Beginner’s Luck – No. 14
Season Finale – friends, fairways, and feeling fine

Across the 2022 season, we’ve played dozens of rounds of golf – some of those we’ve played together, and many with new friends in different places. We’ve lost some golf balls and found tremendous joy that comes in the company of friends and the great outdoors. Together we have talked a lot, laughed a lot and grown a little wiser (we’d like to think). Being new to the game, we have discovered the rewards it offers freely to those who begin this journey.

In Washington, the official golf season starts in March and finishes in November, but you can play and practice most of the offseason if you can handle the rain and the chilly temps. We encourage you to try offseason golf, and hope to see you out there soon.

Stephanie’s “beautiful golf girl”

Stephanie (@coldinseattle on TikTok): As I look back to when we first started this blog, I wondered what I could add to it, and who would take the time to read something from a beginning golfer, who has never attempted something like this blog. I have had ladies in the clubhouse come to us and tell us how they love our stories. Who knew?!

With this being our last blog, I reflect on all the good times I have had with this group, my 9-hole group, and now my 18-hole group. My ups and downs with golf, my bonds with these fantastic women (Macarena, Kristina, Johanna). My golf group friends, who I adore, range in age from their 40s to mid-80s. Ladies, I love you all so much. Golf has really changed my life. I’m a “golfer,” a “golf girl.”

I look back to when I started with a handicap of….not sure….(high 30s?), now a 24. I have a goal of lowering it to 19 for now. I need to practice more, not just go out and play. Here in Washington, it rains the whole winter, so this group vows to play at least nine holes a week so we can keep up the progress.

Macarena’s “globetrotting and going places”

Macarena: Can’t believe this is the final blog for our “beginner’s golf” journey – the year has flown by. I would like to say that I have become a much better golfer since we started this journey. But as we all know, golf keeps challenging us to get better, so what I would say is that I feel more confident now. When I am asked to play with complete strangers on a course I have never played before, I don’t panic – I look at it as an opportunity to learn from fellow golfers. I realize every golfer is primarily interested in improving their own game and not being a critic of yours! And if you feel you are able to ask them for tips along the way, most golfers are very eager to help.

The handicap system means that, as long as you play “ready golf” and keep up with the pace of play, you really can play anywhere and with anyone.

I have found that taking time to practice before a round or even the odd afternoon at the driving range is worth it.

I also have enjoyed meeting new people and discovering beautiful courses throughout Washington. I keep a list of all the courses I have played on my phone, and hope to discover more this fall. I am surprised that, when I am away from home, I miss the weekly tournaments and camaraderie of fellow golfers.

So, my goals for the coming year are to play 18 holes more often than nine holes; to keep playing after the season ends (I did invest in wet weather golf gear after all!); oh and yes, to take part in my first  International Women’s Partner Golf Tournament, to be held at Danzante Bay in Mexico! Thank you, Stephanie, for persuading me to join you – can’t wait! And hope it will be the first of many.

Thank you to everyone I have met on the many courses I have visited this year. And to my fellow golf bloggers, let’s keep sharing our stories and laughter, as we continue our golf journey together!

Kristina’s “turn, baby, turn!”

Kristina (@k_love_90 on TikTok): 2022 was a huge year for our little golf group. We branched out into different golf leagues, explored tournament play, found new golf courses and revisited many of the same tried and true local golf spots. A heartfelt thanks to my friends for making my favorite moments from this year possible and for being a part of this incredible community. I cherish our time together and look forward to more adventures ahead.

This year, I volunteered for an afternoon with the Drive, Chip and Putt local qualifier and found incredible inspiration in the young players. I’m also in awe of parents, family and friends who were there to support those kiddos – I wish them all the best along their journey. For everyone who works at a golf course – from the pro shop to the beverage cart to landscape maintenance – your hours and hard work are greatly appreciated. For my golf friends – and those golf friends I’ve yet to meet – have an amazing golf journey. You got this!

Johanna’s “hole-in-one”

Johanna: What a fun season I’ve had golfing in Washington! There were so many wonderful people I met, and also the blessing of golfing with cherished friends filled many of my days! I would golf every day if I could.

A HUGE and unexpected highlight this season was getting a hole-in-one! It was an early August tee time and a bright warm sun was shining through the beautiful Pacific Northwest trees. It was hard to see the flag, down from the tee box on the third hole. I lined up the best I could, put a steady swing of my pitching wedge, and….dink! We heard my ball hit the flagstick. It could’ve gone five feet to the left for all we knew. We couldn’t see it. As we walked toward the green with the sun shining in our eyes, we still couldn’t see it. My friend Diana said, “I think it’s in the hole.” I looked at her a little excited and a little in shock, I’m sure. We kept walking and walking, all the way to the cup. And there it was! My bright red ball resting in the cup waiting impatiently for us to come find it! We shouted and hugged in amazement. And as special as girl golf is, there were cheers from the holes around us. I cannot believe that happened, and I don’t think I will ever forget it.

I learned a lot this season as well. I learned the specific rules for what penalty strokes to take, depending on how you get out of bunkers. I learned you can truly improve your game by watching YouTube (thank you, Rick Shiels!). In addition, I learned that my patience with and grace for myself has grown quite a bit in my second season of golf.

Finally, I love to learn about the friends I golf with: their cultures, their families, and their lives. I have been blessed beyond measure.

My current handicap is 30.6. I hope this continues to decrease the more I play! I will keep trying my best and know I will only love the game more. My goal for next season is to be consistently scoring in the low 90s (or below!).

I hope if you are reading this, and we haven’t golfed together yet, that I will meet you soon!

Hit ‘em straight!

Who We Are

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.

Johanna MacMichael

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

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

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

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.