Put yourself in the new golfers’ shoes. You were once her!
I suggest you invite the new golfer to the course at least 45 minutes in advance so you can take some extra time to show her around the facility. She most likely will be nervous and unsure of what is expected, so getting to know the facility one-on-one is less-intimidating than showing up with a large group of people. She may not be familiar with the bag drop, so explaining that process can also help the next time she visits the course.
The next step would be to walk her through the pro shop check-in process and explain how she goes about getting practice balls, the best place to get water and where the restrooms are located. Once the logistics are sorted out, head to the practice green for a bit of putting.
After hitting a few putts, you are ready to head to the range to warm up. The new golfer may or may not have her own clubs. Either way, I would suggest showing her what accessories are needed to play the game, so she can gather them for her next outing. Here are some items that we take for granted but a new golfer may not know about:
- Golf balls (and extra balls)
- Sharpie to mark her ball
- Ball mark
- Bug spray
- Sunglasses or a hat
- Golf towel to clean her club heads
As you begin your warm up, start out by hitting 5-6 balls with the 9-iron, 7-iron, 5-iron and continue through the clubs until you end with your driver. Once the warm up is complete, you are ready to head to the course.
Playing a team format instead of your own ball would be a better introduction to the game. This will alleviate the pressure and help make her feel less-isolated. If this is her first time playing, 6-9 holes is recommended with no emphasis on score. Let her know you are there to help answer any questions she may have, and that the priority is to have fun and enjoy the time out on the course.
Try to be supportive and patient throughout the round and encourage her to join you after golf at the 19th hole. This is an important right of passage and that last step that should not be missed. It is good to talk about one or two good shots from the day to keep the new golfer encouraged to Play Happy!
This time is not about your game, it is the new golfers’ time to shine, so do your best to make her feel special. She should away from the experience knowing that playing the game is possible, and this positive experience will last forever. Because of you, she might one day mentor a new golfer with the same care and compassion that you exemplified. Well done!