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Golf Tips for Beginners in Florida

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Golf is a labor of love for sure – it isn’t something you can pick up overnight and if you want to keep improving, you need to put in the work.  So why have we chosen this sport? Well, when you have a good round it is pretty much the best feeling ever (let’s not talk about the bad ones), it’s super social and very therapeutic  – being outside with nature in stunning landscapes is the best medicine for stress – and of course there is the element of competition!

So, you’re just starting out in the golfing world, and you want to improve on your game? Here are some ideas to try out:

  • The Fundamental Skill – Get A Grip!

Surprisingly, this is something some players (even the more competent ones) still get wrong! There are numerous different schools of thought when it comes to how you should grip your club, some much more elaborate than others.  When it comes to it, a simple approach should suit you fine. Some of the best golf teachers in the game use the unpretentious comparison of holding your club as you would a heavy suitcase. In this case (excuse the pun) you let your hand rest comfortably in the creases of your fingers, at the point where they attach into your palm. Pretty simple right? Next all you need to do is add your right hand into the mix, by placing it slightly palm up and curling your fingers underneath. Rest your little finger on your left forefinger or between this and the middle fingers and you’re set! You shouldn’t mess with the classics.

  • Fundamentals #2 – Swing away!

When you start out, the swing is seen as some overly complex, impossible motion. Well worry not, everyone was a beginner once and of course, practice makes perfect.  There is a learning curve (again – I apologize for the terribly puns) to this swing, but get the basics down and you will be improving in no time.  Firstly, when you’re starting out always keep your eyes on the ball; don’t worry about looking at anything else, just keep your head down! The club will do the hard work, you just need to make sure you hit it. Next, try and track a path with your swing in a natural way, back and forth, just relax into it. Tension in your body will make your swing off. The most important thing is to hit the center of the ball – hitting here is better than a harder swing off center.

So remember, grip simply, relax your swing and hit in the center – you can build on these basics and be a capable golfer in no time!

 

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Top Golf Courses in South Florida

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South Florida, a unique part of the state for sure. It is the only place in the whole country that has a tropical climate and the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist – apart from that it also has some pretty amazing courses to try out.  So, you call this sun-soaked place your home and want to find a local haunt, or you’re just visiting and wanting to play a few rounds, where can you go? Like the rest of the state, the south offers a range of different courses with different prices; let’s have a look at some of the best!

  • The Club at Emerald Hill, Hollywood

Fast greens, great service, tropical atmosphere and surroundings; Emerald Hill ticks all the boxes.  The layout is fun and it is a relatively short game at this semi-private club. It is well-known to be one of the top clubs in the south.

  • Miami Beach Golf Club, Miami Beach

A public course with a solid reputation this can be challenging at times, but in the best way possible. The fairways here are stunning and the pace of the games is good. Striking surroundings and an old-school club vibe further add to this club’s charm.

  • Deer Creek Golf Club, Deerfield Beach

A little on the more expensive side but certainly worth it, Deer Creek is exceptionally maintained and has a really great pace.  It is a reasonable place to go for all types of golfers and skill levels, and if you go at slower times in the day, the price can be reduced. All in all, a solid club to enjoy all year round.

  • Normandy Shore Golf Club, Miami Beach

Back to Miami Beach, and to another great club with an envious reputation.  Excellent prices and not too challenging, this course is perfect for a relaxed round in well-kept surroundings with a peaceful atmosphere.

 

So there we have it, four of the best in the area. But don’t just take my word for it; treat yourself to one or all of them and make your own mind up!

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Florida State Golf Association

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Formed over 100 years ago in 1913, the Florida State Golf Association (or FSGA) was created in order to help preserve and promote the wonderful sport of golf. It has since come a long way, and now contains more than 800 member clubs, and upwards of 250,000 members.  Its aim is to ensure that golf continues to grow as a sport, players have room to improve and competitions to do so in, as well as making sure golfer of the future are encouraged to learn and progress.

So what does the FSGA actually do in order to make these things a reality? Well, more than 520 tournaments are held on an annual basis. These include the following:

  • Men’s Championships
  • Women’s Championships
  • Opportunity of qualify for United States Golf Association tournaments (45 days’ worth)
  • One-Day Events
  • Junior Tour
  • Winter Series

The FSGA is run by trained volunteers who work rating course, officiating tournaments, and help with both junior and amateur golf. The association also assists with college scholarships, the First Tee Program (which teaches young people values through golf) and other such programs. They also have a partnership with the USGA-GHIN; the largest handicap association across the country.

