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A beginner’s guide to golf equipment

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Are you hoping to take up golf this summer but don’t know a wood from a wedge? Here’s a rundown of the equipment you’ll need before heading to the golf course.

Golf clubs
You can have up to 14 clubs in your golf bag. These are the main ones you’ll use to get the ball down the fairway and into the hole.

• The driver packs the most punch. It’s used to launch balls from the tee box.

• Woods 3, 5 and 7 resemble the driver, but since the club faces have more loft, they can hit balls directly off the ground.
• Irons are the most used clubs. They’re put to work for middle-distance and approach shots. It’s easier to control your ball flight with an iron than with a wood. Golfers tend to have five to seven irons in their bag (not including the wedges).
• Hybrids are a cross between irons and woods. They deliver greater control than woods but more distance than irons.
• Wedges have the most loft and are used for shots around the green.
• The putter is used on the green to tap the ball into the hole.

Other essentials
Here’s everything else you’ll need while out on the links.

• A golf bag to put all those clubs in.
• Proper golf attire including a collared shirt and golf slacks or a skirt. Most golf clubs have a dress code you’ll need to follow.
• A golf glove so you can grip clubs more easily.
• Golf shoes so you can keep your balance when swinging.
• Golf balls, tees, divot tools and ball markers — all of which you can fit in your bag.

Before heading out on the course for the first time (or the first time in a while), it’s worth having a lesson with a professional. Golf is a highly enjoyable sport but it takes some time to get the hang of.

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4 tips for traveling alone

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One of the joys of retirement is the freedom to travel more often. In particular, taking a trip alone allows you to explore what and where you want on your own terms. Here are some tips for first-time solo travelers.

1. Test it out close to home
Before you book a month-long holiday on the other side of the world, go on one or shorter trips in your region. This will give you a sense of how you feel when you’re alone for several days in an unfamiliar location.

2. Start with “easy” destinations

Until you get accustomed to traveling alone, visit places where you can communicate in the local language, and easily access tourist attractions by public transportation.

3. Opt for a cruise or group tour
This type of trip can ease feelings of loneliness and vulnerability. You can choose from an array of packages and itineraries and select whether you want an all-inclusive experience or a more open-ended one with multiple city stops and free time to explore.

4. Connect with people
Travel provides you with the opportunity to interact with interesting people and make new friends. Whether you’re among tourists or mingling with the locals, be open to making new connections.

For help planning a vacation that meets your interests, needs, and budget, be sure to speak to a local travel agent.

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5 bucket list trips for motorcyclists

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If you’re looking for the perfect stretch of road to ride your motorcycle, twists, turns and beautiful vistas are a must. Here are five bucket list-worthy roads to travel by motorcycle at least once in your lifetime.

1. Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
This route combines winding forest roads with awe-inspiring coastal views, making it a perfect choice for motorcyclists who want to connect with nature. Although you can complete the trail’s 185 miles in a day, the area’s abundance of beautiful campgrounds might tempt you to slow down and savor the journey.

2. U.S. 129, North Carolina

If you’re looking for a thrill, this route is for you. Known as the Tail of the Dragon, this challenging road packs 318 curves into just 11 miles as it winds through the Deals Gap mountain pass along the state line between North Carolina and Tennessee.

3. Icefields Parkway, Alberta
You’ll want to take your time riding the 141 miles between Lake Louise and Jasper, where majestic wildlife and striking views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains abound.

4. Blue Ridge Parkway, United States
Do yourself a favor and ride at least part of this national parkway through North Carolina and Virginia in the fall. Its 469 miles connect the lush forests of two national parks: The Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah. There’s no shortage of scenic vistas on this route.

5. San Juan Skyway, Colorado
Experience some of the most stunning scenery the United States has to offer along this 236-mile loop. The road’s twists and turns are exhilarating to navigate, but be sure to also stop and explore some of the historic mining towns on the way.

No matter which route you choose for your next motorcycle trip, make sure your bike is in prime condition and that you check the weather forecast before you leave.

