Golf Camping

Golf is a wonderful hobby. For good or for bad however, it takes a lot of time. And if you want to be good at the game you have to spend hours on the course practicing. For many people, that's absolutely fine. My father is retired. He and my mother spend three days a week on the course at minimum. I also have friends that are single and spend many nights and weekend on the links.

But for many people (like myself) family has become the priority in our lives and golf often comes in low on the list of important to-do's. That's why I try to blend my family and my golf game whenever possible. Don't get me wrong...I love to play a round with my buddies or with just my wife and myself. But contrary to popular opinion, golf can be a family affair.

Here's a great example. For weeks this summer my kids begged me to take them camping. They wanted to spend some time with mother nature and I wanted to spend some time playing golf. So I thought, "why not do both?" I looked up some of the incredible state park/golf combo areas here in our beautiful state of Georgia and picked one that looked interesting.

We didn't even own a tent, so I did some quick research online and found a great car camping tent for under $200. It was one of the instant models so I knew even I could set it up with minimal effort.

I dragged a few other essentials out of the garage including our old Coleman cooler, a few sleeping bags, a battery powered lantern and yes, my golf clubs. My wife filled the cooler and three other bags with enough food to feed a small army and we hit the road.

Living in the suburbs, you forget how beautiful the North Georgia wilderness can be. You also forget that virtually anywhere in Georgia you're only a couple hours from a beautiful state park or other outdoor attraction.

A short 90 minutes later we arrived at the campsite. Another 30 minutes and we had the tent pitched, the sleeping bags laid out and a small fire crackling in the crisp evening air. The kids roasted hot dogs for dinner and cooked marshmallows for dessert, while my wife and I enjoyed the stars and the relative peace of the outdoors. It had been a while since we'd done anything like this and I was glad we made the trip.

The next morning we woke early and made a quick breakfast then headed for the nearby golf course. We grabbed two carts one for my wife and daughter, the other for me and my son and played a quick nine holes. It turned out to be a beautiful course filled with wildlife. The kids couldn't have been more thrilled to see the deer and other woodland critters. And I couldn't have been more thrilled to spend some quality family time and play a little golf.

Camping SpotAfter our round, we grabbed a bit of lunch at the clubhouse and headed back to the campsite. After a short hike through the nearby woods, we packed up camp and headed for home. Not more than 15 minutes into the ride back both kids were zonked out in the back seat and my wife and I enjoyed a bit of husband/wife time talking about life and family.

Overall, it was a great trip. My wife and I were happy. The kids were happy. And everyone got something fun out of the trip. If you're in a similar situation, try to involve your family in your golf game. It's important to teach your children and your spouse about the game, so they can understand why you love it and devote so much time to it.

Golf RotationWe've all heard the golden rule in real estate—location, location, location.

In golf, it's all about rotation, rotation, rotation. To keep your body injury-free and to help develop the perfect swing, you have to master rotation.

The perfect swing begins with a stable spinal column angle, which allows you to achieve a suitable swing plane. Does this sound like you?

If not, it should. Because this could be the skill that separates the high handicapper from the low handicapper: the capacity to turn your body on a fixed axis, maintaining the club on a steady swing plane.

So how do we rotate the body and maintain the golf club in this 'magical' perfect plane? The response probably isn't one you want to hear. It calls for developing a "feel" for the golf swing as well as understanding specifically just what the body is doing at every action of the golf swing.

Yes, the term 'feel' is fairly ambiguous. But when you ask any golfer that's having a great game they'll tell you they are 'in the zone.' Being in the zone and developing the right feel for your golf swing are very closely related.

Bear in mind, we are not going to make a perfect swing every single time, but that is our objective. So how do we go about keeping the swing on the right plane as well as developing a "feel?".

The first way deals with your technique—probably not a shock to any of you.

The golf swing is an elaborate, biomechanical activity requiring you to execute a massive number of small activities in one larger activity with suitable timing and no room for mistakes. It's no small task.

So it's critical to understand that the ideal biomechanical action of the golf swing as well as the capability to perform it take great effort and an incredible amount of perseverance. Both take hours upon hours of time and practice.

The human body is not programmed to sense the best way to swing a golf club. Therefore, it is essential to get top quality instruction on the correct approach to build a swing. And i'm not just talking about a lesson or two. Develop a structured plan to meet with an instructor once or twice a week for a few months. Then, once you've developed a 'feel' for your swing you can decrease the frequency of your lessons. It's important not to stop completely however. Even the top tour pros, and especially the top tour pros employ full time golf coaches to make sure their swing is adhering to proper form and function.

The only way for the body and mind to discover new activities is via repetition. The only means to build a great golf swing is with consistent practice. The technique becomes ingrained into your brain, nerves, and muscles by practicing your swing over and over and over.

Finally, to achieve the perfect golf swing you simply need to put in the required time. It is not an overnight procedure. Instead it requires consistent time spent playing and practicing. Do not allow anyone tell you that there is a quick-fix that will decrease your handicap 25 strokes while you're at home watching TV. There is no magic 'as seen on TV' gizmo that will fix your hook or your slice in an afternoon. The truth is, the only way to improve is through proper instruction and diligent practice.

Learn to trust yourself. Over a specific period of time the physical body will discover the swing that's right and appropriate. It's not the exact same for every person though. We all have different body types, different physical capabilities and different tendencies. When the body discovers the swing, the "feel" begins to develop. You will begin to comprehend exactly where your club head is at all times throughout the golf swing once you obtain that feel.

Many of my students tell me "I can't feel that point!" They just haven't put in the required time to get there.

Here's another problem i see regularly with beginners. They want to establish a wonderful swing today, however they're not able to do so due to a weak, inflexible, and powerless body.

If you are inflexible in the hips, how are you going to put the club in the suitable plane for the downswing? It's not going to happen!

If you have poor balance, exactly how are you going to establish "feel" in the golf swing? You're not!

It comes down to this...

The golf swing is not a natural movement. And our body simply isn't used to performing the movements that are critical to the perfect golf swing. That's why you need to practice and train your body. You need to develop versatility, equilibrium, stamina, endurance, as well as power.

The only, and I mean only, way to create an exceptional swing as well as develop "feel" within your swing relies on a physical body that can sustain your swing. You can have the best training in the world, but without a body to support your swing, you really have nothing.

The swing is a really complex activity requiring a harmony between your body and the mechanics of the swing. You are on your way to a truly frustrating golf experience and reducing your handicap will certainly be in vain if you attempt to build a swing without the right body to assist it.

I would suggest taking a course that develops your swing techniques in combination with your physical body. You can get a head start by following the exercises in the best-selling book "Your Body & Your Swing". These will help take your physical body to where it needs to be.

Another good tip is to video your swing and examine the footage. Sometimes seeing your swing from a different angle is the key to fixing mistakes you didn't even know you were making.