Many golfers, including myself, have been patiently waiting for the weather to break so we can get back onto the course and into the swing of the 2021 golf season.  The weather has been pretty terrible this month, and the cold temperatures, rain, and snow we have seen here in Delaware have not been optimal for golf.  Wednesday’s 55-degree day proved to be a bright spot on a pretty horrible month weather-wise and provided us with optimism and hope that the golf season is not too far away.  I certainly saw the enthusiasm from our golfers here at the American Classic Golf Club that Wednesday as the tee sheet quickly filled up with golfers excited to finally get out and play again.  

While many beginner and experienced golfers are starting to get ready for the 2021 season, many others have interest in playing but do not know how to start or what they need to get into the game.  Understanding the basic golf essentials needed to get into the game can seem overwhelming for those who have never played, but it is a lot easier to get started than it seems.  Hopefully this blog will help get you one step closer to hitting the course!

If you are sure you want to get into golf, having a set of golf clubs is definitely needed.  A few weeks ago, I wrote an in-depth blog on all things golf clubs, so I will just cover the important details here. The main golf clubs include irons, woods, hybrids, and wedges. While club manufacturers sell these clubs individually, I recommend purchasing a full set to start out.  There are many affordable full sets available for men and women that will have all the clubs you need to get started. There is absolutely no need to spend a ton of money on your first set of clubs and purchasing a full set can be an affordable way to get started. I would also like to mention that many golf courses have clubs available to rent, so if you wanted to play a few rounds before investing in your own set it could be worth it to rent first.

The next things you will need are golf balls and tees.  Golf balls are not included with your round, so you will have to purchase your own.  Brands like Top Flite, Spalding, and Wilson are inexpensive golf balls that are perfect to start out with.  You can get 15 of these golf balls for 10-15 dollars, while other balls like Titleist Pro V1s and TaylorMade Tp5s can be up to 56 dollars per dozen.  In my opinion, there is no reason to spend a lot on golf balls when you are starting out, as you are unlikely to notice any difference between a 5-dollar Titleist ball and a 1-dollar Top Flite ball in the beginning of your golf journey.  In the beginning, you will also lose more balls in water hazards and other out of bounds areas on the course, so it makes sense to start with a cheaper ball.  When I play a Titleist or another expensive golf ball and lose it in the water or elsewhere, I always think “welp, there goes 5 dollars.” As you begin to improve and start playing more often, upgrading to a premium golf ball can certainly have its advantages and is worth it, but I would recommend starting with cheaper balls.

Golf tees are also essential items when starting out and are inexpensive. You can purchase a package of 50-100 tees for 5-10 dollars, and they are also easy to come by on the course.  Tees come in sizes ranging from 1-4 inches and starting with a 2-3.5-inch tee is totally fine.  Any package of tees you can find at your courses pro shop or online will be fine and work well for you on the course. 

Once you have clubs, balls, and tees, you have just about all of the essential items needed to hit the course!  One thing I recommend before taking on the course for the first time is considering hitting a few buckets at a driving range or hitting net.  It is best to avoid hitting your first ever golf ball on the 1st tee of a golf course, so hitting at the range or net can be beneficial.  

These are the basic and general items needed to get started, and in another blog going forward (Part 2), we will cover the basic etiquette rules and other items that will help you get out onto the course. 

Hope to see you all out on the course soon!

-Sam Cresta, Assistant Golf Professional at American Classic Golf Club

Have you ever heard the phrase “you can’t outwork a poor diet”? Well, it’s true! Your body needs healthy fuel in order to perform at its best. Eating healthier foods and staying properly hydrated can help increase your energy, mood, and golf performance. Check out 3 of my golf nutrition tips below!

1. Proper Hydration

In order to perform at your best you need to be properly hydrated. How do you figure out how much water you should be drinking during a day? Calculate half of your bodyweight in ounces and that is how much water you should be drinking each day. The Titleist Performance Institute suggests to drink 25% of your daily water intake when you wake up in the morning,  50% of your daily intake while you are playing your golf round and the last 25% of your daily intake post-golf round and throughout the rest of the day. This only accounts for water; so soda, coffee, and other drinks do not count towards your daily hydration intake.

