Summer weather conditions are often perfect for quick thunderstorms to develop. The National Lightning Safety Institute offers the following information:
"Lightning is arbitrary, random and unpredictable. Five percent of annual United States lightning deaths and injuries happen on golf courses. Everyone associated with the game should participate in lightning safety."
The United States Golf Association (USGA) makes available warning posters and stickers to inform players about lightning safety tips. As a golfer, you should know that the USGA Rules of Golf (Rule 6-8) allow players to discontinue play if they believe there is a danger from lightning. No other sport has any regulations related to lightning.
A good rule for everyone is: "If you can see it (lightning), flee it; if you can hear it (thunder), clear it." I have also heard people say, “If you hear thunder, you will soon see lightning.” There was a friend of an EWGA staff member who was struck and killed by lightning a few years ago – on a sunny day on the golf course – so it isn’t anything to mess with. There is no round of golf so important to risk your life.
Some guidelines from the Golf Course Superintendents Association (GCSA) include:
If you find yourself stranded in the open, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. (Note: If you feel a tingling sensation and the hair on your arms stands up, squat in a baseball catcher's position, balancing on the balls of your feet, feet together, arms in front of your knees. If in a group, members of the group should keep at least 15 feet apart).
Follow the above advice to avoid the storms and play your way through a safe, fun and golf-filled summer.
Most golfers are lucky to take advantage of a few long weekends or a few days off that around summe holidays, including Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Many facilities during the summer offer activities with patriotic themes such as a Red, White and Blue tournament or a Flag tournament.
Red, White and Blue Tournament: Courses in the past have used three traditional colors to differentiate the teeing grounds – red tees for the forward area, white tees for the middle area and blue tees for the back teeing ground. (If a course doesn’t use these tee colors, you can refer to the event as Forward, Middle and Back Tournament.)
Here’s the format if you play in a Red, White and Blue Tournament.
Typically this event is handicapped so golfers are using net scores to determine which teeing ground to begin play on each hole. Tournament organizers could also determine which tees to use based on handicaps or average scores – having single digit handicappers use the back tees, bogey golfers using the middle tees and double bogey golfers using the forward tees.
Flag Tournament: Another popular golf format associated with patriotic summer holidays is a Flag Tournament. In this event, each person has an allotted number of strokes, then plays golf until his/her strokes run out. Then you stick a flag in the ground where your final shot is played. (For Fourth of July events, each player is given a small US Flag with their name on it.) Typically the fairways and greens on holes 15 through 18 are decorated with small US Flags and adds some fun to a Fourth of July golf course event.
Usually the allotted number of strokes is determined by adding your course handicap to the course par. So if your handicap is 13 and the par is 72, you would put a flag in the ground where you played your 85 shot from that day. The golfer who has his/her flag the farthest is the winner. This format is also called “Last Person Standing” or “Tombstone.” (You can use this same format called “The Tombstone Open” for a Halloween theme.)
Use these suggested formats to spice up your weekly game with friends or family. Regardless, use this time to recharge the batteries and connect with the people you care about while playing a round of golf.
Golf carts are a primary source of revenue for golf courses, so in most instances when you play in a tournament you will be riding in a golf cart. It’s important that you are aware of golf cart rules and etiquette. When you check-in with the golf course staff, they will let you know the basic rules and safely of cart operation. They are designed for golfer safety as well as to protect the golf course turf (teeing ground, fairway and greens).
If you are a new golfer, you may feel more comfortable having a more experienced golfer drive the cart. The first and MOST IMPORTANT thing to check before driving a cart is to make sure your golf bag is fastened securely to the cart. You don’t want it to fall off – and risk being embarrassed.
When taking a golf cart, the golf staff will let you know if it is “Cart Path Only” (no carts allowed on the course at any time - mainly due to wet fairway conditions). If the conditions require “Cart Path Only,” take several clubs (plus an extra ball in case yours is lost or not playable) to save time from walking back and forth across the fairway and slowing down play. If the course specifies “90 Degrees” (drive your cart along the cart path to the spot of your ball and then make a 90 degree turn onto the course and drive to your ball).
You want to operate a cart with safety in mind. Limit the use to two passengers - don’t try to fit three people in the seat or let someone stand on the back by the golf clubs. Resist the urge to hang legs and feet outside the cart – some golfers have suffered broken ankles and legs from hanging legs and feet outside the cart. Operate the cart safely by observing signs directing you to stay on the cart paths or away from protected nature areas.
