You can never be to cool for school when it comes to playing golf. Watch any professional tournament on television and you will hear the commentator talking about pros bringing in certain coaches to help them with their swing or short game prior to the tournament.
I first enrolled in golf pre-school by taking a series of private lessons with PGA Teaching professional Rodney Green. These lessons were sporadic as things in life caused me to constantly postpone the lesson. Several months later, when I decided to self- elevate to Kindergarten, I called PGA Teaching Professional AG Stepney who put together a 2 day golf clinic for me and a couple of my friends. This was an opportunity to get reacquainted with the fundamentals of the game. With this knowledge I was able to go out to the range and practice. I still wasn’t ready or confident to take it the course but going to the range was enough to keep the spark going.
About 6 months after the 2 day clinic I enrolled in a 5 week clinic that EWGA put together at Orange County National Golf Course. I found that the multi-week format really works for me. I got the fundamentals in small doses and had time to practice before the next class. This provided me an opportunity to ask the teacher, in this case PGA Teaching Pro Pat Livingston, questions about areas that needed improvement.
Shortly after that class I took a series of FREE clinics to increase my knowledge even more. Oh yes, I said free! May is PGA Free lessons month. The PGA is committed to golf education and offers free clinics. Go to playgolfamerica.com to find out the free lessons in your area going on right now. Last year, Val and I attended an all day clinic and walked away with a goodie bag that included a Calloway 6 iron. Score! June is American Express Women’s Golf month. So again, courses offer free clinics to women. Last year I scored 3 free clinics!
I recently finished a 4 week women’s clinic at Disney’s Osprey Ridge Golf Course. Seventeen women were enrolled. It was at this clinic that found a neat little gadget called a removable grip trainer. This is a molded grip that fits over your club that helps you align your fingers. Most golf pro shops carry grips that have to molded to your club rendering it a practice club forever. Since I haven’t won the lottery I don’t have a club that I can just give to the cause, so I searched the internet for a removable grip trainer. Beth and I both bought the Grip Coach. It ranges in cost, depending on the site, from $8 -$12 plus shipping. I walk around the house and just randomly pick up the club. I’m amazed how off my grip still is, so this trainer has been a tremendous help.
My short game needs a little help so I purchased a returnable putt machine for $12 at Marshalls and then bought indoor outdoor turf at Lowes for $13. Based on the size of the carpet I bought the same set up ready- made would cost about $60 at a golf pro shop. While I’m watching TV, I practice my putting and grip. I treat it like homework.
If you find you can’t take advantage of the free clinics then I suggest you call your local golf course. A couple of courses have weekly drop in clinics ranging from 1 – 1.5 hours and a price range of $20 -$25. Because they’re drop ins the class size varies. My friend, Marnita, has taken advantage of these clinics and has often found herself in a class of 2! That’s a private lesson at $20! Also check the EWGA local chapter site and the playgolfamerica.com site. You’ll also find family lessons and clinics if you want to get the whole family involved.
Remember, if you want the game to be enjoyable, don’t be too cool for school and do your homework!
You don’t have a Fairy Golf Father and you’re thinking that golf is too expensive to play. Is golf expensive? The answer is Yes and No! Like anything in life, you can either pay full retail or you could shop around and find the same things at a discount.
When I first investigated about playing golf, the major barrier for me was the cost of the clubs. I had only looked for clubs at Golf Pro Shops because I didn’t know where else to look. At that time it was like looking for clothes on Rodeo Drive. Not really in my price range.
One night I was at dinner with my Fairy Golf Father and his wife. He asked what was preventing me from getting serious about playing golf. I responded “I can’t afford the clubs.” He looked at me and waved his wand (ok his fork) and said,” I got you”. I looked at his wife who commanded “say yes and thank you, right now.” And poof my wish for clubs was granted. But what to do now?
What to do now? I have access to clubs but no idea how to buy them. I called on PGA Teaching Professional, A.G. Stepney. Coach Stepney suggested I go to a local golf pro shop and get fitted for clubs. Uh what? So with Coach Stepney by my side, I got fitted for clubs. During the club fitting they measure your arm length and then have you hit a series of balls at a wall with a net. They capture your strength and speed. Turns out I needed men’s clubs, senior shaft. So with that knowledge I then was able to order my Nike clubs from his contact(Fairy God Father’s only requirement). The club fitting at is free and the knowledge you get is golden. With this knowledge you can buy a less than expensive box set from Wal-mart, Target, or used from garage sales or sports equipment re-sale outlets.
