How to get better at Golf? - Captain Golf

It’s been a while since I gave an update on the progress of the golf swing/development/improvements over the last few years and months.

Going forward we will blot on regular updates on my golfers journey of improvement, especially as golf opens up more post corona situation.

The Journey
Improvements really kicked in via three golf coaches.

1-Gary Smith
A fantastic short game specialist who has a unique take when it comes to the short game.

100 yards in, his technique helps you land the ball on the dance floor or close to the pin (we would hope) instead of topping it...everyone hates to top a golf ball. We have all been there where the ball launches at warp speed into the nearest Bush or housing estate behind the green itself!

I came across Gary’s teaching style at a golf exhibition at Earls Court. There are videos and apps but his short game approach lessons are excellent.

2-Robo Golf
Quite a revolution for your long game, the usage of a robot yes a robot with hydraulic arms. It sounds like a transformer or intergalactic visitor. Although it might not give you the power to win every tournament and some secret power, it does give you the muscle memory of what a golf swing should feel like.

Every lesson gets you circa 100 rotations, you maintain the golf posture whilst the robot takes back your golf club (within your hands) and you go through the golf swing plane.

Having been to a few instructors before, for me this approach worked wonders and gave me that muscle memory off pull back and follow through on the golf swing plane.

You can sign up to several packages. Nate the instructor subsequently went to China to launch the machines in several cities.

The actual machine costs around 80k USD so having a lesson or package lessons is probably the better thing to do. The company has licenced its product out to specific geographies. I was fortunatel that my driving range had licensed the machine.  I did hear that Dechambeau is a user of the robot and also uses it for practice when not on the course. Dechambeau is known for using science and other methods to improve his golf swing.

A lot of traditionalists often smile or remark when I mention the robot. However the fact is everyone wants to get better. There are different teaching methods out there that can definitely help.

The most recent and inspirational golf coach is a chap called Reeves. Taking over Robo golf and emphasising a push and pull technique it is in my view a major breakthrough and revolution in the long game golf swing. In time I am convinced it will become more popular.

Not only does the swing protect your back and is based on physics, you are not given 100 things to think about, tweak or adjust. The push pull technique.

I strongly recommend signing up to Reeves and having a lesson. Likewise he has written several books on the subject. Research into his golf swing approach has been peer reviewed in the academic world which gives more claim and fact based evidence that the push and pull technique works.

What Next?

Unfortunately a knee injury (the gym) has put me on the sidelines the last six-eight months but physio  /progress should mean I get back out onto the course to further improve.

What about your handicap?

Overtime this has fallen from 30 plus (I groan but you got to start somewhere)) to around 20.

I did join a golf club but the membership base ratio was more in favour of a pay and play ratio. The initial objective was/is to get into the golf community regular games and meet knew golfers.

In reality there was no welcome email from the club captain and there was not a scheme to roll-up new golfers, facilitate the introductions.

Despite that many many golf courses were played and with the golf lessons from Gary, Nate and Reeves, the handicap dropped to around 20...a lot more improvement needed.

What is your typical round Captain Golf?

Well it was a few pars, occasional birdie, bogeys and still blow outs of that triple bogey or worse a four. The blow outs really do destroy the golf score. I call it the good the bad and the ugly. It happens but as time goes on it should become less. Tips to improve include marking your scorecard to identify where improvement is needed, golf is a game of small margins yet errors have a bit impact!

Any Recommendations

Find a golf coach if possible go for the best you can. Golf is about physics and natural talent and practice, and to keep it simple! Very few people can just step up to a ball and strike it well. However if you apply the right dynamics and flow, you get progress.

Will keep you updated on the golfing journey to reach zero is a long quest.

Post a comment below and tell us your tips or how you are progressing with your own golfing journey.

Thanks for reading, tune in for the next Captain Golf Blog.

Captain Golf

Can I Play Golf in England? England Golf Lock down Update - Captain Golf


Well some good news today from Golf England. It looks like Golf will be added to the list of activities permitted in England from Wednesday onwards.

England Golf posted an update today which largely suggests the green light has been given.

Captain Golf

The UK Government has announced that golf will be able to resume in England on Wednesday, 13 May 2020 after a seven-week hiatus.
In accordance with the Prime Minister’s statement of 10 May, all outdoor sport, including golf, must be enjoyed alone or within a household group.
Captain Golf

Unless you live with golfers or the wife/husband play, you are not permitted to play with another golfer who is not within one's household.
Regardless this is good news but please do take good care when out on the course and liasie with your local club to understand any new processes put in place.

