|Finding A League Of Your Own|
By Kathryn Gainey & Faith ZwemkeTo Join Or Not To Join?
Can you join a golf league after the age of 60 if you have never kept score of your game? To answer this question, this writer did some walking research by joining a women's golf league at Wapicada Golf Course in St. Cloud. The answer to the question is, "Yes, you absolutely can join a golf league if you have never kept score of your game. However, you will need to start keeping score!"
How do you keep your self-esteem when you report a "10" on a par 3 hole? Perhaps the others you are golfing with did the hole in par or a birdie. Keep in mind, golf is not about 'others,' it's about you and having fun. Also keep in mind, some members on a league may have played a course for many years. They know every fairway and green condition under almost every circumstance. Besides, a score of '10' will help your handicap!
How do you respond to unasked for advice to improve your game? Take it from me, I had advice to keep my head down, open the club face, show the knuckles on your left hand, pull the swing all the way back and follow through, etc. etc. etc. With all these tips and everyone watching, my drive went 30 feet into the air and dropped at the end of the tee box. I discovered that thinking about too many things at once is disastrous! Golf is about fun and socializing with others who love to golf. The best tip I ever got was to relax and have fun!
In some ways golfing on a league is like driving a car on a highway. On the golf course you need the equipment (clubs) and you need to know the rules. Just like driving on a highway, you may encounter some 'jerks' on the fairway. Don't let the jerks, some who see golf as only a competitive sport, influence your love of the game and being with others who share this love. The women I have met are wonderful. They, like me, are there to golf with other women, to have fun, socialize, improve their game, and exercise in the beautiful landscape of a golf course.
Listening To The "New Leaguer"
As the listener to a chatty new league golfer, I decided to keep a few notes on how things were going. The first thing that came to my mind was, "Now she has someone to play with!" As much as you may love to golf, it's really not a single-player game. Sure, you can go to a course by yourself and maybe play a round, but it's not as much fun and you could easily get paired up with strangers and most likely those strangers would be men. Given those odds, women of average or even above average skill, might not find that inviting. My "New Leaguer" friend now gets out at least once a week to play and has found a few other opportunities with others on her league to play outside of "league day" and she's now able to golf two or three times a week. Some of these opportunities are tournaments, many of them for charitable causes. Not only is being on a league helpful in finding other women to play golf with, women's golf becomes a benefit to the community at large. Oh, and don't forget, most tournaments have nice prizes and good food!
The Social Aspect
Almost every league member that I have met sings the same tune about how important the social aspect is connected to league play. They can't seem to say enough about the good friends they have made through their golf league. Many have been members for years and there is a wide age span. It seems the score, even though an accurate one must be kept, isn't the 'end all and be all' of their golf experience - it's more about being "out there" and enjoying the company of other women.
Isn't It Expensive?
When my friend and I considered joining a league, we thought it might be costly. To our surprise, we found league prices as low as $30 a season at Wapicada in St. Cloud. In the metro area, a membership to the Executive Women's Golf Association (EWGA) provides opportunities to play at several different courses, depending on beginner or advanced skills, for $125 a season. Green fees are still associated with any play, but sometimes at a discounted rate for league members. There are many leagues to choose from and doing an internet search is one way to research what is available and at what cost. We stumbled upon the EWGA at the Minnesota Golf Show in February, registered and WON a free breakfast with the group and my friend decided to sign up.
So to sum it all up, joining a league will make you a better golfer for one simple reason - you will play more! The majority of league players support and encourage you whether you are a beginner or have been on a league for years. The female golfer is in the minority on the golf course and might seem invisible. However, joining a league quickly erases that perception, as there are a great number of women golfers out on the course every day enjoying the game and each other.
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