I’m learning to play golf.
I decided to take up the sport a couple years ago. It’s a walk in the park with friends, punctuated with the swing of a club. There is etiquette, honor, and tradition. You’re out in the fresh air, getting exercise and clearing your mind.
When our daughter was born, the time I could spend playing golf dropped considerably, and I’ve only recently started playing again. I’m still very much a beginner. I haven’t quite yet recouped the cost of buying the clubs in saved rental fees, though I’m close. I can still count on one hand the number of courses I’ve played.
Getting started is easy. Keeping going is the hard part. Here are five observations I’ve made in these early stages.
- Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. I have yet to play golf with someone worse than me. I’m okay with that. Everyone’s been incredibly encouraging and supportive. They were beginners once, too. Each of them had a first time out. They kept with it, and it shows. I’ll get there, too.
- You learn a lot more once you start. I love digging into books, blogs, and videos on YouTube to learn everything I can about something. But book learning has its limits. The only way to learn to play golf is to get out there and play golf. The real learning happens when you get out there and apply the theory. Put it into practice. It’s more fun, too.
- Learn from the success of others. One of the first things I did was sign up for lessons at the local course. I had an experienced professional who could give me personalized instruction, correction, and feedback. This allowed me to learn much more quickly than if I’d just picked up a Complete Idiot’s guide and started swinging. There are no shortcuts in life, but this comes pretty close.
- Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone loses a ball. Everyone misses a putt by two inches. Everyone puts the ball onto the wrong fairway every now and then. Mistakes happen. They’re part of learning. As you get better, your mistakes may change, and you try to make new ones, but you still make them. The only time you stop making mistakes is when you quit.
- There is no time like today to get started. It will take years of practice and experience before I can play golf well. You know what? Those years are going to pass anyway. By starting now, I’ll be able to look back on years of fun rounds, and I’ll have many more to look forward to.
I don’t know how long it will be before I’m comfortable claiming that I play golf, but I’m having fun in the process. I’m still learning, and I can see myself getting better. That’s enough. I hope I never lose that perspective.
Everything you do has a starting point. Figure out what you want to do and get going. There will never be a better time to tee off.