Golf Travel

The eclipse

The first time I played golf was the afternoon of the partial eclipse in Nashville, Tennessee. I had just returned from school with my degree, and my father chose to acknowledge my maturity by standing me drinks at the close of our nine-hole round.

My golf game is a loss of memory, a stroke sliced so far wide, my eye can’t follow; I hear the pond gulp. But I remember the one o’clock eclipse, how when I stepped from the house the clear sky unexpectedly darkened. The air turned cool in the animal silence.

And I noticed under the tall shrubs where shadows of the oval leaves met and parted, a thousand dancing moon-shaped suns shifting and dividing as the air shuffled the stiff leaves and a thousand foci blinked and stared. I called the others out to show them.

Moments after the display had vanished, I remember I remained entranced. I saw eclipses everywhere. My car eclipsed the family car, the house across the street eclipsed the hill that stood above it, tall irises eclipsed the box, and every object rose to obscure another.

My father joined me carrying his clubs, and we went. But on the way, all buildings, cars, trucks, signs, and trees, held orbits that met and overlapped. The golf swing, too, caused an eclipse, and the sinking ball eclipsed the cup. Nothing seemed safe, that afternoon, from apparent loss.

Hunting Trips

Some Mistakes That Coyote Hunters Should Avoid

Whether you are a new coyote hunter or not, you will make some mistakes that you do not identify on a regular basis. To get a better result in the hunting range, you should know and avoid these.

Choose a wrong stand location

Coyotes are hard to make a call to appeal them, so it will be a nightmare if you select a bad stand location. You will never have a complete call to attract and hunt them. Most of the hunters hurry to blow a call and assume that coyotes will come to their standing points promptly.

On the flip side, a great stand location will support hunters have a smooth and careful hunting range. You need to have a place to hide your hunting tool to mislead other coyotes when you catch one of them.

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Golf Travel

How Golf Ball Are Made ? The Core War

The Core War

In the design and engineering of the golf ball, the chief considerations are the core, cover, and dimples. The cores it the source of energy and differences in its construction affect many important performance characteristics: spin rate for control, initial velocity for distance, and compression for “feel.”

Primary core constructions are solid (two pieces) and wound (three pieces). A two-piece ball consists of a solid rubber core with a durable thermoplastic (ionomer resin) cover. The three-piece ball consists of a smaller solid rubber or liquid-filled center with rubber thread wound around it under tension, and an ionomer or balata rubber cover. The solid center gets an ionomer cover and the liquid center a balata cover. With its larger solid core, a two-piece ball generally travels father than a three=piece wound ball, particularly on the roll (more than the airborne carry). Golf ball design and production involve tradeoffs, however, and the extra yards usually come at the expense of control and feel.

Nonetheless, the extra distance and tougher covers have resulted in two-piece balls now making up 70% of all golf ball production. Spalding champions two-piece balls, which it introduced in 1968 and which is all it produces. Titleist dominates in three-piece balls, the choice of most touring pros and other expert golfers. This year it joined the two-piece trend with its new HCV ball. The company already had been making the Pinnacle brand two-piece ball.

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Hunting Trips

Practice Makes Perfect

While guides stress the imperative of physical conditioning before a hunt, few emphasize the need to improve shooting skills. Most of us sight in our rifles from a bench. We can do pretty well from a supported rest. But what happens when there’s no convenient rest to steady your rifle? It’s a shame to lose a trophy bull because you had to shoot offhand.

Once or twice a month in the last few months before your hunt, visit your local rifle range and practice shooting from offhand, kneeling, sitting, and prone positions. If you can find a range with running-deer targets, try them. Also, seek out a range that allows shooting from 200 yards or more. You’ll learn to coordinate breathing, sight picture, lead, and trigger squeeze. And, of supreme importance, you’ll develop that intuitive ability to hit what you see.

There’s one final element of pre-hunt conditioning, and it’s the toughest one of all: mental attitude. Despite what we’re told by outfitters, in our mind’s eye we always picture fair-weather hunts with plenty of game and comfortable, if primitive, accommodations. The reality is often quite different. It can be cold and wet, game can be moving in unusual patterns, one of your tent-mates might snore like mad, and the terrain can be much more rugged than it looked in the video. Knowing that you’re in pretty good physical shape will give you the confidence to weather these discomforts.

