Golf is a game that requires time, patience, skill and a little luck. Of course, it never hurts to have some assistance from the experts who understand the nuances of the sport and can offer tips to take your game to the next level.
Cape Cod Travel Guide caught up with four local golf pros to find ways you can make the most out of your time on the course.
Head Golf Professional at Blue Rock Golf Course (48 Todd Road, South Yarmouth)
Years Playing Golf: 37
Years at Blue Rock: 14
On the Game: “At this point, it’s really the fresh air, exercise and the camaraderie. The main reason I enjoyed it growing up is the competition. I still am competitive. When I play a leisurely round, there is some sort of competition going on within the group.”
Playing Blue Rock: Though it’s a par-3 course, Blue Rock stands out from its competitors. “It was originally designed with the goal of using every club in your golf bag at least once,” Fannon explains. To be successful at Blue Rock, Fannon says, players should hit the ball as straight as possible. “I would not over swing,” he says. “Taking a shorter backswing and making sure you finish your swing is a great way to reduce the wild shots.”
Tip of the Day: When you find your ball in the thick of the rough, the best approach is not how you hit your ball, but what you hit it with. Fannon says here is where club selection is key, recommending a 6- or 5-hybrid or a high-lofted wood as opposed to an iron. “Make sure to pick enough club so you’ll get the ball in the air,” Fannon says.
Head Golf Professional at Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds (1460 Prospect Street, West Barnstable)
Years Playing: 44
Years at Olde Barnstable: 23
On the Game: “I think what I like most about the sport is that anybody can play it.
Playing Olde Barnstable: Compared to its sister course, the municipally owned Hyannis Golf Course, Olde Barnstable has a flatter terrain. All of the holes, Holway says, “are right in front of you. There are not a lot of elevated greens, and the tees are more playable for golfers of all abilities.”
Playing Hyannis Golf Course: Hyannis has more of an up-and-down layout with smaller greens, making it "unusually fast for a public course," Holway says. "At Hyannis, a lot of times you don't want to be over the greens. Make sure you're putting upward instead of coming from the back of the greens because a lot of them are elevated."
Tip of the Day: For those shorter shots onto the green, Holway suggests players eliminate the flop and focus more on the chip-and-run, which will keep the ball lower. It’s the same motion, she says, as an extended putting stroke, but the only difference “is you happen to have a wedge, 8 iron or 9 iron.”
PGA Teaching Professional at Bayberry Hills Golf Course (635 West Yarmouth Road, West Yarmouth)
Years Playing: 41
Years at Bayberry Hills: 10
On the Game: “I’m a teaching professional, so my passion and my job is to get to those who are having trouble and take that trouble away, and empower them to make their games better.”
Playing Bayberry Hills: At the recently renovated Bayberry Hills, you won’t find a lot of deception. It’s a straightforward course. As Kaffenburgh explains, “You get to see what you have to do. We like to think our golf course makes it pretty easy to be successful, if you bring your good golf skills.”
Tip of the Day: Do you use your shoulders or do you use your hands to putt? “Most people have a terrible time putting because they don’t have an answer to that,” Kaffenburgh says. While many think it’s their shoulders, Kaffenburgh says, it’s actually the hands that control the speed and force of the putt. Similar to rolling or bowling a ball, she adds, players should use “their hands and eyes to figure out how much oomph to put behind it.”
Director of Instruction at Ocean Edge Golf Club (2907 Main St., Brewster)
Years Playing Golf: 48
Years at Ocean Edge: 15
On the Game: “I like the ever-changing conditions. Every course you play is different. It’s not like playing tennis. The variety of conditions challenge you to continue to learn.”
Playing Ocean Edge: A decade ago, Nicklaus Design completely overhauled the course. It’s the only one on Cape Cod to hold the distinction of being designed by the prestigious golf firm. “It’s a typical Nicklaus design,” Rudeen says. “The greens are extremely undulated. There’s lots of roll, lots of up and down putts. It’s a great amount of fun to play. It challenges you from the first tee to the 18th green. It is an ideal course for players of all abilities.”
Tip of the Day: Cape Cod can get windy, which can have an impact on your shots. To counteract this, Rudeen recommends taking an extra club or two, gripping it lightly, standing closer to the ball, and making an abbreviated backswing and follow through. This will keep the ball lower so the wind will be less of a factor.
BONUS TIP: Want to really enjoy your time playing golf on Cape Cod? Then follow the advice of all four of these golf professionals, who suggest booking a tee time in the fall, when the weather is ideal, there are fewer people on the courses, and the pace of play is faster. For a list of golf courses on Cape Cod, click here for golf tips!