You want to get into golf?! Awesome!! But let's just hope you are not a part of the 95% of female golfers that give the game away in the first 15 months......
Female golfers only make up 22% in Australia, 20% in America, and 17% in England. 40% of new golfers are female. So it seems there is enough interest in participation but the drop-off is quick and has sat at around 20% for many years.
I have always been intrigued by this and in my 10 years of full-time coaching, I have been very inquisitive when I am working with a new female or have the opportunity to speak to some of the leading female instructors. I would love to share with you my top tips to get started in golf!
Golf is such a great sport with so many mental and physical benefits to people of all ages. It truly is a game for everyone! Whether you have that competitive streak, or you want to find a fun way to get your steps in, golf could be your game! Some of the common reasons female players will give up in their first year:
- Start up cost seems very expensive
- Perceived as a male-dominated territory
- Too difficult
These issues are widely recognized and there is change happening, below I have detailed how coaches like myself are working on changing the common reasons females give up in their first year.
Perception: Golf clubs on the top end can be very expensive! Memberships at the top end are very expensive and private tuition can seem very expensive
Reality: You can get a really decent second-hand set on a marketplace for around $200 which will last you 5+ years or you can just start out with a 7 iron, a driver and a couple of extra clubs to get started! Green fees at entry-level courses are around $15 for 9 holes. I am a huge fan of Future Golf which is the biggest social golf network in Australia with memberships starting from $175 for 4 rounds of golf and a handicap! There are a ton of great women's golf clinics at around $20 per session. When you dig a little deeper, do some research and have some insider knowledge, golf can be very affordable!
(I am your insider knowledge and I will answer any questions you have!)
Male Dominated Territory:
Perception: Golf is commonly perceived as a male-dominated territory and during my time in golf I have certainly seen this. Most beginner players and especially women want to play 9 holes, on most weekends it is 18 holes only, which is not catering for the wider market and this needs to change!
Reality: Some big moves have taken place in recent years to make the space of golf courses more inclusive and welcoming to female participation. Discounted memberships for women, subsidized clinics, the requirement of a female coach on staff at venues, and many other initiatives are taking place. The tee markers used to be classified as Men's and Ladies' Tees, which is very segregating but most clubs have now removed that, and different tee markers are designated by skill level, not gender... So what I am saying is, we are getting there!
The game is too difficult:
Perception: There is no doubt this is a difficult game and is the most common reason women and men give up the game. You do not need to hit every shot perfectly, if you miss- hit, it's fine! Just focus on the next shot!
Reality: When you are out playing, you do not need to follow the competition rules, you can go at your own pace. Throw the ball out of the bunker if you get stuck, and tee the ball up on the fairway if that helps you hit cleaner. It's all about making it more fun, as your skills progress you can play competition rules but at the start, make it fun!
Here are some of my top 5 tips to help you in your journey to the golf course!
1. Start with coaching on basic fundamentals:
Golf is hard to learn by yourself! Investing some time with a PGA Professional is a great way to build some fundamental golf skills whether that be through private lessons or the more cost-effective ladies' clinics. Getting tips from friends, partners or youtube is NOT a great start, it's most likely the incorrect advice (brutal I know!) but it's true. The PGA Professional works with new players all the time and there is a system we follow to advance our skills. Lessons can come in many forms:
- Private Lessons
Private Lessons are the best way to learn as you get personalized information. Prices usually range from $50-$75 for a half-hour lesson. I usually suggest 1 lesson per month for 6 months with training and tasks to complete in between the lessons.
- Group Clinics
Group clinics are very cost-effective and are a great way to meet fellow new golfers! Clinics usually cost $20-$40 per session and typically run in a 6-10 week program.
2. Master the 7-iron shot in practice before playing a round!
Practicing the 7 iron shot as your first club is the ideal start. The club is medium length and medium weight. When giving my lessons to beginner players we go through a series of progressions:
- Hit the 7 iron 50m off a tee
- Hit 7 iron 50m off the ground
Then we progress to Hybrid hits and Driver hits with longer distance requirements and finally some niche shots like putting and bunkers. Think of this as getting your driver's license, doing your hours, passing the tests, and then you have the green light to go out on the course! I feel once you can consistently hit the 7 iron off the ground 50m you are ready to go!!
3. Get Ladies Golf Equipment
Ladies' equipment is typically lighter and easier to strike as opposed to whatever is laying around at the family home. It is usually outdated and heavy! It is always best to get the ladies' specific equipment. As mentioned above in my startup costs you can start with a 7 iron and go through my series of exercises and then get a set when you are ready to go on the course. You can also pick up a set from the get-go at House of Golf or a marketplace at a cheaper price point. In terms of golf outfits, the dress code is very relaxed, most females will be comfortable in activewear for training, and driving range. On the course, I'm sure the outfits are fun to pick out but not essential for most public golf courses! But if you want to put a nice golf outfit together, go for it!!
4. Start with a couple of Friends
Starting your first clinic/lesson alone is a daunting proposition! If you can partner up with another friend or a group of 4, it is an ideal number. Golf is usually played in groups of 2 or 4 so to play golf together and share the good (and bad) shots together is something that will make it more enjoyable.
5. Have Fun!
Golf is a challenging sport but it is very addicting and very fun! Enjoy the process of getting better and celebrate the little wins! You do not need to count your scores straight away nor do you need to play by competition rules, just go out and have fun! Golf is a game for life so take your time, be patient and enjoy being outdoors on the golf course!
Resources to get started!
Private Lessons with me: www.jackmacleodgolf.com - Ladies Receive a Free 30-Minute Swing Assessment with the mention of this blog!
Golf Clinics: https://www.golf.org.au/getintogolf/women/
Golf Membership: www.futuregolf.com.au Use Code PGAJACK for 30% Off!