A Guide to Golfing Well Around the World
Prep for your next round with guidance from the experts. The golf professionals at The Ritz-Carlton share their exclusive tips for conquering fairways and greens in a variety of destinations — no matter your skill level.
From 18 holes designed by champion players to sweeping waterfront views and lush green vistas, the golf courses at The Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts around the globe are world-class. Whether you’re well on your way to perfecting your game, or just starting out, the seasoned golf professionals at a few of our favorite fairways offer tips and techniques to improve your next round.
Squeeze in Some Practice
Even if you have a busy travel schedule, there are plenty of opportunities to practice both at home and on the road, according to the pros. “Putting is definitely a part of the game where most golfers could use more practice,” says Steven Mazzei, golf operations manager of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Grand Cayman. “At home or even in your hotel room, you can set up a target with golf balls at three feet, six feet and nine feet away to practice your distance control and accuracy. Be sure to roll the ball just past your target on each putt. Remember that the ball doesn’t have a chance of going in the hole if it doesn’t get to the hole.” Forgot your putter while traveling? The hotel concierge can often arrange a loaner to utilize during your stay.
Must-Play Course: With 470-yard-hole play that feels like 600, the Greg Norman-designed nine-hole course at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is perfect for golfers who want to play multiple rounds in a day. But keep in mind that the course has water coming into play on eight of the nine holes. “The accuracy of your tee ball is much more important than distance,” says Mazzei. “If you aren’t comfortable hitting your driver, club down and hit something you can keep in the fairway.”
But Tap the Pros First
While the adage “practice makes perfect” is especially true for golf, Mazzei cautions that proper practice is key. “Visit your local golf professional to get a solid practice regimen put in place, and you will soon notice that you are shooting lower scores and becoming much more consistent.” Additionally, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes Director of Instruction and PGA Tour veteran Larry Rinker suggests turning to a certified club fitter, who can determine your dominant core region, grip and grip size. “Your swing characteristics will be based on your dominant core region,” he says.
Must-Play Course: Designed by two-time British Open Champion Greg Norman The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, Grande Lakes course is reminiscent of a private club — a variety of hazards keeps even the most avid golfers on their toes. To up your chances of staying in the green, schedule a lesson with a pro before hitting the links. And when teeing off, Rinker says to focus on driving the ball well, and distance putting. “You will have some long putts with our expansive greens that you will want to get down in two strokes.”
Stay Fit and Flexible
“Any exercise that will strengthen your core will definitely help your game,” says Hugo Pinheiro, golf director at Penha Longa Resort in Portugal. “Focus on your abs, mainly the lateral abs — with a strong core, you will not feel the need to apply force with your arms,” he says. Core strength is crucial for Rinker, too, who recommends a specific regimen. “With Wright Balance (a program that measures core symmetry to improve your swing), you will have nine stance widths that you can plank and strengthen your entire core which immediately increase distance.” Mazzei also adds: “Don’t forget to stretch before you start a practice session or a round of golf.”
Must-Play Course: Designed by the famed Robert Trent Jones Jr., the 27-hole course at Penha Longa Resort features bold drives, courageous approaches and artful greens, making for an exhilarating round of golf set amid Portugal’s lush landscapes. “Penha Longa is a tactical course, and therefore the best tip would be to prepare — think about your next shot, before hitting your current shot,” says Pinheiro. Prep for your next round with a trip to the spa, where the Quirogolf Massage promises to relax your muscles from head to toe through a therapeutic massage using golf balls to improve circulation and reduce joint pain.