Augusta National’s Natural Beauty

Augusta National Golf Club is home to The Masters Tournament, held the second weekend in April each year since 1934 with exception to 1944, 1945, and 1946 due to World War II. The 365-acre course is renown for its natural beauty, which is at it’s best during the prestigious Masters event.

Everywhere you look the course is ablaze with color from the Azalea’s to the Dogwood trees it is a spectacular scene. Augusta National’s tees and fairways are made up of Bermuda grass, a warm weather grass, but over-seeded in the fall with rye grass to give that rich green color. The greens are made up of bentgrass a cool season grass. One reason that the course remains in such great shape is Augusta National is a seasonal course. They close the course from May to October thus eliminating the additional wear and tear on the greens during the hot summer months.

Augusta National has a state-of-the-art irrigation system, a soil lab, and an on-site weather station to help tackle any problems the maintenance crew might face. They are also committed to the environment. Radar and airflow technology is used to predict rain and reduce the need for fertilizer, pesticides and water. Trees are mulched to prevent erosion, conserve water, improve the soil quality and serves as a way to recycle tree waste. Trees, flowers, greens and shrubs are even hand watered to prevent excessive run off. There are 55 acres to the left of the 11th hole to provide a wildlife habitat and home to 1000’s of migratory birds and the club has an ongoing reforestation project. The parking lot is left unpaved to prevent excessive run off and provide habitat for ground nesting birds.

The property was originally an Indigo Plantation then became a nursery during the 19th century. Many trees and plants were imported from all over the world and remained on the property after the nursery closed in 1918. In 1930 co-founder and retired golfer Bobby Jones was in awe with the natural beauty of the property and decided to build a golf course on the discovered the property that was purchased for $70,000. He found an investor, Clifford Roberts and set out to hire Dr. Alister Mackenzie, a British surgeon and golf course architect to design the course. A course that is now the envy of golf courses worldwide with less than 300 prestigious members including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

The Social Addiction

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Do you shut off your alarm clock? Is that alarm clock actually your cell phone and do you wake up to ringtones? Is the first face you see in the morning your profile picture? The hum and glow of the television as you look for news, weather, or music to get you ready for the day? The newspaper you scan for headlines while you order your morning coffee? For many of us, media is so ingrained in our lives today that we don’t even notice it, taking the infusions of information, music, video and social networking we receive as a necessity rather than entertainment.

In a study reported in Oct. 2010 by the BBC, undergraduate students from 12 universities around the world opted into an experiment that asked them to completely cut themselves off from all forms of media. Not just the Internet, but television, radio, newspapers and cell phones as well. The experiment, called “Unplugged,” was conducted in a partnership between the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA) and the Salzburg Global Seminar’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. The experiment asked students to abstain from media for a full 24 hours and comment on going “unplugged.”

Students at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom described their media removal experience similar to that of quitting hard drugs or dieting, associating their feelings with symptoms of addiction. Throughout the 24 hours, they were asked to keep a journal and record how they were feeling. Despite being able to read books and use land line telephones, many students described feeling isolated, anxious and upset about missing what was happening without them. This withdrawal from media has since been deemed Information Deprivation Disorder.

Not everyone suffered from the media shut out. Some students recorded that they went for walks, met up with friends and fully enjoyed their time unplugged. One common acknowledgment was the lack of being able to listen to music made students the most uncomfortable, noting the silence as especially unnerving. Without the pulse of music flowing through their earbuds and stereo speakers, students noticed the tweeting and chirping of actual birds, rather than Twitter feeds and cell phone alerts. Students heard the sound of conversation, of life outside the digital world.

“The extent to which we are using some of this modern technology and new media is changing us,” said Dr. Gerodimos, lecturer of communications at Bournemouth University. “Perhaps everyone should try going without it for a day every year.”

Effective Child Play to Foster Positive Early Childhood Development

It has always been mistakenly assumed that play is a child’s instinct and he can do it without adult assistance. Although very young children engage themselves in spontaneous child play, it is also noted that without adult intervention to stimulate early childhood development, this instinct gradually vanishes with time.

Child play helps to build a close knitted relationship between family members. Through play, parents can assist their children in problem-solving as well as exploring their imaginations. It is also through play time that children learn to communicate their thoughts, feelings and needs with the adults. They are also exposed to social interaction skills where they learn to take turns and be sensitive to others’ feelings. However, it is indeed critical for parents to know how to child play with their children and how to avoid the commonest pitfalls when playing with children.