The general rule is to keep 30 yards away from greens, approaches and collars. Many courses will have ropes or signs showing when carts are required to return to paths. Additionally, most courses will ask you to stay on the cart path on par 3 holes. You want to use caution when going up or down hills and avoid sharp turns where the tires could damage the turf. Avoid water puddles, water hazards and of course bunkers. Making sharp turns, coming to an abrupt stop or driving too fast can also damage the turf. Cart use could change during the day, depending on weather conditions and may be restricted following a heavy rain.
Many newer carts offer USB outlets to charge a rangefinder or phone. Resist the urge to look at your phone while driving a golf cart – the same “rules of the road” apply to operating a golf cart.
It’s good cart etiquette to park the cart at the rear of the green or wherever allows you the shortest exit when done putting. Avoid the urge to park with two wheels off the cart path – many people leave two wheels on the path and pull off partially into the grass. A good analogy is – would you park your car in a driveway with two wheels in the driveway and two wheels in your yard? Then don’t do that on the golf course – if another cart approaches (maintenance, ranger or beverage cart) they can pull around your cart.
If using a push cart, the same rules apply, but of course, don’t walk with your cart across the green. (Some courses with sand greens will allow push carts to be taken across the green, but generally you should not do this, unless told by golf course staff that it’s allowed.) Some facilities also ask that push carts not get used on the turf between a bunker and green – on the collar and approaches. You also want to leave a push cart at the rear of the green as a courtesy to the group behind you as well as to allow for a quick exit.
Following these established guidelines for golf cart and push cart use will add to your enjoyment on the golf course.
Most of us are familiar with watching team golf in the Ryder Cup, the Solheim Cup or the Presidents Cup. Not only can it be fun to watch in person or via a broadcast, it’s a fun format to play as well. Most events held are the normal stroke play, yet playing as part of a team is common in the EWGA Cup as well as at many golf clubs nationwide.
While you are still trying to score the lowest number, the main difference between stroke play and match play is instead of playing the entire field, you are playing against the two people in your group. You could have one player who plays safe and the other player then can hit a risk/reward type of shot. You can adjust your strategy based on how your opponents are playing.
If you are playing in a two person team event, hopefully your playing partner is someone you enjoy playing golf with and as a team, you compliment each another – meaning one person could excel when hitting from the tee while the other partner may be a good putter or have a great short game.
If you are playing in an alternate shot event, it requires a bit more strategy. Take a look at the golf course or scorecard to see how the par 3’s and par 5’s line up with your strength. Does one teammate have a stronger iron game to benefit being the person to hit from the par 3’s? Does the teammate who hits a longer tee ball benefit from hitting on the par 5’s to take advantage of the distance? Think about this when putting if the alternate shot format means the person who sinks a putt will not tee off on the next hole.
Another important factor in a team event is momentum. When you and your partner win a hole, it creates a bit of momentum to help win the next hole. Once you win multiple holes, your shots will seem easier and you will settle in to playing relaxed golf. Take advantage of the momentum and keep it going in a positive manner.
Additional tips for team competition include relaxing and staying positive. If you are lucky to win a few holes early, it’s easier to relax and not feel the pressure of being behind. By keeping a positive attitude, you can focus on one hole at a time – remember, if you are trailing in the match, that it’s not over until you run out of holes. If you lose a hole, remain positive and realize every new hole is a new opportunity to win a hole.
Many people compete in team play by being more aggressive and making sure all their putting attempts get to or past the hole. Especially if one partner is playing safe, it allows the other partner to go for it and be bold with all putt attempts – since most times a short putt has little chance of going in!
Regarding conceded putts, remember you should enter your match expecting to hole out all your putts. Don’t expect your opponent to concede any putts to you. However, if an opponent concedes a putt, gracefully pick up your ball. You and your partner will need to discuss when you will concede putts or if you will expect your opponents to hole all putts. It’s a delicate balancing act, because you may be willing to concede putts only to get few or little conceded putts from your opponents.
Finally, expect that your opponents will hit great shots and make long putts. This will help you control your nerves – as you are less likely to get uptight when your opponents play well. If you fall behind in the match, remember there are many holes left and you and your partner are bound to hit good shots, make some putts and get good breaks.
