“Legs slightly bent, body slightly tilted forward, head and back straight. You have to turn your back like that and the pelvis the other way,” Andrea told me firmly, after placing my hands on the golf stick.
“It must be like a whip! Do not forget to touch the ground with the stick and continue to rotate the chest after touching the ball.” Andrea De Giorgi, my friend the Golf Professional Master, continued with a compelling look.
This is how my adventure in the golf world began. Until then, the word “swing” brought back the images of youth when beautiful young bodies moved in harmony. For the first time now, it meant something else. Swing, in fact, is an extremely technical movement, consisting of a twist of the torso and a series of unnatural movements, especially for those who, like me, begin this sporting activity in old age. The difficulty in swinging is essentially coordination and the fact that almost inactive muscles are stimulated every day.
This sport has never given me much curiosity. The few times I followed it on television, it seemed rather boring and equaled a great sleeping pill, because immediately after, I found myself sleeping on the couch.
I never thought I would end up on a hot summer day listening to Andrea, who, intrigued and ready to answer my skepticism, challenged me: “Listen, I’ll teach you how to play golf ”
For this great event, we met at the Colomaro Golf Club on Lake Garda, an ideal structure for those who are starting to play.
In order to let myself get ready, the night before, I documented myself on the Internet to better understand the behavior to follow on the golf course and I noticed that the rules are numerous. Basically, there must always be maximum accuracy and availability for the best civil coexistence and, above all respect, for others. Politeness, discipline, courteous and sporty behavior are essential, regardless of the sportsmanship of each player.
Later, I noted with curiosity that the knowledge of all the rules and their practical application remains one of the many difficulties of golf, because the casuistry of all that can happen is really very broad. In fact, one is in trouble, for example, if the ball is stuck on a tree or is “stolen” or moved by an animal that passes in the field.
What intrigued me was that in the world of golf, the player himself declares how many shots he has thrown for each hole and self-inflicts penalties for infractions (even if a referee always turns on the field).
In addition to the purely technical rules, the required dress code must also respect certain mandatory rules: players are advised to wear simple and adequate clothes. You can wear Bermuda pants, but not shorts, ladies can wear sleeveless shirts, but no tops or camisoles, even sleeveless men’s shirts are forbidden. Jeans, overalls, tank tops and t-shirts are not allowed. Golf shoes with soft crampons are recommended. A rigor that completely reflects my personality.
We refreshed ourselves with a drink, then we headed for the Driving Range, a place where you can train and familiarize with the stick by shooting long shots reaching 50, 100 and 250 meters. I filled the basket with the balls, I set myself in place by doing all that my dear friend Professor Andrea told me.
“The position of the hands on the stick, the legs, the back and the head are fundamental, as well as the rotation of the body and the balance of the weight because they make it possible to transmit the power of the stick to the ball”.
“You must know, Pierluigi, that the concentration in the coordination of the different movements is very important. The neurological functioning is stimulated : it keeps the brain young and strengthen self–control, which is important in everyday life. “.
“You see, your initial goal is to hit the ball.”
“You will see that when the basket is empty, you will have more confidence, the shots will improve and become longer and more precise.”
Very focused, I threw the ball as far as possible to reach a distance I never thought I could ever reach. Shooting after shooting, my familiarity with golf grew, triggering a feeling of satisfaction and indescribable well-being. I reached the maximum with the last ball, the launch reached more than 100 meters.
“Now fill the basket again so that we move to another place,” Andrea answered with satisfaction to my progress.
We moved to Putting Green, an area dedicated to shooting the ball in the hole. In this place, the grass is cut very thin and short. Andrea explained that before starting this new path, it is essential to analyze slopes and distances.
“The goal here is to shoot in the hole, as you can see, the stick is different and called -put-“.
