by Rolf Deming, Head Teaching Professional Arnold Palmer Golf Academy
More and more women are taking up golf. Various reasons for taking the plunge are offered; more and more need to develop their golf game for business purposes, some want a hobby that will enable them to experience more quality time with their mates and/or children, while still others see golf as a valuable social tool.
Whatever the reason for their desire to learn golf, several points can be made about learning golf to both the potential female students and their instructors:
(1) For men or women, golf is a deceptive game. Hitting a still, motionless ball while no one plays defense, in fact with all in attendance neither moving or even breathing noisily seems a simple task. It isn’t. Hitting a golf ball is extremely difficult. The golf swing, however, is a very natural and easily produced movement. Consequently, when learning a golf swing, the swing improvements will be learned, there will be a slight lag period, and then better ball flight will be observed. Patience is required during this lag time. Impatient students will quickly lose faith in their new swing, and give up far too quickly on swing changes that possess true potential.
(2) Follow up practice is essential. No golf lesson, regardless of how good it is, will benefit a student who does not budget the time to commit the intellectual knowledge to physical performance through frequent practices.
(3) Some women do well when thrown into a group setting with strangers, but most tend to do better when learning with friends or family. My personal recommendation for women, particularly those who are just beginning the game, is to bring a friend for a group class/lesson.
(4) Watching the LPGA Tour, we see some tremendous athletes who crank out prodigious drives with great regularity. Women who have participated in athletics can, indeed, hit the ball a good distance; those who are relatively un-athletic cannot. They will experience a high level of frustration if they play courses that are so long that they spend their day being told to “hurry up” or “pick it up, that’s enough.” Par three and executive courses are excellent for those who cannot muster the long ball.
(5) Women tend to think that, while they might not be able to hit the ball as long as their male counterparts, they should be able to chip and putt as well. Potentially, that is true. Most boys, however, play numerous sports starting at a very young age that require them to propel an object a specified distance, whether with their hand, a bat or a racquet. The knowledge derived from these childhood games will enable them to quickly transfer that “touch” to pitching and putting. If a woman has not participated in this type of play as a child, she may have a bit of trouble developing her short game. For her, several short game classes and lots of practice are the antidote.