By Susan Stafford, Roland Stafford Golf Schools
Especially for women, I would like address the intimidation factor on the golf course which can be eliminated with good golf course management. The first tee is always the most difficult with the fear that you are going to hit a terrible shot and embarrass yourself. You feel the next foursome up is going to judge you by your golf swing (and they may), and be worried that you may slow up their almost perfect game (in their dreams). When addressing the ball on the first tee take a deep breath and forget about the foursome behind you. They really only care about their own swings and for some, egos tend to soar high on the golf course. As women, we may not hit the ball as far as a man but that does not mean we play slow and in most cases I have found that women usually play faster as they are not looking for as many lost balls in the woods.
You cannot be intimidated on the golf course if you keep up with the group in front of you. People cannot play through you if there is no place to go. If however you do lag behind, let the group behind play through as a part of golf etiquette. But I do believe if you follow my tips this will seldom happen. Therefore, here they are with a focus on how to stay relaxed and not to be intimidated through preparation and knowing how to keep moving.
1. Get to the golf course in plenty of time to walk around and relax, do not run to the tee.
2. Have your golf bag ready with whatever you need in the preferred pocket for an easy find.
3. Mark your golf balls for quick identity so you don’t have to try and remember what number or brand you are hitting.
4. If in a motorized cart park it within 10 feet of your ball and preferably in front of you.
5. Play ready golf, whoever is ready to hit, hit. You do not have to play honors if you are having trouble with keeping up with the group ahead of you as “ready golf” really speeds up play.
6. If in doubt of which club to use take 2 or 3 if you are riding with someone else then they can go to their ball and prepare to hit right after you.
7. When around the greens park your cart where you will be exiting the green after putting out, not in front of the green where your ball may be.
In addition, I would like to advise everyone to buy a book on “The Rules of Golf” by the United States Golf Association for about $2.00. You should read the etiquette and definitions in the front of the book and then learn some of the basic rules; your options for hazards, the rule for out of bounds, lost ball, casual water and ground under repair. By knowing the rules you cannot be intimidated, you can record an accurate score receive an handicap and often get out of trouble with no penalty. Do not call the rules on all your friends as no one will want to play with you. But, do use the rules at strategic times, like during a tournament.