canyons and pinnacles sculpted in the soft sandstone that surrounds the city of La Paz.

The best thing to do to avoid problems of breathlessness due to the low oxygen level is to arrive a few days early to acclimatize before playing, and to drink plenty of water during the round.


Lost City Course, Sun City, Pilanesberg, South Africa

To be successful on this course, you must be able to clear your mind of the two dozen crocodiles roaming in a deep pit at hole 13.


Monte Mayor, Benhavis, Spain

Probably one of the toughest courses in Europe. There are impassable ravines and massive trees all along the round.


Punta Mita, Bahía de Banderas, Mexico

Amphibious buggies get you from the mainland to hole 3B, situated on a tiny island, the only natural island green in the world.


Rotorua Golf Club, North Island, New Zealand

Described as a “unique geothermal golfing experience”, the ‘Arikikapakapa’ Rotorua Golf Club in Whakarewarewa, Rotorua is a challenging golf course where many holes are played over and around both dormant and active thermal areas. Hazards include puddles of bubbling mud and steaming sulfuric pits on this thermal golf course built on quick-draining purnice. Arikikapakapa means the gentle sound of plopping mud!


Stone Canyon Club, Arizona

Desert golf at its best. Spectacular, but no second chances if you miss the fairway. The surroundings host scorpions, rattlesnakes, tarantulas and heavily barded plants.


St Andrews, Old Course, Scotland

The oldest, and probably also the weirdest course in the world.


TPC at Sawgrass, Stadium Course, Florida

Photo by Robert Du Bois
17th hole TPC Sawgrass. Photo by Robert Du Bois


Contrary to most golf courses, which make use of the natural features of the terrain, the course’s hazards and terrain characteristics were artificially created by golf architect Pete Dye.


Volcano Golf and Country Club, Waikoloa, Hawaii

Located east of Waikoloa between earth’s most massive and most active volcanoes. The Volcano course itself looks Scottish lush and green. Very impressive, but probably not that dangerous after all, because the course is 4,000 feet (1,219m) about sea level, just a bit higher than the main crater.


See also:
Extreme golf
Ice golf
Types of courses
Golf terminology
Course Management


Photo credits (top to bottom): Hans Merensky Country Club © Martin Pritchard; Cape Kidnappers by Tony; Ko’olau Golf Club by Derek K. Miller; TPC Sawgrass by Robert Du Bois.

Golf Etiquette

Stock photo © Uberphotos
Stock photo © Uberphotos


The etiquette of golf, although not formally equivalent to the rules, are included in the publications on golf rules and are considered binding for every player. They cover matters such as safety (see separate article: safety on the golf course, fairness, easiness and pace of play, and the players’ obligation to contribute to the care of the course.


1. Golf Rules

Make sure to have read and understood the Golf Rules. There is nothing worse than starting to ask your fellow players “is this allowed?” or “may I do this?”. If you don’t have a good understanding of the Rules, please don’t play golf…. Also, the golf etiquette says that you have to make sure to check, before the first tee, if there are any local rules to be applied on that specific course where you are playing.


2. Handicap

Understanding the philosophy behind the handicap means a having a profound understanding of the “Spirit of the Game”. Without an official handicap, you will not be able to truly compete in golf with your fellow players, hence, in every match you play you would bring an element of unfairness to the match. Only accurate handicaps provide the fair basis to compete! Remember: playing without a handicap is a breach of etiquette.


3. Balls

Always carry two uniquely-marked balls (even 3 in case of…). Make sure that your marks are really unique (a small blue point, for example, is a pretty common mark). Inform the other players about the type and the number of the balls that you will be playing.


4. Tee

Only one player at a time is allowed on the tee. While this player is hitting the ball, it is recommended to stay well outside of the teeing area. It would be considered inadmissible if a golfer had to ask you to move out of his/her way anywhere on the course, but especially on the tee, where players are at their maximum concentration. After having hit, make sure to remove the wood (or plastic) tee, if you used it. There is nothing worse than finding a colorful tee pinched into the teeing ground. Lastly, if you have damaged the grass, ensure to repair your divot properly before leaving.