2. Breakfast IS The Most Important Meal Of The Day

Whether you have an early tee time or a later tee time, you need to make sure you eat breakfast! Eating a nutritious breakfast can actually set the tone for controlling your blood sugar for the day. When you wake up you are in a “fasted” state and your blood sugar is low. So it is important to eat protein, healthy fats, and carbs (in that order). Proteins break down slowly and do not spike blood sugar levels, which make them a great nutrition source for breakfast. 

3. Eat Whole Foods

Whole foods are foods that have been changed as little as possible. Examples: animal protein, fruits and veggies, nuts, beans and legumes, and grains. Eating whole foods will give you almost all the nutrients your body needs. So for more energy & more nutrients before, during, and after your golf rounds, choose snacks/meals that are made of whole foods. Example: Instead of getting crackers or cookies to snack on during a round, choose jerky or a piece of fruit or even a handful of nuts. 

As a golfer, it is important to have good nutrition, hopefully after reading this blog you have some tools to change your nutrition to improve your swing in the process! Golf fitness training will be available at American Classic GC starting March 1st. For more golf fitness education and training, email me at brittmmorrison@gmail.com to set up a fitness assessment!

-Britt Morrison, TPI Level 2 Fitness Trainer

One of the hardest things to do from time to time is to find something that you and your significant other can do in your spare time together. We all love to sit on the couch and binge watch our favorite tv shows and movies together, but have you thought about ways to get outside and be active? Of course there’s taking long walks, going on a hike, taking a bike ride, and other types of great ways to enjoy the outdoors, but have you thought about playing golf together? Believe it or not, but golf can be one of the best ways for you to spend your time together!

For those of us who consider ourselves to be golfers, we know that golf is a lot like everyday life. You have your good days and your bad days, as well as your remarkable shots and the strokes that got away. This can be seen exactly like life though, and be a great way for you and your partner to grow together. You’ll be there to support each other when the ball doesn’t fly as you wanted, but also be there to celebrate those shots that keep you coming back. It’s a great way to bond through the ups and downs of a round, but also to have someone to lean on through every round played together.

As mentioned before, golf is a great way for you both to get exercise and vitamin D. If the Doc is recommending that we all get 10,000 steps per day, then why not have some fun while getting your steps in? Walking 9 holes at the Classic can get you anywhere from 5,000 to 6,500 steps depending on where your shots are going. So the next time you miss the fairway, just remind yourself that it doesn’t hurt to get a few extra steps in. It’s always good to see the glass as half full!

Overall though, golf can be as fun as you allow it to be. When you look back on the earlier days of your relationship and think about all of the fun times you had together, playing golf with one another can bring back those same feelings again. You’ll be able to challenge each other, support one another, and laugh when the other messes up and says their favorite swear word. The fact that golf can help you reminisce on the “good old days,” as well as create new memories together, makes it a great way to spend time with your loved one.

-Austin Ebersole, Head Golf Professional at American Classic Golf Club

With the Superbowl happening tonight, now is a great time to talk about football players who golf!  Many of us watched star quarterback Tom Brady play in “The Match” before the start of the NFL season alongside retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and PGA tour legends Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. While Brady struggled throughout most of the round, his incredible hole out on the 7th hole from 150 yards out was awesome to watch.  Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce also entertained fans playing alongside each other at the American Century Championship, celebrity golf competition, this past summer.  Kelce and Mahomes were fun to watch on the course together, and this was highlighted when Kelce sunk an eagle putt on 18.  After sinking the putt, Kelce and Mahomes yelled as if they just scored a touchdown and celebrated with a chest bump and a couple flexes, and chances are we’ll likely see some of that in the game tonight.

