Lots of people have been there. A friend, colleague, partner or family member. Perhaps even you. Someone has considered taking up the game of golf but they don’t know how to start or they feel like it’s another world, a world in which new players aren’t welcome. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as Jenni Falconer discovered a couple of years ago. On Women’s Golf Day, we spoke to Jenni (a member of the TaylorMade UK Women's Advisory Board) to bust some of the myths and discuss her experiences, beginning with her passionate journey with the game.
“Golf is a game for EVERYONE!! Men, women, girls, boys, family, friends – in the last two years I’ve taken up golf and I’ve truly fallen in love with it. Having seen how much fun I’m having, my husband has now taken the game up too and that’s led to our 8yr old daughter wanting to get her own set of mini-clubs so that she can join in as well. There are no limits as to who can play or who should play. It’s a great sport available for anyone to enjoy.”
“Well – there’s an element of truth in this comment because you obviously can’t play if you don’t have any! But you also do not need to shell out on a shiny new set of equipment to start with. Some clubs and driving ranges now allow you to borrow equipment to start the game – when I started, I used my mum’s old clubs which were from the 80’s, which although not perfect at least allowed me to start. And I’ve heard plenty of examples of clubs now that are running taster sessions for women in which you specifically don’t need to bring anything, just to get you started. What you will need… is lots of golf balls!”
“Oh not at all. I didn’t join a club to start with, I started at the driving range – at World of Golf in New Malden. I then booked some lessons with a female instructor who taught me to play entirely on a golf course, which was great as it gave me experience on the fairways and greens (and the rough) and got me used to the environment, stripping away any pre-conceived ideas that it is intimidating being on an actual golf course. It also helped me understand more about when to use different golf clubs. It was actually a brilliant way to get started.”
“Now, this is a half-truth, as golf can indeed be hard! But it is also incredibly fun and incredibly rewarding. You can have a day where you might not play your best but you hit a shot which makes you happy and brings you straight back. If time is a concern then you can play 9 holes, or practice for a shorter period, but when I’m on the golf course I see it almost as meditation time… it’s relaxing, you’re outdoors, no phones, just the fresh air – it keeps you and your mind active as you focus on nothing but your next shot.”
“Oh this is definitely a myth and needs to be dispelled, I mean I learnt on the golf course for one! Sure, I may not have been as good as others, but for me, it was the best way to learn – I was straight in at the deep end and it helped boost my confidence. To be honest, even the very best players have moments where they strike the ball badly, everyone has a duff shot in their locker – so focus on the good ones!”
“This applies to us all – if I haven’t played for a while, then I worry I won’t be any good either! This is why I’d always suggest it’s important to get out and play but also playing a game with others has been a great learning tool for me. The handicap system allows you to play with others on an even keel, which in turn lets you learn from other people without any pressure. Above all else, it’s fun!”
Having gone through all of these areas and discovered that they are indeed myths, we then asked Jenni for a few tips from her experiences on how to further beat any lingering feelings of intimidation for women who are looking to take up golf.
“First things first, just get yourself to a driving range. You can hit some balls with no fear and just enjoy the feeling. From then on, you may meet or indeed know some other people in your friendship circles who may wish to join – you can then look at booking a group lesson, it’ll be fun, you’ll have support and the camaraderie with your friends. Comfortable clothes are key, something warm enough that can keep you dry, then you just need a pair of comfortable trainers – you will need to know that there are clothing rules unique to some clubs, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it. Just go to the range and start swinging!”
And finally, what about those “golfisms” that can often sound like another language?
“To be honest – I’m still picking them up. Although I quickly understood ‘duff’, ‘fore’ and most importantly, ‘The 19thhole’!”
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