5. Order of play

After the tee shot, all the way during the match, the order of play is always farthest from the hole is the first to hit the ball, and there are normally no exceptions. However, in friendly matches (as opposed to tournaments), this rule can be ignored in favour of “ready play”, i.e. players hit as they are ready in order to accelerate pace and speed of play, see also below.


6. Pace of play

Always play without delay at all times. It is paramount to be always at your ball, ready to hit, when it is your turn. If, for any reason, you aren’t ready, encourage one of your fellow players to hit on your behalf. It is important to begin planning your next shot as you approach the ball by studying the “environment” (wind, slopes, type of grass, wetness…) and analyzing your shot alternatives and not when is your turn to hit. Infact, when you reach your ball, you should only check the lie, select your ideal club, visualize your swing and just play it. Limit your (divotless) practice swings to just a few ones, and never ever practice swing towards anyone. Remember that you should always hit within 30-45 seconds of the previous golfer’s stroke.


7. Speed of play

A good way to judge your speed is your position relative to the group in front and behind of you. You are playing with “good” speed if, as you approach your next shot, the forward group is just moving off. Never talk or tell stories that in anyway, even for a few seconds, may delay the speed of play…. You will always have time to chat when walking between holes or later at the clubhouse. Lastly, remember to proceed to the next hole immediately upon holing out.


8. Finding a lost ball

If you hit a shot into the woods and you suspect that the ball may be lost, you can play a second (provisional) ball according to the Rules of Golf (with one stroke of penalty). Remember that you have a total of 5 minutes for searching your ball (from the time when you reach the area where your ball may have landed). If you insist on taking the full five minutes to look for your lost ball, golf etiquette recommends to wave up the group (if there is a group behind you ready to play) to allow them to play through. Also remember that according to the Rules of Golf, if you played the provisional ball but you find your first ball, still in-play, you’re obliged to continue playing with the first one.


9. Scoring

Always fill the score card while proceeding to the next shot, never on the tee or green. Making other players ask what you score you had on the specific hole you just finished, is a breach of etiquette. At the time of holing out, as you take back your ball, clearly state, “Par,” or, “birdy,” or…whatever has been your score. It is recommendable to check the card occasionally to ensure accuracy.


10. Divots

Always repair or replace your divots. In case this results impossible to do, you can try to use the toe of your shoes to kick in the turf around the edges of the divot or take (when existing) extra soil to recover, partially, the damage you created. In the green, don’t forget to repair any pitch marks or indentations caused by your ball hitting the soil. However, always remember that, according to the Rule of Golf, you cannot make any reparation (before having hit your ball) if the damage itself is in your line of shot.


11. Bunkers

When you enter a bunker always do it from the low side. When you leave a bunker make sure you have removed all evidence that you were ever there. Some extra strokes with the rake to smooth the sand are always welcome. When you do it, just think all the times you have had to hit from another’s footprints or bad raking, it will motivate you to leave the bunker in perfect state !


12. On The Green

The green and the tee are probably the most delicate areas where strictly following the golf etiquette will help yourself and your fellow players. First of all, be sure to not be on somebody else’ line of putting. Standing even with the ball left or right, at a considerate distance, is always correct. Never talk, whisper or make any other noise while another player is putting. If your ball is on a player’s line, always offer to remove it by marking it. When you mark and replace your ball on the green never advance it even infinitesimally, this is major breach of the etiquette and it would be indeed badly perceived. When removing the flag, don’t drop it onto the green, always lower it gently and drop it just outside the green (the player whose ball is closest to the pin has the pin responsibilities). Lastly, if your ball hitting the green caused some damages, repair them as good as you can trying to “retrieve” a smooth surface where the ball mark was.


13. When Another Player is addressing the ball

This is an important principle in the golf etiquette, as when a player is addressing the ball, you must stand absolutely still (like a statue) just watching the player hit. Any movement, even minimal, is simply unacceptable. Talking is likewise unacceptable. Be carefull not to make any noise with your clubs, with your bag or anything else. Just stand still and watch the shot.


