“Don’t be too proud to take a lesson. I’m not.” – Jack Nicholas
The very first golf course I stepped foot onto was The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe. It was last year with my fiancé. I rode around in his golf cart while he played 18 holes, and I was completely taken back by the beauty of the course and surprised at his passion and love for the sport. Watching him drive, putt, and even hit a ball out of the sand looked really fun, and I immediately wanted to learn to play golf. After that day, I started to search online for a good golf school, and I found Butch Harmon’s School of Golf. I heard that Butch had coached Tiger Woods, Phil Michelson, and some other really good pro golfers, and I wanted to get the best instruction I could! I called and scheduled a lesson the following week with Vic Wilk, who played in his first golf tournament at age five. Once I booked my golf lesson, I started to panic. What do I wear? How do I hold the club? What if I hit someone with a flying ball? Am I going to know how to swing? How am I going to do this?!! I drove to the nearest sports store to answer question #1 and decided I would figure the rest out at the lesson.
I picked out so many different golf pants, skirts, collared tank tops and shoes to try on and ended up buying four complete outfits! I picked out the most colorful golf shoes I could find and I fell in love with them before I learned that the smallest size they had in the store was a half-size too big for me. I couldn’t order them and wait though; that would take so long, and I had a burning desire to complete my golf shopping, so I decided a little too big would be ok! I got back home and felt a lot more confident that even if I knew nothing about golf, I would still look great at my lesson!
When I arrived at Butch Harmon’s School of Golf that morning in May of 2014 for my very first lesson, I was very nervous. I walked all over trying to figure out where to meet the instructor; good thing I got there early! I finally found the front desk, checked in and got to meet Vic! He was very nice and explained that first he wanted to go out to the range with me and just watch me swing the club at a ball. I had NO idea he would ask me this first! I would’ve practiced, I would’ve called a friend to take me to the range first or watched a YouTube video or something!! Just swing a club at a ball to see how I do? I wasn’t too sure, but I followed him to the range, and he handed me an eight iron so I gave it a try! My legs were shaking and everything became a blur as I tried to focus on holding the club and swinging it straight. I raised the club back and swung my arms through, and I hit the ball a few feet in the air on the first swing! I was delighted to not be making a complete fool of myself on my first attempt at golf.
Vic said my first swing was good and then he led me into what I like to call their ‘golf lab’ where he explained to me exactly how to hold the club, how to position my body, how to move when I swing and how to follow through, all before he even gave me the club again! Once he gave me the club he had me hold it sideways, keep my head still, and I worked on swinging my body and focusing on my follow-through. After 35 minutes or so he finally put a ball down for me to hit, and I felt more than ready after everything I had just been practicing. I hit the ball pretty well, and got better with every new try!
After five or six shots, he took me over to the computer where he pulled up the videos of the shots I had just hit and matched them frame by frame to a video of Tiger Woods’ golf swing at the Butch Harmon School in the same place I had just been standing!! It was SO inspirational. Vic showed me how Tiger Woods had his shoulders and hips in slightly different angles and how it would transform my swing if I could mimic those angles. I tried a few more swings before he printed out my photos and told me what to practice before our next lesson! I left Butch Harmon’s School of Golf feeling incredibly captivated by the sport.
I still have a ton to work on, but golf always makes me feel calm and relaxed, and I LOVE having fun and making progress in my abilities. Here are three golf courses where I haven’t played that I’d love to try in the next few months!
Let me know if you have played on any of them and what you like about them! I would love to get your thoughts on the courses and any advice you might have for a novice like me!