Golf Shoes: Spiked or Spikeless

It is time for me to upgrade my golf shoes.

How do I know?

The Conditions When I Play

I tend to play golf in the morning a lot. Sometimes, as luck and circumstances would have it, I just get a better deal on that 6:30 AM tee time. That means that I not only find myself getting dressed while it is still dark and downing a hot cup of coffee before hitting the road towards the course but also facing different types of conditions. It’s usually wet with dew still making the fairways and greens play differently. It usually includes some fresh mud and even marsh-like conditions when you find that tee shot has veered to the rough just left of the fairway. And heaven forbid if I find myself in one of those beach-like bunkers with that wet sand like a shoreline.

The Way I Tend to Play

I try to walk the course more often nowadays. Riding a golf cart does not require a lot of consideration for the comfort level of your golf shoes. However, even walking 9 holes or a compact par 3 course, I discovered the need for greater comfort and more traction.

I have slipped and busted my butt a few times playing early mornings with only the sun peaking through the distant trees, so I know that I need some grip and traction. There’s nothing like having your swing mechanics aligned with all of your swing thoughts, only to result in you swinging and spinning out of control every now and then. That causes you to play too cautious and rob yourself of some yardage on a tee shot. Approach shots, chips, and pitching are not so bad. But I never noticed how much your shoes came into play for putting out on the green until my feet were pulsating and throbbing after tackling the front 9 of a hilly, slightly-sloped course. You don’t have to worry about the yips when you got aching feet halfway through a round. That’s when I vowed to restrict my play to certain predominantly-flat courses until I made some changes with my footwear.

The Choices are Either Spiked or Spikeless

Regardless of how you play or under which conditions you usually play, you got a choice of two options: spiked or spikeless. You can go traditional with spiked golf shoes. Or, you could go with the more trendy option of spikeless golf shoes. My current golf shoes are an early version of spikeless golf shoes and have suffered the inevitable doom of wear and tear. Prior to that, I have had both types of shoes. Since I am walking more, I am leaning toward the comfort and lightweight spikeless versions. Yet, due to playing in the mornings a lot, I recognize the benefits of a good pair of spiked golf shoes.

What a dilemma?

The recent rollout of the latest golf shoes has me salivating in all honesty. I mean this is purely a Pavlovian experience every time I check them out. I look at the latest spiked golf shoes and I start getting that itching to just pick out a pair and try them out on the course. Then, almost like Pavlov’s dog, I see the latest set of spikeless golf shoes and I am smitten by them all.

Do I Buy Spiked or Spikeless?

I want to that 72-hole test of spiked versus spikeless like Daniel Box of Golfalot.com, but I don’t think Amazon Prime will take anything back after such an undertaking. But I am on the hunt. All of the top brands have some great options and some new names have emerged in the fray, too. But here’s where I am stuck.

Help me out and answer a poll for me.

I will be sure to check back over the next few days to weigh the results. I already have some folks weigh in offline and they are killing me with their rationale. If you believe that you have some sound advice, drop it in the comments and I will be sure to check it out. I usually get some sound advice from the likes of Brian Penn and other golfers who blog on their play and the sport in general, so I am looking forward to getting some ideas on this whole dilemma.

Thanks a million. I will keep you all updated.

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Simple Tips for Planning Your Next Round of Golf Part 2

You have to succeed in doing what’s necessary.

Winston Churchill

In Part 1 of this posting, I focused I on the things that you needed to do in order to secure a tee time reservations. Technically, I would have shared the FREE Golf Planning Resource Sheet within that first post, but here’s the link for you to download your copy right now. Think about this as not so much a continuation of the same post but an additional phase of preparation when we talk about tips for planning your next golf round. With the rise of swift changes to many course policies and practices due to the widespread pandemic, being prepared is going to take you a long way and limit the amount of frustration that you may have to endure upon arriving at the golf course.

Check Your Equipment

You cannot show up for a round of golf and you haven’t checked your equipment since your last round or visit to the driving range. Like Winston Churchill said in his famous address to the House of Commons in 1916,”You have to succeed in doing what’s necessary.” Take the time to simply do a brief equipment check and ready yourself for your upcoming round of golf.

EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST
  • Golf Bag (overall function) If it has a stand, is it still popping out and stable? Plan on walking, do you need all of those clubs and balls in your bag?
  • Clubs Check to make sure that your golf clubs are in order and clean. Wipe them down the night before as you get into the right mental state to head to the course for your next round of golf.
  • Additional Equipment Do you carry your bag or use a walking cart? What condition is the cart in right now? Have you checked your inventory of golf tees and golf balls? Make sure to ensure that you a divot tool and ball marker, even if it’s a lucky dime.
  • Golf Gear & Clothing This includes everything from what you wear and what extras you carry. Rainy weather might require a rain poncho and an umbrella. Golf shoes always seem to be a good asset, especially when playing some of these less-maintained municipal courses.

Download a FREE copy of the Golf Planning Equipment Checklist.

Plan Your Arrival

Stretch the Night Before

I would suggest yoga or some deep stretching exercises that involve engaging your core and your lower back. Use an early morning warm-up of full-body exercises such jumping jacks and squats topped off with planks. Look into golf fitness programs and regimens that might fit your style.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Sleep is a highly undervalued commodity as noted as part of Amanda’s posting in Bubbles & Barbells. Rest can impact not just your immune system. It can also have a direct correlation to your ability to remain engaged for extended periods of time. No wonder the CBD industry and its hemp-based products are making a killing as it spreads throughout the golf industry. Weekend golfers need to maintain their alertness while on the course and searching for lost balls in the rough.

Wake Up Early

Rise up early the day of your round. Get your cup of coffee or tea. Stretch your muscles and open your eyes with some early morning of CNN, Fox Business or BBC News Worldwide. Or, you could always read an article or a blog post on tips for planning your next round of golf to see if you have done everything as planned.

Arrive at the Course Early

Provide yourself enough time to check in and conduct whatever pre-round ritual you need to do in order to get into a good head space before teeing off for your round. If you use the range or putting surface, allow time for it and whatever pandemic changes that might have transpired since your last golf outing.

If you are organizing a foursome or group for golf that day, be sure to text and call your fellow players to ensure that all parties arrive early, check in and are in the ready position for when the start calls your group name over the intercom system. Nothing worst than that late-comer member of your foursome running to catch up with your group at the first tee out of breath and barefoot on one foot with his other golf shoe and sock in hand. That makes for a good impression regarding that golf etiquette.

Have Fun and Keep Swinging

The great thing about golf is being out there. You hit the fairway and feel at one with the environment. Whether you enjoy just a good time with some friends and a few brews or you truly embrace the challenge of competing against the course, golf is the type of thing that can consume four hours of your day with one round and leave you feeling like you truly got to know the other person in the cart (well, at least pre-pandemic) and you learned something new about yourself and your golf game or at least about the golf course and its layout and design.

Just be sure to have you some fun out there after all of the planning that you did for your next golf round and keep swinging.

Right When I’m Ready

I have oftentimes heard if you snooze you lose. And here it is in the first week of December just after a quiet Thanksgiving break and a short session to the driving range, and California as a whole is looking at massive shutdown and stay-at-home orders going into effect within the next 24 hours. I mean all of this right when I was ready to visit my local municipal course and give the course a whirl.

Think about it like this. Last week I had just posted on my driving range session prior to my play at a local charity golf tournament. I have visited the range multiple times since that session and tournament, but the feedback and support that I got both here and on YouTube, even Twitter, have helped reshape my approach to the range for my next session tomorrow. Brian Penn with All About Golf gave me some spot on pointers that have me engaging my core more than just swinging my shoulders and arms.

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I see the shutdown orders as another thing that will simply force me to do what many golfers dread and some others simply geek out about to no end. I am going to be forced to plan my play.

Plan Your Play

Working in the school system means that I get those extended breaks for winter and summer, even those week’ for Thanksgiving and Spring Break. Hey, I will take them all day long.

And this usually causes me to engage in planning my play. Scheduling includes which days I will make a run up to Oceanside and visit the LinkSoul shop for my Make Par Not War gear and play Pala Mesa Resort. Or, it might even entail my own personal version of two-a-days where I might play a par 3 course in the morning hours and work in a full 18 on a course like Cottonwood or Chula Vista which isn’t too long or drastic like Barona Creek or Eastlake Golf Course. Courses like Sycuan offer multiple hole layouts so you could replay and have the feel of a totally different course. Regardless of how I format it, such extended periods of time afford me the opportunity to plan my play much like the Grateful Golfer shared.