14. Gimmies & Mulligans

Unless in a friendly game, never “give” a shot that matters even if it is really at the limit of remote possibility that the player could miss it. The essence of this Game is to hole the ball, hence, any deviation should be considered only as a special courtesy among friends. Remember that only other players can give you a shot, you cannot pretend it nor ask for it, that would be a breach of the etiquette! Lastly, Mulligans are never allowed.


15. Settling up

Always have the exact amount (in cash preferably) needed to settle the game or any bet you may make during the game. Saying, “Do you have change?” or ”I will pay you next time” is a breach of etiquette.


16. Temperament

Never blame out other golfers, the clubs, the weather or even the environment for your shots. Never address to luck (either good or bad) as throughout a whole golf game, good bounces are normally compensated always by bad ones… Never blame another player for reminding and championing the Rules of Golf. Also don’t fall in the attitude to explain why your shot was bad, or good, why today you are playing better or worse than the other day… Don’t be so competitive that you forget that golf is a game played competitively for joy. Always play like a gentleman, in demeanor and attitude, because, in golf it is not your score but your behavior on the course (and the club) that determines the ultimate impression of your fellow players, friends and club members. Scoring and playing well is what golf is about, but that’s not what golf is all about….


17. Final hole

At the end of the game, always shake hands with all the players, congratulate with the winners and thank everybody for their company.


18. Dress Code

We just mention this as the last point being, by itself, an entirely separate topic !

Five Key Steps to Improve your Putting

Stock photo © Deklofenak



1. Change your grip

I have rarely seen excellent players who keep the same grip when putting. As the hands play very little part in the putting stroke, and should not override the up and down movement of the shoulders, the most popular grip is the Reverse Overlap which brings the hands together as one unit. It is basically the same as the Vardon grip but with the left index finger and right little finger in reversed positions, i.e. the left index finger is on top of the fingers of the right hand and the right little finger is touching the grip. In the Left-hand-low grip or Cross-handed grip the right hand is placed at the top of the putter grip, and the left hand at the bottom, to minimize right hand dominance (for right hand golfers). The right index finger goes down the back of the shaft over the left hand fingers, which links both hands. Another putting grip is the Gator or Claw grip, where the the fingers of the bottom hand are on top of the grip rather than on the bottom. For the different putting grips, see: types of putting grips >>

Tip:  choose the posture you are most comfortable with…Either with your feet closed or opened, with your body curved over the ball or much straighter. Again what makes you feel more at ease, but allows you to keep your head and center of gravity stock still throughout the stroke. (see further). If you want to play at your best consider switching to three grips, not just a different grip for your putting and the rest of the game, but one specific grip for power, short game and putting. But that’s a different story.


2. Make your Shoulders and Arms do the Work

The main source of movement is in the shoulders, hands and arms acting all together. Think about the three of them like a triangle. When making a shot, use the “imaginary” triangle by moving the shoulders only and going through the shot leveraging the weight of the putter (as well as the shoulder movement).

Tip: Your hands (and wrists!) are dead. The club shaft and the left forearm should form a straight, solid line.


3. Keep your head still

Every good putter keeps the head absolutely still from start to finish. And the head, as well as the eyes, should be on the vertical of the ball before striking. If an “imaginary” tear falling from your eyes “wets” the ball, it means that your head is absolutely well positioned.

putting-4Tip: Sometimes you may have the temptation to look if the ball strike is heading towards the hole. Don’t ! This attitude will cause an even minimal movement of your head that may cause putting failure or putting unconsistency. Learn to strike your putting shot without looking (at the shot) but just listening to the noise of the ball falling… into the hole.




4. Read the putting line:

Stock photo © warrengoldswain

The secret for good putting is that your mind is able to visualize the line between the hole and the ball.

However, the most common mistake, when doing this, is to start analyzing the “potential” trajectory starting from the hole backwards to the ball stance: wrong….

You have to do exactly the opposite, you have to mentally visualize the ideal route of the ball from its position towards the hole (as at the end this is going to be the actual route of the ball….).