You can find out more via this link:

It is likely that capacity of courses will be drastically reduced but demand for those spaces available will no doubt be high both within member clubs and pay as you play clubs.

No news as of yet on driving ranges. We would expect capacity to also be reduced accordingly.

Take good care.

Tune in again for the next blog update. Exciting topics to follow.

Captain Golf

Can I Play Golf in Ireland? Golf Union Lock Down Update - Captain Golf

Good day to all.

Captain Golf
Royal Portrush

A quick update here from Captain Golf. The Golf Union of Ireland has released an update on Corona and golf in Ireland. There are five phases. See the table below:

It could be similar the approach adopted by Golf England in the coming days. We shall see.

Thanks for reading tune in for the next blog entry.

Take good care.

Captain Golf

Walk the Golf Course and Walton Heath - Captain Golf

So we now have the covid-19 count down for the lock down to end or be relaxed. 

Recently we looked at the situation of golf courses and whether they would reopen or not.

We expect an update in the UK tomorrow (10th May 2020), and golf might be given a green light to go ahead.

In Ireland it was announced that golf clubs would only be open to members who live within 5km on the 18th of May.

The Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) are to publish a document advising golf clubs on how they can implement safe golf with social distance in place.

So....meanwhile walk the course.

This morning I was fortunate to see the delight of Walton Heath Golf course, a true gem. Famous for being the golf club of Sir Winston Churchill the war hero and also held the 1981 Ryder Cup. You can find out more here about the golf club: 

Walton Heath

The Old course is ranked 27th in the Top 100 Golf Courses in the UK and the 'New course' ranked 51st. More information on golf course ranking can be found here at golf monthly:

The Walton Heath ground staff were busy working away, respecting social distance and working on the numerous greens. I have to say the course looked truly amazing in the early hours of the morning, the fresh dew on the fairways, purple heather and brightness of the sunshine. I tried to picture the 100 yard approach shot, the greens looked incredible.  I have not played this course but do know a member who recommends the course.

Here are some snaps showing the great condition of the Walton Heath golf course.

A fantastic sunny morning.

Walton Heath Golf Course

In the next Captain Golf Blog we look at Golf in Scotland.....

Thanks for reading, take good care.

Captain Golf

Will The Open 2020 be on? - Captain Golf

Will the Open 2020 take place many of you have asked?

The answer is unfortunately 'No'. It was to take place in Kent at Royal St George.

For me Augusta and The Open are two massive golfing events I look forward to them both every year.

What Will Happen Now?

The event has been postponed to 2021.

It is a shame as we will not get a follow-up to the 2019 open held at Royal Port Rush.

Why not try and get a round in before at Royal St George, the course will be in great condition as it was prepped to go live in 2020. You can find out more via their golf club website:

The Open 2019 - Recap

Last year I embarked on a bucket list adventure, flew to Dublin, rented a car and drove to Northern Ireland for The Open at Royal Port Rush.

Captain Golf

It was an amazing spectacle. Although cold and it rained at times (umbrellas sold out at The Open Gift Shop...yes sold out), Captain Golf strongly recommends that you go to a future 'Open' Event.

Captain Golf

Reasons to Visit The Open Event

1. The people are great, everyone is in good spirit.

2. The volunteers are also in good spirit and want you to have a good day.

3. The actual Links course/outdoors/fresh air captures your imagination, you will not get bored.

4. The Tented Villages are good fun, here can bask on a big beanie couch/bench/sip a hot drink or cold beer if the sun is shining.

5. The quality of golf. You get top golfers from both the PGA and European Tour playing 'The Open', it is one of the main Majors for the year.

Top Tips with The Open

1. Get a ticket early, consider a week long pass if possible.

2. Get a round in a few months prior to the Open or after the Open. Bookings usually rocket in demand a year or so before and a few years after the event. Captain golf has been fortunate to play Royal Birkdale before the event, the conditions were pristine, likewise quite special playing when the grand stands are up. The grandstands are a great memory, thankfully for me they were empty! 

3. Identify your favourite golfer or golfers from the day planner and follow their round.

4. Alternatively find a decent grandstand overseeing 2-3 holes (sometimes between tee off zones and greens) and sit, golf meditate and enjoy the spectacle. 

Thanks for reading,

Take good care.

Captain Golf

Embarrassing Golf Moments - Captain Golf

I was recently asked to list my most embarrassing golf reply with a cheeky smile: ''how long have you got?''

