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Students' Corner : 1

An installment written by students, for students

The Recreational Golfer

Stefan A. - stefan,

For the recreational golfer, there are generally two ways to go: get out with your buddies as much as you can and don’t focus on the scorecard OR get out with your buddies as much as you can and see those scores slowly come down. I took up golf on a whim with a few of my friends after years of living 5 minutes away from the local driving range. I picked up a set of clubs for something like $80 and committed myself to go a few times a week to the driving range and figure this thing out. “Golf looks so easy” and “it can’t be that hard” were two of the ways I felt after watching it on TV and seeing the Pros make it look so effortless. Well, I was way wrong. I must have hit the range a handful of times before I officially played 4 or 5 rounds at a local course in Durham Region after a handful of range sessions “preparing” myself to go out and not lose too many balls. After the first hole, I was frustrated, annoyed, and ready to throw my clubs into the trash. I was down about 25 balls before I made the turn. Golf is the biggest pain in your rear end but it is also one of the most rewarding sports one can play. I played sports all of my life but golf was not the type of sport where you could just pick it up and run with it (or at least that’s how it was with me). The competitor in me didn’t want to just be a 30 handicap weekend warrior; I wanted to see if, in fact, I can get a hang of this. I googled a variety of coaches online and had connected with a few but never really felt they would be able to help me because they, in some ways, made me think I was bad at golf and that I always would be.

Now I want to make one thing clear: it is perfectly fine to go out and hit the links with your buddies, grab a couple of beers and enjoy a nice summer day while not worrying you triple-bogeyed the last 3 holes. Well that is fun, but which guy doesn’t want to go out and have a competitive game against their friends? I have been fortunate that my closest friends to this day have been my friends for much of my child and adult life. This makes us want to compete against each other and have bragging rights on things that include who hit the longest drive and who was closest to the pin on that short par 3. For me, I found a coach that I felt was willing to let me just get better at my own pace. I had some lofty expectations but I knew that I had to build a solid foundation first. Coaching has helped me tremendously in understanding the nuances of the game but also knowing what works, what doesn’t, and figuring out the type of player I want to be. Sure who doesn’t love to bomb a drive right down the pipe on a par 5 while his friends are 30 yards behind? That is fun, but for me, I greatly enjoyed getting out of a bunker, hitting a timely chip or pitch, or making a 15-foot putt to save par. I quickly realized that

having a strong short game would allow me to truly drop my scores.

Over a year and a half in since I picked up this sport and I have to say I have come a long way. I got better, played freer, and enjoyed the time I spent on the course with my friends. Winning a few rounds didn’t hurt either. Golf is expensive but you can make the most of your situation. I still use a set of clubs that would make any respectable golfer laugh; but guess what? It works for me and I plan on using them until I deserve (in my mind) an upgrade. I decided to rather spend my golf budget on coaching and practice instead of the newest and must-have clubs which are seemingly being released on a monthly basis. With coaching, I am getting one step closer to my goal of becoming a single-digit handicapper and Coach Franz from Golf and Performance is a big part of that.

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