Tip: if golf is 30% physical and 70% mental, putting is probably 5% physical and 95% mental……If you’re missing some putting shots, just stop. Relax and breathe. Think what you did wrong. Reset the mistake to build your trust and shoot again. You will make it!


5. Think ‘one-two’ tempo


Stock photo © csfotoimages


A “paramount” to achieve a correct pace and rhythm in putting is to make the backstroke and forward stroke the identical same length. Also, always accelerate at the moment you impact the ball, this is a guarantee of straight shots.

Tip: Perform the same routine every time. It helps to build a mechanic consistency into putting (probably the only shot in golf that follows some repetitiveness….) and build your confidence. There is nothing better than bad putting to destroy one’s trust, hence, one’s play…


1. Keep a ‘one-two’ tempo.
2. Keep your head absolutely still.
3. Make your arms and shoulders do most of the work.
4. Adapt your grip.
5. Treat every putt as though it were straight.

To score well at golf you must be able to “one putt” four to five greens a round. The average player hits less than 30% of greens in regulation. These statistics mean a player who desires to score well must get up and down from off the green on a consistent basis. Chippers can help the intermediate to beginning player get close enough to one putt from the fringe. Use your natural putting stroke without the risk of “bladeing” the ball over the green or digging into the turf with a sand wedge.

Top 3 Recommended Putting Books:

Putting out of your Mind
by Bob Rotella
More info>>


The guru-cum-sports psychologist of choice among the world’s top golfers will help you understand the rationale behind solid sustainable putting scoring.





Dave Stockton’s Putt to Win: Secrets For Mastering the Other Game of Golf
by Dave Stockton
More info>>


The essential book on putting by all-time best putter Dave Stockton. The book will help you find consistency and confidence with the putter, by focusing on your line and the ball’s ultimate destination rather than on your stance.





Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible
by Dave Pelz
More info>>


One of the best books ever written to effectively improve your putting.


Welcome to the club !

The Mental Game

How to manage the mental hazards in golf,
Mental Approach to Better Golf

by Catherine Marien

Photo by Dave Kahn
Photo by Dave Kahn


Golf is surely one of those sports where the psychology of the game and the importance of confidence and mental toughness are most underestimated.

Golf guru Jim Flick says that golf is 90 percent mental, and the other 10 percent… is mental.


The mental preparation of golf will help you to stay calm, clear the interference that leads to poor shots, and eliminate bad habits and mental mistakes. In short, turn your mind into an ally, instead of an enemy. Many players carry the negative emotions tied to a bad drive or missed putt to the next hole, or worse, for the rest of the entire round! Other players feel negative thoughts entering their mind when they stand over the ball, while none existed before, and without knowing how to manage these. Again others feel their self-confidence sink into their very golf shoes because they are being influenced by other people’s shots.

As Timothy Gallway, the author of The Game of Golf puts it: “Even the masters of the game, from the venerable Jack Nicklaus to the wunderkind Tiger Woods, must battle their mental demons to excel in the crucible of competition. How do they maintain concentration under pressure? How do they avoid the mental and physical tensions that can sabotage any shot, from the simplest putt to a demanding drive?”

Mental techniques will help you not only to prepare your game, but also assist you during the execution phase and teach you how to respond to the results of any golf shot. The psychology of golf entails instant recall of past successes and being able to quickly purge failures.

Important areas to analyse and train are: how to keep your focus and concentration during a round of golf, how to keep your motivation when you only enjoy the game part of the time, how to avoid being influenced by other people’s swings, how to transfer the self-assurance and confidence you feel on the practice tee to the golf course, how to reach emotional stability, tough-mindedness, what is tension management, etc.

In The 8 Traits of Champion Golfers, author Deborah Graham discusses why each of the following traits is important to the game of golf:

– Focus and Concentration
– Abstract Thinking
– Emotional Stability
– Dominance and Competitiveness
– Tough-Mindedness
– Self-Assurance
– Self-Sufficiency
– Optimum Arousal and Managing Tension

You’ll find more about these topics in the books we have selected and the following Golf psychology books >> Some books, such as The 8 Traits of Champion Golfers and Golf’s Mental Hazards provide self tests, quizzes and playing tips, making it possible for every golfer to play with the mind of a champion.

