End of the official golf season here in Colorado

Here on the Front Range in Colorado, we’ve had our first snow. For many here, that marks the end of golf season. That’s very fortunate for those of us here in the Rocky Mountain West that don’t mind golfing when the weather is a bit cooler. In fact, M and I played a small executive course here in Denver on Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining and the temps were in the 70’s.

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The golf league finished on September 29. I took 3rd with a 43. The winner shot a 40 on the par 31 course. She’s won in the past – in fact I tied with her last year for first. I had a rocky summer, with my swing being a a bit challenged. I think it’s mostly straightened out after taking a series of lessons with a coach. I’m still struggling with my driver. If I’m still struggling next Spring, I may take the driver in and have it cut down a bit.

As the weather cools, we need to pay attention to equipment. I like to clean my clubs and clean out my bag. Here on the Front Range, the mice move into garages during the winter. I have a bad habit of leaving Gorp in my bag. Since Gorp is made up of peanuts, raisins, cashews, and chocolate pieces, mice love it. I’ve had one bag ruined after mice chewed it up trying to get into it for food and shelter. So, clean up your equipment and clean out the food in your bag. You’ll not want to eat it next year anyway!

What do you do to get ready for winter golf? Let us know in the comments.

 

Golf vacations and Costa Rica

The first week of April, I visited Costa Rica with a college girlfriend. The trip was a girl’s yoga getaway and a chance for both of us to wind down from hectic careers. Initially, I thought I might want to check out a few golf courses while there. It turned out that wasn’t practical, since we didn’t rent a car, and the resort where we stayed didn’t often have guests that played. Costa Rica isn’t blessed with an abundance of courses. My friend and I were in Guanacaste Province, which has 5 of the 12 golf courses in the country. I just didn’t find the time between the surfing lessons and the zipline tour to visit the golf course. We spent one night in San Jose, the capital, which boasts 5 courses, but weren’t there long enough to find the courses. Our flight was very early next morning.

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As my friend and I were headed home after 8 adventure-filled days, I began to think about how my vacation time is divided. Boomergolfbliss.com is not my full-time job, and the Job comes with a specific allocation of vacation time. Taking a golf vacation takes different planning than a non-golf vacation. When planning a golf vacation, my husband and I think harder about driving versus flying. If we’re flying, are we taking our clubs? If so, can Southwest Airlines get us there – they don’t charge for golf bags. If we take our clubs, we want to play at least twice while we’re there. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem worth it.

We have gone on trips where we didn’t intend to play any golf, but ended up renting or borrowing clubs and playing anyway. I’ve had mixed experiences with renting and borrowing clubs. I rented in Puerto Vallarta at El Tigre and nearly bought the set when I was done. They were a high-end Callaway, and I played very well with them. I’ve also rented some awful equipment and borrowed worse. I don’t find it much fun to play with awful equipment.

I would like to go back to Costa Rica and play the courses. The people were very hospitable and the country is beautiful. I can only imagine that the golf courses, particularly at the Four Seasons and the Marriott, are beautiful as well. I would like to find out!

Have you played any courses in Costa Rica? Is it worth going back for the golf? Let me know!

 

New airfare rules begin

Today, the Department of Transportation’s transparency rules go into effect. Starting January 25, 2012, advertised airfares must include any taxes and fees. When searching airfares, it may seem as though fares have suddenly jumped. In reality, the final price is the same.

For those of us who like to travel and often take our golf clubs along, it’s nice to know if there will be an extra charge for those clubs. M and I usually travel Southwest since there is no extra charge for golf clubs. If we don’t fly Southwest, we usually rent clubs.

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I think price transparency is a great idea and this new rule is a good start. But what about the rest of the industry? Why can hotels charge a “resort” fee and not disclose that in their advertising? Why can rental car companies add taxes and surcharges onto their pricing once you get to the counter without disclosure in advertising? Perhaps it’s time to take a look at these companies and require them to advertise the true price of their products and services.

 

5 gift ideas for golfers

If you have a loved one or a friend who likes to play golf, there are many great gifts in many price ranges. Check out the local daily deals on Groupon and Living Social as well as the chain golf stores for great deals on gifts.

