Beginner’s Luck – No. 4
Joining a Golf League – or, BFFs in 30 seconds flat

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.

Although the general cliché is that “misery loves company,” the flip side of that, and the better side of that, is that “laughter loves company.” And there is no better way to get yourself hooked on this game than playing with people who enjoy all aspects of it – being outside, getting exercise, creating shared memories through common experiences.

And the best way to do that, indeed the best way to find like-minded golf souls, is to join a golf league. This is easily done by signing up for a golf handicap in the ladies club at any nearby golf course (public or private), driving range, or online.

To find a league that is right for you, simply visit the Washington Golf Club Directory, the websites of the golf courses in your area, or reach out to friends or colleagues who play in a league.

Here are our experiences in joining a golf league……

Kristina (@k_love_90 on TikTok): Golf takes on a whole new level of enjoyment when you are with friends. In my experience, league play is as much about the friends as the golf itself. When I first thought about joining a league, I was so nervous! It’s natural to worry about your golf game. Do I hit the ball far enough? I don’t know all the rules. What if I hit it in the bunker, woods or water? Golfers tend to be friendly people and most have first tee jitters, consult each other on rules and hit a wild shot every now and then. This is all part of the shared experience of learning the game and getting out on the course. Without a doubt joining a league has been beneficial for my game and mental health. It has given me the opportunity to learn from others, play in friendly competitions and make wonderful friends. I recommend finding a league in your area that fits your lifestyle. League options range from 9-hole social groups to 18-hole groups with weekly competitions. It’s an amazing experience.

Macarena:  When I decided to retire, I was persuaded by a good friend to try a few golf lessons at the driving range. Given that each of our partners were golfers, we thought this would be a good plan for our retirement days. The women’s clinic was conducted by a wonderful pro who took us through the basics over an 8-week period. At the end of the eight weeks, the instructor told us the only way we were going to improve was to get out on a course and join a 9-hole league – we beginners laughed at the thought of being let loose on a real course, let alone join a league but we decided to give it a go. Albert Park Women’s Golf Club (in Melbourne, Australia) welcomed us with open arms – big smiles and reassurances that they too had all been beginners. Subsequently we were teamed up with experienced players who taught us the Rules and etiquette of club golf. We also started to learn the different types of games you can play and how to calculate your score. Our weekly golf tournaments became less daunting and always guaranteed much laughter, both on and off the course, and I was so thankful to be guided by such a wonderful group of women – the Australian sense of humor was much appreciated, especially when my ball didn’t always go in the direction I had planned! And to borrow an Australian expression (when thinking about taking that first step from driving range to club), “No worries, mate, she’ll be right,” which reflects a national laidback-ness that suggests everything will turn out fine in the end. This being the case, there’s no real point worrying about anything.

Stephanie (@coldinseattle on TikTok): I started to swing my 1980s-era clubs, took lessons, then bought new clubs, new golf bag and filled it with all the essentials: tees, ball markers, balls, towel. At a lesson, my instructor tells me, “You have the bug. You should join a 9-hole league, this will get you out to play consistently.” So off I went to search for a 9-hole league. I live in Seattle, so I started to call around. I had no idea what I was looking for, so I decided to find a time that worked for me. Most of the clubs in Seattle were in the afternoon and since I’m a Mom that’s when I am the busiest. I found a league in Bellevue that plays on Thursday mornings. That worked perfectly for me. I signed up, attended a welcome zoom meeting, and learned there is a requirement to be able to play nine holes in 65 shots or less. I thought, “Say what? Could I even hit that?” I called my instructor and he says, “Yes this is doable,” and I am beyond excited. My next question is, “Do we use carts?” They say yes, we all use carts. During the zoom meet and greet, I sent out a note on the chat: “Anyone want to go out and play nine holes before the first day?” No one responds, so I leave my number on the chat. I was so upset. I should have known then that golf is a rollercoaster of emotions. Excited to get myself out there and do something for myself. Kiss PTA volunteering goodbye, go to the driving range and hit a lot of balls because I am horrible, excited to take lessons. Bummed because I’m so bad. Excited to join a 9-hole group. It goes on and on. I show up on the first day of the league and when I asked about carts, I thought it was the carts you drive! They all used pushcarts. After that first round, I went straight to the golf store and purchased my first pushcart.

Johanna:  I moved across country and into a new neighborhood in August of 2020. Shortly after, I met a wonderful neighbor and new friend. While walking our dogs, my friend talked about her Thursday morning golf league. It wasn’t long before I was interested in joining since being outdoors is my favorite place to be! What made it even less nerve-racking is that my friend was assigned as my golf “big sister” for the first couple of rounds. A “big sister” is someone who helps a newcomer with sign-up, general rules and best practices on the course. The grace and patience she showed me was above and beyond (trust me… 😂).

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.