If you're new to golf, please don't feel out of place. Anyone who truly loves golf is excited to see you out there, wacking the ball around for the first time. We need more people like you.
Golf can be intimidating if you're a beginner. But take it from me, the life-long caddy, there is no need to feel intimidated. Golf is just a game, played with clubs and balls. It is meant to be fun, it doesn't need to be intimidating.
Folks who are just getting into golf, they often feel out of place. Like they don't deserve to play golf because they're not good yet, or don't have nicest gear. It is OK to be a beginner. Golf needs more beginners! The main reason beginners feel nervous or intimidated is not what you might think. Beginners aren't nervouse because they think they won't be very good. The thing that makes beginners nervous is being worried about holding up the other players in the group. In my experience with new golfers, they are happy, sometimes relieved, to pick up their ball and move it closer to the green. That's fine! This is a great way to start playing golf if you need to keep up the pace of play. Hit your tee shot and pick it up, then drop it next to your friend's tee shot. This speeds the game up, and the beginner doesn't need to feel rushed or nervous.
Folks who are new to golf often expect that keeping score and following the rules of golf are required and enforced on the course. Nope. You don't need to keep score at all if you don't want to. You definitely don't need to keep traditional score either, you can play other games like who makes the most pars, or who made the longest putt. If you really want to keep score, you can do it your own way. Add two or three shots to the par of a hole, so a 5 feels like a birdie and a 6 feels like a par. Or just don't keep score or play games at all! Just enjoy hitting the ball. Play from different tees throughout the round if you'd like. If you feel like a hole is too long for you, move up a tee box or two. Just make it fun and comfortable, do it your way.
If you're a beginner, keep in mind that the golf course is one of the few places where you can really do whatever you want. The other day, a good friend told me how he feels about golf. He said "the golf course is a place where I go to swing a club and hit a ball while I drink beers and have fun with my friends". I have never heard a better description of a golf course. It is a sanctuary that you can go to to be with friends and have fun. Drink beers, or play an intense match. As long as you have fun, you're doing it right.
We don't want golf to be thought of as an elitist sport, we want it to be thought of as an inclusive sport. We critique golf and the culture around it because we love this game and we know some aspects of it need to improve. We also love people, and we want everyone to share this game with us. But we know that a huge portion of folks have never played golf or even considered it. We want golf to be thought of as something that anyone from any walk of life can enjoy anytime. But as of right now, that is certainly not the case.
I will be posting a blog every week or two like this one with my thoughts about certain topics in golf. I'll talk about the good and the bad. I'll talk about why people feel excluded from golf. Why golf seems like, and maybe is, an elitist sport. I'll talk about the physical and mental benefits of playing golf and how golf can be a game for people from all walks of life. We're gonna nerd out pretty hard on golf, so if you love golf like we do check back in with us.
P.S. Check out our golf shirts and golf tees! Our golf shirts are designed to rival shirts that are three times the cost, don't let the great price fool you into thinking our shirts aren't nice. This is some quality stuff we're talkin here!