How to Choose the Right Golf Instructor

by Catherine Marien

Stock photo © kzenon
Stock photo © kzenon


Finding the right golf teacher is probably one of the biggest challenges beginners face. Golf teachers come in all types and shapes, but unfortunately not all with the same teaching skills.

Paradoxically, more experienced golf students will more easily find a golf teaching professional who meets their standard. The real challenge for a golf teacher (as for all teachers) is to teach a beginner the basics in an understandable way that fits the student’s needs, while keeping their motivation intact.

So what traits and teaching skills should you, as a golf student, be looking for in your future golf instructor ?


1. Technical knowledge

Obviously, the prerequisite to make a good golf instructor is someone who has a good deal of expertise in the game, who can show you the right grip, stance, moves and explain you the mechanics of the golf shot.


2. Good observer with strong sense of analysis

However, being an expert golfer or tour player is not enough to make a good golf instructor. What you need is not a fine demonstration of YOUR TEACHER’s game, but rather a good analysis of YOUR own game, followed by tips tailored to your own level and possibilities. A teacher who just keeps asking you to reproduce what he just demonstrated, without keeping in mind what your current possibilities are, and taking into account your learning curve, will not make a good golf instructor. Golf is very much a game of confidence, so a good golf teacher should build on and develop your strengths, not just point out what you are doing wrong.


3. Passionate about Golf

This seems straightforward, but the risk is that golf teachers who spend too much time on the driving range forget what they really liked about golf. When golf classes become too theoretical, students may loose interest and no longer see the nice part of the game. Teachers who are passionate about their sport always keep a close connection with the real game of golf, even in their classes, and are able to communicate this passion to their students.


4. Trained teacher with excellent communication skills

An expert golfer and good analyst of the game also needs some good teaching skills to be able to communicate in an understandable way what he expects from you. Good communicators typically use metaphors or comparisons to make things more understandable and adapt their speech to the student’s own fields of interest to keep their attention focused.


5. Open-mindedness

People with a high level of expertise can become precision freaks. It takes some open-mindedness to understand that not all students aim to become tour golfers. A good golf teacher should accept that some of their students just want to learn how to survive on the golf course and increase their OWN game’s efficiency in the shortest possible time, period. When this is the case it is a waste of time to spend the first couple of classes endlessly correcting grip and stance until they are picture-perfect, unless they are too much impacting on your game. An open-minded golf teacher (with good sense of analysis) will teach you some tricks and tips to improve YOUR game in the shortest time possible, without loosing time trying to turn you into a typical golf class clone.

Yoga for Golfers

Stock photo © Otmar Winterleitner
Stock photo © Otmar Winterleitner


Of all sports, golf can truly be a mental minefield. Golfers who fail to understand the mental aspects of the game either give up or never really master it. Many golf pros are using yoga to complement their workout off the course and aid them in mastering the mental game, gain more confidence and foster more consistent play.

Besides offering the useful physical stretching exercises that help improve your flexibility, coordination and balance, yoga also teaches mind-relaxation techniques and visualization tools that improve your focus and concentration and serve the psychological aspects of the game.

Below are a few books and DVDs, which may help you kickstart or deepen your practice of yoga, and find that body and mind connection that will bring your game to the next level.


Play Better Golf with Easy Yogaby Patricia BacallMore info>>
Play Better Golf with Easy Yoga
by Patricia Bacall
More info>>

Play Better Golf with Easy Yoga by Patricia Bacall integrates the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the game of golf. The author aims to help you enhance muscle memory and increase flexibility, and avoid golf-related injuries to joints and spine, while calming the overactive, “critical” mind that can be so detrimental to your game.





Yoga for Golfers
by Katherine Roberts
More info>>

In her book Yoga for Golfers : A Unique Mind-Body Approach to Golf Fitness, Katherine Roberts describes Yoga postures specifically selected for a golfer’s needs. The book also includes useful mind-relaxation methods and visualization tools, for success on and off the course, as well as proper breathing techniques.
More information:



Yoga for Golfers
by Katherine Roberts
More Info>>


Yoga for Golfers DVD by Katherine Roberts, the same author as the previous book.