“The putter is a stick designed to be used on or in the immediate vicinity of the putting green. The face of the stick has a very small loft (about 3-4 degrees of opening) and allows the ball that has just been hit to overcome the initial friction of the grass and continue its trajectory rolling, “said the master.
After making the necessary evaluations as an amateur, I shot the ball following the instructions.
“Hole!” shouted Andrea.
At this moment, I fell in me an indescribable pleasure, result of a “mixture” of concentration, reflection, calculation and balance. An explosion of emotions. Winning the first lottery prize would have had no more effects.
After this stage, Andrea invited me to visit another field: the Garda Golf Country Club of Desenzano, in the province of Brescia. One of the best golf courses built over the past thirty years, that turned into a “fighting arena” for the occasion.
I come from Reggio Emilia and I do not know this region very well and to be up to the situation, as we go by car, I documented myself. Wikipedia came to my aid. With astonishment, I found that this camp is located in an area of 110 hectares, designed by British architects, and includes 27 championship holes, located between the Rocca di Manerba, Soiano Castle and the hills of Valtenesi.
From the photos, I discovered that it also has a panoramic view of extraordinary beauty.
We entered the Lobby del Circolo and Andrea introduced me to the charming receptionist. We then met with Mr. Loris Vento, the club director, to whom he explained the purpose of our mission. Then we entered the premises of the structure and illustrated the layout of the golf course.
We reached it on the golf-cart.
“Woooowww”, I screamed as we went out of the tunnel that led to the first tee, the starting area with the first hole.
“Here we are,” said Andrea with satisfaction.
A fantastic scenario opened up to me, nature in its absolute beauty. A natural carpet of very cut grass, flower beds of trees, ponds and fountains along the way. The smell of freshly cut grass beautified this idyllic image, giving me a unique sense of peace, tranquility and well-being. Every corner and every shortcut became something new for me, like a child in a toy store. An impulsive desire to photograph everything came suddenly.
“Andrea, I almost seem to have landed on another planet.” He looked at me curiously.
I realized that being on a golf course for many years, he sees it with eyes different than mine.
“It is inevitable to think, my friend, that over time, these natural beauties can lose all their meaning, insects can become unbearable, the smallest flower and the fantastic botanical deposits of obstacles, but I can tell you that at that moment, it seems to me that he is in heaven. “Andrea’s eyes were laughing.
We went on with the cart to join another tee and meet other golfers. I noted with immense pleasure that greetings and respect always remain the thread that unites everyone, a conscientious and elegant ritual. It’s like saying, “I’m here too and I do not want to disturb you!”
In light of the sensations and emotions felt during my first experience, I can say that the idea that I had initially changed definitively. Golf is a sports activity that is not overpowering, it is actually fun and, in my opinion, an excellent remedy against depression and anxiety. Given the fact that it improves the cardiovascular system, reduces cholesterol, improves the respiratory and cardiac functions, increases the resistance and the flexibility of the joints, if I want to stay healthy, I will do this sport one of my reasons to live. It’s a “breath of oxygen” and a real “whiplash”.
Andrea De Giorgio has been a professional golf teacher and PGAI teacher for 20 years.
He was Federal Coach of the Lombardy Regional Committee of the Italian Golf Federation for 11-year patent courses.
He is the author and the creator of the software “Supervisor“, which he put on line, to keep his statistics of golf
In collaboration with Dott.Franco Iacovitti, professor of motor and sport sciences and sports trainer of FIG national vocational school, he developed a gymnastics dedicated to the improvement of the sporting gesture of swing.
Author of the book “Come giocare a Golf ConVincenteMente” together with Dr. Roberto Cadonati, psychologist and professor of the psychology of performance of the course of Sport Psychology at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Siena.
Technical supervisor of the book “Campo pratica” Caissa Editor 2019 written by the golf blogger Gianni Davico.
He manages the website www.golfsupervisor.com and the facebook page “golfsupervisor” where he publishes videos with suggestions for effective golf training and promotes his activities and initiatives.