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 July 1, 1999

Don’t let golf scare you: Pro’s tips to get started

You’ve been dreading it all winter — the company golf outing. You realize a lot of business is done every day on golf courses everywhere, but you’d rather suffer through another round of cold calls than pick up a golf club.

As the big day approaches, all company “hot shots” have been shining their golf clubs and practicing their putting after hours. Meanwhile, you barely know the difference between a pitching wedge and a putter. “Just don’t let me hurt anybody,” you think to yourself, “or more importantly, any of our clients!”

Golf can be pretty intimidating, but there are things you — the beginning golfer — can do to not only get through the company golf outing but to actually enjoy the sport. As hard as it may be to believe right now, you might learn to love golf and make it part of your own lifestyle.

Don’t be a big spender

Spending a fortune on a new set of clubs just so you can “look” like you know what you’re doing is a big mistake. Learn about the game first and settle for rented clubs (many area courses have quality rental clubs at a good rate). This way you can discover the game for yourself without investing $1,000 on a new set of clubs. If you spend a lot of money and find that you don’t like the sport, you’ll probably end up hating it because of the money you’ve spent. With this attitude, you’ll never be willing to give it another chance.

Golf should be a shared experience. Take up the game with someone you know. That way you can have fun learning with a friend.

Take lessons

The best way to learn the game of golf is to get some instruction. Learning the basics, such as how to swing the golf club, is critical. Even if you just work with someone who understands the game and can explain some of the basic steps to you is a good starting point. Be sure that whomever you work with is patient and willing to take the time to help you learn. They will be the key to making your first experience with golf an enjoyable one.

Play off-peak

When you first play at an actual golf course, play when the course isn’t busy. This will usually include weekdays. Golfers take their games very seriously and, unfortunately, some do not have the patience for a beginning golfer.

You may even consider a playing lesson with a PGA of LPGA professional to make sure you’re comfortable with etiquette on the course and basic strategy.

Golf can be rather intimidating for people who have never played the game. It is especially tough the first time you play in front of your peers. However, if you start slowly and put some thought into it, you’ll probably fall in love with the sport as millions of people already have. Maybe you, too, will someday be making big business deals between holes.

Mike McGetrick is director of the Colorado-based Mike McGetrick Golf Academy, recently rated one of the Top 25 golf schools in the nation by Golf Magazine. The academy instructs all levels of golfers and provides team-building events to companies everywhere. Call 800-494-1818.

You’ve been dreading it all winter — the company golf outing. You realize a lot of business is done every day on golf courses everywhere, but you’d rather suffer through another round of cold calls than pick up a golf club.

As the big day approaches, all company “hot shots” have been shining their golf clubs and practicing their putting after hours. Meanwhile, you barely know the difference between a pitching wedge and a putter. “Just don’t let me hurt anybody,” you think to yourself, “or more importantly, any of our clients!”

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