For the first time in a long time, I am not working. This particular late summer into fall has been absolutely beautiful in my part of the country so I decided to join a ladies golf club for the first time ever and I’d like to write about my experiences here. I will turn 55 in early October and have been a zero to three or four times a year golfer for three decades now.
I have always loved the game though, in spite of my heretofore lack of commitment to it.
There is not a more humbling sport than golf. It is a perfect metaphor for life. No two shots are the same. Things can go great one day then tank the next. It’s just you against that little dimpled white ball. If you can keep it in play, you can handle whatever may come – the golf course, hazards, scorching heat, sudden downpours and other golfers – all with a smile on your face. Kinda like life.
It is much easier said than done. Golf is not for the faint of heart. It can turn the most confident person into an imbecile in minutes.
Being a woman golfer is also a unique experience because the whole golf industry is heavily geared toward men and generally, women are not expected to perform all that well on the golf course, which is kind of sad because they very much want to. I am not trying to stereotype here, just speaking in general terms which comes mostly from my own personal observations. Women are extremely intimidated by golf and its male dominance and they know they don’t hit it well because for the most part they just don’t get out there and play nearly as often as men do. They are self conscious about their special red tees being closer, about not knowing which clubs to use or how hard to hit chips. Then there is the whole man-cave aspect of golf. We ladies know about the man bonding thing out on the links. Sometimes we’re not wanted. We’ll mostly leave you guys alone out there but there are plenty of us who are serious about the sport. And of course, we play with men a lot too. Before I joined this ladies club I played almost exclusively with men or the occasional couples foursome.
I want to play this game. I want to get really good. I want to smash the ball. I am not there yet.
And if there is any doubt, I’d much rather golf than shop any day!
MY FIRST ENTERED SCORE
So I’m in a nine hole group. I had always thought you had to play 18 holes to establish a handicap but now, at least, you don’t. I played my initial five rounds with club ladies, turned in my signed score cards and have now been entered into the computerized state golf association system. Woo hoo! I have a number and can enter scores on my own, no verification needed, into the computer and today, I entered my first independent score – 52. This is my worst of the six initial rounds. I shot a 45, two 47s, a 49, a 51 and now this disappointing 52. Two triple bogeys and a slough of doubles with some ugly tee and fairway shots earns me north of 50. Ugh. I should also say that my home course is shorter than regulation, lest you’re thinking my scores aren’t really that bad! Total yardage from the red tees is 2043.
At present I’m getting worse and for a 10 minute period during today’s round, I considered quitting golf altogether, but now that I’ve had a chance to cool off and reflect, I know I was being silly and this slump will pass. I’m playing more golf than ever before. I am bound to improve. I found a great website called Free Online Golf Tips and watched seven short videos about the fundamentals of setting up your shot: alignment, stance, ball position, posture and grip. I learned that quite possibly I’ve been positioning the shaft of my club too far forward. The shaft should point toward my hip bone at address.
Doh! Could this be why I couldn’t hit a wood higher than a few feet today?