101 Golf Secrets

Golf Secrets 97 - 99: Travel

Golf Digest




Senior Staff Photographer, Golf Digest

The elements of a particular hole should guide the viewer to the main subject, which is usually the flagstick. Use the classic rule of thirds: Divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, then place interesting elements at these intersections. Use a ladder for perspective. Try a wide-angle lens, which lets you include items in the foreground and helps create an interesting composition. Use a low ISO film or setting. Select a smaller aperture (or use the scenic setting on your camera) to give greater depth of field and keep near and far items in focus. Because a small aperture reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor or film, you'll need a slower shutter speed. Use a tripod, or mount a camera clamp to your ladder to reduce blur caused by camera movement.





The wife of one of my regular golf buddies not only encourages him to take golf trips, but actually makes his plane reservations and packs his bags. Quite obviously, she's having an extramarital affair and wants him out of the way --so his golf trips are win-win at their house. For the rest of us, though, the issue of spouse-free golf travel is usually more contentious.

My kids are grown now, so I can no longer be accused of doing them permanent emotional harm by abandoning them for a week in order to play golf in Scotland with my friends. But my golf trips nevertheless retain some of their old power to engender domestic resentment. The best approach, I've discovered, is direct negotiation, which is both more productive and less emotionally taxing than the simmering psycho-battles that husbands and wives usually engage in. If my buddies and I are hoping to take a spouse-free trip to Myrtle Beach, for example, I might say to my wife, "Honey, this trip is extremely important to me--what'll you take for it?" (Before trying this yourself, have an attorney vet the wording.)

The best thing that ever happened to me, golf-trip-wise, occurred a decade ago, when my wife, at the age of almost-40, took up ice hockey. She now goes on buddy trips of her own--to goalie school in Vermont, to an international tournament in Montreal--and she and I have achieved a sort of unspoken sports-travel parity. This past March, she visited her brother, who lives in Russia. She took her skates with her, and one afternoon she joined a pickup game on a frozen pond in central Moscow. That, in my opinion, turns her trip into a hockey trip, and therefore entitles me to spend a compensatory week in Pinehurst with my pals.





Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman plays to a 4.1 Handicap Index. His book The World Is Flat, has sold more than 1.6 million copies worldwide.

How will you play golf in a flat world? Very easily. Your day will start with you giving a voice command to your voice-enabled computer to "set up a tee time with my usual foursome." Your computer automatically matches your calendar with those of your three best friends and that of the golf-shop starter at your local club, using algorithms to work out the optimal time for everyone to play. It then e-mails your starting time to your BlackBerry and cell-phone. (A little golfer pops up on your cell phone screen and announces your starting time.)

Now that you are ready to play, you can try out your new clubs. They were perfectly tailored just for you just last week. You went to your local pro and took three swings inside his specially designed box called "Cyber Byron," which was the device that succeeded Iron Byron when the world went flat. Cyber Byron produces a multidimensional computer graphic of your swing, muscle movement and ideal launch angle. It feeds all these details online directly to the manufacturer in China, where the clubhead (which is made in Taiwan), the shaft (which is made in Vietnam) and the grip (which is made in Indonesia) are built and assembled in Shanghai specifically for your swing and body shape.

The clubs were on your doorstep a few days later. The wedge, however, was not ground to the exact bounce angle that you requested, so you called the 1-800-BOGEY number and a very sweet woman in India, who has taken the phone name "Annika," answered. "Hello, this is Annika," she said with a slight Indian lilt. "May I help you?" She listened to your problem and immediately got you a replacement wedge from the factory. After your round, you enter your score in the computer, and your handicap is, unbeknownst to you, tabulated by a server located in Bangalore, with special golf software designed by V.J. Singh & Sons. Within a second your adjusted handicap is up on the screen.

On the drive home from the course, you plug your iPod into your auto stereo and listen to a podcast of Jack Nicklaus' Golf My Way. Once home, with golf still on your mind, you go on your home computer and play video golf at one of 1,000 global courses that can now be downloaded from the Web. You can play any combination of golfers, courses or holes--so you make Pine Valley No. 18 your opening hole and Augusta National No. 10 your second hole. Each golfer, no matter what age or era, has his or her skills automatically adjusted to current club and course conditions. So you are Tiger Woods, your wife plays as Patty Berg and your guest as Sam Snead. Snead wins your skins game, and you settle your bet electronically, using eBay's special PayPal golf betting system, known as nassau.com.



 Images from top: Dom Furore, Jonathon Carlson (2), Ben Van Hook