A new season of golf is here for those of us just putting the snow shovels away. After letting it go the past few years, I am getting back into the sport. But with the current state of the economy can one golf – on a budget?
According to Teaching Pro and creator of Swing Machine Golf, Paul Wilson, the answer is yes. I met about him about ten years ago, when he was the Director of Instruction at the prestigious Angus Glenn Golf Golf Club just north of Toronto. He taught me the basics of the game and helped make my swing look spectacular. I don’t have a lot of power but I can drive the ball straight down the fairway, thanks to Paul.
Paul now works in Colorado but took some time to provide some tips and advice on how to get ready for the season.
Anita: In this current economic climate many are looking to cutback wherever they can. How can golf remain an affordable hobby/sport?
Paul: There are many ways to keep golf affordable:
1) If you want/need new clubs, I recommend buying them from eBay. YOu can get last year’s top-of-the-line clubs at about half price. Sure, they are slightly used but the way equipment manufacturers make clubs these days, the wear-and-tear will be almost unnoticeable.
If you absolutely must have the latest and greatest clubs, you can find them on eBay too, perhaps not at the start of the season though. Give it a month or so before current models start showing up after golfers try them out – and don’t rule out your local golf store. When you account for online shipping charges it may be cheaper to buy in your neighborhood.
As for playing golf, courses are experiencing a downturn too, so look out for discounts especially for foursomes and those who can play at off-peak hours/days. The best thing is to call the golf course and ask what discounts they are offering.
Also, think about getting a golf card http://www.golfcard.com. It offers some great 2-for-1 discounts on courses that are part of their network.
If you have extra money and are thinking about buying a membership at an exclusive club, now is the time to get in. In times like these, clubs discount the initiation fees making it easier for you to join the club of your dreams.
Anita: What is the one thing every golfer should have in his bag?
Paul: Beer! Just kidding. All golfers should have clubs properly fitted by a professional club fitter. This ensures you are playing the clubs that match your ability.
Anita: What are some ways to get in shape for the upcoming golf season?
Paul: I recommend taking it easy on the first day back at the course. Hit no more than one bucket of practice balls before your round. After the round, do not hit more practice balls. You don’t want to overdo it this early in the season.
If you are not going to play again for a few days or until the next weekend, do practice swings at home on a daily or nightly basis. This will keep you loose for the next time you play.
As you regularly go to the golf course, gradually increase practice sessions until you are back into a normal routine. You really have to be careful because it’s exciting to get back into playing again but after a long winter layoff, try not to hurt yourself.
Getting in shape for golf season also means doing some stretching before the game. Stretch for about 20 minutes to a half-hour at home, before you head out. Do some light stretches just before tee off too. This way, you reduce the risk of pulling a muscle or straining your back which can put you out for weeks or even months.
To avoid having to get back into the swing of things in the future, set up a practice station at home where you can do practice swings on a regular basis. This will help you jump right into the season without having to find your swing and get your body conditioned again.
Anita: I know your teaching method is a little different. It’s based on a machine called Iron Byron. How can that improve your game?
Paul: Iron Byron is a machine designed to test golf clubs and balls. It was actually modeled after the late, great Byron Nelson’s golf swing and it hits the golf ball perfectly every single time.
When I started golf, I was a scratch golfer by the age of 17. Two years later, I went to Florida and decided to change my swing – big mistake! I totally messed up and lost my swing. I struggled for more than ten years trying anything and everything to get it back but nothing worked. Then, one day I saw Iron Byron hit a ball and the light bulb went off.
Next time I went to the course, I got to the 11th hole and remembered the machine. I did three practice swings imagining I was the machine. I then proceeded to hit my drive 300+ yards absolutely dead straight. This continued for the rest of the round and still does to this day.
After it helped get my game back on track, I decided to incorporate it into my teaching. I figured, this machine is modeled after one the best golfers of all time and it hits the ball perfectly with only three elements to it. So, why not copy it? It’s helped me and my students enormously. By following this technique, we understand exactly how the golf swing works and why it leads to amazing results.
Anita: For someone who can’t fly out to Colorado Springs for golf lessons what is the next best way to help golfers improve their game?
Paul: Well, there are tons of books and videos on the market that can help golfers take their games to the next level. The thing is, you have to be serious about following them. This means sticking to one method and working on the drills and lessons that are provided instead of jumping around from method to method, trying tips from golf magazines and listening to your friends.
To date, I’ve sold more than 16,000 copies of my books and DVDs to golfers of all abilities and I’ve had more than 2,000 people send in testimonials. If your readers are interested in my method, they can check out my website www.SwingMachineGolf.com . I also have tons of free golf tips on my blog.
Anita: Paul, thanks for this.
Paul: My pleasure. Good luck out there and have fun!