Even on the golf course, girls just want to have fun
Chatting with one of my friends who had just started to play the game, I asked her, “How are you enjoying it?”
“It’s a kick,” she answered. “The best part is being outdoors with friends; having fun.”
And there you have it.
Many women, especially new golfers, find the fun part of the game is very important. It’s what brings them back even after a tough day on the course. “A few of us go out, play a few holes, then go in for lunch,” said my friend.
Today even low handicap ladies, are tending not to join the more competitive leagues. “They are too serious,” said a girl who had dropped out of her district league even even though her handicap of 18.3 qualified her to play.
Realizing this, in targeting women golfers to help stimulate the growth of golf under The PGA of America’s new initiative 2.0, one of the keys is promoting the fun part of the game. With this in mind, here here are some basic things new golfers should keep in mind …
• Don’t keep score
Who says you have to keep score, especially for the first two or three months. You can just concentrate on your game and when you feel some consistency developing, then you can start writing down your score to establish a benchmark to measure your improvement as you go forward.
• Learn to pick up
Don’t wear yourself out. After 10 shots or so, pick up and move on.
• Find a golf teacher you can relate to and take some lessons
Most golfers are not Bubba Watsons. Most need some instruction. Theirs is no point in practicing until you know what to practice.
• Make up some games
Instead of keeping score, award points for skills like hitting the fairway on your drive (1 pt.), reaching the green in regulation (1 pt.), putting into the cup in two (1 pt.), one putts (2 its.), getting out of bunkers in one (1 pt), etc. The winner is the one with the most points and springs for the first drink. This system keeps you in the “game” all the way.
• Practice, practice, practice
I know, you may hate it, but just swinging a club in your back yard to establish good muscle memory can be a big help. Jack Conger, a highly respected golf professional in Syracuse, New York, tweaked my swing, then sent me home with two simple drills to do four times a week. There went my excuse for not practicing.
• Practice swings
Take two practice swings for every shot you hit. In this case, more is not better. You can burn out if you take a lot of swings and too much time.
• Learn course etiquette and basic rules
Ask someone more experienced than you to take you out on a slow day and show you course etiquette – where to stand when your partner is teeing off, how to mark your ball etc. Also get a copy of a rules booklet and read it until you understand it. It’s not the most stimulating reading, but it will help you to fall asleep at night.
• Tee it Forward
The LPGA, PGA of America and the USGA are jointly sponsoring an excellent initiative designed to have golfers play from the set of tees best suited to how far they drive the ball. This applies to men as well. For example, if you drive 100 yards, the total yardage for 18 holes for you should be about 2,100 to 2,300 yards. That would be a par-3 course. If you can drive 175 yards, you should play from tees where total yardage is 4,400 to 4,600 yards. Only those who can drive 275 yards should play from yardages of 6,700 to 6,900.
Now go out and enjoy your game.
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