Hua Hin and golf are entwined. There are golf shops, tour organisers, driving ranges and fantastic Golf Courses everywhere. Your friends are always talking about their handicap, their good and bad luck on the course (mostly bad) and what might have been if only……………
Maybe you had a game or two before family responsibilities took over or maybe that latent desire was never realised. You may be the partner of a golfer but never joined him or her or maybe you are just reaching an age when golf has become ‘cool’. Whatever the motive, if you are thinking about becoming a golfer, we want to give you some ideas to get you started. But a word of warning; golf may become an obsession! As aging rocker and single figure handicapper Alice Cooper once said; “After I gave up drugs and booze, I had to find something that was just as addictive.”
The biggest mistake by people wanting to start in golf is to rush out and buy a brand new set of shiny and expensive golf clubs. While they are nice to look at, you should keep in mind that today’s golf equipment comes in many shapes and sizes to cater for different golfing types and abilities. Since you’re just starting out you cannot know which set fits you best. A better alternatively: most driving ranges will have clubs for hire, so you can try out a few different ones. Most Pro shops and driving ranges sell second hand clubs. They will also be able to offer you advice and let you try some clubs out. Your friends may have a spare set of clubs at home which can be borrowed for a while. There is a need to have a basic understanding of which club suits you before you buy. DO NOT buy expensive brands at this stage. The same goes for golf balls, shoes and every other type of equipment.
Sure; look the part with a collared golf shirt, but ‘runners’ are perfectly acceptable footwear. At The Driving Range Golf Driving Ranges are everywhere in Hua Hin. Just look for the expansive ‘cage’ or at golf courses. Certified Golf Professionals are really the only people qualified to teach you how to play the game, you’ll find them at the range or golf course. Lessons from a Pro will cost you money but will be the best investment you’ll ever make. Taking advice from the well-meaning players at the range is likely to screw-up your game at the very early stages and it will take a long time to correct the faults later. Don’t get blinded by too much science, you’re still a beginner. Stick to grip, stance and posture and you’ll be on your way. Once you can confidently hit balls straight and without too many shanks what’s the next stage?
Heading For The Golf Course
Hitting the ball is really only a small part of the game. You’ve also scoured the websites about the Rules of Golf and the etiquette of the game, but heading for a real golf course for the first time is an intimidating and scary notion for many. You’ve yet to learn how to manage the caddie (always with respect), tipping, scoring and even where to stand. There are many other important aspects of being a real golfer. Maybe the next stage is to go along as a spectator with friends, being observant, staying out of the way AND quiet. A cardinal rule of golf is never to be a distraction; even your shadow or position directly behind or in the line of a putt will be frowned upon. Hopefully your friends will tactfully in making suggestions or watch the caddies; they know where to position themselves. Your first game should be with friends who understand where you are at and can be your ‘chaperones’. The caddies will also be helpful when they know you are a beginner.
Past ‘Social’ Golf?
Social golf may be fun, but unfortunately many ‘social golfers’ may not really understand the Rules and lead you towards developing bad (and illegal) habits. You are also beginning to understand that a golfer’s handicap (a rating of their ability) is becoming important. For some, this level of golf is enough but if you are to become a real golfer, maybe go to the next stage.
Golf Groups or ‘Societies’
There are many golf societies around the region that arrange regular competitions at varying levels of formality. There are also informal groups, sometimes called ‘roll-ups’, which do much the same. They vary in their welcome to ‘newbies’, some requiring an introduction or even residency requirements.
The Cha-Am Golf Club is one very ‘user friendly’ golf society where newbies are welcome; see www.chaamgolfclub.com. Membership for the first year is 1,500 THB including a nomination fee, then 1,000 THB per annum. Members of the Hua Hin Golf Society If you have become fond of a particular Golf Course, Membership is another choice. This usually means access to Member’s competitions and access to a recognised handicap. In both of these options, you may need to take some time to figure out how it works, what suits you and how best your enjoyment of the game can be enhanced. Take your time, not the first option, it could be expensive.
Another Option For Getting Started; The NLP Golf School
Hua Hin has a golf school which is unique in Thailand; the NLP Golf School. Khun Pahk Akkaramas is the Founder and Head Coach of the NLP Golf School. He has over 30 years of experience in the professional golf domain and 5,000+ hours of coaching experience, from beginner to advance. He was the 2005-2006 Thai Junior Team Coach, and having won numerous professional golf tournaments. The big advantage that the NLP Golf School has over many other coaching strategies is attention to the thought processes that are essential to playing at your best. It addresses the mental aspects of the game as well as the mechanics of stroke making. This vital part of the game is often ignored to the chagrin of golfers. As NLP says “win your mind, win your golf”; or to quote Jack Nicklaus – “Golf is 80% mental, 10% ability, 10% luck.” So what does NLP stand for? N = NEURO Nervous systems through which our experiences are received and processed through our five senses. L = LINGUISTIC Language and non-verbal communication systems through which neural processes are coded, ordered and given meaning. P = PROGRAMMING The ability to organise our communication and neurological systems to achieve specific desired results. NLP and golf are a natural fit. They form the proverbial hand in glove relationship. NLP is based on modeling, so what better than to model the best golfers in the world and use their mental game strategies.
SNAG® – Starting New At Golf SNAG® is a specialised new golfer’s option available at the NLP Golf School. It is a proven player development program designed for new learners of all ages. SNAG® contains all the elements of golf but in a modified form, making it an easy and fun way to learn and play golf. The system builds on strong fundamentals of putting, chipping, pitching and full swing to develop playing ability quickly and effectively. SNAG® incorporates developmentally appropriate equipment and instruction that will allow golf to be learned and played in non-traditional venues, such as on a soccer field, in a gym, or at the NLP Golf School premises. The game has its own simplified rules and terminology that adds fun to the learning and playing experience.
SNAG® has developed an effective learning system with a manual and curriculum for new learners of all ages, toddlers to seniors. The key is in simplifying the instruction so that it can be an effective transition into the game of golf. The program builds on strong fundamentals of the different strokes and swings and develops playing ability quickly and effectively.
Telephone: 081-909-0330, 090-969-4222
Location: NLP Golf School is located within the Patravadi education and theatre complex. This is across the road from the Vana Nava Water Jungle, soon after crossing the overpass from Hua Hin heading south. If you are ready to join the millions of ardent golfers around the world, Hua Hin is the ideal place to get started. Becoming a real golfer is not cheap, but hands-down beats sitting around the bar all day. That will cost your pocket and your health much more!