Remember it’s a team event and your partner is there to help calm you down, encourage you and celebrate your great shots. Have fun and enjoy the opportunity to play together as a team.
We’ve all read articles about our favorite PGA or LPGA Tour professionals being side-lined with golf injuries. To non-golfers, they don’t understand how a non-contact sport like golf can produce short-term or even long-term injuries. However, if you’ve been on the pain-reliever, ice bag, hot pack or even surgical side of a golf injury, you know it’s not fun. To avoid golf injuries, you need to warm-up properly before practicing and playing with stretches and conditioning programs specifically designed for golf.
EWGA member and fellow LPGA Professional Karen Palacios-Jansen has created a perfect blend of fitness exercises designed to help your golf game, called Cardiogolf. Designed to trim your score and shape your swing, Cardiogolf is a way for golfers to improve their swing mechanics and fitness levels at the same time. You can work on these exercises in your home, at the gym or outside before you play. Checkout Karen’s website for more information.
In her years of teaching and playing, Karen has seen many common golf injuries that could have been prevented. Karen recently shared in Golf Fitness Magazine ways to avoid some of the most common golf injuries and how to avoid them.
In addition to these common injuries, also use common sense when playing. Use sunscreen, wear a hat with a visor to shade your face and eyes from the sun. Drink plenty of water and watch for signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Remember to keep feet inside the golf cart (if you ride in a cart). Some golfers have broken ankles from having their feet outside a moving golf cart.
Most golf injuries can be avoided by practicing good swing mechanics and warming up properly. Take time to warm up for golf, make some easy swings rather than over swinging. Off season and in-season fitness programs will help you stretch and strengthen problem areas so you can be in the best condition to enjoy golf.
More than 500 golf facilities are hosting Women’s Golf Day events and activities nationwide. Women’s Golf Day is a four hour experience between 4 and 8 p.m. in every timezone where women and girls can experience golf for the first time or where current players can play and welcome women who are interested in golf.
There are two formats for events:
Women’s Golf Day is a collaborative effort by a dedicated team including allied golf association representatives, golf management companies, retailers and support from organizations working together to engage, empower and support women and girls through golf. The events are open to women and men of all ages, skill or interest levels.
Visit WomensGolfDay to find a participating location near you. Join the global golf movement and post your photos to your favorite social media channel using the #WomensGolfDay hashtag.
For a second consecutive year, Women’s Golf Day will be celebrated around the world on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 between 4 and 8 p.m. Women’s Golf Day is a one-day event celebrating women and girls playing golf, while learning skills that last a lifetime.
This one-day event is designed to welcome women and girls to the game of golf in a fun, non-intimidating environment. Golfers will be able to participate in golf instruction or play in a 9-hole scramble. Immediately following golf, attendees will participate in a celebratory gathering to network and make quality connections through golf.
A global event on the same day creates critical mass through a collaborative effort and encourages women of all abilities to participate. Events are scheduled to take place at golf facilities, practice ranges and even golf retail locations. Local EWGA Chapters are encouraged to participate and welcome these new golfers as members of your Chapter.
Register online at WomensGolfDay.com to host an event, be an official ambassador or to find a participating location near you.
On June 6, join in the global golf movement and post your photos to your favorite social media channel using the #WomensGolfDay hashtag.
Having served as a tournament official various women’s golf events over the years, I observed instances that could have helped with the overall pace of play. Most people don’t want to hold up play, but at the same time, they don’t want to play feeling rushed. When you look at simple etiquette hints we all know, remember it becomes a key to pace of play - “being ready.”
When your group is on the teeing ground, make sure you have your glove, golf ball, tees and your club so you can hit. Many times the three players stand to the side (or sit in the cart) and don’t get their club from the bag until it’s their turn – rather that doing that while another player is hitting. As long as you are quiet, you can “get ready” while another player is hitting her shot.
In the fairway, we all know it’s okay to go to our ball and “get ready” while other players are hitting (as long as it’s safe). This means when you ride a cart, it’s okay to walk over to your ball rather than waiting to drive to it or watching your playing partners go through their pre-shot routine and hit.
On the putting green, good etiquette takes place when the first person to hole a putt is the player to put the flagstick back in the hole. You can walk over to the flagstick and pick it up while player two and three are putting. You should be holding the flagstick when player four hit the putt, so when the putt is holed, all you need to do is replace the flagstick. The other two or three players can move toward the edge of the green so when all players have putted, you can quickly exit the green.
