Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Best Advice from Women Golfers

One of the best things about learning to play golf is meeting new women. Part of the etiquette and fun of golf is the quick, friendly bond when you meet people on the course. There’s a bit of chatting and getting-to-know-you talk. That’s true for men and women on a golf course—but as in the rest of life—men and women chat differently. And so in those brief encounters on one or nine holes I have gotten some great advice from other women.

Here’s the good stuff:

*Both men and women will offer you golf advice. Smile politely and nod at the men. Listen carefully to the women.

*Take a lesson. When I was contemplating golf the women golfers I knew all said this unequivocally: Take a lesson. And they were right. Even before you buy shoes or shorts. Even before you contemplate whether you are a hat or visor kind of girl. Take a lesson. And critically even before you go to a golf course: Take a lesson. Thank you Midge and Elaine and Stephanie.

*Take more lessons. Play a little and keep taking lessons. The lessons will counteract all the stuff the men in your life will tell you. If you live in the Capital Region take a lesson with Peter Gerard at Mill Road in Latham. He’s the best. The best men take lessons from him but he is extraordinary with women. No condescension. No boy/girl chemistry. His teaching is about you learning not about him looking smart.

*Don’t be embarrassed if you need to hit the ball 12 times to get it into the cup. And don’t be embarrassed if you decide to pick it up and move it after 6 or 8 or 12 hits. You are learning. Ignore other people.

*BUT—always, always hit the ball into the cup on each hole. Always finish by knocking the ball into that little cup and hearing that satisfying clanking sound. Even if your ball is resting on the very edge of the cup after 20 strokes. Take one more and hear it go in. (Thank you to a woman named Marge who I have never seen again for this advice). You want to hear that sound 18 times. You are training your mind and ear and body to want that sound. Let other people roll their eyes or pick up their ball, but you always tap it into the cup.

*Sunblock. Every time. You don’t want to look like the men who have been playing all their lives. Retinol can’t fix everything.

*No silly golf clothes till you have played a full year. Yes to nice shoes and yes to good golf shorts or a skirt—golf shorts are different than regular shorts. But no Lily Pulitzer matchy-matchy outfits when you are new. Just don’t.

*Always step into your Spanx. Never pull them on over your head. You don’t want to get caught hopping around in a dressing room or worse at home alone trapped in a Spanx slip.

*Do your Kegels 3X week. Your life will be better in so many ways.

The last two have nothing to do with golf but everything to do with being a woman of a certain age. Take note.

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