The Golfer’s Book of Yoga
by Drew Greenland
More info>>

The Golfer’s Book of Yoga: Bring Your Game to the Next Level
by Drew Greenland, presents the essential elements of yoga that may help you develop the concentration that the game of golf demands. The power of the breath is explained and the foundation qualities of the swing laid out.

Golf Fitness

Stock photo © leezsnow
Stock photo © leezsnow


Because golf is a precision game in which the mental approach and strategic decisions play important parts, many players erroneously believe that fitness and muscle training are superfluous.

Nothing could be further from the truth: it does not matter whether you understood mentally how to execute a correct golf swing if your body cannot get you there.

Mobility, flexibility and balance, which are key in a golfer’s game are served by healthy ligaments, tendons and joints which are in turn protected by our muscle structure. Less muscle mass translates into more stress exercised on the ligaments and tendons.

However, this does not mean that just any weight training program will be good to enhance a golfer’s potential. A weight training program that is beneficial to golfers should be especially designed to develop those muscles and body parts that ensure fluidity, balance and support needed to execute repetitive golf movements.

Although golf is considered a “low impact” sport (as compared to running or hockey, for example), the shoulders, wrist and elbow can suffer from impact injuries in certain circumstances. A properly exercised body has a better ability to absorb tension force on the joint.

Also, any stiffness in the shoulders or spine make a fluid and efficient swing impossible. Strengthening the less sollicited support muscles is thus as important (if not more) than training the primary powering muscles.

That is why a weight training program specifically designed for golfers is a must. (See: Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Golf. See also: weight training for golf). Some fitness programs go even further and include a conditioning and nutrition regimen, see: Core Performance Golf: The Revolutionary Training and Nutrition Program for Success On and Off the Course.

Proper exercising also activates your muscle memory or kinesthetic memory, i.e. it trains your body to perform and repeat a specific appropriate musculoskeletal movement until it becomes a second nature. Conditioned by training the golfer’s muscles and joints will then move in a familiar manner based on memorized sequences (of similar shots made under comparable conditions) without having to think about the mechanics of the mouvement. More about activitating muscle memory in the section “Activate Kinesthetic Memory” in the book Newton on the tee and in the book Get yourself in shape.

Apart form a healthy muscle mass, flexibility and balance are the next aspects to train. Yoga is very popular as an off-course prepartion to golf as it trains both the mind (concentration) as well as the body (flexibility and balance).

See also: Yoga for golfers >>

Golf Tees

Definition, Use, History and Regulations

Stock photo © CaptureLight
Stock photo © CaptureLight


1. What is a golf tee made of and what does it measure?

A standard golf tee is 2.125″ (two and one eighth inches) long, but both longer and shorter tees are permitted and are preferred by some players. Conventional golf tees resemble extra short knitting nails with a small cup on the head on top of which the ball can rest for an easier shot. They are usually made of wood or plastic and are generally very inexpensive as a player may easily damage or break many of these tees during the course of a round.

The length of tees varies according to the club intended to be used and by personal preference; longer tees (3-3.5″) allow the player to position the ball higher off the ground while remaining stable when planted, and are generally used for modern drivers. They can be planted deeper for use with other clubs. Shorter tees (2-2.5″) are suitable for most other clubs and are more easily inserted than a long tee. Recently, different types of golf tees have been marketed. Some of these allow the tee to be planted always at the same height, which favors repitition of succesfull shots. Read more >>


2. When is it used ?

Golf tees are generally used for the first stroke of each hole, and the area from which this first stroke is hit is informally also known as a tee (officially, teeing ground). Thus, for example the ninth hole of a course is played from the ninth tee to the ninth green, and similarly for the other holes. Normally, teeing the ball is only allowed on the first shot of a hole, called the tee shot, and illegal for any other shot. However, local or seasonal rules may allow or require teeing for other shots as well, e.g. under “winter rules” to protect the turf when it is unusually vulnerable. Teeing gives a considerable advantage for drive shots, so it is normally done whenever allowed. On short par 3 holes where the first shot is a chip, the tee shot may be played without a tee.