This may not seem like much, but it saves 30 seconds to a minute per hole – and that means you finish your round nine to 18 minutes quicker. Now you’ve just saved time on the course without feeling rushed and will have more time to enjoy with your golf group in the clubhouse.
Whether you are gearing up for your Chapter championship, the upcoming District Championship or the club championship, here are some important things to keep in mind as your prepare for competition to help you play better:
For the fourth year in a row, the USGA is sponsoring and promoting PLAY9 Days across the United States. This year, however, rather than focusing on a specific day, the USGA has designated the ninth day of each month as PLAY9 Day throughout the golf season. (May 9, June 9, July 9, August 9, September 9 and October 9).
Launched in 2014, the USGA encourages golfers of all ages and abilities to take time to play 9 holes. While many non-golfers state time and money as reasons they don’t play golf, this campaign is designed to encourage people to spend two hours on the golf course playing, rather than not playing at all.
New for 2017, all clubs are encouraged to support and promote PLAY9 days through the primary golf season between May and October. Check out the USGA Toolkit for suggested PLAY9 activities and social media copy and images.
EWGA Foundation Board Member Jon Last from the Sports & Leisure Research Group shares a report with the USGA that states 60 percent of golfers perceive that 9-hole rounds are a great way to introduce non-golfers to the game. It’s a great way to experience the game, without consuming large amounts of time to play or when time does not allow for an 18-hole round.
Some benefits of playing 9-holes include:
More than 30 percent of the public courses in the United States are nine-hole golf facilities and 90 percent of 18-hole public facilities offer rates to play 9-holes. Building on the success from the first three years, the USGA hopes to increase awareness and have more facilities and golfers participate throughout the summer and fall months this year. Golfers are encouraged to share their experiences on social media and post photos using the hashtag #PLAY9Golf.
USGA Executive Director Mike Davis says, “What we love about PLAY9 is the opportunity to welcome more people – both recreational golfers and non-golfers alike – to enjoy the great game of golf.”
We are thrilled to have LPGA major champion and golf executive Jane Geddes join EWGA as our CEO. Jane is a 14-time winner worldwide, including two majors at the 1986 U.S. Women’s Open and the 1987 LPGA Championship. Following a successful career on the LPGA Tour, Jane earned a law degree from Stetson University, worked at LPGA headquarters, the WWE and most recently as the executive director with the International Association of Golf Administrators.
Let’s tour a quick 18 holes (questions) to meet our CEO, Jane Geddes.
How did you get started in golf?
My family moved to South Carolina from Long Island, New York when I was 16 and I was a bit unhappy with the move. I played a lot of other sports, but never golf. My mother saw an article in the Charleston newspaper talking about Beth Daniel winning her second U.S. Amateur and her teacher, Derek Hardy. My mom thought that maybe I would like to take golf lessons…my response to her was, “NO, I hate golf!” Needless to say, she ignored me, scheduled the lesson with Derek and the rest is history!
When did you know golf would be your profession?
I HOPED it would be my profession after my junior year in college at Florida State. Everyone thought I was crazy, except for my parents who always supported my decisions….thank goodness!
What is your best memory from your years on the LPGA Tour?
Winning the U.S. Open and LPGA Championship are my two best golf memories, but my best memory of the Tour will always be the friendships I made through the years. The women I played golf with were, and remain in my life, as family.
What is your favorite golf club in your bag?
Who are/were your role models/mentors?
In golf - Beth Daniel was my role model and probably somewhat of a mentor early on especially since it was due to her that I even contemplated playing golf.
At work – Mike Whan (LPGA Commissioner), Zayra Calderon (former Pres. and CEO of the Duramed Futures Tour), Libba Galloway(former LPGA General Counsel) and Carolyn Bivens (former LPGA Commissioner) who gave me my first job at the LPGA.
What drives you or motivates you?
I like a challenge….in golf it was succeeding on the LPGA Tour because no one thought I could. Outside of golf, it’s taking on challenges that require pulling people together to make a difference.
Are there any unique experiences you’ve had that helped make you the leader you are now?
My life has been one giant unique experience. I played on Tour for 20 years, left to finish school and go on to Law School, worked on the corporate side of golf and then moved on to work at the WWE…yes, World Wrestling Entertainment. I think my unique experiences in golf and the corporate world have provided amazing opportunities to learn to lead in a variety of different capacities.
