A golf trip to a warmer state

I just got back from a terrific vacation in Palm Springs at the PGA West complex. The temperature was in the 90s and the courses were in magnificent shape. For those of you who will be lucky enough to escape for some fun and sun on spring break, here are a few tips for playing early in the season:

Play at least one high end course. Although they are more expensive, the amenities provided will help make up for the extra dollars spent. Course conditions will resemble what you will find on the PGA Tour. Greens will be fast and true, fairways cut short and hazards may often contain dangerous wildlife, so be careful off the cut grass. High end courses also have a good practice range, so get there early and warm up by paying attention to short game.

Use lots of sun screen. Don’t be afraid to apply it twice or three times, as your skin will probably not be used to so much sun at this time of year. On the same tack, drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is very important in desert climates. I am guessing I drank at least two quarts of water during my rounds every day.

Check your equipment. It may well be time to consider replacing a club or two. I for one will be replacing my driver when I get home. It cost me more bogeys than any other club in the bag. It is tough to make par from the rough or a fairway bunker!!! Look at your hybrids and wedges, too. PGA Tour players replace their wedges every month (at least they get them free) and if your wedges are over five years old, the faces are probably worn out and won’t put as much spin on the ball when you hit a pitch or chip shot.

Enjoy the local flavor around the area. I was lucky enough to visit the old La Quinta resort, Arnold Palmer’s restaurant, a great Italian restaurant and the famous Hog’s Breath Inn in downtown La Quinta during my trip.

Thanks to Louise, Tony and Anthony for their more than gracious hospitality.

Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.