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Hunting Trips

Hunting high: physical and mental preparation for high-country hunting trips (P2)

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Shape Up!

Every outfitter I know tells clients to “get in shape” before heading out west to hunt. For us of the chair-imprisoned, 40-plus brigade, this can be a daunting challenge. Our lives are hectic. Finding time to exercise rigorously every other day during every week is difficult. Yet it takes stamina to climb 2,500 feet from camp to an elk park before dawn, then drop down a thousand feet to glass a wallow and climb again to a perch along the tree line. You have to go to where the elk are and, occasionally, you have to do it on the run.

The next call you make after booking a high-altitude hunt is to your family doctor. Schedule a full physical if you haven’t had one in a year. Ask him or her to prescribe a stress test. Do it as soon as you can.

A decade ago, I decided to get in shape. My wife, a bright lady, suggested a physical first. My doc ordered a stress test, and when my heart reached 180 beats per minute, an irregular rhythm showed on the scope. We were living in Minnesota at the time, and the doctor called a friend at the Mayo Clinic. His pal discovered that I, like millions of others, suffer from a slight deformation of one of the valves in my heart. It’s not dangerous and doesn’t worsen with age, doctors told me. But I shouldn’t push myself past a pulse of 150 or so.

Based on nay doc’s advice, I shoot for a pulse rate of 135 when I work out. I wear a monitor to keep track of how well I’m doing. These are my suggestions: Start with a gentle warmup of three minutes, then move on to two to three minutes of hard exercise, followed by equal periods at an easier pace. As your conditioning improves, lengthen the periods of exertion and shorten those of relaxation.

Remember that the goal is twofold. You want to be able to sustain a high rate of exertion for a period of thirty minutes or so, but you also want your pulse to return to normal. The stress test you took before beginning your exercise program will help you develop cardiovascular targets that match your personal physical condition. Heed your doctor’s advice.

It’s best to start these workouts four or five months before a hunt. But we hunters are quintessential procrastinators. Although it’s already June, there’s still time to get in shape. Your conditioning strategies will be determined by where you live and how much time you can invest in breaking a sweat.

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Golf Travel

Play a round: get goofy in the wacky world of mini-golf courses

Miniature golf has gone in and out of style more times than blue and orange plaid golf pants.

If you weren’t playing goofy golf in the 1920’s and 50’s, you were as uncool as a square golf ball. Other years, people would have rather been hit on the head with a putter than caught at a mini-golf course.

Today, miniature golf is back.

Where else can you hit a golf ball into a crocodile’s stomach and not get eaten yourself?. Or enter an eerie cave and not worry about attacks from humongous snakes?

Nowhere else, and that’s part of the easy to learn sport’s fun.

“Mini-golf has themes that keep anyone from age 8 to 80 interested,” says 16 year old putting fan Kevin Carlyle, an Eagle Scout with Troop 374 in Liberty, Mo.

Those themes are becoming more realistic every day. Course owners practically have to feed the computerized animals and water the artificial turf!

Another World

Ever wanted to vacation in the Australian outback? Explore a haunted cemetery? How about becoming a part of a movie?

Builders of miniature golf courses think you have. That’s why “theming,” where each hole relates to the subject of the entire course, has become the way the ball bounces.

Take Fantasia Gardens at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. One hole has an electronic mushroom popping out of it. Another: musical notes you have to maneuver around, just like the crazy world in the classic movie “Fantasia.”

Then there’s Boomer’s Family Entertainment Center in Boca Raton, Fla. The creaky Australian mine shafts and cave paintings take you on a goofy golf walk about Down Under.

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Hiking Trips

Hiking, mindfulness, and the healing power of nature (P2)

(P1)..Nature-based physical activity, including countryside walks, hiking, and horseback riding, has been found to be an effective way to improve the health of people with mental illness. A 2005 study showed that walking 35 minutes per day, five times per week, or 60 minutes three times per week significantly improved symptoms of depression. Walking 15 minutes per day did not have such an effect on mood. Other reported symptoms included lower blood pressure, protection against heart disease, and boosting self-esteem.  In another study, 20 British participants compared hiking outdoors in a natural setting to walking in an indoor urban shopping mall. Seventy-one percent of those who hiked outside reported a decrease in depressive symptoms while 22% reported increased depression when walking indoors. Ninety percent reported an increase in self-esteem while in nature, and 44% said self-esteem decreased when walking indoors.  Many observational and interventional studies show that regular exercise reduces symptoms of depression. In one study, 156 people with depression were divided into three groups; those who did aerobic exercise, those who took the SSRI medicine Zoloft (Sertraline), and those who exercised and took Zoloft. After 16 weeks, all three groups showed an equal response with a 70% improvement of symptoms. The group that took the prescription medicine improved quicker than the group that just did aerobic exercise.

