Our first lesson where we learned proper grip and stance had gone surprisingly well, especially considering that I’d never played golf before (and that I was with my 16-year-old son who never wants to leave the house on weekends). So when the day came for our second lesson, I was pretty excited. Before our lesson, I remembered what our golf pro, Marci, said about needing to wear a collared shirt.
“Go see what you can find in your closet,” I told Sam.
Ten minutes of digging around later, we both had on polo shirts that we pulled out of my husband’s drawer because he’s the only one in the house who actually wears them. Sam’s shirt fit him a lot better than mine, which I realized when he told me that I looked like a professional bowler. Great. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I told myself that it might be a good idea to go find something cute in the pro shop later. The last thing I needed was for someone to ask me what night I had my bowling league.
When we pulled up to the Live Oak Golf Club, I immediately noticed something that I saw the first time we were there, too: dudes. Big dudes, little dudes, old dudes, dudes in bright pants, dudes in tan pants, a lot of dudes. In fact, besides Marci and myself, there was only one other woman on the course. I’m sure that’s not typical, but it did reinforce how happy I was to be learning a sport that none of my female friends played on a regular basis.
I decided that as soon as I figured out what I was doing, I was going to encourage them to try it, too. After all, who needs another book club? We’d have a lot more fun zooming around in a golf cart on a gorgeous spring day than arguing over the hidden meanings in Fifty Shades of Grey.
Our lesson began with a recap on the proper grip and stance, which didn’t thrill Sam. But, Marci reminded us that it’s important to get those things right before moving on. She’s very much a proponent of the mind/body connection, and how one has to be aware of form and technique and practice them the right way until they come naturally. I tried my best to remember what I should be doing each time, but still found it interesting that I might swing the right way five times in a row, but then I could screw up the sixth time by moving my head or arms the wrong way. The good news is that golf gives you the opportunity to improve on what you’re doing with every try.
Next, Marci had us both do quite a few practice swings without actually hitting a ball. Body placement is key to making the ball go where you want it to go when you’re really playing, and we worked hard to get our positions right. She even had us try a few practice swings with our eyes closed so we could concentrate on our movement without distraction. Later, Sam joked that we should try this eyes closed technique when we went for his next car-driving lesson, um, NO!
Finally, after practicing our swings with the proper clubs, it was the moment Sam had been waiting for: the driving range. Like most 16-year-old boys with a competitive streak, he wanted to see how far he could hit the ball. I guess all of those years spent on mini-golf courses weren’t exciting enough, even with the windmills and fake dinosaurs.
For the next twenty minutes or so, the two of us hit ball after ball, some with more success than others. I surprised myself a few times with how far my shot went and made sure to mention when it went farther than Sam’s. While we hit, Marci gave us regular feedback and corrected what we were doing wrong. By the time we finished, we were hitting more balls correctly than we weren’t, and it felt great to be doing something we didn’t know how to do even the week before.
What helped make our intro to golf not as frustrating as it could be was definitely working with a pro. Of course, you can easily go out on your own to a course and try to figure it out, or have a friend teach you, but I know we wouldn’t have progressed as quickly without expert instruction from Marci.
Next up, lesson three. Stay tuned to hear if I still look like a bowler.