Golfing Nightmares 

We have all been there. Don't deny it, we have all played a shocker.

Captain Golf's Embarrassing Golf Moments

Captain Golf

1. Hit a Tree and went Backwards....2017

I once struck a tree with my shot, the tree was only ten metres away, the ball went backwards circa 100 metres landing near the 4 ball before. Sometimes you got to go backwards to go forwards!

2. Hit a Scoreboard whilst it was being Constructed (ding dang dong) and the 70 year old Caddie then choked on their boiled sweet in shock. 
Captain Golf

Pre Royal Birkdale The Open, as I was approaching one of the greens, it was probably 180 yards away. I was tempted to lay-up and play safety. 

To the right of my eye and the green, the course staff were constructing a score board for the next Open tournament.

Captain Golf: 'I think I should lay- up, what do you think?' (asking the caddie)

Caddie: ' Alright son, I think just get it on the green, here you go use this club'

Captain Golf: ' Are you sure about the Hybrid, not the 4 Iron or go short with a 7 Iron'.

Caddie: ' Dont worry, just give it a good wack and we will be on the dance floor'.

30 Seconds later........the ball goes more to the right than expected, straight for the scoreboard construction team and their nearby transit van.

Captain Golf: ' FOUR.....FOUR.....FOUR.....FOUR......'

Caddie: 'Pal, Pal, help me' as he starts choking on a boiled sweet.

Scoreboard construction workers all dive for cover. 

*****(Ding Dang Dong Ding******* 

Thankfully everyone was ok.

The ball landed to the right of the green and no- one was injured.

Captain Golf: after patting the caddie on the back to dislodge the boiled sweat: ' blimey that was a close call are you ok?'

Caddie: 'Yes pal no problem, thought I was a gonna then'.

3. On the 18th at Royal Birkdale, 180 yard approach shot to the green in front of the 19th hole beer garden. 

Having somewhat recovered from the earlier close call, we approached the end of the round. A magnificent golf course Royal Birkdale.

Towards the end of the 18th, the huge grandstand towered over the fairway, close to the approach/green and also main clubhouse/beer garden.

Captain Golf: 'Ok, we should probably play it safe here, 7 Iron ok?' (asking the caddie)

Caddie: 'Look no problem, use this again' (hands the hybrid to Captain Golf).

Captain Golf: 'Are you sure?'/

Caddie: 'Yes'.

*****(Ding Dang Dong Ding******* 

The balls goes into the empty grandstand, striking the metallic structure, bouncing and then falling out of the grandstand onto the rough next to the fairway reasonably close to the green.

I had to do the walk of shame, no denying it, that was my shot and that was my result. In the glaze of the beer drinkers on the 19th hole, I then chipped the ball onto the 18th green and putted to finish the round. 

Thanking the caddie, a few grins from those onlookers at the 19th and cheeky cold pint later, it was a good round. The good, the bad, the ugly.

4. Passing Through a Four Ball 2019

Captain Golf

Pre lads golf tour in Scotland I decided to get a round of golf in to practice for the big tournament. Having already been to the driving range in Edinburgh, my new 3 wood was 'on song'. It was important to get Links golf practice in so I headed to Kilspindie.

However......playing as a one ball on a congested golf course (that day) I caught up with a four ball who waved me through.

Having played the round really well up until this point, somehow, the ball was duffed 3-4 times in full sight of the four ball. I had barely got past them (they were slightly further ahead 100 metres or so). 

On this occasion, I picked up the ball, thanked the chaps and walked onto the next hole.....nightmare.

These things do happen but in part help make Golf such a great game.

What were your most embarrassing golf moments? You are welcome to share.

Thanks for reading and keep a look out for the next blog entry.

Take good care.

Captain Golf

What is Links Golf? - Captain Golf

Many of you have asked what is Links golf? 

Captain Golf is a HUGE fan of links golf and strongly recommends it.

Links Golf Fast Facts

1. You are often right next to the coast, making great views.

2. The wind can range from nothing, to a breeze to a full on strong force gale.

3. The mix of wind can vary by day, time of day, golf hole played and the general direction of the front nine and back nine. 

4. The golfer needs to assess every golf shot, tussle a 'tuff' of grass in the air to establish the wind direction.

5. Instead of the 7 iron, you may well need a 4 iron. Instead of a 4 Iron you may well need a driver on a Par 3.....yes a driver on a Par 3! (If the wind stops, not good).

6. The 'chip and run' shot vs the air shot is often needed to cut through the wind, the 'Sally Gunnel' run and run shot can get the ball to green safely in windy conditions. 

