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How Did You Get Into Playing Golf? Your First Game.

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A friend of mine's older brother got me into golf. He took us to the driving range and out for our first round. I also got my first set of clubs from him and 28 years later am still using the Ping Zing putter that came with that set.

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Although I worked as a general flunky at a smallish 9 hole course as a youngster, I did not take up the game at that time. I was a baseball player. Baseball players did not swing golf clubs.  The golf course job was one of the few jobs available in the small town that didn't involve something to do with logging. Yeah, I swung a club at balls every once in a while, but it was just a passing thought.

My first real interest in golf started in colledge. Some guys talked me into going to a par 3 course. When I was 19, or 20. After a few trips, the idea of not being able to hit a stationary ball, on the ground, with a golf club fascinated me. I mean I could hit the ball, but where it went was another matter. 

In baseball, I was able to hit fastballs, sliders, curves, even knuckle balls pretty well. However, that little white ball, just lying there on the ground, totally grabbed my interest. Once out of college baseball, I took up golf like a junkie looking for my next fix. 

My first real round of golf was on a 7K yard course. I golfed with an old guy who had his name on his bag. 

I shot a an honest 96. Maybe it was a 95, I don't really remember. At the end of our round, I asked the guy what he thought of my game. He told me I had few things to learn. To go find an instructor. 

I was lucky enough to find a qualified  swing instructor who was also a qualified club builder. I spent the next 10+ years working with him. 

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I caddied at RuthLake CC and Mondays was caddies played for free. 

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Summer in St. Louis.  Hot.  Hanging out with some friends in the street... talkin'.  One guy says he and his dad played golf the day before.  Boredom sets in.  The guy says he can heist his dad's clubs and we could go to a nearby par 3 golf course and all three of us could play out of the same bag.  The catch was that one of the moms needed to drive us there.  Game on!

That was the beginning.  Played 1st man on my high school team, 4th man on my college team (full athletic scholarship), two NCAA Tournaments.  Played in Miami and Hawaii for 2 years refining my game.  Now I'm lucky to be playing to a 2.9 handicap.

Life is good.  Golf has been good to me.

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I am one of the very few who took up golf during the 2009 recession.  I actually took "Intro to Golf" as a PE class in college.  I made an "A".  I played that summer and then didn't touch a club for 23 years.

In 2009 a friend insisted on taking me out on the course.  I don't know if he thought I would like it, thought I was stressed from the economy, or what but he really insisted.  I had a good but not great time. A few weeks later there was a corporate event that I would normally have passed on, but because I had just played I gave it a 2nd try.  Again a good but not great time. 

But a few of us that played started talking.  Due to the recession, our company had just announced that everyone need to take a week of unpaid vacation.  We decided that since we weren't going to be paid, we were going to take a vacation day and play golf.  On the back 9 I hit a couple of good shots and decided that I was going to learn how to play and that I was going to work at it until I was at least average.  Happy to say I did better than expected.

Edited by gbogey

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4 hours ago, Cantankerish said:

You know...I can't even remember. I have several vague memories as a child, but I can't sequence them.  At any rate, none of it hooked me until this past summer when a cousin insisted on breaking his sobriety in grand fashion at a golf course in Tennessee.  I had not touched my clubs for years, but I did not want to look a fool, so I practiced as much as I could over the next few weeks.  I shot well enough to save face, but I found myself still wanting to improve after that vacation.

I play lots of sports. But golf has been the hardest, most tedious, humbling, frustrating, and intimidating of any activity I have ever undertaken.  And it is prohibitively expensive.  And it ruins my weekends. Annoys my wife too.

God, I love this game.

Good story, funny and well-timed.  You need to write for Golf Digest.  Ya know, John Updike did that.

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3 hours ago, nevets88 said:

During a golf school, first time I picked up clubs, stupid friends put me on a 6000+ yard course, should not have been there and an ex-governor was playing behind us. 

hd facepalm GIF

Guessing the ex-governor was of a different political party, to make matters worse.

