Five years ago, I took group golf lessons from the local recreation department. I had always wanted to try golf. It looked like fun. After 6 lessons was told to “get out there and play”. I didn’t pick up a club again for two years. Why?
Several reasons! I was intimidated. I lacked the confidence. I almost NEVER saw any women on the course, and I didn’t have any women friends that played. I didn’t feel like I was good enough. And I thought it was too late for me to learn.
Luckily, I reconnected with a friend who wanted to play golf, so now I play every week. I LOVE golf. When I am on the golf course, I forget about all problems, worries, and concerns. It is like taking a 2-hour vacation. Now I think back and wonder–what was I so afraid of? I thought other women felt the same way I did. Maybe playing golf could help them, too.
In the last couple of years I started a second career as a counselor. Women come in for depression, anxiety, relationship problems, and stress. One of the strategies I use to help them is….golf. I teach basic golf routine and etiquette. Hitting a bucket of golf balls is excellent for stress and exercise! When you learn how to play golf, it increases your confidence and self-esteem. And it is FUN. Here are seven reasons why women may demur from playing golf:
- Women learn differently from men. Their brains are different–men are dominantly left brain, logical thinkers, and women often favor their right brain, experiential side. Women learn best when their instructors understand that women need to “Feel good to DO good”, and have fun while they learn.
- Women don’t like to feel stupid while they are learning to play. Remember the I Love Lucy episode where Ricky and Fred teach Lucy and Ethel how to play golf—the wrong way?? Making mistakes is part of the game.
- Women first learned how to play golf from their husband or boyfriend. This can really jeopardize a relationship. I recall that my brother wanted to teach his wife to golf. After giving her plenty of “instruction” and “direction” and “tips” and “reminders” on her swing, by the second tee his wife threw her club on the ground and announced “Golf is a dumb game” and hasn’t played since.
- Women don’t have other women to play with. Notice the next time you drive by a golf course, and see how many players are women. Not many!!
- Women don’t realize that women’s golf clothes have gotten really stylish and cute in the last few years!! My motto is… if we have to feel uncoordinated and clumsy while we are learning the game, at least we can look cute!!
- Women don’t want to spend all day playing golf (the only activity that is that much fun for women is shopping). Women need to know that they can play 9 holes in two hours. And afterward there are cocktails!
- Finally, women think they have to be good before they start playing on the course. Men don’t think that way! There are more men who are hackers out there than women think!
So women….don’t worry about being good at the beginning. Just learn the basics of play and etiquette and get out there!! Practice between rounds and you will get better! Play golf and have fun!
Catherine O’Brien worked for 20+ years as an instructor and specialist in personality types and learning styles. She started Golf Coaching for Women to help get women started and continue playing golf. And she has hit a hole in one.