By Michele Kirsch, founder of Chirpy Golf
Undoubtedly, many people don’t take up golf because it’s a sport that takes a lot of time. Well, that’s true to an extent. Yet, once you have the time, the sport is easy to start, and you’ll enjoy it so much that you won’t notice the time commitment.
The beauty of taking up golf at any age is the opportunity to get outdoors and walk the course, which can take up to 2.5 hours for nine holes and 4.5 hours for 18 holes. That’s a lot of steps and miles if you walk. Most golfers I play with push their golf bags in a push cart, and some even carry their clubs for additional strength training. Whether you push or carry or even drive a cart, it gets you outdoors and active.
Here are the basics of the game:
- Every hole has a par value. Most holes are par 4s. If you hit your ball into the pin (hole) in four strokes, you earned a par for the hole. Score cards will indicate the par for each hole, and each course will indicate the total score count per game.
- If you make the hole under par by one stroke, it’s called a Birdie. If you make the hole under par by two strokes, it’s an Eagle. If you drive the ball and it sinks the hole, it’s a hole-in-one! Very rare, but it happens.
- Bogeys and double bogeys – A bogey is a strike over par, and a double bogey is two strikes over par.
- Once you’ve played 13 or more games and kept score, you can assess or have a golf association calculate your “handicap.”
For beginners, check out local public courses, or if you belong to a private club that offers golf, look for clinics to get started. I started lessons with four friends at a private course with a nice driving range. Eventually, I decided to join a club, but that was not until I had played many public courses in the area, in the state, and even on vacation.
This is how I started:
- Rent or borrow clubs from a friend. If you buy a set, go to a professional to get fitted. This could mean even going to a PGA store, having a professional staff person properly measure, and having you try out different irons and clubs.
- Take lessons. Start slowly – even once a week with lessons or clinics.
- Practice hitting balls at a driving range and keep telling yourself, “Keep my eyes on the ball, don’t look up, and follow through.”
- Start booking tee times and playing nine holes to build up to 18.
- Keep practicing with all your clubs. Work on your sand wedge for bunker or sand shots. Take your putter out and practice at home or at putting greens.
- Wear comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing, such as Chirpy Golf. That means something you can swing a club in that won’t restrict torso torquing. Wear pants, shorts, or skorts that provide stretch, as you will be bending over to pick up your ball, a lot. Buy comfortable golf shoes with spikes.
- Again, keep practicing and reminding yourself that it’s just a little ball you’re hitting, so “see the ball and hit the ball.” It’s simple, yet so many make it complicated.
- Try not to get too worked up and frustrated. Golf is a journey, and there will always be good and bad moments.
Embrace the good moments and play on.
Michele Kirsch is a late-stage golfer turned women’s golf-wear entrepreneur. She founded Chirpy Golf to bring fashion and performance to the links. She is a lawyer, mother of three, and native Californian who is a community-minded philanthropist and serves on numerous non-profit boards.
Throughout the “Active You” section of this blog, we will introduce you to ideas on staying active and learning new things.