My Golf expedition | The Golf basics| Day 1: 29th July 2014

I never thought that I would love Golf that much. My first day in the greens has been a wonderful adventure.

Today, 29th July 2014, was my first day at the Kampala Golf Club. My teacher, Mr. Deo Akope, took me through the basics.

For a better experience, I needed a Golf kit and some balls. These are not the balls you might be thinking about. The Golf balls I am talking about are very small, hard and white. I think the choice of white color is to enable the player/s easily find the ball in the greens after hitting it.

The Golf bag

Ever wondered the contents of the Golf bag?

The bag contains different sizes of clubs (for hitting the ball) to be used by the player (Golfer). There are a maximum of 14 clubs of varying sizes, each with a different use.

My teacher made me to understand that the clubs a Golfer uses depends on their ability, skill and experience.

Let’s dive into the contents of the golf bag.

Putters

Usually two in bag, they are used for rolling or putting the ball into the hole (cup). You can identify these by their flat faces. When the golf ball goes closer to the hole, it is ‘easier to roll it into the hole’ using the putter, than any other club.

My teacher was able to demonstrate this. The putter makes it easy to roll the ball into the hole from a short distance away. And, by my teacher’s insight, Golf’s beauty is by far about putting. It is where the Golfer’s precision skills are put into action. For that reason, your Golf bag is incomplete without a putter. “If you want to beat stress, just have several putting scenarios during your round of Golf and you will become and free man again.”

Woods

Pulling out the woods from the Golf bag, my teacher explained that “woods have big heads.” The woods are used to hit the Golf ball very far. To do that, they are given longer shafts and larger and bigger round heads than other club types.

In the Golf bag my teacher had, he showed me three (3) wood types. However, I was informed that most Golfers carry 3 to five woods in their bag.

Wood 1 – also known as the driver, has a very big head and a very long shaft. You could also use the T (something on which the ball is placed for easy hitting).

Wood 3 – also known as fairway wood, has a big head and long shaft, but slightly smaller and short than wood-1.

Wood 5 – also known as fairway wood (just like wood 3) has a smaller head and shorter shaft compared to wood 1 and wood 3.

However, the above depends on the brand. The key differentiator is the role of the wood to hit the ball longer distances than any other club.

Irons

Sometimes you need to hit the ball to 200 yards away from the green. The irons are the clubs for the job.

The closer you are to the green, the higher the iron you will use.

In my trainer’s kit, I was shown different iron sizes of 4,5,6,7,8,9 irons and thepitching wedge (PW) and sand wedge.

Although I was not the 3 iron, I was informed that the 3 and 4 irons are harder to hit than the higher number irons.

Golf courses

I was informed that there are two types of Golf courses– 18 holes and 9 holes.

And that “a complete round of Golf is made up of 18 holes.” 9 holes make up a half round. So, to play a complete round, you have to cover the 9 hole twice.

I was also told that in Uganda, only Entebbe, Kasese and Kampala golf clubs have 18 holes. All other clubs in the country including Mbarara (in Western Uganda) have 9 holes.

A golf course comprises of a series of holes – consisting of (i) teeing ground, (ii) a fairway, (iii) the rough and other hazards along the way to make the game interesting. In every course, there is a green with a flagstick or pin and a hole (cup). Taken together, these features make a golf course complete.

Types of Holes

There are par 3, par 4 and par 5 holes.

My teacher explained that the word “par” the required number of shots to hit the ball from the greens into the hole.

He further explained that Golf is about a few number of times to hit the ball.

For example, on a par 3, it means you need to hit the ball a maximum of three times to get the golf ball into the hole. In golf terms it is called the ace or a hole-in-one. This, according to my golf instructor or teacher, can only occur on a par 3.

Pro players may hit it once and it goes into the hall. This is what every golfer would like to achieve. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. All the practice and concentration is to be able to hit the ball so that it is put into the hall within the allowed number of times. the fewer the better.

Key Golf Terms

I was introduced to the following golf terms

Birdie

It is one less than par. That means a score of one under par on a hole. This condition may occur on par 3, par 4 or par 5.

An eagle

Two less than par. This usually occurs on par 4’s and par 5’s.

A bogey

Anything above a par is a bogey. Two is a double bogey. In simple terms, my teacher explained that “on a par 3 for example, you are required to hit the ball three times to put it in the hole. However, if you fail to do so in three hits, and you put it into the hole in the fourth hit on a par 3, you will have made a bogey.” You hit it one more above the required 3 times!

A bogey on a par 4, means you hit the ball five times instead of the four. Etc. Double bogey means, you hit the ball six times on a par 4 instead of the allowed four times. You get the picture. If you are starting, you could even make quadruple or etc bogey. Just keep practicing.

An albatross

Occurs on a par 5. You hit the ball two times and put into the hole on a par 5. This is very good playing.

Other key terms like gripping, posture, stance and swing we demonstrated. I learnt about the ten figures, interlock and overlap as far as gripping the club is concerned.

My teacher had asked me to buy some balls and did not know the use until this stage. I paid Ugx. 5,000 and got 50 balls. Within a short while, I hit them off. One by one, I practiced hitting.

Seemingly easy things are damn difficult. Out of 50 balls, I had only three good hits.

The general feeling the shoulders, back and arms is great after playing golf. I loved my lesson one, and can’t wait for the next.

I don’t know why I began playing late.

As you might have understood, great players know which club to use when. This coupled with their understanding of the course, the weather conditions and their hitting power, they are able to make those aces, and other exclusives in the round of Golf. I am eager to explore more.

I love this game.

Don’t miss my Golf day 2.

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Teacher: Deo Akope

Student: Bernabas Mustapha Mugisa

Greens: Kampala Golf Club

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Copyright 2014 Bernabas Mustapha Mugisa. All rights reserved. 

About M. B. Mugisa

Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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