Once I decided to take advantage of the exciting opportunity to learn the game of golf, I was matched with a local pro named Marcie Brock, and we set up a time to meet at one of the nearby golf clubs.
“Isn’t this exciting?” I asked my son, Sam, as we drove over for our first lesson. “We’re going to learn something new!”
“I’m 16, Mom. I learn something new every day,” was his eye-rolling response.
Then he linked his iPhone to the car stereo and blasted some song that I’d never heard before and never wanted to hear again. This mother-son bonding plan of mine was clearly off to a great start . . .
We pulled up the Live Oak Golf Club, and I was relieved to see that that it wasn’t one of the fancier facilities that we have near us. I was already feeling a bit out of my comfort zone, so the last thing I wanted to worry about was backing into a Lamborghini in the parking lot. Live Oak, with its big oak trees, limestone clubhouse, and old Austin feel, put me right at ease, as did Marcie, who greeted us at the front of the club in a golf cart with clubs already loaded into the back. She was obviously a lot more prepared for this than we were.
Case in point, I asked Marcie if we were dressed properly, because I suddenly had the sinking feeling that we looked more like the caddies in Caddyshack than we did the club members. She nicely let us know that our athletic wear wasn’t preferable, and we should have on collared shirts next time. Not surprisingly, I took the news to spiff up a lot better than Sam, who considers sweatpants dressing up.
Marcie then took us over to the driving range area and, after making sure our clubs were the right length and size for our heights, showed us how to get the correct grip on the club. It’s not as simple as just plopping your hands on the shaft like it’s a garden rake. Not even close.
Marcie helped us figure out how to hold the club and even put a plastic guide on it for our finger placement. I noticed a few times that I was gripping onto it way too hard and realized that I needed to listen to my body and relax. That was the first of probably a hundred times I’d come to that realization during our series of lessons.
After we got a grip on our grips, we worked on our golf stances—bending the knees, distributing weight to our heels, keeping a straight back, etc. I thought Sam would figure this out right away since he’s on his high school’s tennis team and is used to coaching and instruction on body alignment, but surprisingly, I caught on faster than he did. I think it was maybe because of the barre method and yoga classes I’ve done over the years where someone is always telling you where to put your rear end. Who knew those millions of humiliating glute exercises would one day pay off on the golf course?
Once Marcie felt we had the most basic of basics down, she showed us how to do our first swing: a chip shot. A chip shot is a short, low swing that takes the ball from one place to another. Sam was mildly disappointed that we weren’t doing the big tee-off type of golf swing he thinks is more fun, but he started to enjoy himself after hitting the ball and seeing where it went.
Marcie would correct us when we weren’t using the proper stance or grip, and I think we both did pretty well after hitting a lot of balls. Right before the lesson ended, I made sure that I used the right form, the right grip, and the right stance on my final swing–and I missed the ball completely.
On our way back home in the car, Sam and I talked about how we thought the lesson went.
“What I learned today is that every time you hit the ball, it’s a chance to get better,” I told him. “You’re only as good as your last swing.”
“Yeah, and your last swing sucked,” he replied.
Lesson one, completed with my sanity mostly intact—onto lesson two!