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Introducing Mother to Golf

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

So, I've been playing golf for about two years now. I've gotten decent, but by no means good (23 handicap). I've been getting more and more of my family into golf as a result because it's the majority of my free time from work. I've managed to get my much older brother playing around the same time two years ago and he's been my playing partner most of the time. He's even started taking lessons this month, and I'm thrilled that the guy has told him a lot of what my brother didn't believe coming from me, haha. I've gotten my girlfriend playing, and she's incredible, but that's from her background as a varsity athlete at a D-1 school in another sport. I've gotten my kid sister playing starting last year to the point where she's on her high school team and was one of the best players as a freshman this spring.

 

Most recently, my mother has started getting interested in golf. She's in her mid-50s. I'd definitely label her as unathletic, but with potential in that regard. She likes the walking and nature aspect of it, and I'm sure she'd enjoy the activity itself. I finally got her out to the golf course and we spent three and a half hours at the driving range and putting green. She kept asking for more balls to hit. And she was super into the little putting contest we had (such beginner's luck, she drained 3 15 footers!). So she's into it.

 

Anyway, I'm asking how I can get her introduced to golf and playing at a half-decent level. There's some challenges. For one thing, lessons are pretty much out because there's a language barrier and I don't think she'd ever feel comfortable with that anyway. Second, I kind of don't know how much to fix with her and when. I had her hitting 9 irons and she was eventually making decent contact, getting them about 80-90 yards. Not much height, but who cares? She's using my little sister's set, which is pretty ideal for her. She sort of has this flail at the golf ball approach that I see a lot with women at the range or on TV when they're handed a club having never swung one. She's fighting me on things like grip and posture, and I'm not sure how much I should just let go and let her just experiment with and fix down the line versus trying to instill good habits early on. I've been mostly focusing on her using her hips and torso to move the club, and making a good turn, as opposed to just swinging all arms. She's super anxious about not knowing how to make good contact and having the club bottom out unpredictably. 

 

So all of that said, I'm really open to thoughts about how best to approach this project. I think from the perspective of keeping her interested and motivated, the best thing for her would be to see some kind of results she can get excited over as soon as possible. So what's the best bang-for-your-buck things I should focus on with her? 

 

Forgive me if this isn't the right sub-forum to post this in; it seemed like the right one.

 

I'd really appreciate any thoughts, stories, or experience you may have!

post #2 of 11

Tell her it's really simple. You start with the easiest, lowest-number club, the 1-iron. You put the ball on a downhill lie to make it even easier. Then just swing easy. :whistle:

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkolo View Post
 

So, I've been playing golf for about two years now. I've gotten decent, but by no means good (23 handicap). I've been getting more and more of my family into golf as a result because it's the majority of my free time from work. I've managed to get my much older brother playing around the same time two years ago and he's been my playing partner most of the time. He's even started taking lessons this month, and I'm thrilled that the guy has told him a lot of what my brother didn't believe coming from me, haha. I've gotten my girlfriend playing, and she's incredible, but that's from her background as a varsity athlete at a D-1 school in another sport. I've gotten my kid sister playing starting last year to the point where she's on her high school team and was one of the best players as a freshman this spring.

 

Most recently, my mother has started getting interested in golf. She's in her mid-50s. I'd definitely label her as unathletic, but with potential in that regard. She likes the walking and nature aspect of it, and I'm sure she'd enjoy the activity itself. I finally got her out to the golf course and we spent three and a half hours at the driving range and putting green. She kept asking for more balls to hit. And she was super into the little putting contest we had (such beginner's luck, she drained 3 15 footers!). So she's into it.

 

Anyway, I'm asking how I can get her introduced to golf and playing at a half-decent level. There's some challenges. For one thing, lessons are pretty much out because there's a language barrier and I don't think she'd ever feel comfortable with that anyway. Second, I kind of don't know how much to fix with her and when. I had her hitting 9 irons and she was eventually making decent contact, getting them about 80-90 yards. Not much height, but who cares? She's using my little sister's set, which is pretty ideal for her. She sort of has this flail at the golf ball approach that I see a lot with women at the range or on TV when they're handed a club having never swung one. She's fighting me on things like grip and posture, and I'm not sure how much I should just let go and let her just experiment with and fix down the line versus trying to instill good habits early on. I've been mostly focusing on her using her hips and torso to move the club, and making a good turn, as opposed to just swinging all arms. She's super anxious about not knowing how to make good contact and having the club bottom out unpredictably. 

 

So all of that said, I'm really open to thoughts about how best to approach this project. I think from the perspective of keeping her interested and motivated, the best thing for her would be to see some kind of results she can get excited over as soon as possible. So what's the best bang-for-your-buck things I should focus on with her? 

 

Forgive me if this isn't the right sub-forum to post this in; it seemed like the right one.