So now you know what they do, what are the benefits of becoming a part of such an association? Aside from assisting the sport and the future of it in a philanthropic manner, there are other, more personal advantages to being a part of this cornerstone of Florida’s golfing world. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, as a regular member you are able to enter all FSGA Championships, so you can continue to hone and improve your skill with likeminded people. Additionally, you are given a personalized tag for your golf bag, as well as an electronic newsletter that keeps you up to date with all of the localized golfing world’s happenings. Being a part of this community also gives you full access to the website, which is a central hub of information; on here you can sign yourself up for tournaments, view results and shop for exclusive deals. All in all, if you are a passionate golfer who wants to protect and propel the sport, maybe joining the FSGA is for you. Check out their website for more details.

 

 

 

 

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Getting the Most out of your Driving Range in Florida

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Going to the driving range is a really beneficial way to improve your golfing skills, but you need to make sure you are being productive with your time here. It isn’t about just using up all your balls and getting your swings in; use this time as an opportunity to hone your craft and see some real improvement. If you go in all guns blazing, chance are it will be a fruitless exercise, and the next time your go for your 18 holes, you’re not going to see the progress you want to. Think about when you play a course; you’re not hitting 30 balls an hour. You’re waiting in between shots, you’re thinking about your aim, your swing. It’s not about whacking away, hitting and hoping – well it can be, but in that case golf may not be the sport for you.

So what can you do to ensure your time spent at the driving range is productive? Firstly, stretch your muscles! You will be looser and therefore won’t run the risk of pulling something and damaging yourself. Stretch the muscle areas you are most likely to use when swinging, namely your back, arms and legs.  Have a look online to find the best stretches for golfers, loosen up and you will feel the benefit.

Next, work your golf clubs. Hit some shots with your 9 iron, then your woods and your driver. This is the important part – make sure you are aware of how your body moves with your swing: where are your feet? How does your follow through look? When you get onto your woods, make a note of how far you hit the ball with each club, recording from high to low so you can properly scrutinize when and how well you are hitting the ball.  If you can, you should try and focus on one specific thing at a time: keeping your balance, staying in tempo etc. The real message here is to focus in order to see your game improve.

There are many different driving ranges to choose from in Florida, including World Woods which boasts a 20 acre circular range and three practice holes, and the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie – a 35 acre center with putting and pitching greens, and a variety of sand types in bunkers.  Both are great places to practice and make a real difference to your golf game.

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Tips for First Time Golfers, Florida

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So you have decided to undertake that most challenging, frustrating but worthwhile sport, golf. Where do you begin? I admit it can seem a little daunting to a novice, but as with anything practice makes perfect, and remember everyone started somewhere.  You just to need to get the etiquette, rules and fundamentals down, and in no time it will feel like the most natural thing in the world.

Let’s start with the real basics – some of this might seem fairly obvious but it’s better to be informed to save yourself any awkwardness.

  • Having the Proper Attire

Of course, you are a unique individual, but you don’t want to stray from the crowd too much. When you golf, you need to wear the correct clothing. This is mostly dependent on the club you’re playing at, as they may have their own specific rules regarding attire. Generally in country clubs they prefer a collared shirt with Bermuda length shorts or pants for men. Meanwhile, women are required to wear the same, except their shirt may be without sleeves and they also have the choice of wearing a golf skirt. Of course, golf shoes are on the whole a must. You can double check these details with the club beforehand by checking their website or calling them.

  • The Right Equipment

Understandably, you don’t want to spend a fortune on 14 golf clubs when you have never played the sport. Luckily, some courses have an option to rent which is a good option for those just starting out. You may feel you need the maximum amount of clubs to lug around with you, but start small and slowly build up your collection. Initially, if you don’t have a driver this isn’t a huge issue, just make sure you have odd-numbered irons, a wedge, putter, 3 and 5 wood. Additionally, you will also require balls, tees, an object to use as a ball marker and finally a divot repair tool.

  • Make a Reservation

This is not always a necessity, but it makes your life a lot easier. Have your tee time (starting time) reserved beforehand – nowadays you can usually do this online which makes it super handy. If not you can call, and ask them any other additional questions you may have regarding fees, dress code, clubs etc.  You should arrive a little early, around 30 minutes, in order to keep on schedule as you need to check in, pay fees and of course warm up.

  • Pace, Pace, Pace

As a beginner, you need to really be aware of the pace you are keeping. You want to keep the game moving fast, so be ready to hit and move on.  It can seem a little daunting, but as I said before, everyone was a beginner once so other golfers can empathize.  If you feel you are going too slow, suggest the group behind you play through.

  • Enjoy yourself!

