Blog: Learning to play golf - part 1
After working for Lady Golfer for five months it was finally time to do the unthinkable: actually start learning to play golf.
Because despite spending five days a week writing about golf, designing pages full of golfing equipment, and even modelling golf clothes, the most golf I had ever played was still a round of crazy golf at Centre Parcs.
So I signed up to take part in the Up To Scratch – Beginners Golf Challenge at Leeds Golf Centre.
This involved 21 of us taking group lessons twice a week for eight weeks, with the aim of turning us into people who can kind of play golf by the end of it.
As someone who is generally very uncoordinated and constantly dropping things, I predicted that I would find learning to play golf very difficult. And on this rare occasion, I was definitely right.
It also didn’t help that every time I mentioned I was taking lessons people would respond with ‘oh gosh golf is hard, I used to have lessons but gave up’ or ‘golf is this sort of thing you have to learn when you’re young, as an adult you’ll really struggle.’ So I already went into it feeling pretty positive.
In fact on our first lesson, we were told that the most important thing we’d need in these lessons is patience. Which is very true, as after two weeks of trying to play golf I can definitely relate to the pros who throw their clubs on the ground in frustration and strop off.
Our first session was on putting, which actually wasn’t so bad as that’s the part that’s probably the most similar to crazy golf. Granted I was standing pretty close to the hole, but I did manage to get it in a fair few times. But even this small motion of tapping the ball involved a hand position that felt a bit awkward, and lots of careful consideration about your posture.
The next lesson was on chipping, and this was where it started to get really complicated. The idea with chipping is to lift the ball up in the air, which looks really easy when the professionals do it.
However, in reality it’s the most frustrating thing in the world. You can do everything that you think you’re supposed to, get the position perfect (in my opinion anyway) but for some reason it still doesn’t work. Then randomly it will go right and you can’t work out what you were doing differently or make it happen again!
But luckily this week we moved on to the driving range and started to work on our swing. This was the bit I was looking forward to, as it’s the big swing and the fancy stance at the end, or the ‘hero pose’ as they call it, that I think looks really cool. But of course this wasn’t as simple as it looks, and there were so many different steps to master before we had it looking anywhere near how it was supposed to. But eventually I kind of had it!
Obviously my swings were massively inconsistent, and for every one that went right and made a satisfying thwack, there were five attempts after it that just went a bit wrong. This could involve missing it completely, hitting it just a few metres in front of me, or sending it off quite violently to the left or right.
I also learnt that even if you can do it perfectly when you’re on your own, as soon as someone else is watching it all goes disastrously wrong.
So after my first two weeks of golf lessons I can conclude that golf is very frustrating. Yet the satisfaction you gain when you get it right is enough to make you keep going until it happens again. Even if that is half a basket of balls later!