Learning the ropes on golf

If you’d asked me last week what I thought the most important thing about golf was, I would have said hitting the ball through the air in the general direction of the green.
I would have been wrong.
Not knowing a thing about golfing, I set off to Kitchen Creek Golf Course last Friday afternoon for a lesson with the club pro, Steve Wood.
But even before I got there, I knew I was a bona fide rookie—I even had to call him back to ask what I should wear. I felt like I was in junior high going to my first dance.
And then I was late because I had to stop at home first and change outfits. Yep, it’s embarrassing but true.
He started the lesson by just asking me a few questions: Had I ever golfed before? Well, sort of, I said. I’d been to the driving range years ago and I used to play mini putt, so between the two, I figure I have a game, right?
He laughed.
I had a lot to learn.
He asked what other sports I play, to which I replied tennis. So Wood used tennis as a parallel to golf, which definitely helped me to get it—the way the body moves into a swing, the way the body’s position affects the direction of where the ball will go, that kind of thing.
Sure, I thought. No problem. All I had to do was hold the club in the funny way that he told me and whack the ball.
Well, the pros on TV certainly make it look easier than it is.
First swing, and a hit! First try! I must be a natural! I looked up, expecting to see the ball flying through the air the way Wood’s did, but it wasn’t there. The ball only had just bounced up and over about six inches.
Huh? My knees were bent, feet shoulder-width apart, bending at the hips, butt sticking out just like he said (which, by the way, isn’t exactly how any girl wants to be standing), but still I couldn’t hit it.
Okay, I’m game, I thought to myself. Just refocus, just try again, no problem.
Swing, and miss. Swing, and miss. I was frustrated, but I’m too competitive to give up.
Wood was very patient, rhyming off cute analogies about the club being like a pendulum—just let it swing without trying to kill the ball.
So I spent the better part of the hour just trying to adjust to the proper posture, keep my eyes on the ball, keep my right heel on the ground as I wound up for the swing (I golf left-handed), and try to hit just under the ball to get it up and—hopefully—airborne.
Before the lesson was over, I had hit a few in the general direction of where they were supposed to go. And the more I hit, the more confidence I developed.
By the time I left to go back to work—and stop at home again to change—my hands were a little sore, my posture a little off, and my fragile ego just a little bruised.
But hey, I gave it a shot and—if all of Wood’s words of encouragement were to be believed, I didn’t do half bad.
I’m definitely not ready for a full game yet, but I think I’ve been bitten by the golf bug. It’s tricky, but I’m just too darned stubborn to give up.
Some warmer weather, another lesson or two, and hopefully I’ll be at the point where hitting the ball towards the green is the most important part of the game.