This is easier if you go with a group of friends/family (4 being the ideal amount) so you can relax into it. There are lots of rules and etiquette to learn, but remember it is your first time! Ease into it, relax and have fun.

A great number of golf courses in the area are well suited to beginners. Why not try the Champions 9 Course at Champions Gate Resort, Orlando – great family fun and light play, or the Origins Golf Club in WaterSound, another great choice for any skill level.

 

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Best Public Golf Courses in Florida

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Best Public Golf Courses in Florida

As a golfer in Florida, you are in a very fortunate situation. There is a plethora of great golf courses to choose from, whichever area you reside in and whatever your ability or preference. Thankfully, this state has a wonderful climate, one of the most envied in the country, so golf is not segregated to certain times of the year and you can pretty much play all year round if your heart desires! So pick up your clubs and get going – after all there are plenty of different courses to explore.

A public golf course basically means it is open to any member of the public; as the name suggests. This is different to a private golf course, in which you have to pay to be a part of the club. There are generally two different types:

  1. Municipal: This type of golf course belongs to and is owned by the governmental authority, most usually a city, but it can also be a county or state.  It is frequently operated by the government, but it can also be managed by an outside company. Like all other golf course, the rates and quality of these courses is unique to each. There are many famous municipal (or ‘muni’) all across America.
  2. Daily Fees Course: These are open to the public, but are different to municipals as are owned privately. As a general rule, these are subsequently more costly to play on, but are also more upscale, although this is not always the case.

So you’re looking for a quality public golf course to play on? Well search no further; here are some suggestions and recommendations. Try them out and let us know:

  • International  Golf Club – Tavares : For the wildlife lover in you, you’re likely to see at least a few alligators on this well-loved course. There are great rates too, and although it isn’t the most immaculate, it is good fun.
  • Streamsong Red – Fort Meade: A relatively new course, the unique and dramatic landscape creates a spectacular atmosphere for this 18 hole beauty.   Although the rates are a little higher, they are certainly worth it for one of the highest rated golf courses in the state.
  • PGA National Resort & Spa – Palm Beach: Luxurious and renowned, this resort has a variety of different courses to choose from. Constantly improving and with the added bonus of wonderful facilities, it is certainly worth a visit.
  • Pine Barrens, World Woods, Brooksville:  This modern golf course is celebrated for a number of reasons: it has a breathtaking landscape, is well-designed and offers up some tough yet enjoyable holes to test your skill.

These are just some of the huge variety of premiere golf courses on offer, so get out there and try them out.

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How to Find your Perfect Golf Resort in Florida

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So you’re looking for your perfect golf resort, and you don’t know where to start. Whether it is a place you are going to frequent regularly, or just for a weekend away, you want your resort to be a place you can relax, have fun –and of course play some solid rounds of golf.  Let’s have a look at some things to consider when choosing the resort of your dreams:

  • The Golf

This kind of goes without saying, but it should be your primary drive in choosing your resort.  You need to pick a place that appeals to you as golfer: are there a variety of courses to play on? What skill level are they? Are they well maintained? Is the landscape and surroundings equally as exquisite? A great way to discover the answers to these questions is to do some research, and in this day and age that isn’t an issue. Check out their website and read the reviews online to get an idea of what their golf is all about.

  • Excellent Amenities

Of course golf should be your main priority, but that’s not saying it is the only thing you are on the look-out for. Amenities within the club may also be high on your list, and with good reason.  After all, you want somewhere to wind down, relax, eat and enjoy after a day out on the course. Are there multiple restaurants available to choose from? Are they family friendly? Are there other amenities on offer such as tennis courts, a swimming pool and spa –this is especially important if you’re intending on bringing the family along. Your resort should not only be somewhere to golf, but somewhere to retreat and relax in with multiple options available.

  • Exciting Club Life

Your club should be a dynamic, social and fun place – for you and your family if need be. Are there activities to socialize at if wanted? What memberships do they offer for spouses and family? Are there tournaments to take place in or experience?

Overall, your golf resort should be the whole package: excellent service, amenities, an active social life and, most importantly, a truly outstanding golf course.  A good example of this is the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando offers three amazing golf courses, in addition to a great deal of other activities – including water sports!

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The Top Courses in Orlando, Florida

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The theme park capital of the world, Orlando is famous worldwide as a vacation destination.  It also leaves you spoiled for choice when it comes to golfing, with a veritable feast of options to choose from.  There really is a huge amount of choice here when it comes to courses – a mix of both private and public; it is a golfer’s idea of heaven.