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Shutdown Means a Slight Adjustment

Outdoor recreation will adjust again. We will have to remain contactless and maintain social distancing with face coverings of course. It is in effect for 3 weeks, so that will put us right into the middle of my winter break. I could jam in a handful of rounds weather permitting… Oh, who am I kidding! It’s Southern California. Any bad weather is a welcome added challenge for the course.

In all honesty, I look forward to having to plan out my play. I got a few folks I need to try to catch up with on the course. It will give me a good target to take aim at as I do my indoor workouts daily in preparation for my next outing.

Tomorrow’s driving range session will be another chance for me to get the GoPro working and capture myself in full swing mode after all of that quality advice and feedback alongside the golf tips and videos that I researched and reviewed. I think it will be a bittersweet session since I have only played in a tournament since COVID-19 struck us with its massive effects on our daily lives. All I know is that next time, I am jumping out there and getting on the links when this thing opens up again (as long as the cases go down like the governor hopes).

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Plan Your Play Part 1

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Golf is a game.  Some will go so far as to call it a sport.  You play golf for fun.

You play golf for the challenge.  You play golf for the experience.  You play to get better.

“If you play poorly one day, forget it. If you play poorly the next time out, review your fundamentals of grip, stance, aim and ball position. Most mistakes are made before the club is swung. If you play poorly for a third time in a row, go see your professional.”
Harvey Penick 

Golf is a game like I said.

I view it is a game that requires both skill and strategy.  In essence, to play golf, you need to plan your play.  Otherwise, you will suffer from many of the ills that plague so many and leave them frustrated for an average of 18 holes and too many strokes.

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Plan Your Play for Each Outing

You need to know what you have to face when you go out to play.  Blindly jumping onto any course without knowing the lay of the land is like breaking every rule of The Art of War.  Get a preview of the course and its layout before you head out in order to get an idea for what type of shots will come into play.

For instance, I love a long course.  Hit me with a handful of par 5’s and limited amount of par 3’s and I am good.  I use Greenskeeper to get a sneak peak of courses that I have yet to play or that I haven’t played in a while.  After all, some of these groundskeepers and course managers love to make more than subtle changes from season to season.  Forget pin placement.  I am talking about overall structural changes.  These can throw off your plans tolay up on approach or go for the green in two.

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One of my favorite courses is Singing Hills (Sycuan Resort).  It has a great layout for long ball play and challenging holes for approach shots.  I take on the par 3 Pine Glen course for some short game practice and walking, but I tend to love the wide spaces offered on the Willow Glen and Oak Glen courses.   Even though I have played these courses multiple times and played some of my best golf there over the years, I still find that hosting numerous tourneys has led to some changes over time.  Plan prior to play.

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Plan Your Equipment for Your Challenge

I have some days where I never touch the beach.  Then, there are times where I cannot seem to get enough bunker sand in my socks.  I also find that much of this tends to stem from the type of course I am playing and the type of equipment.

Considered sort of heavy handed? Got hybrids? Use them more often than your irons.  I don’t care if play blades or cavity-backed clubs.  The advent of the hybrid is a godsend for big guy like me.  It’s more forgiving than my long irons, and it surely packs a punch like a wood.  You will never play at a higher level if you do not consider what type of equipment you are playing on different types of courses.

I tend to struggle with that approach shot that lies somewhere between 160 yards to 90 yards.  What used to be a soft 6 iron for me has now become a 3 hybrid half swing or a hooded 5 iron shot, all depending on what I am facing and where I am trying to go.

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More Things to Consider in Coming Posts

In future posts in this series, I want to point out how planning your play can go beyond the surface of scorecards and checking your golf bag’s contents.  I want you to consider how much more fun your game would be when your scorecard shows those 17 bogeys instead of that 3-digit monster that haunts so many weekend golfers from course to course.

You can open your mind to all sorts of methods of getting there.  The biggest challenge is to narrow down all of your choices to a simple solution that works for you.  That’s the whole point.  Find what works for you and play it all the way.