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I have been hitting golf balls on a golf course for most of my life. It was really only golf in the sense we used golf balls and clubs and hit from the tee to the hole. We didn't know the rules, took as many mulligans as we wanted, and drank copious amounts of alcohol. I would play about two "rounds of golf" a year. Then, one day I stopped for about 15-years. Now to, what I consider, my first round of golf:

I normally take the day after the Super Bowl off to recover from the previous day's debauchery. Last year (2018), I woke up on that fateful Monday feeling quite good and the weather was a balmy 70 degrees outside. Being bored, I decided to dig up the old clubs and beat some balls around a local muni course. I shot a 98 on a par 66 course without counting my penalties or mulligans, but I became absolutely hooked. The very next week I went and bought a new set of clubs. I read and learned the rules and started playing by them... all the time. I was tracking my index on a website which showed my index to be a 36. Unsatisfied with my level of performance, I started lessons, joined a work related league and played as often as I could get out. 

Fast forward to today. My official March 1st index is 19.0 and I am playing in my first tournament tomorrow. I practice or play about two hours a day. My coach and I have set a goal for me to reach a 12 index by the end of the season.  

Edited by Sean_D

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I grew up out in the country with just under 2 acres of land with abut 1/2 mowed. I had a few highly mis-snatched hand me down clubs (including two with wood shafts) so I was always whacking away it a few balls (mostly out of round, I guess).  Asked for some clubs on the birthday after I graduated 8th grade and got some used MacGregor junior clubs.  The next summer, my brother had some friends who golfed so I was the one to tag along and make up the foursome.  It stayed that way through HS. I added a few longer clubs from time to time  to the point where I almost had no clubs from the same manufacturer! I still have that first score card somewhere in my storage memorabilia. I ended up 31 over par mainly due to the killer slice I had and my (then) inability to read greens. But it was fun!! Got better fairly quickly and within 5 years I upgraded my clubs and dropped, for a while, into a single digit HC. Then I got married and that created another reality for my game.

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Getting Introduced: I had been around golf growing up as I had a couple of uncles who played at the local country club.  I recall having an iron or two at home with a couple of golf balls we would hit back and forth.  Still no real interest.  In the late 90's a friend gave me his old set (a mix of Spalding, MacGregor, and Lynx irons and "real" woods).  My joy at that time was to take varying irons to the local softball outfield where I would try to hit the balls to a given spot.  I quickly learned I had a lot to learn.  As I was not in a place where I could get on a course, I chose to put the clubs back in the back till this past summer. 

My FIrst Real Time on the Course: Fast fwd to around '09 where I went on a company trip that included a team building exercise involving best ball play with some very good players.  I was the "D" player though I felt more like a "Z" as I had no idea of what I was doing.  The exercise playing the back nine and I had fun slicing, hooking and worm burning the ball.  When we were thru, my boss and a couple others wanted to play the front nine.  I was asked to join if I wanted.  I said I would like to as I was starting to get the itch.  I was totally dismal on the drives and after the 2nd hole, a friend offered to let me play his tee shots.  I politely declined as I wanted to do well, he said that I may want to use the 3 wood as it is easier to hit.  The next hole I nailed the drive and I was hooked.  By the end of the round, my friend Rudy said I had learned more in those 9 holes than most learned in a life time.  I told him I was "retiring" as I would never be better than that day and I did not want to spend a fortune trying to get there again.

Now:  This past summer our church's men's group started having a monthly 9-hole best ball outing.  My 2nd oldest son wanted to go, so I drug out the old starter set complete with the real woods and dry rotted grips and away we went.  The foursome we were in included a couple of course regulars so we followed their lead.  I truly enjoyed the day, more because of my time with him than anything else.  Yet I still remember the 8th hole where the magic happened.  My tee shot was the best, my approach put us within 15' of the hole and I was the only one to make the hole in one putt.  As one of the guys said, "You truly owned the hole".   I was hooked on the enjoyment of the game.  

 

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2 minutes ago, WillieT said:

I truly enjoyed the day, more because of my time with him than anything else

That's what it's all about.

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I was introduced to the game by my Uncles, my Dad,  and by the neighbor whose back yard bordered ours.