How can we continue to grow women’s golf?
It has always been about awareness of opportunities. At the LPGA, it’s about awareness of the Tour, its players, etc. Outside the Tour, it’s about getting women interested in the game on THEIR terms. Women access the game in different ways than what we are used to with men. We must acknowledge those differences and create awareness around access to those opportunities.
What can EWGA members do to impact golf locally?
EWGA can impact golf locally by spreading the word about access to the game through the EWGA. More to come on that soon!!
What advice would you offer for women in business, when it comes to golf?
Doesn’t matter how you play…learn the rules of etiquette first, take lessons so you get the fundamentals, know how to “talk the game” on a basic level while on the course and know that you are most likely just as good as your male colleagues…the only difference is that they won’t admit it!
Who is in your dream foursome? (living or not)
I have played with so many great people in the world that I am not sure I have a dream foursome. If I could turn back time, however, my dream foursome would include my Mom, Dad and my wife Gigi somewhere out on the Monterey peninsula.
What is your favorite food?
Skirt steak with Chimichurri sauce.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
For places I have been lately, it the BVIs on a boat. Otherwise, I like going places with my kids where they can have an amazing educational experience.
Do you have any pets in your family?
We are first time cat owners….and I am not going to justify it by saying that my cat is just like a dog. Our cat is a cat….an awesome cat but a cat, nonetheless!
Your spouse is a former professional tennis player and two time Olympic gold medalist. Do you play tennis and if so, is it competitive or for fun?
Yes, I do play tennis….for fun and competitively. I played tennis when I was in my teens (before playing golf) and took it up again a couple years ago. I play to a 4.0 level which in golf would be like a middle-teen handicap. I play in USTA leagues on the competitive side and participate Gigi’s teaching clinics.
What is your best memory or funny story you can share about being the mother of twins?
Every day is a new memory…sounds cliché but true. As far as a funny memory, it’s when they were infants and we had to keep a notebook on when we fed them because, even though it seems unlikely, they were not always hungry at the same time or ate the same amount so we had to keep track of each. Gigi was meticulous at keeping the records and I was, well….not as meticulous with my exact amounts of formula, etc. We called her the “Formula-Nazi” for that period of time! We still have the notebook….we always have a story that we reminisce about when we open it.
You are preparing for an upcoming Legends Tour event in Wisconsin – what do you focus on as you prepare for competition? (Sandra Palmer once said she starts practicing five days before the event!)
I don’t practice at all…my theory is that if I am not playing all the time, I operate on the law of diminishing returns. My best days are my first few and it’s downhill from there! I was never a big practicer…just ask my friends. So, this should surprise no one who knows me!
What are you most looking forward to as CEO of the EWGA?
I am looking forward the challenge to continue to grow the women’s game. It’s where I spent most of my life, so I am very much looking forward to giving back by creating awareness and opportunities for women that play the game and for those who will play in the future.
WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners, returns to Capitol Hill for the 10th annual National Golf Day tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26. During the day, leaders from many associations representing the golf industry meet with Members of Congress to discuss the game’s tax benefits to local communities and ask for equal treatment as a legitimate industry.
The national economic impact from the game is nearly $70 billion, with a $4 billion annual charitable impact along with providing both environmental and fitness benefits. Industry leaders continue to report on golf’s 15,204 facilities in the U.S., with more than 10,000 facilities open to the public. One in 75 U.S. jobs is impacted by the golf industry, accounting for $55.6 billion wage income from about two million U.S. jobs. While the public believes the cost to play golf is expensive, WE ARE GOLF reports the median green fee in the U.S. is $37 and eight out of 10 golfers play at public golf facilities.
New for 2017, golf industry leaders will participate in a community service initiative on the national Mall to focus on the beautification, preservation and helping the National park Service with turf-deferred maintenance.
In 2016, National Golf Day was the most successful event to date, with members attending more than 120 scheduled Congressional meetings in one day. WE ARE GOLF encourages golfers to participate in the annual social media campaign to help create awareness and spread the good news about golf. Last year the #NGD16 Twitter campaign had 52 million impressions and reached 17.7 million accounts, with 4.4 million users in a one-hour span.
Golfers are encouraged to join the conversation by visiting the social media hub for suggested Tweets and social media posts. Use #NGD17 and tag @wearegolf for Twitter and Instagram to show your support for the golf industry.