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Game Improvement at a Higher Level

Active Faith Sports
Getting to the point where you can break 90 easily comes with practice and consistent play.  That’s a simple look at it.  Dig deep into the idea of fixing your golf game for better scores and more fun.  Dig deeper and you will discover that breaking 90 will take more out the high handicapper than just showing up and teeing it up for a round of 18 holes every weekend.

“Play your own game.” – Harvey Penick

 

Fix Your Flaws

Your game will not improve without making some changes.  The things that need improvement usually take away from the game being fun.  You know what should happen, but you just don’t seem to have that execution down yet.

That needs fixing.  You have to fix your flaws.

I love to research different golf publications that can help.  Some of my go-to reads include:

These usually give you tips and exercises on game improvement as well as equipment and product reviews that span from golf shoes to golf equipment.

Find the Right Strokes and Shots

You have to add a little bit of finesse to your game.  You have to add some focus as well.  You also need to add the right shot selection for the present opportunity.  That means taking into account the course and the conditions as well as the lie of the ball and how well or poorly you have been playing so far and similar situations.

Some folks might recall me sharing about the infamous flop shot and how mastery of it does not come easily.  When you are struggling and scrambling to keep up with the rest of your foursome, that is not the time try out some new shot or swig technique that you caught a glimpse of while watching YouTube.

Find what works for you and keep a running mental file of which shots work best in which types of situations.  Refer to these when you are considering your options.  Rely on these when you have very few options before you.  High quality equipment and gear play a role in golf, but they do not outweigh shot selection as a core element of game improvement.  Your shot selection is highly import and has an impact on improving your game.

Play Strategically

Take on All Kinds of Challenges

Many people have a “home course” or some course that they play often.  What that really means is that they play that course frequently.  In many cases, they can run down the specifics of each and every hole as if they were asked to recite the ABC’s.  The problem with home course mentality is applicable to maintaining one’s game, not necessarily improving one’s game with challenges found in different courses.

Your game cannot improve without some challenges being faced and conquered.  That is where the improvement comes into play.

GolfEtail.comin to improve your game, the challenges faced must take you to different aspects where your game is not at its best.  That’s when you have to start improving via innovation and intuition.  If you do not do well on par 3;s, play a full 18 hole par 3 course.  They do exist, you know.

Your game will not improve just by research and swing analysis.  You need to put together a plan that will both challenge and help change your previous knowledge.  Your biggest hack for your game might come in the form of learning how to conquer your challenges.

When Fitness Friday is a Flop

Some days work out better than others.  That’s just a fact.

RevBGolf

Fitness Fridays Require Focus (Even After They Fail & Flop)

I try to spend my Fridays with a focus on fitness.  Like I shared previously, fitness for the fairway makes a huge difference in your game.  Strength training, nutrition and some yoga or basic stretching can help make a difference in your scorecard.

Some Fridays that doesn’t happen.  It just doesn’t work out.

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Flop Shots and Inconsistency

It goes sort of like that flop shot that every golfer seems to flip out about mastering.  As much as golf pros and swing coaches might suggest ditching the lob wedge in lieu of a gap wedge or alt wedge, it still sits in the bag.  We still try to force ourselves to emulate or rather imitate what we see Lefty pull off from the fringe.  We consider it working on our short game and fight to master a flop with finesse.

I have yet to see it work out.  Its infrequent and inconsistent success keeps me chipping with my other wedges and 9 iron more consistently rather than taking the risk of yips taking over as I overthink what should be a simple and routine shot.  I would rather face a shot with consistency and confidence.  I would even putt it from the fringe if the lie is right and I can see the possibility of getting a good line at the hole.  That beats out the possibility and potential of a flop from the fringe every time.

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Focus on Fixing What You Can Fix

So, when it comes to my Fitness Fridays, I sometimes lose focus or even miss the opportunity.  I make the mistake of not getting in enough protein.  I skip a meal or commit some other fitness cardinal sin.  It turns out like that flop shot.

When your fitness focus flops, be sure to set up a comeback.   Do not beat yourself up too much.  You just need to refocus and get back at it to get back on track.

