Although the game of golf has its origins in Scotland, golf has become a popular American pastime. In August we celebrate National Golf Month, a time when many golf courses offer discounts and the driving ranges invite both amateurs and professionals to better their game. This month, make August a hole-in-one with the activity ideas below.
TARGET PRACTICE – Set the tone for National Golf Month by staging a few target practice vignettes around your community. Wrap a medium-sized box using a brown grocery bag as wrapping paper. Turn the box upside down and cut out two or three small slots along one side of the box, large enough for a golf ball to fit through. Keep the box bottom-side up and then place in a common area, along with a few golf balls and putters. Place a sign enticing members to practice their putting shot.
GOLF BALL GARDEN BUGS – Create cute garden bugs by painting and decorating golf balls. Use acrylic paint, paint brushes, and Sharpie markers. Keep it simple by making one bug, such as a ladybug: paint the golf ball red, then add black dots and a face once the red paint dries. Give space for creativity by providing participants with a variety of paint selections, allowing them to create their own garden bug. Use a finishing spray on the bugs once they are dry, especially if you plan to place the “bugs” outdoors.
18-HOLE TRIVIA – Challenge your group to a round of golf trivia. Head over to Murdo Frazer for a glossary of golf terms. Ask participants to name the golf term you describe. Play individually, or divide into teams. Either way, let participants each have one Mulligan, meaning they can try answering a question again if they get it wrong the first time.
FAIRWAY REMINISCENCE – Whether members of your group were avid golfers in their day, or still enjoy the game of golf, spend time reminiscing with them about the game. Sit outdoors and serve lemonade. Prompt discussion with the following questions: Tell us about the first time you played golf. What sort of outfit did you wear while golfing? Did you own your own clubs or borrow from the clubhouse? Who taught you how to golf? What do you like most and least about golf? Do you have a favorite golf course, and why? Have you ever been to a professional golf tournament? Tell us about it.
FRISBEE GOLF – Take your group outdoors to play your own version of Frisbee golf. You just need a few Frisbees and a hula hoop. Give participants three Frisbees and ask them to toss them, one at a time, through the hula hoop that you hold. Stand as close or as far as you need to in order for participants to be successful. Keep score or play for fun.
TIN-CAN PUTT PUTT – Set up an indoor putting course for your group by using tin-cans and whatever other props you have in your activity closet. Secure the tin-cans to the floor with a heavy-duty tape. Cut out small triangles, attach them to a pipe cleaner, and use them as the flag numbers. Tape pool noodles sideways to the floor to create boundaries. You can make this as extravagant or as simple as you prefer. If you don’t have a putter, use a small broom.
PAR-TEE TIME – Invite members to celebrate National Golf Month by hosting a “Par-Tee!” Encourage members to dress in their best golf clothes, the sillier the pants the better. Serve golf club sandwiches and Arnold Palmers (mixed iced tea and lemonade). Set up a “caddie buffet” with green and white candies. Play swing music as participants eat. Set a Tee-Time for members to participate in a Wii Golf Tournament.
GOLF CART PHOTO OP – Reach out to a golf club nearby and arrange for a golf cart to be brought to your community. Then, invite members to sit in it, or in front of it, for a photo. Coordinate your Par-Tee for the same day.
SINK OR SING – Add this little twist to your group’s sing-along this month. Arrange a tin-can across the room, securing with heavy tape. Taking turns, place a participant about three feet from the tin-can and encourage them to try to putt the golf ball into the tin can. If the person sinks the putt, then another participant takes a turn. If the person misses, then the group sings the next song on the play list before the next participant takes a turn.
BIRDIE BUNKERS – Create bird houses with your group using empty milk or orange juice cartons. Rinse out cartons the day before this activity so that they can dry overnight. Instruct participants to cut out a small opening in the center of one side of the carton (or do this step ahead). Next, instruct members to paint their birdhouses using acrylic paint. Once the paint dries, glue Popsicle sticks to the top of the carton to create a rooftop. Poke a hole along the top edge of the carton and thread a long piece of twine through so that participants can hang their bird houses outdoors.
BACK NINE STRETCH – Combine golf and yoga for a fun fitness class. Give participants a small putter or pool noodle to use during the class. Then, incorporate the putter into your usual yoga or chair yoga routine. For example, instruct participants to hold the putter lengthwise in both of their hands and then extend the putter forwards to stretch their back muscles. Instruct participants to place the putter in one hand, then reach behind them and switch the putter to their other hand. Adapt a few of your own yoga poses to incorporate the props.
BRAIN “TEE-SERS” – Purchase a bag of colorful golf tees and invite members to participate in a few brain “tee-sers.” Before the activity, come up with a list of patterns to use during the activity. For example, the first pattern might be alternating one color after another. The next pattern might be two red lines, then one white line, two red, then one white, etc. The colored lines represent the colored golf tees. Sit participants at tables and place the golf tees in containers in front of participants. Then, draw the first pattern on a white board and ask participants to complete the pattern at their seat using the golf tees in front of them.
PUTTING AROUND TRIVIA
- In which country was modern golf popularized around the 15th century: Netherlands, Ireland, or Scotland? Scotland
- What does PGA stand for? Professional Golfers Association of America
- How many holes comprise a full round of golf? 18 holes
- Which golf term describes a shot where a golfer hits the ball from the tee and the ball rolls into the cup, all in a single stroke? A hole in one
- Arnold Palmer is not just a famous golfer, his name is also the title of a specialty beverage that combines which two drinks? Iced tea and lemonade
- What do we call the person who carries a player’s bag and clubs along the golf course? Caddie
- What type of golf clubs are used for long shots from the tee or fairway: woods, putters, or wedges? Woods
- What is the name of the golf-like game that is popular with families? Miniature golf or putt-putt
- What is the maximum amount of clubs a player can carry in his or her golf bag during a round of golf: 8, 11, or 14? 14
- What do you call a score of one above par? Bogey
PUTTING AROUND THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“I know I’m getting better at golf because I’m hitting fewer spectators.” ~ Gerald Ford
“Putting Around” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2019 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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