Growing up as the daughter of a golf professional means golf is in your blood from birth. You play it, you watch it, you know it. My dad put a golf club in my hand as soon as he could. I practiced in our back yard golf net and we’d watch tournaments together on tv whenever we could. When my parents got divorced, I’d spend the weekends with my dad. He had to work most weekends, but I didn’t mind because he worked at golf stores with driving ranges or indoor nets. I’d spend hours practicing my swing. Bucket after bucket of golf balls, hour after hour, weekend after weekend. And I loved it.
Golf was our “thing.” It was something we had that was just ours. He’d take me to the Par 3 course by our house and he’d be patient with me when I hit a ball onto the wrong fairway. He’d gently steer me towards the right club and gave me as many Mulligans as I wanted. I was tired and got sunburned and hated life by the 6th tee most days, but deep down, I loved it. I loved how difficult golf was and I loved that it was Daddy and Ashley time.
The older I got, the less time I spent with my dad on the weekends at the store. I had clubs and activities, friends and boyfriends (much to his chagrin.) Freshman year of high school, I decided I wanted to join the golf team, but I never did. It was an all-boy team and girls weren’t really welcomed. Sure, you could try out and join, there were no restrictions against having girls on the team, but it was a boy’s club and the second they heard I was considering trying out, I was laughed at and made to feel like I wasn’t good enough. I backed down and didn’t join the team. Not only that, but I stopped playing almost completely. I didn’t step foot on a course again and I rarely made time for the driving range. I felt like golf was no longer this special thing. It was now something that made me feel insecure and unsure of myself.
Flash forward almost 20 years and I’m still wishing I had tried out for that team. I’m still wishing I never gave up the game of golf. In an Oedipus-like twist, I ended up marrying a man who plays golf and loves the game. Slowly, I’ve started taking steps to play again. We go to the driving range (not as often as we like) and I’m back to wanting to be out on the course. I want to have golf dates with my husband. I want to be able to play in the charity events we’re invited to. I want to have something to do that’s just for me. I want to play another round with my dad one day.
More importantly, I want my daughter to love golf, too. I want her to know the game, play the game, and soak up all of the great benefits golf has to offer. Yes, it’s great exercise (walking an 18-hole course can burn 2,000 calories or more, you guys), but golf also teaches discipline, and patience, and, if she sticks with it, golf can provide opportunities in college and beyond. She won’t have to face the same type of roadblocks as I did as a teenager. The popularity of women’s golf is growing exponentially and more and more resources are available for female golfers each year.
And, I’m looking forward to having something that’s just “ours” like I had with my dad. She’s growing up too fast and I want to take every opportunity to spend time with her and make as many memories together as we can.
I want her golf story to be even better than my own.
If you’re interested in learning the game of golf, check out PGA’s Get Golf Ready program, an affordable group lesson program designed to get people playing the game quickly.
From The PGA:
Get Golf Ready offers five lessons that concentrate on basic skills, instruction and information on the Rules of Golf, etiquette and values. Participants will learn techniques regarding chipping and putting, full swing and bunker play, as well as the fundamental guidelines of use and maintenance of golf equipment, keeping score and navigating the course. Many facilities offer the program starting at an affordable $99, although price varies by facility.
The PGA of America was a sponsor at this year’s Mom 2.0 Summit in Scottsdale. I was able to spend some time talking to their representative about my own history with the game of golf and they inspired me to share my golf story with you. I don’t consider it a coincidence that the PGA happened to be at my first Mom 2.0. I’ve decided it was a sign that it’s time to let go of my negative experiences in the past and reignite my love of golf. I’m not being paid to write this or given anything in return. I’m excited about the Get Golf Ready program and I hope to enroll in the very near future and you know I’ll be sharing what I’m learning about the game, and myself, after each lesson.
I’d also love to hear about your experiences with golf. If you have a little one that plays, please share your best tips for playing golf with kids in the comments.