Just let me start by saying that I am not a golfer, my dad is not a golfer and none of my friends golf. However, to the surprise of everyone I know, I have decided to give it a go.

My reasons for wanting to take up golf are three-fold:

  1. My mother says I need to do more exercise.
  2. Whacking balls with a stick will surely be brilliant anger management.
  3. I am the only female and non-sporty member of the office and am fed up with not being able to join in with the chat.

So on Monday evening I made my way over to Leeds Golf Centre to meet Chris Parker who was to be my coach.

To begin with, Chris showed me the different types of club and what each type was for. One might assume that by working for a golf magazine I would already know which club did what, but I didn’t know, for example, that “long irons” are literally longer irons, and are used to hit longer shots. Makes sense when you think about it.

That, however, was the only bit that made sense. Once he’d explained the fundamentals Chris moved on to grip, posture and swing. Which, as a non-golfer from a non-golfing family, was just bizarre. Rory McIlroy manages to make smacking a ball down a fairway look effortless and normal. Golf swings are not normal.

First you have to stand with your legs shoulder width apart, then you have to bend at the hips so your weight is more towards your toes. You then stick your butt out and bend slightly at the knee like you’re about to do a slut drop. Once your posture is as awkward as possible, you swing your club back whilst gripping it like you would no other piece of sports equipment, but still keeping your eyes on the ball. You are effectively whacking a tiny sphere with an equally tiny blob on the end of a stick. HOW anyone actually manages to whack that ball full pelt every time is a mystery to me.

why on earth does anyone bother trying to hit this tiny ball with this useless stick It reminded me of learning to drive. This was the list I went through every time I swung:

Set up: Feet apart. Knees bent. Back straight. Bum out. Clubface straight.

Swing back. Look at the ball. Keep arms straight. Keep left foot on the ground.  Don’t think about keeping your arms straight or your foot on the ground. Don’t think about thinking.

Swing forward lower than you think you need to and pivot on your right foot.

Absolutely mental. It’s a miracle I hit the ball at all. But hit the ball I did, several times.

After a few hits and mishits Chris had me look at the playback of my swing, which was simultaneously embarrassing and interesting. Embarrassing because I didn’t look as smooth and powerful as Michelle Wie like I had hoped. Interesting because I did actually look vaguely like I knew what I was doing!

From comparing my playback to another lady pro’s I could see that I seemed to be trying to wrap my arms around the back of my head on every back swing. So after doing some more practise swings where I tried to get my arms to straighten, Chris took me to the range to practise hitting the rubber tee. My main problem was that I didn’t know where the ball was in relation to the clubhead and I was a bit scared of hitting the (very solid) ground. Hitting the rubber tee really helped because it was flexible enough to give when I made contact, and made a nice “thwack” noise, but was a bit lower than the actual ball so got me used to hitting lower.

In the end I think I hit the ball 40% of the time and I did one shot that I was proud of. At the beginning my main thought was “why on earth does anyone bother trying to hit this tiny ball with this useless stick” and by the end it was “I want to see that ball go flying again”.

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