Beginner's Luck No. 2
What’s in the Bag – Equipment Essentials

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.

There are some basic equipment and golf bag essentials. Clubs, balls, tees, glove, shoes, towel, golf course-appropriate attire, weather gear (umbrella, sunscreen), hydration and snacks – we could go on (and we will!).

The most obvious need is a variety of golf clubs. Start with what you have – look in the garage, borrow from a friend, rent at a golf club, buy a used or beginner set. If you want to buy a set of clubs, think of keywords like “forgiveness” and “game improvement” when looking for a starter set.

On Macarena’s first set of clubs, she shares:  I was so excited when my golf coach at the driving range suggested I buy a set of clubs. It was a commitment and quite daunting, until she told me I didn’t need to buy a whole set – a half-set would be enough to start. After all, I had only been practicing with a 7-iron, wedge, driver and putter. Having too many clubs in my bag would make it even more difficult to choose the right one – so I took advantage of a beginner promotion at the range and bought my own brand-new half-set of clubs, with matching golf bag!  (A driver, 3-wood, hybrid, 7- and 9-iron, sand wedge and a putter). I was so excited to take them home and show them to my family….so I slung the strap over my shoulder and strutted out of the shop with my head held high, but getting out of the double doors proved tricky – who knew you should carry your bag with the club heads facing forward, not backwards like a backpack! Thus, preventing you from losing your balance and smashing your brand-new clubs into the door frame – make a note to self for next time……

Stephanie (@coldinseattle on TikTok) recalls: When COVID hit, I picked up some old clubs that were handed down to me in the late 1980s. In my 20s I had played maybe five times. Kids happen, and you know that story: Who has the time for 18 holes? When I finally picked up the clubs again and headed to the driving range last year with my 1980s McGregor irons and Callaway Bubble-burner woods, I was swinging away with zero purposes – zero. I’m a natural athlete, but could not understand why I could not hit the ball off the tee at the range. I used to be able to. What possibly could be the problem?  And why is this little rubber tee so high? I had no idea that drivers these days are so much bigger than in the good ol’ days. So I signed up for lessons, and the young instructor was ever so nice and polite, but after my third lesson, he gingerly asked when I was going to invest in clubs. Not even brand new but maybe in this decade. I’m saying you don’t have to go out and buy the latest and greatest, but having the correct clubs in your bag does make a difference.

Now that you have some clubs, what are you going to put them in? Kristina (@k_love_90 on TikTok) says: I have collected a few golf bags over time. One bag is a lightweight “carry” bag that I use when I play without a cart. I love to walk the golf course, and carrying a bag of golf clubs through a round is a surprising level of effort. For most 18-hole rounds, I use a three-wheel pushcart that holds the golf bag, clubs and accessories. For the pushcart, I use a bigger golf bag with more pockets for jackets, snacks, coffee, etc. I also have a golf bag that is water repellent for those higher precipitation days. Any golf bag will do, just bear in mind the size and weight.

Johanna’s first set of clubs were purchased over 20 years ago by her husband. She says: Similar to Stephanie, I played a scramble version with my husband a few times and then…..the kiddos. After I picked up the game again and played with these artifacts a couple of times, I realized I needed to start upgrading. My old driver said ”oversized” on it, which was hilarious considering how small it was compared to current drivers. That was the first thing to be replaced. Then I purchased a set of irons which included hybrids. Hybrids are a cross between an iron and a fairway wood. I had a club fitting at a golf store which was very helpful! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try several clubs before purchasing.

While you are out there walking around, Macarena reminds: “Good shoes take you good places.” Apart from the golf equipment in your bag, one of the most important things I found when I started golf was the importance of good, comfortable shoes – after all, the shoes you wear for golf are going to walk many miles (if you try and walk every course, as we do). It is worth taking your time to find a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes; and if you wear orthotics, make sure they fit your golf shoes. I have a summer pair of golf shoes, which are lightweight and mesh-like and allow my feet to breathe on those hot, dry, sandy days. I also have white leather brogues, which are lined with cork and are super comfortable for spring and summer. And finally, having decided to play throughout the winter in the Pacific Northwest, a black pair of waterproof golf shoes, a lifesaver when trudging through miles of muddy fairways and can be hosed off after a wet and muddy round. Also, make sure you find good golf socks that protect you from blisters – and in the winter, hiking socks work well and keep your feet warm and toasty!

Who We Are

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.