For years golfers and potential golfers have complained that golf takes too long, it’s so difficult it’s no fun, too hard for the family to participate, and on and on.
Rather than search for reasons not to play golf, let’s work on ways we can continue to play by making it more fun, and give our children the opportunities to learn the many lessons golf teaches.
Years ago, I had a member who had played 5 days a week and he never used a ball until he got on the green. He would carry his bag with a full set of clubs, but never actually hit a ball except with the putter.
“How did you hit that one?” He would tell you exactly how he hit it, “That was a good swing but I didn’t quite release the club and faded it into the rough just past the big tree.”
He would walk just past the big tree, get his yardage off a sprinkler head, pull out a club and swing again. “Couldn’t stop the ball coming out of that rough and it rolled just over the green.” He was unorthodox but he was having fun!
If you have gotten away from golf or are just starting, make the game fun. If you are struggling with the game, think about moving up to one of the more forward tees. Or, you could play from 250 yards, or 200 – there is still plenty of challenge.
For the new player I suggest using my beginner rules. Tee the ball up everywhere. If the ball goes into the trees, use “Preferred Lies”, which is…I would prefer the ball was lying over there – in the fairway.
Got a ball in a bunker? That’s why we put all those rakes around the bunkers – so you can rake the ball out and put it on the grass. On the green, putts “in the leather” are in the hole. For the kids, take a frisbee out and put it over the hole. Hit the frisbee and the putt is considered in the hole.
I have been doing this with the local kids that are starting to learn the game, as well as many of the women who come out to play in our evening 3 and 6 hole groups. It becomes a social event that involves some golf, not a golf event that may include some social. They are having fun without feeling the pressure of playing 9 holes or having to play the ball “as it lies”. Golf becomes a lot more fun!
How long do you tee up the ball in the fairway, throw it out of the woods, and rake it out of the bunker? I don’t know, but they will. They’ll get tired of bending over to set the ball on a tee. They will improve enough to where that shot out of the rough or bunker no longer seems impossible. They will wean themselves of beginner rules. And if they don’t, they’ll simply have a more enjoyable time being on the golf course.
Beginner rules aren’t for everyone. But let’s not exclude friends, family, and particularly our children from a great learning AND social experience simply due to the time required or overly challenging conditions.
Let’s get you and your family back out on the golf course where you all can continue to learn and enjoy what a wonderful game golf is. Let the game teach your kids about discipline, rules, and tradition. The lessons learned on the golf course will stay with them for life!
Kim Anders is a PGA Professional residing in Mazatlan, Sinaloa Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.