So, with all this choice it is difficult to try and narrow it down to just a few, but I have tried nonetheless.  Here is a selection of the cream of the crop when it comes to playing some rounds:

  • Bay Hill Club & Lounge

This world-renowned club has held the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the PGA tour for years, and has a respected reputation in the golfing world.  It’s 18 holes were created more than half a decade ago, and were designed by Dick Wilson – notably making use of his approach of a slight elevation to the course in order to aid draining and maintain visibility. You do have to stay in the lodge in order to play the course, but it’s certainly worth it.

  • Waldorf Astoria Golf Club

5-star service with a golfing game to match, the Waldorf is sandwiched between Disney properties, though it is not a part of the organization itself. This course was designed by Ree Jones, and features water on more than half the holes.  A challenging course, it is certainly worth the price, especially for more advanced golfers. Two hotels feature here: The Waldorf Astoria Orlando and the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek – take your pick and start swinging!

  • Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course

Well, how could we do a prime pick of Orlando’s golf courses and not mention Disney! Seriously though, this course is pretty exemplary.  This is has a classic, country club vibe, isn’t overpriced and creates an exquisite vista. It is also a good choice for all levels of play and is extremely well maintained. The ‘Sunrise 9’ special offer is an even better deal, and there are three other courses in Disney to try too, if this one isn’t right for you.

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Tampa, Florida Golf Courses

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The bustling city of Tampa has a great deal to offer in terms of food, fun and excitement. It is also a prime place to play a few rounds – after all it is known for being a city great for outdoor activities. Famous for its well-designed courses and stay and play options, there are a myriad of choices.

Let’s take a look at some of the best course in the area, whether you’re a native or just passing through:

  • Saddlebrook Resort

A short ride from Tampa’s international airport, this resort is extremely impressive. There are two well-designed courses just moments away from your accommodation. Amenities include an enormous pool, restaurants and a spa. The Saddlebrook Course has tight fairways on offer, whilst the Palmer Course is beautifully designed to incorporate lakes, streams, ponds and rolling fairways. The accommodation is also magnificent – definitely worth an overnight trip.

  • Innisbrook Resort

A favorite with the pros, who come here annually in March for the Tampa Bay Championship, Innisbrook is a secluded and upscale resort near to the beach.  It is set in 1,000 acres of wooded scenery and offers beautiful lodges jam-packed with everything you need to make your stay a comfortable one. In terms of the courses on offer, why not try the Copperhead. This is a relatively difficult track with fast greens and if it isn’t to your fancy, you have three other championship golf courses to pick from. There is also a golf school on offer here, so you have the opportunity to improve a great deal over a short period of time.

  • Lake Jovita Golf Club

Perhaps less well known than the others, but just as good is Lake Jovita. Outstanding surroundings set in over a thousand acres of beautiful hills and trees, this 18 hole course is excellent value for money. The greens are in fabulous shape and the layout of the course is certainly a challenge at times, but is still fair. The course is in great condition, the greesn roll true and to top it off, the service is impeccable. Definitely one to try out.

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Challenging Golf Courses in Florida

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Florida is home to over one thousand golf clubs, so to say you have a great deal of choice is an understatement. With courses designed by some of the greats – Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman and Joe Lee to name but a few – you’re in for a treat if you’re a golf lover in the sunshine state. Florida also welcomes many excellent tournaments, competitions and charity events, so even if you can’t play like a pro, you are able to watch and learn from them at least.

So what are the more challenging courses available in Florida? Each player is unique, but generally a difficult course will have more hazards, decisions for you to make, elevation changes. For some golfers, the more challenging the better as you want to keep pushing yourself to improve.

Let’s take a look at some of the harder golf courses on offer in this fine state:

1. The Club at Bella Collina, Montverde

This 18 hole course is a great choice for advanced players, and has a strong reputation. The challenges here include changes in elevation, bunkers and undulating greens; all surrounded by scenic views. It is well laid out, fair and fun has a good pace of play and it is even good value for money. It pretty much ticks all the boxes, and comes very highly recommended.

2. Crooked Cat at Orange County National, Orange County

Conveniently located, as a golfer you will face bunkers, forced carries and undulating greens at this impressive course- just remember to bring your ‘A’ game to these 18 holes. The service here is second to none and the price is very reasonable. Enjoy the Bermuda grass and start choosing your path wisely.

3. Reunion Resort and Club, Reunion

This is a relatively new course, intelligently designed by Tom Watson to present some interesting obstacles and trials for the more skilled golfer. Although not as well-known as the previous two, this course can still hold its own.  Luckily it has a great practice area too, so you can warm yourself up before taking on the 18 holes.  Hundreds of bunkers make for an interesting round, as well as elevation changes.  Certainly one to put on the list for those who want to be tested.