There’s a bit of a controversy out there in the golf world. On one hand, there’s the golfers who think of the game as a respite or a haven from the rest of the world.
Those golfers look forward to a half day when they can be with the guys or the gals. They secretly (or maybe openly) don’t want their spouse to be there on the course. I know some golfers who prefer to play by themselves for this reason. Or maybe they enjoy showing up at the golf course and being paired with somebody new each time. I think this is all great, it’s just personal preference!
On the other hand, there’s the golfer who loves playing with friends and family. Many of us, like myself, have kids whom we have tried to brainwash into loving the game so we can take them out, connect through the sport AND GET MORE PLAYING TIME!
I was successful with that for one of my boys. (I’ve been successful at brainwashing the other one to love my other favorite past time, fishing).
Anyway, I want to give you some insight and tips on how to get a beginner to want to play golf with you so that you can spend quality time with them AND get your golf fix at the same time.
The biggest tip I have for you here is….
Think long term!
You are planting a seed and each time you take a beginner out and show them a good time, the seed grows.
In other words, when you are introducing someone to your passion on the course, don’t make it about you…MAKE IT ALL ABOUT THEM!
You can still have a great time out there but you can’t expect everyone to instantly fall in love with golf the way you did.
I recently took my girlfriend on a golf trip weekend. She doesn’t play normally but was willing to give it a try. I had previously taken her out on a short par 3 course and given her a basic lesson. Before the round, we hit a few balls at the range and a few more pointers on the putting green.
She was optimistic. It was a beautiful day. The course was in great shape. Life couldn’t get much better for me until…
She squibs the ball about 30 yards ahead on the first tee and the frustration started.
So what did I do after this shot and about 20 more just like it?
I kept emphasizing the positive!
You have to think about what beginner golfers are going through if you’ve already forgotten. They look at you or others and think that they should be able to hit the ball almost as well as you. And when they don’t, they get down on themselves and forget all about how beautiful the course is and how great it is to spend time with you playing a very fun game.
Anything she did well, I made it a big deal to point it out. I kept my positive, encouraging voice tone with every bit of advice I offered.
As I was pointing out her improvement, she started to enjoy the game (just like you when you improve).
I also went out of my way to have fun with her and joke around. What I didn’t do was get so immersed in my own game like I normally do.
All of this works the same way as when you bring a kid to the course. If you want to make it even better for your kid, then bring fun snacks along to munch on.
Remember, it’s all ABOUT THEM, and not you, when you bring a beginner to the course.
Make sure and let other players play through behind you so that your beginner doesn’t feel pressured. Keep an easy, smiling attitude throughout and you will be anchoring positive feelings and experiences to being on the golf course.
Whatever you do, do not let your beginning golfer attach a score to whether or not they like the game. In fact, I’d recommend you don’t even keep score until they can get a bogey or better once in a while.
There’s so many facets to enjoying the game and I want you to experience them all. Yes, I know, the challenge of going for your personal best score is probably your primary reason for playing.
There’s one valuable mental skill that you will really be teaching yourself when playing with a beginner that is very valuable to improving your score…
The end of the story? She was done after 9 holes and I finished the round playing multiple balls and trying all manner of
rescue shots that I wouldn’t normally try if I was keeping score. By the end of the day, I had completely satisfied my addiction for the game and my girlfriend picked me up a few hours later and we had a great evening from there, talking about her new adventure in golf.
What a great day on the course and I didn’t keep score!
Tell me your stories below in the comments section, good or bad, fun or not, about bringing a beginner out to the course with you.
Greens and fairways,
Ever hear of a golf pro tell you about the importance of “visualization?”
John Daly said “visualization is the best thing that I do.”
“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. First I see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and I see the ball going there; its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.” – Jack Nicklaus
“The best lessons I ever gave myself were at 4 in the morning, in bed, visualizing my game before the tournament” – Byron Nelson. All-time record holder for most tournament wins in a row – 11
“I have three keys to long and accurate driving.
The first is visualization, and it is the most important one to me.” – Arnold Palmer