Beginner’s Luck – No. 7
Instructional Resources – indoor, outdoor, social media, old fashioned, it’s all good

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 various interesting ways to learn about this game when you have a few extra minutes or can’t get out to the driving range. Some of these will suit your learning style and answer the questions you have about your game more than others. Learning how to play the game is not a one-size-fits-all approach, it’s about learning what works for you.

And here’s what works for each of us….

Stephanie (@coldinseattle on TikTok): What I have found, other than the fantastic lessons I take with my PGA instructor, are online, or social accounts like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. When I started the game a year ago, I found some clever lady golfers posting great content online, from what to expect on the driving range, don’t get intimidated by all the “Dudes,” etiquette, “what to eat,” etc. I find this refreshing and educational.

It all proved that I could start golfing at 55, meet new best friends, join a league and have fun. I even entered my first tournament, “The Desert Classic,” in Arizona with over 250 ladies of all skill levels.  A few years ago I would never have guessed I would travel to AZ and play in a tournament all by myself. I had not been playing for a year yet. Following all these other lady golfers online motivated me to go and do it!

I would highly recommend looking at Tori Totlis on TikTok and Instagram. She covers it all! What to wear, golf gear, and what to learn from your mistakes. Also, I learned that everyone is nervous on the first tee, not just me. Her message is to go out and start! So many beginner tips. She taught me about “Par-Tee Snacks” to bring while golfing. She also gives practice advice, and she has a program that I follow. She also has a podcast, “The Real Housewives of Golf” – if you like housewives and golf, this is so fun.

Other Instagram favorites are “BabesGolf” – these ladies are from San Diego, and they started their group during COVID. I can relate to them, as they are total beginners, just going out and having a good time with so many special events. “Officialbadmomz” out of Texas are so fun and funny – all are women my age golfing for the first time.

There are so many resources out there to tap into. I see other ladies doing what I wanted to start doing, having so much fun.

Johanna:  I have become a golf addict. Seriously. I could play just about every day if circumstances allowed. It is always on the TV in my house. I have taken lessons. And when I can’t go golfing, I try to go to the driving range. I have learned a lot so far and I’m always looking to improve. One amazing and very inexpensive way to learn little golf lessons is through social media (it’s not all bad!). There is a golf instructor on YouTube named Rick Shiels. His channel is Rick Shiels Golf. He is a PGA professional, has millions of followers, and gives golf tips on how to improve your game. He has instructions on things like “How to stop topping the ball,” or “How to break 90.”

As a personal example, I learned you can take an 8-iron, use a putting stroke, and get it on the green from the fairway if you’re close. It actually worked! My favorite lesson from him so far (said in his British accent), “TAKE THE SMART SHOT, NOT THE SEXY SHOT!” I wish I always listened…

Macarena: One of my many adjustments to moving to the beautiful Pacific Northwest was the number of rainy days you have here! Coming from 10 years in Australia it was quite a shock to realize that many people in this part of the world are fair-weather golfers (i.e. May-October). And if they do play the rest of the year, they head down south to warmer and sunnier climes – Palm Desert, Hawaii, Mexico. How exotic!

But for those of us who are not lucky enough to own multiple homes in warmer parts of the world, a wonderful way to work on your golf game when outdoor lessons are not viable is to stay indoors – the indoor simulator and Mr. TrackMan become your go-to.

I was encouraged to try this out by Stephanie. We shared a couple of lessons in which our instructor was able to analyze our swing plane, stance, launch-angle and many other statistics I had never heard of, as we took turns hitting a ball towards a beautiful screen of a golf course somewhere sunny! By watching our golf swing on the screen and the ultimate path of our golf ball, we can begin to understand (maybe!) why we are not hitting them straight. Our instructor then proceeded to tweak our balance (did you know that by changing the weight distribution on your feet the ball can actually change its trajectory?!), and also check our set-up position, making adjustments accordingly. The angle of the club face, the swing plane, club speed, carry, attack angle – all appear at the bottom of the screen, and we are given figures to aim for – it gets pretty technical, and am not sure I understand all the tech vocabulary yet, but am working on it.

And after the lesson we are sent a video of main learning points by Mr. TrackMan (so kind of him!). Often the video is played alongside that of a professional so we can compare our swing with a real pro – once again, something to aspire to.

The other fun thing you can do with a simulator on a rainy day when the thought of all that mud on the course does not appeal is to book a simulator and challenge a friend to a round of golf at any course you wish around the world – you can spend a very pleasant hour virtually on any course and practice your new-found skills on a “real course.” And as a world traveler myself, it’s quite a nice way to visit other courses without airfare, jetlag or carbon emissions! So if you haven’t tried this type of golf lesson yet, give it a go!

Kristina (@k_love_90 on TikTok): I love going down the TikTok trail of golf videos – there are hours of fun and serious posts. In addition to what Stephanie suggested above, you should also consider @kerrymahervertical, @lpga_tour, @cathykimgolf, @girlfriendsguidetogolf, @hannahdaviesgolf, for hours of fun! I gobble up YouTube (here’s looking at you, Lisa Longball and Erika Larkin Golf).

I’m also a huge podcast enthusiast, so check out the “Above Par” podcast by Kathy Hart Wood – she is insightful, experienced and spot on. But honestly, nothing beats cozy couch time with a good ol’ golf instructional book and a cup of tea. There are tens of thousands (millions?) of written resources ranging from swing fundamentals, specific techniques like putting, to the mental side of the game. That said, there is a dearth of golf instructional books bywomen.

Meanwhile, I can wholeheartedly recommend several good reads. “Make Your Next Shot Your Best Shot” by Bob Rotella is encouraging and inspirational. Anything from Harvey Penick is nostalgic and wise. I just found Penick’s “Little Blue Golf Book: Lessons & Teachings for Women Golfers” after reading his “Little Red” and “Little Green” golf books. There is a lot to enjoy and learn from the book “On Par: The Everyday Golfer’s Survival Guide” by Bill Pennington.

I’m a lifelong learner and I’ve found this is the perfect game for me. The great Arnold Palmer said, “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect.  It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” We certainly agree! Keep learning and have fun. Hope to see you out there soon.

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.