August 29th, 2012 by Tyler Pringle
I am by no means a world-class golf instructor. I have, however, taught quite a few people how to swing a golf club. A handful of those people have gone on to pick the game up and have turned into golfers. But many of the people I gave a few basic pointers to on swing mechanics never picked up a club again. I love the game of golf, so it’s always a bit discouraging to see others not share that enthusiasm.
One of the main things I’ve noticed as to why people don’t pursue golf after they’ve been exposed to the game is that they are embarrassed. They’re embarrassed when they swing and miss the ball. They’re embarrassed when they shank it 90 degrees and almost kill someone right next to them. They’re embarrassed when they top the ball and it dribbles in front of them 6 inches. Basically, they’re embarrassed because they are terrible. They absolutely suck, and nobody can deny it.
What they fail to realize, however, is that no one cares. No one. You’re terrible, so what? It has nothing to do with how athletic you are (I’ve taught DI athletes and people who should wear helmets when they walk outside), learning to swing a golf club is an awkward movement, especially as a beginner, and it takes thousands of repititions to even begin to figure it out. Anyone who has played the game for good amount of time knows this, and I guarantee they can remember being just as terrible at the game when they first started. And nobody cared.
Golf is extremely humbling. It’s one of the primary lessons the game teaches. You’re going to suck for a long time. Even when you get decent, you’re still going to top the ball and hit atrocious shots from time to time. But golfers share a common bond and insight into understanding this. It’s a really, really hard game. Heck, even professionals score a 16 every now and then. And nobody cares.
If you take yourself very seriously, you can’t laugh at yourself, and you expect to do everything perfect every time, I strongly suggest you do not play golf. However, if you do not fit this mold, don’t start to change into that type of person when you get the the golf course – because you will be terrible, and everyone will see, and nobody will care.
It’s okay to suck at golf. We’ve all been there when we first started (expect Tiger Woods because he was 3 and could barely even walk. The fact that he could even hold a club is pretty remarkable). I understand you might be competitive or were, in the past, good at every sport you picked up. Golf is different. Golf is going to put a whooping on you for a long time to see if you have the focus and grit to stick around. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t, and it’s usually because they don’t like to be embarrassed when they aren’t very good at something. We’re here to encourage you to not give up, to keep shanking and duffing and slicing the ball. Because once you figure it out, you will thank us for showing you how to play the greatest game on earth. And then you’ll teach someone, and they will be just as bad as you once were – and you won’t care, and you’ll let them know that they shouldn’t either.