Comeback Commitment

  • Talk yourself out of doubt.  Your self-talk will make a difference in your success.
  • Spend some time making a commitment to your fitness and nutrition regimen.
  • Set some simple and attainable goals.  Think SMART goals.
  • Work on working in some makeup days in your weekly routine.
  • Meal plan and meal prep ahead of time, not the morning of or on the fly.
  • Keep a journal or diary of your fitness journey.  Include workouts and meals, even results from weigh-ins.
  • Get an accountability partner to keep you honest and supported.

Your success is about long term results.  Such success is achieved through commitment and consistency.  You can change the course of your own success by making some changes along the way.

Think about it.  Your golf round is not summed up by your worst par 3 hole.  It is the culmination of all 18 holes.  Approach your fitness plan the same way.

I want to make my Fitness Fridays more successful.  I want to see a change in my strength and shape, even my weight.  I cannot achieve it if I stay in the dumps about what one day that did not work out.  I have more to achieve and I need to spend some time making sure that I focus on how to fix it when it flops.

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Now that flop shot? I think I will spend some time working on it here and there, but I doubt if it ever becomes one of my go-to shots that I would rely on in pinch.  I will treat it like the days when my fitness focus does not work out.  I will simply take a step back analyze what worked and what didn’t work, and then I will shove that lob wedge back in my bag and take a sure shot that I feel more confident about each round.

Fitness Fixes to the Fairway

I need to lose weight.

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If I am going to break 90 consistently, dropping pounds and improving strength and stamina are definitely necessities.  Otherwise, my golf game will be so inconsistent it will become unpredictable.

I started a regular fitness regimen a few years ago and it has been beneficial.  I walk.  I run and jog.  I play hoops.  I lift weights.  I hit up the cardio classes at 24 Hour Fitness on the weekends.  And I need to keep losing weight and building up my strength and stamina.

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It helps with my overall health and wellness.

It also helps with my golf game.

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Some time back, I found it difficult to walk a par 3 18-hole course.  Heck, I could hardly handle a 9-hole with over 6 clubs in my bag at  that time.  It was all about a cart or no deal.

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Nowadays I can walk that 18 hole par 3 course.  I prefer mornings myself.  There is something about that fresh cut grass smell in the air and the frost coming off the greens to make them slightly slick in the right (and wrong) places.  It also serves as a major step count boost, especially if you get 18 holes out of the way early in the day.

My fitness level improves my ability to have a strong game.

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Consider the following items to fix your fitness for the fairway:

  • Nutrition: Check out your diet; what you take in day by day, meal after meal.  Track meals and manage your diet based on your weight and other health goals.
  • Exercise: Get moving daily.  Get those step in day after day.  Join a run club or a fitness center.  Walk at the local park.  Just get up and get motivated to get moving.  The heaviest thing you lift should not be your golf bag.
  • Rest: I used to not give this any credit, sleeping 4 to 5 hours per night and wondering why my immune system would shut down on me every so often.  Duh!! I average 6.5 to 7 hours now.  I even cut off my snacking after 9 PM due to how it disrupted my sleep.  Like the commercial says: never underestimate a good night’s rest.
  • Stress Reduction: If you do not reduce your stress level soon, you will create a load of problems for yourself further down the road.  Stress disrupts your entire system.  Major and chronic illness is called disease.  In other words, your body system is NOT at ease.  From blood pressure and heart disease to anxiety and panic attacks, stress is a killer.  At the least, stress can kill a great foursome and a good round of golf.  Just ask your playing partners.

Make the most of your opportunities to stay fit.  Fix what you need to fix to get fit for the fairway.  It will show on your scorecard.  Your body will definitely thank you for it.

17 Bogeys

The most important shot in golf is the next one.” – Ben Hogan

Breaking 90 is simple.

All it takes is 17 bogeys.

All you have to do is make 1 over par on 17 holes and make par on 1 hole.

Sounds simple. . .

But breaking 90 is not so easy if you do not play every other day or couple of days, or even every weekend.  Without consistent play, breaking 90 can seem like a massive endeavor.

This is simply a reflective look at how a high handicapper took on a simple challenge to document the process of breaking 90.  It is about setting goals and working on how to achieve set goals on a consistent basis.  It is a journey about accomplishment and activity.

Join me on this journey and let’s tee off.

 

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