You don’t need to take my word for it, get out and give it a go yourself.
When I first came home from Gran Canaria, I wondered what I would do with my time. I knew I’d found my bliss, living between mountain and sea-felt dissatisfied at being back in my hometown, which I’ve lived in for the last 50 years of my life (yes I turn 50 this month – the last ten years have gone by in a hectic blur!) but recognised, from my point of view, that our family was not yet ready for this change.
Seeing free golf lessons available at Garons Park Golf Complex through Active Women in Southend, I decided to pop along and give it a go.
The last time I picked up a golf club was around 10 years ago and then it didn’t float my boat – in fact I thought it was a bit of a pompous ass of a game which only the men played. And maybe ten years ago that was the case. My response this time was totally different. Whether or not it has been the way that the professionals at the complex have given the lessons. Garry, Steve and Ben have all been great and I’ve learnt various things from each one of them along the way.
From a lesson with Garry on the driving range, I learnt to think about how far I want my ball to go – which is relative to my swing. With Steve, his advice of Think Do. Do. Has had an impact on my thinking when approaching each stroke and Ben’s – “Practice your stroke on the driving range and enjoy your game on the golf course,” has stuck with me and dug in thoroughly. Although, this one is easier said than done as a newbie.
I think part of the challenge of golf is to get hold of frustration – learn to be at one with it and not let it rule your life or your game. It is a game not just of the stroke & fairway but also of the mind. Maybe this is why I am enjoying it so much. The challenge is not just external but internal as well. It connects me to my core discipline of staying in the moment and challenges me to hold onto it, with each missed stroke and embarrassing hit.
I’m learning to play at a pace but not to be hurried – to be aware of others around me but not allow myself to feel the pressure of having others waiting. It requires my focused attention, as I become one with club and ball and attempt to hit it straight.
I’m quite proud with how quickly I’ve picked it up. So much so, that for our 27th wedding anniversary, my husband took me to play the Badgers Par 3 at Bunsay Down Golf course in Woodham Walter, nr Maldon in Essex. Here for the first time, I felt myself to be truly out of my depth – the beauty of the scalloped, undulating countryside was a very challenging place to be – as I am still practicing actually connecting with the ball every time and I haven’t really got a clue about which club to use and when. Its more guess and luck than judgement at this early stage. Some tees offered water holes, which gleefully swallowed each ball I thwacked towards it and playing uphill, had me gulping deep breaths of air, as I tried to figure out how to stand on an upward slope-get my stance right and hit the ball. So many things to remember at once.
Yet through all this difficulty, what made up for this, was being surrounded only by the noise of a warm wind blowing and turning round to catch sight of a fawn running across the fairway behind us. It seemed pretty special really. I felt myself relax, enjoyed the time spent out in nature with my husband and allowed the experience to want to let me play there again, once my stroke is a little better. The Par 3 at Garons is challenging enough for me at the moment and on my last lesson, I actually crossed the water rather than watch my ball plummet into it. Success!!!
Those pristine greens which I used to look on in dismay at the natural wilderness they’d gobbled up, have now piqued my interest and I find myself wanting to continue growing, developing and playing this sport. I’ve even thought of the possibility of playing golf whilst on holiday. What is happening to me? Its good for my wellbeing – now I just need to get all the gear.
*If you’d like to give golf a go, why not check out your local clubs ‘Get into Golf Lessons.” There should be an icon on the homepage directing you to them. They cost £20 for four one hour lessons and are really worth the investment. Why don’t you give golf a go for great wellbeing!