The following is a guest post from Colin Knight, a third generation golfer from the UK. (Editor’s Note: Just one man’s point of view. Of course, I couldn’t let this go public without a few side comments. Add your own at the end if you like.)
5 Ways To Be Taken Seriously On The Fairway
Golf has historically been a sport dominated by the male masses, even today you will encounter far more men than women at a golf course or hotel. Why? A lot of women view golf as a pedestrian and somewhat dull sport, while others who want to try their hand, are intimidated by the outdated chauvinism on the fairway today. By its very nature, golf should be a universal sport. It doesn’t require the physicality that favour men, or the agility that female sports are famed for. There is no logical reason why both genders cannot play together, and enjoy the leisure as a team.
If a woman wants to play golf there are a few things to take on board that will help any woman feel a little more confident about getting involved with golf. Maintaining an air of confidence (genuine or facade) will often result in better results, and once you’re beating the men at their own game; what can they say?
Consistency of Swing
It is a misconception that great swings are those driven with power. While it is definitely the case that you need to have arm and shoulder strength, more strength does not necessarily equate to more success on the fairway. It is all about having the right swing and consistently executing that swing in the same manner. [Ed. Note: Huh? What is the "right" swing? I suppose it doesn't matter if your swing is really ugly as long as it's ugly all the time and gets you down the fairway to the hole. Is this what gains you respect from the guys?]
The best place to practice your swing is on the driving range. Spend an hour or two every few days hitting balls as straight and far as possible. When a golfer gets to a stage where they can hit the ball where they want 6 to 8 times out of 10, they know they have improved their swing a great deal.
Knowing Your Clubs
Many recreational and amateur golfers slip up on this one, often inviting criticism by the keen players at their course. They do not know the intricacies of various clubs and they end up using the wrong one. Spend some time studying the difference between an Iron, a Wedge, and a Wood.
More importantly, it is good to know when each type of club is most useful. Not only will this improve the shot, but it will also get more respect from opponents. Especially important for females playing amongst men, knowing these basics will lay the groundwork for respect.
[Ed. Note: If you don't know which club is which, you should not be on the golf course. Get a lesson first. But let me say this, each golfer knows which club works for her in a certain situation. One might use a sand wedge to chip, and someone else might use a nine iron. I don't think it matters, as long as it works for you. I don't think I'd like to see someone use a driver to chip, but, hey! it's legal and if you want to chip using your driver you go right ahead. In fact, if you can make it work for you, I'd be impressed and my respect for you as a golfer with a trick shot would increase!]
Chipping The Ball
A lot of beginners try to get under the ball to gain elevation, to compensate for their poor swing. Women tend to try this to make up for a fictional lack of strength, a fairy tale that men like to cultivate. Golf clubs are designed in order to get good flight on the shot. Always hit a shot normally and swing through fully. The ball will go high enough into the air if you continue to do that.
Another misconception golfers have is that the head should always be down when a shot is played. Top pros like Annika Sorenstam always watch their shot as it is being hit. Some even have their head up before contact is made. A good golfer will let the shot flow naturally through their body and let their head move from a downward position to an upward one as the shot is being released. This will improve accuracy and distance.
[Ed. Note: As far as style goes, I have seen all kinds of golfers hit some very good shots with the most unconventional body swings, sways, hops and bumps. The other day I watched a guy playing in the group ahead of me, literally bounce up and down twice before taking each swing and he did it on every shot. Ugly but effective for him. Frankly, I don't care what you do with your head when you play... do whatever works for you!]
Do Not Be Intimidated
All golfers have the same potential for success, male, female, young and old. Intimidation can be a big problem at any course, refusing to be the victim can be the key to you improving your game. If the more traditionalist men see you as a strong and confident player (regardless of whether you’re pretending to be,) then acceptance will soon follow. After acceptance comes respect, and with respect comes equality.
Author Bio: Colin Knight is a third generation golfer with an avid love of the fairway. Having worked at various courses around England, he now works with Belmont Lodge.
What do you think? Are you ever intimidated by men on the golf course? How do you react? Add your comment below.