The start of a new golf season

Some golfers will wait to be inspired by the incredible images from Augusta National Golf Club and the ridiculously talented players who are allowed to play in the Masters. Others wait for the temperature to match their best score. It doesn’t matter when you decide to begin your golf season, but when you do it is beneficial to do a little bit of preparation.

Sure, I could tell you that you need to sign up for a series of six private golf lessons with your local CPGA golf instructor. By the way, I am one of those and know a few others. I might even suggest finding a qualified personal trainer to drive you through session after session of golf conditioning exercises. I know a couple of those too. Finally, I could direct you to the candy store of golf and tell you to arm yourself with the latest and greatest golf equipment available, until the next model come out.   _67J2309

I am not going to do any of these things.

When you decide to begin your golf season the first thing you may want to decide is how much you are going to want to play. Let’s be honest, we all would like to play more than we do. Be realistic about this and then go to your nearest golf course and find out the best way to get involved. You’ll save money by joining a loyalty program or purchasing a multi-game pass. Make the commitment so this year is the year you get out and enjoy this great game, because you live in a great place to play it.

Next, check the equipment you already own. The grips are the most important part and they should be relatively clean and not too slippery. It’s hard to get asked back to a play with a foursome if you have almost taken their heads off with a club coming out of your hands. Before you run out and get them re-gripped (by that CPGA golf pro that you know) take the time to wash them with some warm to hot water and some kind of cleaner. They should get softer and have some more tack to them. If they don’t, do us all a favour and get them re-gripped.

Finally, as far as equipment goes, make sure you have all the clubs, you are allowed 14.  I hate it when you hit a great drive and don’t have the right club for the second shot. I hate having to borrow someone else’s putter too. _MG_1044

Fitness plays a big role in preparing for the golf season as well. My bet is that you didn’t do much in the way of stretching those golf muscles during the off season. It is actually hard to find a good stretch or exercise that incorporates all of the muscles and joints used in a golf swing. So here’s an idea, swing a golf club! Start with small swings and gradually work up to your full swing. Keep your feet close together at first to develop a better turn or body rotation. Take it slow and if it hurts, stop.

Don’t get me wrong, if you have the time and the money you can go see your local golf pro and take some lessons. If you are trying to be the best that you can be you should definitely seek out some performance enhancing exercises from a personal trainer that is qualified to do so. And you will absolutely benefit from the newest equipment. The technology that is now incorporated into golf shafts and balls will help you maximize your potential in the game. But to me, just getting out onto the golf course and the enjoyment of the game at any level requires just a few steps of preparation. So take the first step – make the choice to play.

Have a great season… whenever it starts.

By Ward Stouffer

Road trip to the Vancouver Golf Show

The Vancouver Golf & Travel Show, Western Canada’s largest consumer golf trade show, is just around the corner. We always look forward to this event as it brings thousands of golfers together in one room over two days. This year, the Vancouver Golf & Travel Show will be at the PNE (2901 E Hastings St) in Burnaby on February 14 and 15, 2015. vancouver-golf-show6

It’s a great event to attend if you want to learn more about golf, talk to a professional about equipment or lessons, and discover some new courses to play this year. Each year, the show gets bigger and better. There are also tons of giveaways and chances to win golf getaways. With approximately 125 exhibitors, you have a wide selection of golf-related services. Take a break in the beer gardens and listen to golf industry professionals chat about this great game. Another new additional to the Golf Show is the online auction that supports the Boys and Girls Club of South Coast BC.

We have gained some interesting insight over the years from attending this show by chatting with both long-term and new golfers. We attend the golf show because it is a great opportunity to reach golf enthusiasts like yourself, giving us a chance to chat with you face-to-face about our course, upcoming promotions and clinics, and the latest trends in the golf industry… and of course, those memorable moments on the fairways.

Be sure to stop by our booth this year and say hi! We’ll be giving away awesome prizes, including a free Titleist ball or round of golf. You will also want to enter our grand prize draw for a Golf and Spa Package for two people (one night stay at Tigh-na-mara Resort, 60 minute spa treatment and breakfast, two rounds of golf with cart and warm-up buckets, and a $50 gift card for Benz Lounge). You just never know what you’ll get! Tickets are $12, and kids under the age of 17 are free.

Click here for more information on the Vancouver Golf Show

Meet Ryner, golf professional at Fairwinds

Ryner Wilson grew up in Qualicum Beach and began playing in golfRyner_2014 tournaments at a young age, eventually earning a golf scholarship at Vancouver Island University. Playing as the golf team captain for four years, he won the BCCAA individual and team title, and also competed in high level tournaments such as the BC Men’s Amateur and the Canadian Men’s Amateur. Ryner has worked at Fairwinds Golf Club since 1993 and has been managing the Golf Shop since 2008. He is passionate about all aspects of the game and is devoted to making the game enjoyable. The key to his teaching philosophy is to instill strong basic fundamentals with positive reinforcement, and especially enjoys working with junior golfers.

What’s your favourite thing about teaching the game of golf?
I enjoy that moment when a student is trying their best to grasp a key swing concept you are teaching them and they hit a great golf shot! It’s an exciting moment for the student and the teacher, and that moment is when trust starts to build. This is when it becomes easier to get the student more engaged in your teachings and you can make some progress.

Who is your favourite pro golfer and why? 
Payne Stewart was my favourite golfer growing up. He was a classy guy with a classic swing and a great demeanor, plus he had one of the greatest moments in golf history winning the 1999 US Open at Pinehurst No. 2 on the final hole over a young Phil Mickelson! I also got to see him a couple times at the Greater Vancouver Open and Air Canada Championship. Rory McIlroy is my current favourite.

