Golf Should be Fun!
This past weekend my lovely wife Wanda and I were invited to a reunion of sorts of friends for whom we haven’t seen in years. We enjoyed our time together and reminisced about the days gone by since it turns out not one of our group had gotten any younger. Imagine that. Well as we stumbled down memory lane one very classy lady who Wanda and I admire greatly for her zest for life and her generous heart reminded me of the time I set out to teach her the finer points of the game. Or at least a close proximity to the game.
For what I am about to reveal I could face serious consequences before the “Committee of Non-Compliance” The only reason why such a committee exists is to have those individuals who wear perpetually tight underwear a reason to meet. Such a committee exist to suck the life out of newly minted golfers who are not familiar with their evil ways. The way to counteract a committee member is to use the universal phrase; “Jeff said,” with enough conviction that they shrink with fear.
When introducing newbies to the game they will most certainly remind you of a time when they had thought golf would be a great pastime to enjoy until someone released a tirade of insults at them for not knowing “THE RULES.” With such a fault hung out on the line of life and to be witnesses by others the newbie takes natures defense mechanism to heart, which is to retreat and never again subject themselves to the embarrassment of attempting to learn such a silly game.
I have witnessed this behaviour on more than one occasion, and so sad to see an eager beginner crushed to the depths of shame and for only having the desire to play a game.
When you sit down (you should be sitting by now) I will reveal to you my 100% proven and tested way to introduce someone to this great game. The introduction talk begins with “there are NO RULES! PERIOD!” That’s right no rules, it’s a simple concept in which I will do my best to explain.
The game of golf can be intimidating to newbies. They see people wearing clothes that would make a Shakespearean actor blush. Then they are introduced to foreign objects that resemble medieval torture implements, all with the intent of whacking a small round object over great distances that are lined with hazards to entrap them along the way. With the conclusion of that first hole they are informed that it’s not over, they get to do it another 17 times! But the worst part is they are told that to enjoy the benefits of the game one must obey all THE RULES. Oh, joy!
By first removing said RULES you remove the greatest obstacle to learning to enjoy this great game. There will come a time when the newbie will be introduced to the rules, but they are fed to them slowly and with an explanation on why such a rule exists. With this approach you begin to introduce the “FUN FACTOR” not the fear factor.
Here are the NO RULES for newbies;
The 1st Tee is no place for a newbie to begin their pilgrimage down the 1st fairway. Start them at the 150-yard marker. Out of sight and ear shot of would be committee members. You witness a phenomenon that occurs when a new golfer stands on the 1st tee and it is simply the fact that the golfer feels all eyes are now focused on them. The natural self talk that goes on in a newbies head sounds like the most negative self-image one can conjure up. “Remember, head down, knees bent, chin up, ball somewhere down there, focus, concentrate, breath, breath some more, now relax, oh crap I forgot to tee it up, oh well just swing, etc... (and this is where most newbies learn the language of golf, the bad language that is.) No need for such a spectacle to occur. One bad start on the any 1st hole and we have lost that once potential golfer to playing Bocce Ball for the rest of their natural days.
Tees, you now the little things we golfers stick under our ball to raise it above the ground when we begin a hole. My theory is why restrict a newbie from that personal pleasure of knowing the ground is not going to negatively impact their swing. Game is tough enough, when we start out, Mother Nature should take a back seat. And if the NFL can have a rule that states that “the ground can not cause a fumble.” Why should golf be any different. until the newbie is proficient at advancing the ball without the aid of a tee, then let them use it on EVERY shot.
Sand traps, bunkers any obstacle that one would have to demonstrate a great deal of proficiency to extricate oneself from should not be imposed upon a newbie. This is where the ONE GOOD toss comes in play. Again, why frustrate some newbie with the taking 7 strokes to free themselves of such a malady as sand. No embarrassment here unless the toss ends back up in the bunker and must be re-tossed since it was not a GOOD toss. The newbie will learn the finer points of sand play, but not at the outset. That will come over time.
Last but as important, you need to explain to the newbie that sometimes you will find a tree behind your ball. Such a natural hazard as placed there by Mother Nature and should be respected and no newbie cannot qualify for the National Arborist Society at the beginning of their journey to the golf kingdom. One must gain admittance to such a society through careful study and practice. One good kick right or left removes such an obstacle and the newbie is granted acess to the fairway once again.
Finally I would think a newbie should have the right to carry a card that declares them a new golfer in training and state that unless this roundabout to be played is an official tournament round then all rules are waived by decree of Sir Jeff and will be so until otherwise notified.
We golfers have an obligation to introduce family, friends and anyone else to the game of golf. But if we don’t make it fun at the start, we will never keep them.
Frieism: “if you ever suffer from insomnia, start reading the Rules of Golf, guaranteed to put you to sleep in no time.”
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