In my first week at Billy Casper Golf I decided that I was going to become a golfer. I really didn’t know what that meant at the time -- I had a general idea, but no real concept of what being a golfer was. How does one become a golfer?
Being a data-minded, analytical individual, I started by talking clubs with my coworkers. Mind you, I knew nothing about what to buy or the difference between a putter and a driver other than their names (what’s a 5-iron?), but I was trying to learn as much as I could. The first thing I learned about clubs was that everyone was opinionated. They're a hot topic. I thought you just got some clubs and stick them in a bag, but they were talking about things like which ones were aerodynamically designed and custom fitting. I was obviously in over my head Day One here and panic had set in. I stepped back and reminded myself I was committed to buying clubs because I felt that it would commit me to the task of learning to play -- financial investment to force learning. In other words, my clubs were tuition to Golf College. I finally settled on the Nike Verdana 11-piece women’s golf set. Why? It was recommended, my team liked them, and they were pretty.
The next step in becoming a golfer was to actually play golf. I am far too proud to step on a course with my coworkers having never swung a golf club, so I needed lessons. Lesson One went way better than I thought it would, in that I hit a ball. I was really pleased with my instructor; she was patient and took the time to teach me first about my clubs. Learning the difference between the lift and distance that each club would provide allowed me a better understanding of why I needed so many of them. For avid golfers, it seems normal that there are 14 clubs in your bag, but having never played, I figured two, maybe three, should be plenty.
I am also really glad I started with lessons. These guys in my class that decided to begin golf first and take lessons later were all relearning grip technique. As a beginner, I had no bad behaviors to correct. Learning how to grip my club has been the most valuable lesson thus far. Did you know there are marks on the club grip to help you line up where you hand and thumb should be? I'm thrilled to have a cheat sheet for my grip right on my clubs.
Golf lessons taught me something else: I needed to learn more about golfers. Everyone was always chatting about all these players and the only name I knew was Tiger. Off to the internet I went. It didn’t take too long to realize I was never going to learn all of these players quickly, but luckily I am a sports fan, and it didn’t take me long to find the Rory bandwagon. Now I had a plan: I will just cheer for Rory and learn about the other players along the way.
It's been three months into my reinvention as a golfer. I've told you about all the things I thought were going to make me a golfer, like clubs, lessons and player info. But here's what has actually made me a golfer: I love the way it sounds when the club hits the ball. It means something to me. I feel a sense of satisfaction every time I make that contact. I find myself watching the ball fly down the course, letting the air out that is stored in my lungs and feeling all of my other cares melt away. Suddenly nothing else matters. It’s just me and that ball. It only lasts a few seconds, but those seconds are perfect. Golf has allowed me to find a few perfect seconds in every week. I can count on them. The ball may not go straight every time, or as far as Rory’s shots, or even anywhere I want, but for a few perfect seconds it’s just me and the ball, and that's what has made me a golfer.