7. The dynamic of the Links course adds so many variables, it is a true test for the golfer and challenges your ability to adapt and pivot to the conditions.

8. If you play the day with clear blue skies, little wind, you can reward yourself with a pint at the 19th hole and watch the golfers come in. 

9. If you play the day with grey skies and strong winds, by the time you finish, you will feel like you have been in the boxing ring with Tyson. 
    However as you climb into bed that evening, you can sigh and smile that you had a great day and battled the elements, perhaps even winning your round.

What is a Links Course?

A Links course is a specific type of golf course/fauna natural and entwined with the landscape, most commonly adjacent to the coast. 

The land is often 'sandy' in texture and known to drain well. The conditions are mainly found on the UK coastal edges and also Ireland.

Conditions as outlined above are very different to a parkland course.

Where are the Best Links Golf Courses?

Scotland really is the Disneyland of Golf. It is blessed with golf courses, world class golf courses to test your ability.

Captain Golf annually has a golf tournament with his golfing buddies and try to play only the Open venues in the UK.

Fantastic Open Links courses played by Captain Golf include: Hoylake (near Liverpool), Royal Birkdale (near Liverpool), St Andrews (Fife), Turnberry (West Coast Scotland), Troon (West coast Scotland), Carnoustie.

Royal Birkdale:
St Andrews:

Additional Links Courses played by Captain Golf and Recommended:

Although these are Not on the Open rosta, it is worthy to mention their merits...

The Castle Course
If you play there on a Sunny day, it is a gem of a course. Near to St Andrews a lot of golfers bolt it onto their Scotland Golf Tour. The website alone has fantastic views of the course and scenery. 

Captain Golf

Although quite small in yardage, the Kilspindie course makes a good practice round prior to your golf tour in Scotland: I had a shocking round but enjoyed the views....

Gullane is also worth a cheeky mention, great fun and challenging: On this occasion I rented a new Taylor Made M3 wood, which worked well on its first outing. My playing partner somehow got stung by a wasp before the round on his hand....yet still managed to finish the round! Good courses at Gullane.

*Credit/source for Castle Course/Kilspindie/Gullane images from the respective golf club websites/public galleries.

Links Open Golf Courses- How to Make it Happen....

Why not look to play a Open Course with your golf buddies. Usually you will have had to book in advance (circa 6 months- 1 year), and often pay circa £250 per round. However these are simply great great courses and a great golf experience. 

How do you make it happen? Contact the golf clubs directly or go through a golf booking platform such as:  and 

Thanks for reading, tune in for the next update.

Take good care,

Captain Golf

Are Golf Courses Open during the Corona Crisis? - Captain Golf

Hello all.

I hope you are taking good care in these tough times.

Many of you are longing to get back out on the golf course. Your carpet indoor putting skills are no doubt top notch....and coffee mugs dented as a result.

Are Golf Courses Open Right Now in this Corona Crisis?

On the 23rd of March Golf England announced that all golf courses were to close.

Captain Golf

At the time of Blog post, this is still the case! It may well change soon if and when the government announces a change to the phased locked down.

What Happens to a Member's Membership Fee due to Lock Down ?

As we approach the peak golf season in the UK many golfers will have already renewed their memberships. The fees crucially go back into the running of the golf club and the up-keep of the golf courses. If the membership fees are frozen this can lead to cash flow problems and impact the running of the golf club.

Many will have taken steps to reduce the running costs of the club, possibly furloughed staff and leveraged help from the UK government.

For many golf clubs, a lot of hard graft will have already have gone into the course for the coming season, prior to the Corona crisis. This should mean the golf course could well get into great shape once the lock down is over.

Membership fee policy will vary by golf club, however they will certainly be eager to attract new members in the future months. Expect peak demand and booked out tee times.

What might happen once lock down is reduced?

Golf requires an open space. A maximum of four players per round. We might well see tee times adjusted so there is a greater gap between golf tee off times, likewise the round reduced to a two ball, such measures might reduce 'contact'. With golfers wearing gloves, possibly a face mask, contact with other golfers will be reduced. The 19th hole might well stay closed or only offer that 'takeaway' beer for the beer garden where seating gets spaced out.

What is the situation with the PGA, European Tour, The Open.....

The Open: The R&A announced the summer tournament would be cancelled. Having been to The Open in Northern Ireland last year this is a big disappointment but it clearly does not make sense to have over 200,000 visitors mingling and in close proximity.