Peyton Manning, left and Tiger Woods walk on the fairway of the eleventh hole during the pro-am on Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

There are many other NFL players who golf, and many are very good players. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is a great golfer with a very low handicap, and he credits his impressive golf game to his former backup quarterback Chris Redmen, who used to constantly win money from Ryan by beating him in golf matches during their time together on the Falcons.  Retired quarterback Tony Romo is also a great golfer and might be the best, current or former, NFL player who golfs.  After retirement, he played in a few tour events and tried to make a playing career for himself. Currently, he is an NFL broadcaster, but his golf game is certainly very impressive. 

I think many current and former NFL players turn to golf as a way to continue playing a sport competitively against themselves and friends.  Watching some of the best athletes in the world take on golf can inspire all of us to get into the game. Tom Brady during “The Match” was offered 50,000 dollars from commentator Charles Barkley if he could hit the green on a par 3.  After shanking the ball 20 yards off target to the right and into trouble, Barkley joked that he should have just offered him the $50,000 if he could keep it on the planet.  While Brady is actually a very solid golfer, seeing the best quarterback of all-time hit a ball so poorly shows us how difficult golf can really be.  

Golf can be played for a lifetime, and many former NFL players take it seriously upon retirement.  After Brady’s golf round that day, he said he loved golf because at halftime of a football game they check for concussions while in golf you get offered snacks and refreshments.  All the more reason to pick up golf!

Enjoy the game! 

-Sam Cresta, Assistant Golf Professional at American Classic Golf Club

You put in the hours at the range… You play a few times a week… You take lessons…. You are doing everything right! Yet, your golf swing is still not the best it can be. Well, what’s left? New to the American Classic Golf Club this spring… Golf Fitness! What is golf fitness? Golf fitness is training your body to enhance your golf swing. Beginning in March, I will be accepting 1-on-1 clients for golf fitness training.

I have been studying flexibility and mobility for a while now, and the one thing that almost everyone has in common is that they want to improve their mobility, but do not know where to begin. A great start is stretching every day. Stretching everyday for at least 15 minutes (holding each stretch for 30 seconds or more) has been proven to enhance your flexibility over time. With that being said, I have now worked in the golf industry for 7+ years and I can tell you from experience that a lot of golfers do not stretch properly, if at all. And that’s where I come in!

I can help you create a golf warm up routine, cool down routine, and help you improve mobility. Here’s how:  The golf fitness assessment is a tool I have gained from my TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certification. This tool allows me to test your body and see what areas need improvement in order to enhance your golf swing. After your golf fitness assessment, we can schedule 1-on-1 training sessions to focus on those areas that need improvement. I create custom programs for each client based on their golf fitness assessment; no two programs are the same! It is important to recognize that everyone has a different golf swing and everyone’s body is different! 

Golf fitness is the perfect accessory to your golf lessons. Working on your swing and technique go hand in hand with working on your mobility. Maybe your technique is lacking because you just can’t get far enough back in your backswing, or maybe you are having issues with getting your lower body involved in your golf swing, and those are areas I can help! Together we can improve your golf swing by strengthening and stretching the muscles most often used in golf. 

-Britt Morrison, Level 2 TPI Fitness Trainer

Want to learn more? Email me at brittmmorrison@gmail.com

Have you been excited about and looking forward to the upcoming golf season? How about dreaming of those perfect shots and how to replicate them round after round? If so, we have exciting news for you on how you can visibly see your swing and improvements this year! We would like to introduce to you in 2021, here at American Classic, the Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor.

In select lessons with Sam or I (haha . . . I said “Samurai”) you will now be able to see your swing in action. This device has the ability to give you instant feedback with its real-time video analysis; which is very beneficial for those who learn better by seeing what to do instead of just hearing what to do. In your lessons, you will now be able to see how far you go back in your backswing as well as where you are stopping in your follow through. For anyone who has worked with me before, you know how much I can harp on finishing your swing properly to get the results you are looking for. 

