Finally, one beautiful Saturday morning in Thousand Oaks, I played my first round of golf. Oh, that course with all of its beautiful distractions and surprises beckoned to me and I was drawn in. Paired with three experienced golfers, two of which I didn’t know, we headed out to the first tee. My driver would not work! The other clubs must have gotten the same memo because they went on strike too. My claim to fame that day was that I did not have to yell ‘fore’, but that’s probably only because the course wasn’t crowded.
I had gotten so comfortable at the driving range. It was always the same. In contrast, the course was intimidating and each hole had a different set of challenges. There was so much to take in: uneven surfaces, water and mud in some places, Sahara desert dry hard ground in others. Some holes sloped upwards to the flag, others down. People playing different holes were hitting their balls left, right and center (at least I wasn’t the only one). Never mind the ducks strolling casually along the greens and the squirrels trying to screen my golf bag and steal snacks. Add to that the myriad of rules I had learned, the course etiquette I hadn’t, club selection I didn’t understand and trying to keep up with pass of play, things got frustrating real quick.
Getting on the golf course and playing actual rounds of golf is critical to learning and appreciating the sport. The intimidation quickly wears off. I’m learning to settle down and focus on the course. My club selection is improving and I’m getting better at course management. I’ve played with everyone from golfers with years of experience to newbies who have never played before. My favorite rounds of golf have been played with people whose skill level was close to mine. But it took actual rounds of play on various courses to find that out.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and play!