 

I'd really appreciate any thoughts, stories, or experience you may have!

@dkolo ,

 

I would start out with playing a par 3 course.  They are fun and more relaxed that a regular course.  I would also recommend playing scramble style where everyone hits then you go to the best shot and pick up the other balls and play from the good spot.  This takes pressure off the new player and keeps the round moving.  Once you get near the green, she can play out her own shots.  If you are paired with other players you don't know, tell them she is a beginner and you are playing scramble style.

 

This will keep the game fun.  As she gets more comfortable, she will eventually want to play her own ball always and go to more challenging courses.  I started my wife out like this.  Now she plays pretty well.  She is probably a 25 HC now.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post
 

@dkolo ,

 

I would start out with playing a par 3 course.  They are fun and more relaxed that a regular course.  I would also recommend playing scramble style where everyone hits then you go to the best shot and pick up the other balls and play from the good spot.  This takes pressure off the new player and keeps the round moving.  Once you get near the green, she can play out her own shots.  If you are paired with other players you don't know, tell them she is a beginner and you are playing scramble style.

 

This will keep the game fun.  As she gets more comfortable, she will eventually want to play her own ball always and go to more challenging courses.  I started my wife out like this.  Now she plays pretty well.  She is probably a 25 HC now.

Thanks, absolutely. Once she can get the ball around decently, I'll be starting her off on a local 9 holer we have nearby that's very short and forgiving. Ironically, the par-3 course nearby has a couple of water carry holes that I can't imagine she'd enjoy too much right now!

post #5 of 11

Assuming she wants to learn, you find a good pro, and pay for a series of at least 5 or 6 lessons.  Make the effort to find one that can transcend any language barrier.  Then you promise her that you will happily take her out to play whenever she's comfortable doing so, but that you will NEVER attempt to give her any kind of instruction yourself.

 

BTW.....that same advice applies to your girlfriend.  ;-) 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

Assuming she wants to learn, you find a good pro, and pay for a series of at least 5 or 6 lessons.  Then you promise her that you will happily take her out to play whenever she's comfortable doing so, but that you will NEVER attempt to give her any kind of instruction yourself.

 

BTW.....that same advice applies to your girlfriend.  ;-)

I appreciate that suggestion, but the thing is my mother doesn't speak English at a level where I think lessons would be productive, and I think in any event she wouldn't feel comfortable with an instructor under those circumstances, or in general, honestly. Money isn't the issue at all. So I'm more looking for the best way to introduce an older woman to golf through casual practice. 

 

And yeah, my girlfriend got lessons early on! She and I love dissecting each other's swings now, haha. 

post #7 of 11

I am going to be in the minority here, but that's not my problem. Your Mom seems like a great candidate for learning golf backwards. By that I mean learning to putt first, the then chip, then pitch and so on from there. Take her golfing, and what ever par is for a particular hole, that would be her putting par. Just let her drop a ball on the green some where and putt from there. If it's a par four hole, and takes 4 putts to hole out then she made par on the hole. Once she gets good at putting, (3 or less putts) then add chipping into her game. By the time she is hitting from the 150 marker, she will already have a very good short game. 

 

This is how my wife, and a couple of grand kids learn to play golf. I have in law who is 67 years old who learned to play this way, and she is scoring in the high 80s now from the women's tee box. This after only 6 months. 

post #8 of 11
My mother played growing up, but hasn't played since the mid-70s. She had gone to the range with me once or twice shortly after I took it up (2006), but it wasn't until this year that she has been a bit more serious about it. I'm only comfortable helping her with the very fundamentals (weight forward, etc).

In any case, it sounds like you've successfully introduced her, and the remaining matter is getting her better, assuming she wants to improve.

Other than language, what's her hangup on lessons? There are probably instructors near you (or near her) that speak languages other than English.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkolo View Post
 

I appreciate that suggestion, but the thing is my mother doesn't speak English at a level where I think lessons would be productive, and I think in any event she wouldn't feel comfortable with an instructor under those circumstances, or in general, honestly. Money isn't the issue at all. So I'm more looking for the best way to introduce an older woman to golf through casual practice. 

 

And yeah, my girlfriend got lessons early on! She and I love dissecting each other's swings now, haha. 

 

What's your mother's native tongue?  No chance of finding an instructor who's bilingual?

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Polish. Not the most common around.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shindig View Post

My mother played growing up, but hasn't played since the mid-70s. She had gone to the range with me once or twice shortly after I took it up (2006), but it wasn't until this year that she has been a bit more serious about it. I'm only comfortable helping her with the very fundamentals (weight forward, etc).

In any case, it sounds like you've successfully introduced her, and the remaining matter is getting her better, assuming she wants to improve.

Other than language, what's her hangup on lessons? There are probably instructors near you (or near her) that speak languages other than English.

She's awfully self-conscious.
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