What they don’t tell you when it comes to golf is that “try, try again” means hundreds of dollars spent, countless balls in the sand trap and a newly discovered knack to pull one’s hair out when looking for the ball you swear went this far. For the record, it didn’t and it probably won’t for at least a few more rounds.
2. Old timers are the evil stepmother of the golf course
As a newfound golfer you are guaranteed to play at least a few rounds with someone older, wiser and all around better than you at all things golf related. These are the men and women who manage to hit straight shots every time, avoid sand traps like cracks on the sidewalk, and actually know the difference between the golf clubs in your bag. It will happen, and you will feel inadequate. Be prepared.
3. Seriously, what am I wearing?
Golf courses are known for their upstanding dress code and having a clean, composed appearance. So why is it that no one in your family or close circle of friends happens to own a pair of khaki pants? Also, when was the last time you willingly bought a collared shirt and chose to wear it in public? As a new golfer you’ll soon start asking yourself: Do these shoes go with these pants? Is my visor too tight?
When did getting dressed turn into a three person operation?!
4. Par four my arse
Every hole you come across will have a recommended number of strokes (par) that a player should be able to hit to play a perfect game. Shot one looks good until a gust of wind puts you in the tree line. With shot two you’re able to chip back onto the fairway, but shot three puts you a whopping 12-feet further down the 200-foot fairway. Is that shot six or eight? Wait, isn’t that ball mine? And where the heck did I put my putter?!
5. No, I do not want to iron my golf clubs
Eventually you will learn why different clubs are used, but for the first 30 rounds you’ll have no clue. To a new golfer, the difference between an iron and a wood is comparable to the difference between a green apple and a red one. Yes, we understand that they have different purposes, and that driving with a putter makes absolutely no sense, but gosh darnit if it makes the ball go farther then we’re at least going to try it!
6. Putting will make your hair go grey
It looks so easy when you’ve watched it on TV; you line up the shot, and tap the ball. But prepare for the serious tears of frustration that will stream down your face when the ball goes rolling past the hole for the fourth time in a row. Soon you’ll start to consider paying off your teammates to look the other way as you gently bash the ball with the end of your putter repeatedly before kicking it directly into the hole. Well that wasn’t so hard now was it?
7. Why is there a river?
You thought sand traps were bad? The golf course looked so homey until you got to hole nine. The thirty-foot river standing between you and the miniscule flag - mocking you as it waves in the distance - stands tall and proud as you wither inside at the thought of having to fish your ball out of the river. Don’t worry, shots one, two and three will all land directly in the middle just for you, isn’t that why you brought more?
8. Golf carts do not work as bumper cars
If you’ve ever tried golfing as a teenager or with a teenager than you have inevitably experienced the clash of the titans moment when your golf cart is suddenly collides with theirs. It will only happen once…or twice, but it will happen so consider bringing kneepads. Maybe you shouldn’t have let the 11-year-old drive in hindsight.
9. Walking... so much walking
The alternative to golf carts is walking the entire course on foot, which seems like a good idea when you’ve just unloaded your bags and are standing at the first tee. But soon enough you’ll start wondering, “When did the holes get so long?” and you’ll be yearning for a break. Are you sure this isn’t a par 12, because this fairway must be at least 10,000 feet long!? It’s not, but it’ll feel like it! And with the beating sun, blowing winds and pelting rain, you’ll start think about doling out the extra cash so you can drive the course in style. But seriously, so much walking.
10. What's your handicap?
Experienced golfers will often ask you your handicap as you’re starting a round, but why would you want anyone want to know that really have no clue what clubs are in your bag, and that sometimes you can’t tell right from left? Yes I shot 112 last time, but what does that have to do with anything? Handicaps will challenge your level of intelligence every single time, so be prepared to come up with a number that might make sense to the mathematician mastermind standing next to you. Saying 37 was at least reasonably close right? No…? Darn it!
Despite the above, golfing is an amazing past time with which you can laugh, compete, and enjoy time with friends and family. The key is learning to enjoy the art for what it is – an art. No two games will ever be the same, with changing weather, changing courses and an increasing skill set. Over time sand traps will become a mere aesthetic landmark, dastardly rivers will remind you of where you started, and “gosh darn” handicaps will eventually start making sense. Khakis will appear in your closet, other players will begin to have names, and long nights drinking with your friends at the clubhouse will suddenly become the norm.
So why would you spend countless dollars, countless weekends, and a whole lot of frustration on the golf course? And what’s the only reason for taking up golf?
Because it’s worth it.
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