Ladies Golf - Welcome to the Club
Golf is fun for Ladies and Gents
Golf is a game that you can enjoy for your entire life. Unlike other sports that are tough on joints or require speed and/or flexibility, you can continue walking the greens well into your golden years.
It is a uniquely social activity, as well. Many people choose to have meetings, conduct marketing, and otherwise work toward advancing their careers on the links. Fun family gatherings can also be held on a golf course. Each summer, our reunion involves a 9-hole scramble/best ball tournament. Awards are given to the longest drive, closest to the pin and longest putt.
Many years ago, women were excluded from some country clubs. Their ability to play golf was limited, particularly as they stayed home to raise children and engage in less "frivolous" activities.
Fortunately, such barriers and social norms are no longer the case. Women golfers are gaining notoriety, bringing fresh attention to the sport. People like Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie are showing the world that ladies can golf with the "boys" in the PGA.
More and more, women are showing up at driving ranges and signing up for lessons. Young girls through early retirees are learning how to play golf.
Even if you've never gripped a golf club in your life, its not too late to learn how.
Golf Tips for Women: Irons
Where Can You Learn How to Play Ladies Golf?
Public courses and private golf clubs both offer lessons for novice players. Depending on the region in which you live, there are costs and benefits with either option. At private clubs, you will likely have a golf pro instructing you. This person may have better experience than instructors typically hired by public courses. Of course, you will pay more accordingly. Usually the greens are better maintained in private country clubs, as well.
Lessons at a public course are often much less expensive. If you are not certain whether the sport is for you, this may be the best way to get your feet wet. The best classes are limited in size to no more than 5 people. You will need personal attention to focus on your grip, stance and swing.
As often as you can, get out to driving ranges to practice. Playing a par 3 course is also great for beginners. These 9-hole courses have shorter holes that can typically be completed in 3 strokes each.
It also helps to do some reading and/or to watch instructional videos or DVDs. These will emphasize some of the things that you are learning in class, and remind you of proper form.
See about getting a group of women together that are similarly interested in learning to play golf. You may be surprised that, over time your camaraderie will develop through the frustrations and elations that the game has to offer.
How to Swing a Golf Club Like Tiger Woods
What Makes Women's Golf Different than Men's?
Generally, women's golf is no different than the game men play. A regular golf course is comprised of 18 holes, broken into the front 9 and the back 9. You can elect to play 9 or 18 holes at most courses. The object of the game is to get the golf ball into the hole on the green in as few strokes as possible. Score is tracked on scorecards. "Par" is achieved if you match the average number of strokes on the hole. A "birdie" is if you get the ball in the hole in one less stroke than par. A "bogie" is if it takes you an additional stroke to sink your putt.
For ladies, an advantage is offered by allowing them to tee off (begin their first stroke at the tee box) closer to the pin (the flag marking the location of the hole). The difference in distance from the tee boxes varies from hole to hole. This may have some impact on calculating handicap. Women also generally use different golf clubs than men, with shorter shafts, a lighter weight, more flex, and smaller heads. Women's golf balls have a rubber core (men's have a hard core), which allows them to travel farther on a slower swing. They also have more backspin. Other than that, the equipment is the same: tees, a golf bag, golf shoes, and sportswear appropriate for the course. A golf cart can be rented, if desired, but if you are in good shape it makes more sense to walk the course for exercise.
Some people think that men and women play the game for different reasons. Men are said to enjoy the challenge and competitiveness (against others and their own personal score). On the other hand, women play golf in order to build and nurture relationships. For this reason, girls may have overall greater enjoyment of the sport!
Golf Tips for Women: Full Swing
Benefits of Golfing
Once you get the hang of the sport, you may never leave your golf clubs at home again. Courses exist all over the world, allowing you to continue golfing while on vacation (or even planning your trip based on the courses that exist at the location!) Regional differences permit you to enjoy the local vegetation, landscape and scenery during your play. Many resorts include golf courses among the amenities offered to guests.
Regular walking is good exercise and it is recommended that you not use golf carts (no matter how heavy you claim the clubs are). As you age, it is one sport that you should be able to continue. Finally, you do not need to find anyone else to play with, unlike tennis. If you feel like golfing, you can simply call to make a tee time and will be introduced to a few other people to complete a threesome or foursome (the name of a group that walks the holes together). However, it is more fun to share the walk with your friends or colleagues.
Recognizing the importance of golf to career advancement for women, the Executive Women's Golf Association was formed. The organization is dedicated to helping women find opportunities to learn to play and enjoy golf for business and life! Chapters are all over the country; they just opened a Central Oregon chapter here in my hometown of Bend, Oregon.
Let's Hit the Links!
If you are just starting out, no need to invest in an entire expensive set of clubs. Golf courses usually have clubs for rent that you can try out. You may also consider renting clubs before making an investment in your own set. Some pre-owned sets are also an option, instead of paying full-price. Be sure to inspect them beforehand, however, to make sure they are in good condition.
All you need as a beginning golfer are a 3-wood, a 5-wood, a sand wedge and a putter. Over time as you improve, you'll want to add a driver, a 7-wood, a set of irons, ranging from 3-9 (you can also use a 3 or 4 iron as a wood), and a loft wedge. The numbers correlate to the slant on the head of the shaft. A higher number is angled more than a lower number.
Test the waters first and see if you enjoy the sport before spending too much money. Give it a bit of time to make sure that frustration does not get in the way of instruction. Recall Mark Twain's observation that "Golf is a good walk spoiled." You are not the first person to feel as you do! Laugh at yourself and just enjoy the simple challeges of improving on your last score.
© 2008 Stephanie Hicks
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