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How to prepare for a multi-day motorcycle trip

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Careful preparation is the key to having a successful motorcycle trip, especially if you plan to spend several days on the road. Here’s what you should do before you embark.

Inspect your bike
Make sure your motorcycle is running smoothly before you hit the road. The last thing you want is for it to break down when you’re far from home. Pay close attention to the:

• Tires. Check the pressure and make sure the tread isn’t worn down.

• Brakes. Look for signs of corrosion and listen for squeaking or grinding sounds.

• Suspension. If your bike doesn’t handle well, bring it to a mechanic.

• Headlights. Make sure they’re not cracked or burnt out. Don’t forget to check the brake lights too.

• Fluid levels. Change the engine oil and if necessary, top up the transmission, coolant, and brake fluids.

If this is your first ride of the season, get your motorcycle inspected by a professional to make sure it’s in good condition.

Plan your route
Hitting the open road without a plan is spontaneous but also reckless. An itinerary helps you manage your time and ensure you can reach each destination before nightfall. You should also book your accommodations in advance since hotels and campgrounds can fill up fast, especially during the summer.

Finally, don’t forget to prepare your body for the long hours of riding ahead. Take a few shorter trips beforehand with all of your gear so you can get used to the weight and build up your stamina.

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Summer staycation – Be a tourist in your own town!

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The Front Royal Visitors Center, a popular Front Royal tourist destination will be opening again soon. Royal Examiner File Photos by Roger Bianchini

You don’t have to venture far to make the most out of your summer. In fact, there are several advantages to remaining close to home. You’ll save money on transportation and accommodations, contribute to the local economy, and feel more connected to our community.

Summer is the perfect time to soak up the sun at local parks, campgrounds, or to learn something new at nearby museums, art galleries, and historical sites. You could also lower your handicap at the golf course, browse through local boutiques, and outdoor dine at nearby restaurants. Also, be sure to check out the shows, festivals, and performances taking place right in our town later this summer.

This summer, why not play tourist in your own town? Simply consult the Royal Examiner or visit the visitor center to put together a list of places to go and things to do. Check out the website ‘Discover Front Royal’ for things to do in our community.

We’ll be back open soon, so start your plans now.

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Personalized trips: creating unique travel experiences

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Are you the kind of traveler that likes to venture off the beaten path? Do you long to create memorable trips without the hassle of planning them? Enter the travel agent of the modern age: your partner in creating the customized experience you long for.

A tailor-made experience
Whether you wish to wine and dine in Italian vineyards or hike through the Australian Outback, your travel planner can do the legwork involved in building an itinerary, one that’s truly tailored to your preferences, needs and desires.

Typically, these experts work with local guides and organizations to ensure you get a unique experience. How much they map out of your trip depends on you, but planning is typically comprehensive and based on the activities you want to take part in and how long you want to spend at each location.

A convenient service
Beyond helping you create the perfect itinerary, your travel planner will take care of everything from plane tickets to hotel rooms, guides, activities, restaurant recommendations, car reservations and even private drivers. By working with an experienced agent, all you’ll need to do is pack and enjoy the adventure.

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Travel insurance: more expensive with age?

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If you’re 60 or older and would like to travel abroad, you’ll need to make room in your budget for travel insurance. However, the cost increases as you get older. Here’s what you should know.

The price of protection
An insurance policy that costs $1,000 for a 65-year-old couple can easily double in price for a 75-year-old couple. This augmentation will typically occur even if there aren’t any pre-existing health conditions. Insurance providers tend to assign a much higher level of risk to certain age brackets.

How to shop around
Given the high cost of travel insurance, it’s essential that you shop around when planning your trip. Unsurprisingly, your overall health will have an impact on the kind of coverage you can get. This also applies to the basic travel insurance offered by credit card providers, the terms of which may change once you reach a certain age.

The best thing to do before booking a trip is to speak to an insurance broker so they can help you get the best policy available.

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