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  1. Golf balls. Many golfers have very specific preferences when it comes to the golf ball they use in play. Golf balls can range from a few dollars for a sleeve of 3 to $60.00 or more for a box of 15. Find out if the player has a preference. If not, most golf balls on sale today are fine for most players. There are often great deals on premium golf balls at local golf stores.
  2. Golf GPS system. Most golfers appreciate a handheld GPS that displays the golf courses that they play most often since knowing distances is integral to the game. GPS systems can be found on sale for between $200 and $300. A simple rangefinder can by purchased for as little as $50.
  3. Membership to an indoor practice range. In theDenver area, there are many indoor practice ranges. D’Lance Golf, open 24 hours inEnglewood, charges as little as $69 for one month of access. The PGA Store charges $99 for unlimited, ½ hour access during store hours. For the golfer that enjoys hitting a few balls when the weather outside is frightful, an indoor practice range is indispensible.
  4. Gift certificates. Many courses offer gift certificates that cover greens fees, cart rental, and items in the pro shop. Another source for gift certificates is IdealGolfer.com. This site has sales on rounds of golf as well as offers on lessons and fitness evaluations. If your favorite golfer has a course they play regularly, or are interested in improving their game, gift certificates are a great choice.
  5. Member pass. If a gift certificate is not enough, perhaps a member pass to a local club is the better choice. The Canongate courses, Black Bear and Blackstone, are offering a membership to both clubs for $350, with no monthly dues until March 2012. In theDenver area, there are several courses that are offering 2012 passes at a discount until the end of 2011. Check with the local courses for season pass rates and specials.
If your budget doesn’t lend it self to gift certificates or member passes, every golfer needs tees, ball markers, and a new glove. These also make great stocking stuffers. What kind of golf accessories to you like to receive as a gift?

Cold Weather Golf

Here in the Denver area, it’s been a beautiful, sunset-colored Fall. Then trees have been shots of color down the fairways, looking like a rainbow of orange and red. The temps have been very reasonable as well; usually warm enough to wear shorts and short sleeves. For the Colorado golfer, this won’t last. The days cool down and cold weather golf begins.

Cooler weather brings some additional challenges to golfers. Here are a few tips for playing when the temps drop.

Layer, layer, layer. Many of us have trouble playing with clothes restricting our movements. Thanks to thinner, more insulating fibers it’s easy to find slim t-shirts and turtlenecks. A large coat won’t allow the freedom of movement that’s necessary to swing through. Use a wind breaker or wind shirt for greater agility.

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Hats and Gloves. It’s important to keep extremities warm. Keep warm gloves in your bag, along with a hat or headband. Change out the gloves when you swing the club. Keep your head and ears covered. Socks made of newer fibers can be just as warm as wool. Wool is great natural insulator and can absorb large amounts of moisture without feeling clammy. Playing golf with cold feet and hands isn’t fun.

Low Compression. According to Golf.com, cold weather is not kind to golf balls. Golf balls tend to become harder with the cold, making mis-hits harder on the hands. Keep the golf balls you plan to use in the house, not the car or garage. On the way to course, keep the golf balls in the car for warmth.

Dense winter air. Cold air is denser than warm air. High compression balls won’t go as far or spin as well as the lower compression, or softer, balls. Golfers may need to use more club to get the same distance.

Stay hydrated. For those of us here in the Rocky Mountain West, fluids are very important. In the winter, the humidity tends to drop, drying everything out including golfers. Don’t forgot the water bottle during the round, and use it. Remember, the cart girl is probably keeping warm in the clubhouse!

Playing golf when it’s cold can mean having the golf course to yourself. What’s not to like?

Fall golf housekeeping

The days are shorter and crisper and in Denver, nights get downright cold. It’s dark at 6:30 p.m. and playing golf after work is done for the year. The clubs are getting put away and planning for those winter golf get-aways is in full swing.
Here are 5 tips to keep your gear in good shape and ready for the next round.

1. Wash those clubs. If my golf gal-pals are any indication, cleaning golf clubs is not generally high on the to-do list until the first tee. Fill a bucket about half way with warm water and a squirt or two of mild dish soap. Using an old toothbrush or other soft bristle brush, gently remove the dirt from the clubs and dry. Your golf buddies will think your last game was at a resort when you pull out that gleaming driver.

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2. Inspect your golf bag for damage. Golf bags can get beat up over a season of hauling them around, and hauling them in and out of the car. Check the seams and the zippers for tears or breaks. Some damage can be repaired by a tailor or local leather shop – even if your bag isn’t leather. If not, Christmas is around the corner and someone is sure to ask you for gift ideas.

3. Clean out your golf bag. In keeping with the golf bag inspection, rummage through the pockets and pull out all the forgotten snacks. Mice love to search golf bags for goodies, particularly in the winter. It’s not a nice experience to reach into a pocket and pull out a shredded plastic baggie or find holes (or other surprises) in the pockets. If you’ve stored clothing in the bag, it’s time to wash it. Really.

4. Reorganize your bag. When the clean-up is over, review tee, ball, glove and marker storage. Over the season, items get lost in the bag. Finding this equipment and putting it where it can be found makes inventory an easier task.

5. Take inventory. Once everything is in its place, take inventory. Take this time to replenish tees, balls, markers, and gloves. Now that you know what you’ve got and what you have not, you have permission to throw away ripped gloves, broken tees and those range balls weighing down the bag. Make a list. Remember Christmas? Use the list.

These tips are good advice during the season as well. But, it’s more fun to be golfing.