For Gals Who Golf… and Those Who Want to Learn
From retired “ladies who lunch” to LPGA professionals, women all across the world are taking to the courses and meeting on the tee to enjoy the bittersweet experience of golf. I say bittersweet because if you’ve picked up a club, you know what I mean. Swing after swing as beginners, we hack away at our grandpa’s backyard with an old pitching wedge. Some of us get lucky and actually learn how to make contact with the ball on some part of the club face. Others get frustrated right away and say, “Nope! This isn’t for me!”
Regardless of whether you go pro or not, you will always find yourself frustrated with your game to some degree. Some days I can’t miss with my driver, bombing it 200+ every time I pull it out of the bag, right down the middle. Other days, I better not even attempt anything but an iron off the tee and play smart golf.
I will say this though, there is nothing like the feeling I get when the club, whatever club it is, actually does connect with the ball in the sweet spot and I make what they, in the biz, call “a golf shot.” For this reason alone, I encourage all women to get out there and try it. It truly is a game for the ages, as all ages can and do participate with great enjoyment.
If you are just starting out or would like to join the game, I thought I might share a few things I’ve learned as not only a gal who golfs but one who has worked in the industry as well. Golf is a game of traditions and manners, beginning as a gentleman’s game in Scotland, and later played amongst the aristocrats and the royals as its popularity spread.
These traditions have been honored and passed down through the generations from golfer to golfer, and I would love to share a few of these important considerations with those beginning this lifelong endeavor:
1. Find out at what type of course you will be playing. To be quite frank, there is a big difference between going to the local 9-hole public course and playing at a private 5-star golf club. As a guest, you will want to make sure you have the proper knowledge of “what you are getting into.” For example, at most private clubs, you will have a bag drop and a valet, for which you will want to have cash for tipping. At some public courses, you are allowed to bring your own refreshments in coolers. Most private courses require that you use their facilities and outlets for refreshments, some even requiring a member number for use, making your credit card obsolete. If you are joining someone for golf, it’s good to ask your host what to expect and how to prepare. Which leads us to number two…
2. Know your attire requirements. From driving ranges that don’t mind if you show up in yoga pants and a workout tank, to the most prestigious of clubs that allow only Bermuda shorts for ladies and slacks for men with collared shirts as a must, there are all types of facilities out there, and each has different dress requirements. Again, if someone is hosting you at a private facility or event, ask your host what attire the club requires. If you are playing a public course, pretty much anything goes except for sweatpants, but it is still polite to ask. Golf is a game of manners, and your consideration of this rule will be appreciated by the professional staff at any course.
3. Ask about common course etiquette beforehand. Here are a few things you can do right off that bat: be silent when other players are preparing to swing and gently place the flagstick on the ground when players are ready to putt. If you end up driving, always stop your golf cart out of the line of the next player’s shot. Use “inside voices” even though you are outside—respect is one of the best parts of golf! Truly, there are a million little nuances to this tradition-laden game. If you are unsure and don’t want to step out of line, or perhaps on someone else’s putting line (another no-no!), ask a more experienced golfer for some tips, or check out some of the major golfing websites or channels for professional guidance. There is a slew of information out there to help out the unknowing beginner.
4. Unplug and engage. This is probably the most important to remember in this day and age. Golf, for me, has always been a time to disconnect from the bustling world of technology and to connect with nature. In fact, most courses even require that you, at least, silence your phone. Some private courses do not even allow cell phones in the clubhouse, period. It’s best just to use this time to focus on being present—golf is hard enough as it is without all of those distractions!
I truly have loved the game of golf, and over the years it has been such a great source of networking for me. I meet all kinds of people on the course, men and women, young and old, from all over the world. If you have any questions, I would love to help grow the game of golf in your life! Just remember, like most things in life, golf is definitely one of those sports where you are going to be giving yourself lots of grace because it will take all your grit to master it!
See you on the course ladies!