5: Ladies, Is Golf for You?

5: Ladies, Is Golf for You?

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport

Ladies, Is Golf for You?

I took up the game of golf eight years ago when I was at the age of... never mind. I became so addicted to the game, I didn’t have time to do the laundry anymore. Soon after, my husband had a plaque made for me that says “Martha Stewart Used to Live Here.” Sometimes I’d have to stop on my way home after a round of golf to buy him a pair of underwear for work the next day. He has two drawers full of BVDs. God forbid, but if he’s ever in an accident, not only will he be wearing clean underwear, most likely it’ll be brand-new.

Golf is great, but I can still remember what a frustrating experience it can be for the beginner. For the first three months, I wondered if golf was my punishment for the time I sneaked into Sister Mary Margaret’s bedroom to see if she really had a poster of Bob Dylan hanging over her bed. That was the rumor around school. I cried so much as a beginning golfer, my husband suggested I have my hormone level checked. He couldn’t believe it was just golf doing it. But I persevered and things became better, and so now I would like to share some tips and ideas that can make a woman’s initial foray into golf a little smoother.

Whatever your reasons for taking up the game, whether it’s to avoid listening to your son practice the French horn or to get away from your mother-in-law, ask yourself a few questions to see if this game is really your bag. You may be athletic, but there’s more than skill involved here.

Temperament, for instance. If you have a hair-trigger kind of temper, occasionally coupled with a bad case of anxiety, a club in your hands that particular day can be dangerous. I once saw a woman do quite a number on the 150-yard marker, a pretty shrub in bloom, with her 7-iron just because her favorite pink ball went into the lake.

Vanity. Particularly in the summer. If you worry about your hair flopping on humid days, your foundation running until your face looks like it’s melting, or your mascara making black tracks down your cheeks, stay at home and make pot holders.

Prudery. If you’re the kind of person easily offended by less-than-ladylike words, forget it.

But before you spend a fortune on clubs and figure out six months later that what you really want to do is skydive, I suggest you borrow most, if not all, of the essentials first. You’ll need clubs (up to fourteen, eight of which look exactly alike, but in a few years you’ll be able to tell the difference), a bag, shoes (the ones with plastic spikes for traction), balls, tees, a towel and a ball marker (a quarter will do, but don’t forget to pick it up when you leave the green).

If your friends don’t have a spare set of clubs to loan out, you can find used clubs at garage sales or pawn shops at reasonable prices. Buy something cheap for now. At this point, equipment doesn’t matter much since you have no idea what you’re doing.

Eventually, if you stick with the game, you’ll find yourself buying a new driver all the time. Every time you hear about another that can help you hit the ball ten more yards, you’ll go and buy it. I’ve noticed that no matter who the manufacturer is or what the club material, it’s always “an extra ten yards.” You’d think, out of all the clubmakers, one company would have an engineer smart enough to come up with a club that’ll give us fifty extra yards and get it over with for a while.

I love drivers. They’re all so different. They come in persimmon, graphite, titanium, with bubbles, without bubbles, large heads, extra-large heads, stiff and extra-stiff shafts—you name it.

Now once you have your equipment, you need an instructor. But ladies: Do not let your husband teach you. When was the last time you listened to him anyway? What makes you think you’re going to start now? Sooner or later even his voice will start grating on your nerves. Trust me, it won’t work. Find yourself a real pro. My guess is that the person who said sex is one of the main sources of disagreements between couples didn’t teach his wife the game of golf.

One more piece of advice: While you’re still a beginner, don’t play in events for couples if the format is that of alternate shot. Heaven help you if your shot lands directly behind a tree, on top of a root or in a bunker in a “fried egg” lie and now he has to play it. That’s an argument waiting to happen. And it will happen.

Another thought to keep in mind for the sake of keeping peace at home: If you ever hit a hole-in-one, never mention it again after the day it happens. I’ve had two, and he hasn’t even had one. I love my husband too much to upset him, so I don’t talk about them in his presence. But my plaques hang in the den, one on each side of the television, where he can see them every night. I also have a vanity license plate, 2-HOLS-N-1—and he washes my car every Saturday.

Golf’s like fishing: There’s always the one that got away. In golf there’s always the putt that didn’t fall. But there’s more to golf than making good shots. Fun moments that don’t have anything to do with the game can happen on the course. There was the time when my husband uncharacteristically threw his sand wedge after shanking a short chip. The grip hit the cart path first, propelling the club into a 360-degree rotation and directly into the golf bag. Eventually, you’ll have your own stories to tell, and you’ll remember them years from now.

Above all else, have fun, even on those days when you feel you should have stayed home making those pot holders instead of going to the course, accomplishing nothing more than achieving that dreaded tan line that makes your feet look like you’re wearing bobby socks with high heels in your finest evening gown.

Golf can be played long after you start collecting your first Social Security check. When you reach that age, you can start making cute ball markers and tee holders to give your friends at Christmas. By the way, did you know the Senior Tour has players in their seventies? Ladies don’t have a Senior Tour. They won’t admit when they turn fifty. It’s a woman thing.

~Deisy Flood
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul, The 2nd Round

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