1. Follow your child’s lead

Instead of imposing your own ideas, the first and most vital step in playing with children is to follow their lead. Do not give commands or instructions, instead, imitate their actions and follow what they ask you to do. They will become more involved and more creative in their play. This will foster the children to think independently and creatively.

2. Pace the play to suit your child

Children love to repeat the same activity over and over again when they play. Parents are often bored by this kind of repetitive child play and tempted to hasten the pace by introducing new activity. The truth is that children need to practice in order to master a skill and if they are forced into a new activity, they often get frustrated and may give up playing when they find the challenge too great. Remember to allow plenty of time for him to use his imagination, this slower pace will also help to expand his attention span and cultivate his concentration.

3. Have realistic expectations

Avoid playing toys or concepts that are too advanced for your child’s level. You may think that your three-year-old is ready to complete a 40-piece puzzle and as you try to teach him, you may find that he resists. This resistance is the way he shows his frustration towards something that he does not understand but is being asked to do. The right thing a parent should do when you notice that your child is not interested in playing is to move on to something he does want to do. Allow time for your child to think, explore and experience, do not worry even if a puzzle game turns into a spinning game or a creative design.

4. Avoid power struggle

Many parents unconsciously set up a competitive relationship when playing with their children. Consider a parent and a child playing building blocks. The child may be happily engrossed in getting the first wall of his house done and when finally he does, he looks to his parent for praise only to find that his parent has built a whole house. This makes the child feels inadequate. He may also feels that he is involved in a competition with his parent and may finally give up playing as he isn’t equipped to win. He may also resort to other ways of getting control of the situation, such as having a tantrum.

5. Praise and encourage creativity

Do not judge, correct or contradict your children while playing with them. The process of creating and experimenting with them together are what’s important and remember that child play does not have to make sense to you. Cars can fly and animals can talk. Instead, focus on the socially appropriate things that your children are exhibiting, such as their concentration, persistence, problem solving efforts, inventiveness, cooperation and motivation during the play. Praise their achievements with enthusiasm and your good encouraging statements will help reinforce these good social skills.

6. Encourage make-believe, fantasy and role-playing

Never disapprove imaginative play. Instead, parents should encourage this kind of play because it helps your child to develop a variety of cognitive, emotional and social skills. Allow tables and chairs to become palaces and houses, and puppets to turn into friends or relatives. Imaginative and fantasy play helps children to think creatively and symbolically. It also teaches them what is real and what isn’t.

7. Use descriptive commenting

Descriptive commenting is a running commentary on the children’s activities and often sounds like a sportscaster’s play-by-play description of a game. By providing descriptive commenting, you show interest in your children’s play and it also encourages language development.

8. Curb the desire to give too much help

Parents who are too helpful may make it difficult for their children to learn how to problem-solve and play independently. Parents can provide just enough support, hints, praise and encouragement to keep them working on the task.

9. Give attention to play

Parents naturally seize the opportunity when their children are playing quietly to take care of their own business such as preparing meals or reading a book. This should not be advocated as the children are not made to know how much they are appreciated for their quiet play. Instead, they will interpret that only by misbehaving or playing noisily, they will get their parents’ attention. It is natural that a child will work for attention from someone he loves, whether it is positive (praise) or negative (scolding). If they do not receive positive attention for appropriate behavior (e.g. playing quietly), they will then work towards getting negative attention by misbehaving. This is the basic principle behind the development of behavioral problems in later life.

10. Prepare them for the end of a play session

Give your child gentle reminder 5 minutes before the end of the play session by telling him, “In a few minutes it will be time for me to stop playing with you.” When five minutes have lapsed, say to him,” Now it’s time for me to stop paying. I enjoyed this time with you and we can do it again tomorrow”. You should then walk away and ignore any pleading. Once the child learnt that he cannot manipulate you into playing longer periods of time, the protests will subside. More importantly, when they realize that there is a regular play session every day, they’ll have less need to protest since there will be another opportunity to play the next day.

It is important for parents to value children play and fun activities as not only they can help can help to foster their self-esteem, their social, emotional and cognitive development would also be enhanced. By following these 10 tips on effective child play, you will help your child to try out their imaginations, explore the impossible, test their new ideas, make mistakes, solve problems, be creative and gradually gain confidence in their own thought and ideas. This ultimately helps your child to develop into a unique, creative and self-confident individual.