While you’re at the pro shop getting fitted, sign up for their loyalty programs. Often they send you coupons or host events that have special sales. I belong to the Golf Galaxy loyalty program and recently took my friend Beth to a Ladies Only event there. Just for being one of the first 50 entrants to the store we received a $10 gift card. Then Beth won the first raffle of another $25 gift card. She bought a Greg Norman skort and a pair of Footjoys (pictured here) both at 50% off. After using her gift card, she only paid about $30.
Looking for golf apparel and you can’t wait for a special event and don’t want to pay full retail? Well, I never want to pay full retail, so here are some tips. Marshall’s and TJ Maxx carry Nike Golf, DKNY Golf and Tommy Hilfiger Golf apparel at 75% off the cost at the pro shops. Golflocker.com and Budgetgolf.com are great sites for discounted golf shoes. Golfnow.com saves you on greens fees and is easy to use. Also, when you find a course you like, join their loyalty programs and/or email database or Facebook page. Courses often have special rates for loyal customers. So golf does not have to be expensive, so if that’s your excuse for not playing, get swinging!
In golf you mark your golf balls before you play. This is so you can identify your ball during the course of play. Some mark their balls with a simple x in their favorite color. I’ve seen others mark with a design and even some golf pros put “instructions” like “breathe” or “focus.”
My journey into golf started with a different type of x. An ex-boss, ex-husband, and ex-boyfriend. In the early 90’s I was a professional intern with the Indiana Pacers. One of my first jobs was to work a charity golf tournament supporting the Indiana Pacers Foundation. My ex-boss, Kathy, is a golfer and she put this tournament together. My role at the tournament was the beverage cart girl. There is no one more popular on the course than the beverage cart girl! That day on the course I was not bit by the playing bug but the business of golf bug. I was astonished to see vendors, coaches and players talking business on the course. I would imagine some of these vendors would have to take months to score an ½ hour meeting with these people and here they were with 4 uninterrupted hours! Since my (ex) husband and I were in the process of post military planning, I suggested he take up golf to network.
When we moved S.C., I enrolled him in an Adult Extension Golf class at the local community college. I didn’t know about clinics at Golf Courses but I do imagine the route we chose was the cheapest! He loved the classes and the game. We bought him used clubs and off he went. At this time I wasn’t interested in playing but I still enjoyed driving the cart and going out to professional tournaments. He did try to get me to come out and play but I felt it was his time to hang with the guys.
Fast forward a decade or so. Tiger Woods is on the scene and golf is exciting and mainstream. I’m divorced and have more time to volunteer for charitable organizations. Alonzo Mourning Charities had recently started hosting tournaments and I enjoyed watching everyone have fun. I was even shocked to see some of my DC guy friends playing golf. I had no idea. So now I’m more interested in playing.
So I take a couple of private lessons with Rodney Green, PGA Teaching Professional, and I’m doing ok. Sure, the swing is different than my usual tennis or softball swing but I believe I kept the cussing to a minimum. I was using rental clubs and determined to make it work. But then the hurricanes hit and I got distracted for a long time.
Then I met a guy. He was obsessed with golf and even more passionate about me playing with him. Ok, togetherness and fun, now we’re talking my language. So now I’m really inspired to play! So with that motivation I started seeking out more lessons and clinics. So while the husband and boyfriend are exes, golf has remained a great partner.
I originally marked my journey into golf with an e(x) but now it bears a signature all my own. Which is why I mark my ball with my initials.
The forward tees are for middle or high handicap women and seniors, and beginners of all stripes. There’s no shame in playing from a forward set of tees if that is appropriate for your game.
I have had so many starts to playing this game. Once going to the driving range some 10 years ago. Then taking a couple of private lessons 5 years ago, a golf clinic the fall of 2009 and then taking a 5-week clinic last May.
Two huge things happened before taking that clinic last May. First, my fairy golf father gifted me some clubs and then I was introduced through my job to EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association). The 5-week clinic was the kick I needed and the friendships with the women in the clinic fueled the passion. We made a pact after the clinic to try and play every Sunday. This provided the comfort level needed to go out and just have fun. We play 9 holes because we need time to socialize at the 19th hole!
I constantly hear from women that they want to learn to play but then they don’t. I hope by sharing my stories, you’ll be inspired to grab some friends, some cute outfits, learn to play and join in the fun.