Beginner's Luck – No. 1

We are four women who are new to the game of golf. We connected through the game, and have become friends because of it. We love the game, and want to share our experiences in finding our way, and encourage and empower other beginners to take it on and seize every opportunity for joy in it.

First, a few introductions….

Johanna MacMichael: Prior to March 2021, I’d only played golf a few times with my husband in “scramble” games. During COVID, a neighbor friend recommended a women’s golf league and I started playing on a regular basis. I love this game! My handicap is 38.6.

Macarena Dearie: I was born in the UK, with the past many years living in various countries around the globe. I made a promise to my husband over 30 years ago that I would learn to play his beloved golf game if he learned to ski. And so here I am. My handicap is 40.0.

Stephanie Standifer: At 55 years old I started taking golf lessons during the COVID pandemic. My instructors encouraged me to play more regularly, so I joined my first 9-hole women’s league in the spring of 2021. My handicap is 26.4.

Kristina Laidler: I retired during the pandemic, so I’m returning to golf after years commuting and sitting behind a computer keyboard. I always wanted to play more, and better, golf but did not have the time until now. My handicap is 26.3.

So let’s talk details. There are many paths that lead to taking your first step onto a golf course. Here are ours….

Johanna MacMichael

Johanna’s first game was with her husband at Torrey Pines (yes, think “U.S. Open, PGA TOUR”). Torrey Pines is quite an intimidating course for a first-time player, but she managed to get through it with ready-golf and course etiquette “best practices” available to players of every level. As a busy Mom, her opportunities to golf with her husband were limited to mostly “scramble” or “best ball” format. In “scramble,” players in a team each hit a ball and the best shot is then selected for everyone to play. It’s a great way to play quickly, and for people who are new to the game. This continues until the hole and the round are complete. Johanna truly got the golf bug when she started playing in the women’s golf league with the encouragement of her dear neighbor.

Macarena Dearie

Macarena took a big step towards golf in Melbourne, Australia when she joined a group of friends who decided to “give it a go” – all their husbands were golfers, and they saw it as a good excuse to learn the mysteries of the game. The group found a wonderful female coach (a former LPGA Tour player) whose enthusiasm for the game, and passion to get more women playing, was contagious. She taught the basics, encouraged the group to have fun, and then said, “It’s time to get out on a course.” They were terrified – but there is strength in numbers, so the foursome took the plunge and started playing on a municipal course. And then Macarena and her husband moved to the Pacific Northwest mid-pandemic.

Stephanie Standifer

Stephanie shifted from uber-PTA volunteer room parent and Mom of teen boys to stay-(stuck)-at-home schooling during the pandemic. Her husband, who had always been a corporate road warrior, was also suddenly working from home all the time. There were only so many closets to clean, breads to bake and solo workouts she could take, so she dusted off some golf clubs from the garage and struck out for golf lessons. Golf happened to be one of the COVID-friendly activities where there is easy social distancing and fresh air for all.

Kristina Laidler

Kristina came to golf a long time ago to hang out with friends who played. She played occasionally, using mostly a 7-iron because that was the only club that seemed to work. Her job took a lot of hours, so she set the clubs aside. Her husband never gave up hope that she’d come back to golf, so she always got golf gear at birthdays and holidays (like Valentine’s Day! Yeah, uh huh.). She retired mid-pandemic and after a winter of figuring out what to do with the gift of time, she found a golf league and loads of crazy golf friends.

Next up: What you need to get started in golf, how to find a golf league, and can a range token be used in a slot machine.