The Open was due to be played at Royal St Georges 11th-18th July 2020. Instead it will be moved to 2021 and the St Andrews tournament moved to 2022.

The PGA Tour: Events were cancelled but I understand there will be four events played without crowds and the situation reviewed thereafter.

European Tour: At the time of writing tournaments have been cancelled or postponed. To be confirmed but it could well start again but behind closed doors and be on TV.

Final Thought

Golf is a great sport and gets you outdoors. However, we need to take good care and follow the guidance of officials. When we do get the green light to get on the course, you will enjoy it double the amount. In the meantime why not compile your bucket list of golf courses to tick off.....We will look into bucket list golf courses to play in the coming blog editions.

Next Golf Blog

Take good care, Captain Golf

The Return of Captain Golf 2020

A big hello from Captain Golf.

In - light of the Corona 19 situation and unable to get back on the golf course, Captain Golf makes a return. 

The journey from a complete novice to that of a 20 handicapper continues....

I have donned the 'golf cap' and returned to discuss your golfing needs, hot golfing topics, views on golf and update my adventures/journey to become single handicapper.

Forward/invite golfing buddies to join our community and flag any topics you would like to be discussed.

Take good care and see you on the next blog!

Captain Golf....

Captain Golf

How To Become a Professional Golfer

So…we see golfers on the tele, they show great composure, confidence and play some of the best golf courses in the world. How do they get on/in the box? Todays blog entry identifies the path/route to becoming a professional golfer.

How do you become a pro golfer?
Firstly the younger you start the better the chance of success.
Starting young should give you more practice time/hours on the range. However there are various conflicting 'schools of thought'. Some argue it boils down to just a 'hard work ethic/sacrifice' and/or 'natural talent'. However there is some good news if you are in your late twenties or thirties. According to PGA website :

'Golfers sometimes don't make the grade until as late as their mid-30s. If it's your dream - don't give up.'

How do you make the dinero?
The majority of golfers put bread on the table through coaching and affiliation with various golf clubs. Tournament golfers on the other hand are an elite few, the majority of the profession do not feature on tour. Part-taking in competitions on Tour can be expensive. If you
leave your job as an accountant and become a professional golfer, the bank manager is likely to 'gulp' and remind you of your mortgage repayment(s). You have to pay entry fees, hire a caddy, pay for a top coach, travel+accommodation expenses. Unless you make the second cut it will be an expensive folly. However if you are fortunate to 'bolt on' endorsements, the financial burden can be eased.

How do you make it as a PGA Pro.
According to the website, the PGA organises in excess of 900 tournaments a year with prize money amounting to 3.5million plus. Becoming a PGA Pro equips you with a broad understanding of not only playing golf but but understanding the role of golf club management.

The PGA states you can become a PGA Professional golfer via two ways:
1) Register as an assistant at an affiliated PGA golf facility, there trainees undertake a three year Foundation Degree in professional Golf Studies-accredited by the University of Birmingham (source:

2) To undertake a three year BA Hons Degree in Applied Golf Management Studies at the university of Birmingham.

How to make it as a Tour Pro on the box...
Many folk become a PGA Pro initially, it acts as a safety net and gives the golfer something to fall back on.

However to play in front of the crowds and have the chance of winning great sums of dinero, the European Tour is the scheme to get into.
My understanding is that there are 135 score cards available, amateurs have to compete at the tour School at San Roque for around 35 score cards (ibid). Another tour which is seen to be a 'feeder' to the European Tour is the 'Challenge Tour'. An interesting article on the 'European Tour' website summarises the difference:

“I think the main difference between The European Tour and the Challenge Tour is the golf courses. The courses on the Challenge Tour don’t seem to be as difficult as those on the main Tour, but the guys on the Challenge Tour go low every week. You have to make a lot of birdies to have a chance to win there.”

Other notable Tours include:
PGA America (not confirmed)
LPGA Tour (1950)
European Tour (1972)
Japan Golf Tour (1973)
Asian Tour (1995)
Challenge Tour (1986)
European seniors Tour (1992).

In a nutshell, you have to be good, whether it is down to sheer talent, a hard work ethic or both, it is tough and competitive. You will have to compete for given playing cards, and to do so you should be a scratch to four handicap. Captain Golf can conclude that it is possible to make a living from golf, but difficult. So get down to the driving range....

Next Golfing Blog
-The next Captain Golf blog entry will look at wacky places to play golf.

-Lastly,good news, the rib is on the mend, roughly two more weeks until Captain Golf returns to the range....

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