Imagine this, you’re halfway through your cocoa puffs and some Saturday morning cartoons when your parents switch off the TV and ask you if you’d like to go play golf. You’re excited because up until now, golf has always involved plastic windmills and ice cream afterward.

As you get out of the car, you’re a little confused about why there isn’t a bright blue waterfall or neon lights anywhere to be seen. There is only hilly grass as far as the eye can see.

Suddenly, your wardrobe choice—a pair of your favorite denim overalls and your super-cute, purple jelly sandals—which seemed perfectly reasonable earlier that day, immediately feels like a mistake. Palm, meet forehead.

Before you can get your wits about you, you’re being checked-in to a golf class and become surrounded by kids who very clearly know what they’re doing—they have real golf clubs, beautiful swings, and no plastic footwear. You’re new, and it’s obvious to everyone, especially you.

This was my introduction to golf.

Full disclosure, I was 10 years old, which completely justifies the choice of jelly sandals.

When I think back to that day, surprisingly I don’t cringe. Although I was totally unprepared, outside of my element, and surrounded by people who were far more advanced than me, the atmosphere I was met with was warm and welcoming. The instructor emanated pure joy, and the other students in the class took care to make me feel like I was right where I belonged.

Before that day, my perceptions of golf were limited to AstroTurf and windmills, but everything changed when I accepted the invitation from my parents to give golf a try. They knew that golf would be a way for me to build my confidence by trying something hard and that regardless of whether or not I stuck with it I’d have the opportunity to learn one of golf’s biggest lessons: that the only score that matters is the internal score we keep for ourselves.

It’s easy to take for granted golf’s learning curve once you make it to the other side and begin feeling comfortable on a golf course, and my theory is that its intimidation and discomfort with the unknown that keeps so many women away from the golf course.

For many women, the bridge that’s missing to connect them to golf could be as simple as a personal invitation and to be accompanied for their first experience by someone who’s familiar with the game. It takes courage to take on something new, but it’s much easier with a friend by your side offering guidance and encouragement along the way.

I hope I’m not alone in believing in the power of invitation. This week, in partnership with WE ARE GOLF, we’ve announced a new initiative aimed at helping welcome more women to golf. So if you consider yourself a golfer, then help connect the women in your life to this incredible game with an invitation.

And if you haven’t yet given golf a try, consider this your personal invitation. Come as you are, bring a friend, and know that all golfers are lifelong students of the game, so you don’t have to know everything there is to know before you start.

Share your journey with us throughout the year right here.

Happy golfing!