What are you doing when you’re not teaching golf?
I spend most of my time with my wife and two young kids. I love being a father and “teaching” my kids how to be polite and use their manners. I do get to play golf from time to time but I mostly keep sharp by practicing 2 – 3 times per week on my way home from work. I also like playing badminton and pickleball with the great people at Fairwinds Fitness Centre.

Book a lesson with Ryner at 250.468.7666 ext. 233 or rwilson@fairwinds.ca.

Meet Sue, golf instructor at Fairwinds

Sue has been a member of the Fairwinds team for 21 years and has been instructing for 19 years.Sue Matlby She is a graduate of the Golf Management Program in Nelson, and has completed three levels of the PGA of Canada Teaching Certification Program. Sue has a very focused, patient, and enthusiastic style of instructing.

What’s your favourite thing about teaching the game of golf?
Providing encouragement, enthusiasm, and patience to people’s golf game, whether it is playing a round of golf or practicing. Also, I love promoting golf by encouraging students to try our fun men’s and ladies’ nights or other activities taking place.

Who is your favourite pro golfer and why?
Lydia Ko, as she is a fun person to watch with a great swing, very relaxed and not afraid to laugh at herself when she has a bad shot. I would consider her a great role model for golfers of all ages.

What are you doing when you’re not teaching golf?
I enjoy spending time with my family and cheering on my sons while they are playing hockey and lacrosse. I also enjoy playing and watching soccer.

Book a lesson with Sue at 250.468.7666 ext. 225 or smaltby@fairwinds.ca.

Meet Hélène, golf professional at Fairwinds

Hélène Delisle, Class “A” member and Head of Instruction at Fairwinds, started playing golf at six years old, and has been teaching golf for over 15 years. Helene_2014She teaches golf to all skill levels. Hélène believes that every golfer can play better golf, and that knowledge, preparation and the proper individual analysis of a student’s game are the keys to good instruction. Hélène is a graduate of the Professional Golf Management program at College Lafleche in Trois-Rivieres, QC. She has completed all 4 levels of the PGA of Canada Teaching Certification Program, her National Coaching Certification Program Level 1, and she is a certified instructor for the Playground to Fairway Program. She has been playing golf tournaments since 1990 and is the only female professional who has won on the Vancouver Island Professional Golf Tour in 2007 with a score of 69 (-2). She also has been playing on the Canadian Women’s Tour since 2004.

What’s your favourite thing about teaching the game of golf?
My favourite thing about teaching golf is to see the improvement every golfer makes. It could be technical, physical, mental, or emotional.

Who is your favourite pro golfer and why?
Annika Sörenstam is my favourite golfer. She won 90 international tournaments and 72 were on the LPGA tour. She is also the only female professional who shot 59 in a competition.

What are you doing when you’re not teaching golf?
I enjoy curling, spending time with my family, skating, swimming, and hanging out with friends.

Book a lesson with Hélène at smarterlessons.com, 250.739.2029, or hdgolf@shaw.ca.

Meet Brett, teaching professional at Fairwinds

Meet Brett Standerwick. He’s a Teaching Professional and Class A PrBrett Standerwick ofessional that began his golfing career at University Golf Club at UBC 14 years ago. He has completed all four levels of the PGA of Canada Teaching Certification Program, as well as his National Coaching Theory Level 1.

Brett was named Vancouver Island Region Apprentice Professional of the year in 2012 by the PGA of BC. With many years of experience in the golf industry and competitive athletics, Brett possesses the necessary knowledge and skills to enhance the game of every golfer, from the true beginner to the scratch player. Combining physical fitness with golf skills is a key to Brett’s philosophy of incorporating the game of golf into a healthy lifestyle.

What’s your favourite thing about teaching golf?
Sharing a game that I love with others, and helping them to discover and enjoy it for a lifetime.

Who is your favourite pro golfer and why?
Fred Couples, because he is an easy going, laid back Pacific Northwest dude.

What are you doing when you’re not teaching golf?
Parenting, skiing, surfing, riding, hiking, playing volleyball and basketball – staying active!

Book a lesson with Brett at 250.468.7666 ext. 227 or bstanderwick@fairwinds.ca

Winter workout

What can you do to improve your golf game in the winter? Like many great questions, it can’t be answered in one or two sentences, but I will give it a try. A lot of research has gone into the effect physical fitness regimes have on a person’s golfing ability. Beyond the obvious benefits of being fit enough to walk 18 holes comfortably or strong enough to carry a set of clubs, some interesting facts were discovered in which muscles are actually used while swinging a golf club. _67J9466

A research team at the University of Calgary has done extensive testing on golfers of all levels and has identified the primary and secondary muscle groups used in a golf swing. One of the most important muscle groups is the abdominal muscles, especially the obliques (otherwise known as the side muscles). This explains why Tiger Woods can hit the ball 350 yards, but it doesn’t explain why a fellow like me with a large attachment of “Molson muscle” can hit the ball 300 yards. The fact is that even though a fellow like me can look out of shape, I can also possess fairly strong and efficient abdominal strength. So if this is possible, I suppose it is also possible that a thin person may have weak abdominal muscles. Either way it seems that part of a golfer’s physical fitness program should definitely contain some abdominal exercise. Experts will also tell you that regular abdominal muscles can take strain off of the back muscles, which for some golfers, is a chronic problem.

The golfer can go on to more specific training techniques like the basic motion of swinging works the abdominal muscles so by simply swinging a golf club, or a medicine ball for that matter, can exercise the abdominal muscles. Of course, the gym always helps too.

So what can you do to improve your golf in the winter?

-Ward Stouffer, Director of Golf

Fairwinds offers a variety of fitness classes throughout the winter, including Golf Fit, a strength and conditioning class focusing on golf specific muscles and movements designed by Brett Standerwick, Fairwinds’ PGA of Canada Professional.