The mobile launch monitor (MLM) comes with several perks though! Other than the obviously cool instant video feedback, you will know your average distance for each club, your club and ball speeds, the launch angle of each shot, and even the smash factor! For those who don’t know, smash factor is the ratio between your swing speed and the ball speed as it leaves your club. All of this information can be used to help you understand your swing more, and where you can improve to strengthen your ball striking. Another great feature with this device is that you can use it at a range or even into a net with its shot tracing abilities. Just wait until you see how awesome this device truly is!

It’s important to know that the MLM will not always be used in your lessons as it won’t always be needed, but it will be available to help your game progress in certain areas. If you are looking for professional video analysis of your golf swing, please reach out to us to schedule your next lesson. We will take care of improving your smash factor, so you can go out and smash the course!

-Austin Ebersole, Head Golf Professional at American Classic Golf Club

With the cold weather officially arriving and the holidays in the rearview mirror, there’s no better time than now to get your golf clubs regripped. Whether they are falling apart in your hands or feel as smooth as a bowling ball, it’s something that must be done from time to time. We all know that our hands are the only thing touching the club, so it is important for the grips to be in good shape and ready for the season ahead. If we wouldn’t drive our cars on bald tires, we shouldn’t want to play golf with bad grips either!

The biggest reason that you should want to regrip your clubs is the importance that your grip has on your golf game. More times than not, your grip is the deciding factor of how your ball travels through the air. How to grip the club properly is one of the first lessons that every new golfer endures when taking up the sport. As you were learning about the most popular way to grip a golf club, the interlock, I’m sure you can think back to how awkward that specific grip felt the first time you tried it. It’s important togrip the club like this because you want your hands to work together as one without one going in the opposite direction of the other. Because of how vital the grip is in a golf swing, it’s a must that we give our clubs newer, tackier grips.

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that golf is hard enough as it is. The last thing you should be concerned about while playing is the idea of your club flying out of your hands midswing, and getting stuck in a tree or falling into the water. This would be very embarrassing (but also hilarious), and something that shouldn’t happen if you had better grips on your clubs. If you find yourself squeezing the living daylight out of your clubs, just to hold onto them, then it’s time to replace the grips.

Lastly though, regripping your clubs makes them feel new again. We all love that feeling we get with new toys, and regripping your golf clubs has that same exact effect. It’s also a much cheaper option than going out and buying a whole new set of clubs just to have to replace those grips eventually as well. But seriously though, the best part about regripping your clubs is picking out a sweet, new color to make your clubs the coolest on the course. We all know that if you look good, you’ll play good. . . sometimes.

If you need help picking out the right grips or want to schedule your clubs to be regripped, please feel free to contact our clubhouse and talk with Austin or Sam to set something up. And who knows, this just might be what you need to accomplish those 2021 golf goals!

-Austin Ebersole, Head Golf Professional at American Classic GC

A few years ago, the Montana high school state golf championship was played through a snowstorm.  The athletes worked their way around a snow filled course, while parents and spectators helped them follow and locate their golf balls.  Golfing in the winter definitely presents many challenges, and those of us who are avid golfers can certainly appreciate the dedication of these student athletes from Montana.  For the dedicated winter golfers out there, this blog will highlight some things related to playing in the cold!

One thing to consider in regard to winter golf is that the ball will not travel as far. The cold conditions and wind can make it difficult to hit the ball as far as you usually would in warmer conditions, and 5-20 yards of distance can easily be lost. Because of that, sometimes it can be necessary to hit a longer club than you would normally hit for a particular shot.  Cold golf balls will be even harder to hit with great distance, and that will also limit your distance in the winter.  Last winter, I was playing with an experienced winter golfer and he gave me a great tip on how to keep your golf balls warm during your round. He said he keeps hand warmers in his pockets during his round, and keeps an extra ball in his pocket sitting on top of the hand warmer.  Doing this has great benefits for winter golfers, as it can warm your golf ball up while also keeping your hands warm.  I also like to take a few golf balls out of my bag before I leave for the course, so I can warm them up in my car before playing; this helps with the ball’s compression rating.  Distance will certainly be lost in the winter, but hitting a longer club and avoiding the use of cold golf balls can help improve your chances of success in the winter!