My Mom's side of the family was from just east of Pittsburgh. In the late 50's, early 60's, my Uncles on that side were all huge Arnie fans! They talked my Dad into taking up the game rather late in life. As things go, old clubs and balls began to accumulate in the basement and garage. Of course I had to make use of these, and chopped a hole in the middle of the back yard to chip to. Some of these clubs had wooden shafts and bore strange names!

The back yard neighbor came into play when I began to wonder what would happen if I should swat a ball with a full swing rather than little chipping stroke. I whacked a crisply hit "cleek" or "mid-mashie" through his garage window! I owned up to it and was forced to do some "work" for him to repay my debt. This led to him telling my Dad that it seemed like I wanted to play. 

That's where it all started, and here I am 50+ years later still whacking away trying to play this infernal game! But I must say this. When everything else had fallen away, there was always golf!

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Early 90’s I was a warehouse worker looking to move up. I noticed all the guys who had the jobs I wanted had two thing in common, they all had college degrees and they all golfed so I enrolled at the community college and started hitting the little whiffle balls in my yard with the one very old iron I found in my garage. One day my boss saw me hitting the whiffle balls while on lunch, he brought me in an old set of clubs and we started hitting the range. I’ve been hooked ever since.

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I was 7 years old.  My Dad walked me down to #8 and he gave me a 7 iron and a putter with a golf bag to start with.  We played #8 and #9.  I will never forget playing #8 that first time with my Dad.  He was very patient with me.

After playing #8 and #9 together he let me go out and play #8 and #9 by myself.  As soon as I finished I walked into the club house and asked my Dad when I could hit The Driver.  All of his buddies started laughing in a good way.  He had me go get his Driver and then he had me stand next to it.  He told me as soon as I was tall enough I could hit The Driver.  From that moment on I was determined to play golf so I could hit a driver.

My dad I played a lot of golf together over the years.  We had a lot of very special moments together.  I wish I had only played more golf with him now that he is gone.  

Every year since he died I will go out and play a couple rounds of year by myself so I can just think about our times together on the course.

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On 3/9/2019 at 6:06 AM, Sean_D said:

I am playing in my first tournament tomorrow

I enjoyed reading your story. How did your tournament go?

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I think I have a unique story for getting into golf.

I was a sophomore in High School and we had a substitute teacher one day and there was a morning announcement for anyone interested in playing golf to go to the cafeteria.  So of course, I say I'm going to play golf (I had no intention of playing) and leave homeroom, so I can screw around until first period.  Walk down the hall, see a couple of buddies and go into the cafeteria to shoot the shit and the golf coach (who was also my biology teacher) comes up behind me and says, so Mr. Scott you're playing golf with us this year.  He used to be the basketball coach, was about 6'7" and I stammered and said yes.

So there I am during the day thinking how the hell am I going to play on the golf team, I have no clubs, never played before, I guess I could've just bailed but somehow Mr. Norris scared the bejesus out of me at 15.  So I went to my best friends house, his Dad was a big golfer and he took me to the basement, grabbed an old bag, gave me a mismatched set of clubs (I'm not sure if more than a couple matched), went to a bucket grabbed some balls, gave me tees and said there you go, all set to play.  

Went to the school that evening to hit balls into a net in the gym, went that weekend to play golf with some friends, broke 100 and have been hooked ever since.

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I had a buddy that played with his dad. Summers would get boring so we would play anything to pass the time. Started playing, mom and dad bought me a set of clubs and it was done. Here I am 35 years later still playing as much as I can. Became a PGA pro. Quit. Now I play more golf than I ever did. I always said, "if you want to play golf, don't become a club pro".

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I hit balls and messed around at the golf course as a kid while my my dad and grandfather played, but never really played an 18 hole round until I was invited by a friend when I was about 22-23 years old.

There was a couple groups of us. I borrowed an old set of clubs from my dad and set out. I wasn't very good, but neither were any of the guys I played with. It didn't help that we chose to play one of the harder courses around. This was over 20 years ago, so I don't remember many specifics about the round except that I shot over 100, and I was totally hooked.

After that round I went to my father and had him show me a few things. I've never shot over 100 since.

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