Doing Something New

Tee Off
Breathe in, breathe out...

So, I’ve started taking golf lessons.

Let’s start at the beginning. My dad has loved golf for as long as I can remember. He’s taken me out on courses to ride along, and I have fond memories of hacking away at wiffle balls in my backyard when I was seven or eight. I never really got into golf, though, and didn’t think much more about it until my sophomore year in high school, where I got a part-time job at a golf course that was about two minutes away from my house. My dad was a member there, I knew one of the girls who worked in the pro shop behind the food counter, and they were looking to hire through referrals. I walked into my boss’ office and he handed over the paperwork; there really was no interview (good thing, too — at 16, I wouldn’t have had any idea what to say or do).

The work was easy, the tips were great, my coworkers and customers were nice, but I didn’t really get into playing golf. Even when several guys I dated loved it and encouraged me to try it (with my dad voicing his approval of the idea in the background), I didn’t — at least until my senior year of high school. I went out to the driving range a few times with my then-boyfriend, went out a couple of times with my dad, and then, finally, I took one or two casual lessons with the pro at the golf course. I don’t think I really learned much — they were free lessons, the pro was on his way toward retirement (he was over 80), and we more or less hung out and chatted, hacked at a couple of balls, and called it a day. It wasn’t until recently that I thought about taking up golf again. Quite simply, I’d decided to save money on horseback riding lessons for the summer (against my will, really; my trainer at school is much more affordable than the ones here), but I wanted something regular to do on the weekends that would get me out of the house and into the sunshine. Last summer, I walked around one of the golf courses in my grandparents’ neighborhood every night. This summer, on a walk around the course, I thought hey — why not try golf again? And seriously, this time?

Within a few days, I’d met the pros at the course and scheduled lessons for Saturday morning lessons. I had my first lesson this past weekend, and was surprised to hear that the head pro that I was pretty darn good for being what I called “a true beginner.” He said I knew the length of the club (I wasn’t taking chunks out of the driving range), and kept asking me what sports I do competitively (answer: zero). I asked him to take me through the fundamentals because I really wanted to learn them, and he did. It was awesome. I surprised myself by getting really, really into it, actually. By the end of our lesson the pro was happy, I was happy and surprised, and he was willing to lend me a club to practice with until our next lesson. The next morning I woke up with sore arms and shoulders, but I was pretty excited to go out to the range and try again. I went out last night with my grandpa and hit a bucket of balls, and I can’t really explain the feeling of hitting a ball straight, high loft, about 100 yards (I was using a 6 iron). It felt good.

I plan to keep practicing and taking lessons this summer, with the end goal obviously being to play with my grandpa, play with my dad when he visits at the end of June, and hopefully hit the course right by my house when I go back home in August. I don’t know if I’ll ever be that¬†good (like my dad, who is obsessed with golf and has quite the low handicap), but it makes me happy to do something he really loves, and have something that we both can discuss and enjoy together, other than cars. I’m pretty excited to play with my grandpa, too. Here’s hoping that I can play well enough to go hit with the both of them this winter break when we all travel to Hawai’i together.

Until then…fore!

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