The conditions featured on the golf course in the winter are typically much different than the conditions seen in the summer.  Typically, courses are muddier and wetter than usual, resulting in muddy golf balls and less roll on the fairways. Because of the tough conditions, many courses and golf groups will play by the “winter rules,” which help golfers play through the conditions, and also aim to protect the course from excessive damage. The main rule seen throughout the winter is the lift, clean, and place rule, where players are allowed to clean their golf ball and place it within 6 inches of its original resting place.  This rule can be used to avoid hitting a muddy golf ball and is an accepted rule within most winter golf outings. The softer ground also leads to more embedded golf balls, so the lift, clean, and place rule can also be used to avoid excessively tearing up the course by whacking at an embedded golf ball in an effort to get the ball out of the ground and moving forward.  In addition to that, it is important to be aware of potential delays in early morning tee times due to frost.  Frost delays take place when frost covers the greens and the course.  Playing on greens full of frost can severely damage them, so frost delays are common in the winter on colder mornings. 

MARANA, AZ: A Callaway golf ball is seen on the course as the start of the continuation of round one was delayed due to snow during the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 21, 2013 in Marana, Arizona. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Obviously, the cold weather is a huge factor when golfing in the winter.  I prefer to wear multiple warm layers as opposed to one large and bulky coat to keep me warm. It can sometimes be difficult to achieve a full swing while wearing a bulky coat, so wearing long sleeved layers can be beneficial.  Also, consider walking in the winter instead of taking a cart!  Driving in a golf cart can make it feel extra cold, as the wind and cooler air will constantly hit you in between shots. You will likely warm up quicker while walking, so it is a great option for the winter. 

Playing golf in cold winter conditions definitely requires a strong passion for the game, and can be very rewarding for your game.  For those of you who do not like to play during the winter (who can blame you), this can be a great time to regrip your clubs or get fitted for new ones.  Regripping clubs is an essential task and is important in maintaining your clubs, so the winter can be a great time to do that.

-Sam Cresta, Assistant Golf Professional at American Classic Golf Club

As 2021 (finally) rolls around, I think all of us can look forward to putting 2020 behind us and beginning 2021 optimistic and motivated.  As we talked about last week in our blog, the game of golf grew drastically throughout 2020.  Many new people began taking up golf this year, and a lot of others got back into the game for the first time in many years.  Regardless of experience or skill level, everyone can improve in some area of their game. This blog will discuss potential golf resolutions to strive for in 2021, and hopefully you will be inspired to achieve some of these goals!

To start, here is a simple resolution: practice more!  While playing is a great way to improve, the best way to really lower your scores is to practice in addition to playing actual rounds. Spending some time at a driving range or hitting net can be a great way to work on your game and develop consistency.  If you typically get out to play a round once or twice per week and do not practice in between, you will be surprised to see how much you can improve by practicing just once per week!  When practicing, short game can often be neglected so make sure to also spend some time on the practice greens putting and chipping.  For those of you looking to lower scores in 2021, consider adding some practice time to your weekly routines to supplement your actual rounds!

Another important resolution that ties into practicing more is developing proper habits.  Practicing often with improper habits will not help you improve or develop consistency regardless of how often you practice.  In many cases, it can be more beneficial to practice once or twice per week with proper habits than to practice every day with improper ones.  In addition to practicing with the proper fundamentals, it can also be great to practice with a purpose. For example, dedicating one practice session to just the grip, rather than just swinging without purpose or plan can greatly help you improve in a specific target area.  Focusing on one area per session can help you create strong and correct habits.  Since it can be difficult learning and understanding the proper swing mechanics, consider taking a lesson this year!  To start, just one or two lessons can teach you the basic mechanics like grip, posture, ball position, and how to start/finish the swing.  Once you understand the basics, you can begin targeting each area at specific practice sessions.  The goal of a good golf swing is to be able to consistently repeat your swing, so learning and developing correct habits is the best way to do that.

