How to get into ladies golf in Hampshire
- Credit: Archant
It’s challenging, keeps you active and can be played alone, with a partner or family. No wonder women’s golf is on the rise. Kay Walshe, Captain of Hampshire Ladies County Golf Association explains how more ladies can get into golf
Golf is changing
A lot of people’s perception of golf is that it’s a stuffy game, played largely by wealthy men, but this is a very dated view. In fact, golf is more accessible now than it has ever been and many ladies are surprised to find that most of the golf clubs across Hampshire have vibrant, flourishing and inviting ladies’ sections with members of all ages and backgrounds.
Golf vs. other sports
Unlike other sports, the handicapping system in golf really does level the playing field so you can be competitive regardless of your ability. It’s also a low impact sport and we find a lot of women take up golf after playing other sports like netball and hockey for this reason. That’s not to say that you must have a sporting background to be good at golf. There are many ladies, who have never played any other competitive sport, who love golf and are pretty handy at it.
The social side
Golf has to be one of the most social sports ever invented. There is a common misconception that golf is quite a solitary game and perhaps that’s because the most well-known stroke play format is played individually. However, there are a lot of lesser-known but regularly played formats of the game that take place with teams of two, three or four people and as a beginner, playing these formats are a great way to build your confidence.
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The ‘19th hole’ is where most people think the social element of golf exists. To a certain extent that is correct and a glass of wine in the clubhouse afterwards can be a lovely thing, especially on a beautiful summer’s day. There is however a large social element out on the course itself, with plenty of time throughout the round to chat between holes, make new friends or grow closer bonds with your regular playing companions.
How to get started
There are lots of initiatives to introduce beginners to the game. A great way to start is to attend a taster session. These will be going on throughout the summer at a number of golf clubs in Hampshire. The sessions are usually about an hour long and provide an opportunity to find out more about the sport, tour the golf club, meet the professional, learn the basics and hit some balls in a mini-coaching session. The taster sessions are usually free and all the equipment is provided.
If you enjoy your taster session then moving on to a beginner’s course is a great next step. Like the taster sessions, beginner courses usually take place with groups and these can be mixed or ladies only. It’s great to start learning with a friend and gives you a real flavour for the social aspects of the game. The cost of beginner courses varies, but on average you should expect to pay £5 per session and most courses last for three to six weeks. They usually cover a step-by-step guide to the basics including grip, posture and the swing and also include information on etiquette and how to play a full game.
For more information about learning to play golf, go to hampshire.golf. You will find details there of taster and beginner sessions in the county and a list of all the clubs in your area. Another useful site is getintogolf.org
Golf myths, busted!
1. It takes all day to play: Golf can take no longer than any other hobby or pastime. There are many different ways to play the game, including quicker formats to fit in with busy lifestyles.
2. Golf is a game for men: Unlike any other sport, golf’s unique handicap system allows people of different abilities to play and compete together. In Hampshire’s clubs, there are over 5,000 ladies.
3. It is expensive: Golf does not need to be expensive and like any other sport you can spend as little or as much as you like. There are playing options, equipment and clothing to suit every budget.
4. You need a set of clubs to get started: You don’t need equipment to get started because all Get into Golf centres will provide you with clubs. You just need to turn up wearing comfortable, casual clothes and trainers.
5. It won’t keep you fit: Golf helps keep you active, burn calories, stay in shape, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and research shows it may help you live longer. In an average 18-hole round you can walk around 4-5 miles and burn at least 900 calories.
Other sports and well-being activities to try in Hampshire: