For some people golf is just hitting a small white ball around a field with a range of sticks.
For others it’s a way of life – a fantastic sport, a great way to exercise and an important social hub to meet friends and take a break from the stresses life can bring. The best thing is you don’t always have to win the game to be winning at golf.
Fashion has always been a big part of golf. When I was a kid at school all the cool kids wore Lyle & Scott and Pringle Golf jumpers and spent all day trying to avoid being noticed by the teachers for wearing non approved school uniform. They had to be 100% lambswool and you had to make sure your Mum didn’t put it in the washing machine with all your other stuff or the jumper would shrink so much the only person who could wear it would be your favourite teddy bear.
These days looking fashionable on the course is just as important. Brands like Function 18 Galvin Green Golf Clothing have taken Golfing style and practicality to a new level and with modern times, has come modern materials. Gore-tex, with its high quality, flexibility and lightweight construction is ideally suited to wear from the first tee to the nineteenth. It’s much too cool for school.
Once you’ve figured out what to wear you’ll need to learn a few basic rules. Most importantly Golf is a gentleman’s game (and that means for women players too), on the PGA website they publish detailed guidelines on a wide spectrum of Golfing Etiquette including some vital info on ‘replacing divots’, ‘avoiding slow play’ and, on the green ‘making sure your shadow doesn’t fall across the hole or line of another player’. When I was a kid I did some caddying at my local course a few times for some extra pocket money and remember receiving a full-on dressing down for walking over area between a players golf ball and the hole. Suffice to say I didn’t caddie for that grumpy old git again!
When we’re dealing with the professional game there’s been a big surge in incidents at major tournaments where spectators have actively tried to distract and put off players while taking a stroke. This led to golf pro Justin Thomas having a fan ejected from the recent Riviera tournament. Let’s hope this sort of behaviour doesn’t become more common in golf and all the idiots continue to watch football (or baseball in the US).
Where is the best golf course in the world?
Ok, so you’ve decided on your clothing and your clued up on the art of Golf Etiquette, the next thing is deciding where to play. There are many great courses all over the world, but the best golf course in the world is a personal and subjective thing. If you compare the perfectly manicured, sun-bathed picturesque courses of Southern California like Spyglass Hill in Monterray or TPC Sawgrass in Florida with the Wind Swept challenges of Royal Birkdale in Merseyside or Tiger Wood’s favourite St Andrews in Scotland, it’s a bit like comparing apples with oranges.
Interestingly aside from the famous historic courses, one of the places that has seen a huge increase in world class golf courses in recent times is the Middle East. The abundance of money, space and an increase in tourism has led to many big names designing courses in this part of the world. Colin Montgomerie has designed ‘The Montgomerie’ in Dubai, also in Dubai (within the Dubai Sports City is The Els Club, designed by Ernie Els it’s a tough course with a stunning futuristic backdrop. The only issue is that the bunkers are 300 miles wide and 200 miles long! Or is that just the Arabian desert?