In addition to dedicating practice time to working on specific skills and mechanics, improving your “golf fitness” can help your game tremendously!  Improving flexibility, balance, and strength can greatly improve your swing and power.

This past year, Britt Marie Fitness began at the American Classic Golf Club.  Weekly yoga for golfers and other fitness classes offered in person and virtually can improve your golf fitness and overall body fitness.  I think many people do not consider the fitness aspect of golf and dedicating some time to that can be a great resolution for 2021 that can improve your swing and general well-being.  To start, a good goal for this year could be to join a few workout sessions or consider getting some 1 on 1 training!  For those looking to get more out of their body and swing, consider taking your golf fitness serious this year.

There are many other potential golf resolutions to strive for in 2021, but I believe these are some of the best to improve your game overall.  Golf is a great game, so if nothing else this year, a great resolution could be to simply continue having fun and enjoy the game more while playing!  Wishing all of you a great new year, and hopefully it will be full of golf!

 

– Sam Cresta, Assistant Golf Professional at American Classic GC

The game of golf is continuing to grow and the industry as a whole is booming. According to golf.com, 441 million rounds of golf were played in 2019.  In 2020, golf has continued to grow despite the pandemic.  Golf courses feature an outdoor, open area which allows for social distancing, making golf a safe activity.  Golf proved to be a great way to safely get outside and enjoy some fresh air.  In general, golf is also a fantastic source of exercise and has many health benefits.  The last few weeks in our blogs, we talked about how golf is a great social activity enjoyed amongst friends and family.  While many new players began playing in 2020, many others wanted to, but did not know where to start.  It can be overwhelming getting into golf for those who have never played before, and it can be especially difficult knowing what clubs to purchase and what is all needed to play.  In this blog, we will discuss golf club basics, and talk about what clubs you will need to get started.   Hopefully, you will have a better understanding of golf clubs after reading this, and will be one step closer to getting out to the course!

 Golf clubs include: woods/hybrids, irons/wedges and putters. While the rules of golf allow you to carry up to 14 clubs in your bag, you do not necessarily need to have that many clubs to start. I recommend getting a driver and some other woods, a few irons, and a putter when you are first starting out.  The driver is considered a wood, and woods feature a large head and less loft.  The less loft on a club, the further the ball will go, so woods are more effective on longer shots.  Drivers feature the biggest head and the least amount of loft. They should only be used on your first shot of the hole with the ball on a tee.  The other woods, including a 3-wood or a 5-wood, can be effectively used off the fairway when longer shots are needed to reach the green. The irons are numbered, and a good starting set of clubs can include a 6iron, 7iron, 8iron, and 9iron.  In general, a 9iron features about 41 degrees of loft, while a 6iron features 30 degrees of loft.  The less loft on a club will make the ball travel further, so hypothetically a 6iron will go further than a 9iron. In addition to that, it can be good to get an iron that has a “P” or an “S” on it instead of a number.  These clubs are called wedges and feature even more loft than the other irons. The Pitching and Sand wedges can be effective for shorter and higher shots, and are very beneficial around the greens.

You certainly do not need to spend hundreds of dollars (or even thousands) to get started.  Golf companies sell individual clubs, but many golf club makers also sell very affordable clubs in full sets. I recommend buying a new or used full set of golf clubs.  There are many full starter sets available online that are affordable and perfect to start out with. Full sets will typically include a driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, 6-9irons, a pitching wedge, and a putter.  This starter set only features 9 clubs, and since you can carry 14 clubs in your bag this can also give you the option to purchase additional wedges or hybrids if you are enjoying the game and want to expand your bag.  These starter sets can cost anywhere from $75-$500, so this is an affordable and easy way to get started.  

-Sam Cresta, Assistant Golf Professional at American Classic Golf Club