An emphasis on fun

By Dominic Sainsbury
New Zealand PGA General Manager

Over the past month I’ve been lucky enough to been involved in a number of innovative and fun golf events where relationships have been fostered and golf has been the vehicle for bringing people, friends and family’s together.

From the New Zealand Open and the NZ PGA Championship through to such events as team golf, PGA pro-ams, golf in the park, twilight and business house golf, speed golf and a multitude of fresh and fun club competitions are available. We are so lucky to have so many great options for formats of play where a well-organised tournament creates a real fun experience.

There seems to be two real key ingredients to have a great fun day on the golf course. The first is a smoothly run, well organised event and the second where you play some good golf and hit some shots that give you a real buzz of excitement.

We saw this at speed golf where instincts take over and a player has no time to think about their technique. They just react to the situation and swing freely.

We constantly hear from the amateur players in our pro-am events that they learn so much from playing with a professional player. This is normally around swing tempo, balance, skills around the greens and the fact even the best players hit bad shots.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of fun and laughter that took place at the have a go at golf in the park series lead by Gulf Harbour and Whangaparaoa Golf Clubs. Golf was set up in a park where anyone just had a go and experience golf with lightweight clubs, balls and in a shortened play format.

Golf is a game and about 80 percent of us play this game for the fun aspects. So what can you do to enjoy your golf more and get the most out of your time on the course?

Our recommendations are:-

1. Focus on a positive outcome for all your shots and think about where you want you ball to start and finish. (Life is too short to think about where you do not want you ball to go, so only focus on a positive outcome).

2. Get golf fit. Having a simple warm up routine that includes some physical stretching and hitting some shots will allow you to start well. All too often I hear “it takes me four holes to warm up”. Warm up before you play.

3. Take the right food and hydration with you on the course. You walk around 10km and lose a lot of fluids in a round of golf so take the food that will allow you to maintain consistent energy levels (but avoid high sugar items).

4. Develop a good short game. The old saying of drive for show and putt for dough is still true to this day and everyone can develop a good short game. It just takes an understanding of how to play certain shots and how to practice correctly.

5. Make sure your golf equipment is set up correctly for you and that you are using the correct ball. The ball makes a huge difference to your game.

If you want any specific advice on these recommendations visit your local PGA professional who is trained in all the areas above and is dedicated to helping you get the most enjoyment out of your golf game. Go to

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