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Hiking Trips

Hiking, mindfulness, and the healing power of nature (P1)

When you are hiking, you can practice mindful meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment. It is a mental state of focus and awareness on what is happening right now in front of you. It allows for calming and quieting the mind and bringing stillness to wandering thoughts. It acknowledges and accepts one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Just by being and moving in a natural outdoor setting, you bring your awareness and focus to the present moment. You help to calm and still the rumination of an active mind and the endless rambling of many thoughts. You free yourself from the endless activities of urban living. You free your concentration from the incessant inclusion of digital devices on your mind and consciousness. You open and accept that you are a smaller part of an immense universe. You allow the energy and life-giving force of Mother Nature to flow into you. You accept and receive the healing power of nature.

Science is beginning to validate the healing power of nature. Several studies support this notion that is one of the foundations of naturopathic medicine. In this article, I focus particularly on the mental and emotional impact of nature on human health.

G.N. Bratman from Stanford University evaluated brain activity and scores on a questionnaire in 38 subjects. Nineteen participants walked 90 minutes in a natural lush green setting around Stanford University, and 19 other participants walked for the same amount of time through an urban setting with heavy traffic. Functional MRIs showing blood flow and brain activity were performed in each group of volunteers. The MRIs showed that those who walked in an urban setting had markedly increased activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex. This was associated with increased stress, anxiety, and rumination of thoughts. Those who walked in the natural setting showed decreased activity in this area of the brain. These participants also reported less rumination, anxiety and showed more attentiveness and were happier than those who walked in the urban setting.

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Hiking Trips

The Reasons Why You Should Go Hiking

In the case, you are not a fan of hiking and you have not gone hiking. It is the time for you to think of the reasons why your friends and a lot of people who always feel satisfied from completing the longest route over mountains. You will be pleasantly surprised with the legitimate reasons of your friends when they choose to wander through woods and mountain passes at the weekend. In addition, you will find out why hiking is good for you. Below are the reasons you should consider before making the decision on hiking.

Hiking is Good for Your Health

When you go hiking for a long time, you will be benefited a lot from it. We can deny the fact that a lot of studies about hiking and walking have shown that there is a firm correlation between a lot of health benefits and hiking. You will find the list very impressive. Improved mental health, reduced hypertension, weight loss, prevention of heart disease and prevention of diabetes are some of the wonderful benefits of regular hiking and walking.

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Golf Travel

Golfing fantasy world

Last week, I really felt that I had arrived. The world recognized me as a man of substance. Doors were opening – the high life was mine for the taking.

I had received junk mail of an altogether higher class than usual. No gaudy, get-rich-quick or save-money offers, just a discreet address in the bottom left-hand corner of the envelope and, inside, the opportunity of a lifetime. The letter was headed with a gold-embossed eagle. I was not invited to buy a timeshare, but seasonal ownership at Gleneagles.

The same postbag offered appropriate transport to my new holiday home. All I had to do to land my Jaguar car was fill in a questionnaire (oh, and just happen to win a prize draw).

My usual response is to snort and add such offers to the recycling box. However, I could not just throw away photographs of Gleneagles – the moors, the lochs, the imposing turrets of the hotel itself, flag flying on the eighth hole, lumps of meat, bathroom taps (why taps?), women having massages.

All were mine for the taking. There was an offer to go for an inspection visit: one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast, and all for no more than I would usually spend on renting a cottage for a week.

Living the good life

I owe my suspicious nature to my Scottish heritage. I had to check that the rate was per room, not per person. Mercifully, I heard an answering machine and declined to leave my number. They called back, anyway, just a few minutes later. I put the receiver down half an hour later, poured myself a dram, and ruminated on the good life that I was clearly living.

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