By Mark Falanga
When it comes to finding out the reason why the sport is called golf, there are two explanations to choose from. The first is the literal translation. It comes from the Scottish word ‘gouf,’ which is derived from the Middle-Dutch word ‘colf’ that means “stick, club, or bat.”
The second approach is one my father taught me: “The reason they call it ‘golf’ is because they used up all of the other four letter words.”
It’s fair to say the majority of golf players agree with my father’s sentiment. It can at times be the most challenging, and also frustrating sport, because if you hit a bad shot, you can’t blame anybody but yourself. Despite these feelings, golf can be used as an important tool in the business world. In fact, Sports Illustrated’s Golf.com calls it a “six hour sales call,” and even gives pointers on how to conduct business while playing a round. And it’s not just for men anymore; women are the fastest growing sector of new golfers.
Photo by Fevi Yu.
So if you want to improve your game… and your chances of landing a new job or a business deal, you need to improve on three key areas.
“What every golfer needs to realize is that every golf swing starts at the grip, and that’s where you should put your focus,” says Joe Manley, PGA Professional and Head Golf Pro at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pa. A website called golfswingimprovements.com agrees with Manley, saying that if you take only one thing from the site, it is to perfect your grip.
The website lists three common ways to grip the club. They are the interlocking grip, in which the pinky and index finger lock around the club; the overlap grip, in which the pinky overlaps the index finger; and the baseball grip, which is just like gripping a baseball bat except your thumbs point down. But no matter what style you choose, the most important thing is to grip the club comfortably.
“It can’t be too tight or too loose, that’s where gripping problems stem from,” says Manley.
Now that your grip is perfect, the next major step is to drive the ball. Golflink.com explains the five steps to properly drive a golf ball. The first is to be patient and relax, it’s not wise to let your anger or frustration from the previous hole impact what you do on every drive.
Next, you want to take a wide stance at the tee to give you a stronger base to really smoke the ball. Step three is to make a wide arc on your swing, and to keep your front arm as straight as possible. While doing this, the next step is to think power and not speed. When people think speed, they swing with their arms, which can cause a bad swing. When people think power, the legs, hips, and shoulders are used more, which is where true power in driving comes from.
Finally, don’t use all your might to crush the ball, try using 80 percent power. This will not wear you out as fast, and gives you more consistent play during your round of golf.
The third and final step to improve your golf game is one that most of us have been practicing since we were young while playing miniature golf: putting. Putting is one of the most difficult aspects of golf to master since it must be done with near surgical precision. According to maximumperformancegolf.com, to prepare for a putt, make sure your head and wrists are steady and that you don’t bend or move them when you hit the ball.
Also, remember that in putting, just like in driving, the power comes from your hips and shoulders. Your putting stroke should more closely resemble a pendulum than a traditional golf swing. Finally, speed is key to putting. However, every green is different in how fast the ball moves. Remember that trim, dry grass will make the ball move faster, while longer, wet grass will move the ball slower.
Hopefully this will improve your golf game and improve your business life as well. If you think you’re a good enough golfer without these tips, Joe Manley disagrees.
“Any golfer can improve on his or her game,” he says. “The great thing about golf is that there’s nobody out there who has perfected it. No matter what your skill level, there’s always room for improvement.”