3. Origin and Development of the Golf Tee

The development of the tee was the last major change to the rules of golf. Before this, to elevate the ball for a drive the golf ball was teed up on a little heap of sand that was provided in boxes. This explains the historical name tee boxes for what is today known as teeing ground.

A popular alternative to lift the ball off the turf was the disposable tee cup, a ring of cardboard that was sold in perforated booklets; the golfer had to tear off one of these along the perforation and shape it by rolling it between the fingers. Celluloid tees and other wooden or rubber gadgets also existed to help form a sand tee.

The first tee resembling today’s tees to be more widely known was the “Perfectum”, invented by Percy Ellis of Surrey, England in 1892. it consisted of a rubber-and-iron peg with a crown of rubber pins upon which the ball rested. A similar concept, the “Victor” tee, had a cup-shaped rubber head and metal spike base and was patented in 1897 by PM Matthews of Scotland.

Many claim that the first golf tee to closely resemble the standard modern tee was the one invented by George F. Grant and patented by him in 1899. However there had been several previous patents for golf tees, some seeming to be quite modern in both form and function.

These and other variations failed to catch on, as most golfers-whether because of tradition, habit, or concerns about the rules-continued using heaps of sand. It took a strong marketing effort by Dr. William Lowell, Sr. in the 1920s to bring manufactured tees into widespread use. The little tee, a simple wooden peg with a flared top, was manufactured and painted red (so it could easily find in the grass) and became known as the Reddy tee, which was a wordplay both on the fact that it was red and the suggestion that it was always at hand (‘ready’). Sales of Lowell’s “Reddy Tee,”, took off after Lowell hired professional golfers Walter Hagen and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. to promote the product during exhibition matches. It was copied around the world, and remains the most common type of golf tee.

Despite many other designs and patents before and since then, most golf tees are still simple nail-like objects designed to be pressed into the ground, and many are still made of wood although plastic has become more and more common.


4. Etymology of the word “tee”

The term is believed to be a backformation from the Old Scottish teaz (noun and verb) taken as a plural and tie (verb), but its further origin is unknown.

The oldest mention of the word in its current form dates back to 1744 in Articles & Laws in Playing at Golf, but the earlier form Teaz appears as early as 1673 in the Wedderburn’s Vocabulary giving Latin equivalents for golfing terms, where Statutem (support or prop) is suggested as an equivalent for Teaz. Note that at that time, before the advent of the wooden tee, the word “tee” was used to refer to the cone or mound of sand that fullfilled the same function.


5. Golf Tee Regulations

In golf, a tee is normally used for the first stroke of each hole, and the area from which this first stroke is hit is informally also known as the teeing ground. Normally, teeing the ball is allowed only on the first shot of a hole, called the tee shot, and is illegal for any other shot; however, local or seasonal rules may allow or require teeing for other shots as well, e.g., under “winter rules” to protect the turf when it is unusually vulnerable. Teeing gives a considerable advantage for drive shots, so it is normally done whenever allowed. On short par 3 holes where the first shot is a chip, the tee shot may be played with or without a tee.

According to the R&A rule book, for a tee to be legal, “It must not be longer than 4 inches (101.6 mm) and it must not be designed or manufactured in such a way that it could indicate the line of play or influence the movement of the ball.”

Alternately, the rules allow for a mound of sand to be used for the same function, also only on the first shot. Before the invention of the wooden spike tee, using sand was the only accepted method of lifting the ball for the initial shot. This is rarely done in modern times, as a tee is easier to place, hit from, and recover, but some courses prohibit the use of tees either for traditional reasons, or because a swing that hits the tee will drive it into or rip it out of the ground, resulting in damage to the turf of the tee-box. Tees also create litter if discarded incorrectly when broken.


See also:
Types of Golf Tees
Golf ball basics
Golf club basics
Types of golf clubs
All-time favorite golf balls
More golf balls