I Started Playing Golf At Age 40

I had no idea that women’s golf (girlfriends golf, as I like to call it) would become such a huge part of my life.

I was 40 and had never played organized sports (or even unorganized sports) and I had no idea what to expect. My girlfriend Jane played three days a week and insisted I take a few lessons so I could join her on the course. 

Not a smooth start

My first two years playing were quite challenging for me because I suffer from ADHD, which made it difficult to stay focused. (Why can’t coaches teach golf using shopping analogies instead of baseball?)

Eventually, I was able to connect with the ball and make an occasional par. I enjoyed the challenges and rewards of golf so much that I began  organizing  girlfriends golf weekends with Jane and all my new golfing girlfriends. 

On 4th of July weekend in 2011, while playing in a Northern California Golf Association tournament at Pebble Beach,  I hit a 40 yard shot to the green that landed in a bunker.

Since I had recently attended an NCGA rules clinic, I remembered that I could take my ball out of the bunker and take a drop from the location of my last shot, for a one-stroke penalty. It seemed like the best option for me since I had no experience with hitting a “fried egg” from a bunker. 

I told our fellow competitors and my caddie what I wanted to do. They all quickly shot me down, telling me, “If you take relief for an unplayable lie in a bunker you have to stay in the bunker.”

“No,” I insisted, “I just learned this at a rules clinic, and I think  it’s called stroke-and-distance. I’m sure I can take a drop where I last hit from, for a one-stroke penalty.” 

Everyone present told me I was wrong, and reluctantly I put my ball in my pocket, scratched my head and moved on.  (We were playing a better ball format and my partner’s ball would be counted on this hole) 

Four holes later we saw a rules official and I asked her about the situation.

“Honey,” the female rules official named Casey said, “You can take stoke-and-distance anywhere you’d like on the course, and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t!” 

That experience helped me realize that even very seasoned players and (professional caddies!) can get confused about the rules of golf, and I became even more interested in learning the rules. I began attending rules clinics with SCGA, USGA and NCGA,  and actually read the rules of golf book.  I have several friends who are professional rules officials who have helped me learn the rules. 

Now, to pay-it-forward,  I teach golf rules and etiquette to women at golf courses around the world, and on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram. 

More than ten years after that fateful day in Pebble Beach, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than helping women gain confidence on the course by learning the rules. 

Jane wasn’t my golf coach, but she encouraged and supported me in my journey, and I hope to do the same for women all over the world.

“Marcela makes the rules of golf accessible and easy to understand. Her examples and explanations are relatable and memorable.”
Cathy Kim
PGA/LPGA Teaching Professional

The Rules Of Golf

I spend a ton of time with my  nose in the official Rules of Golf book, and study important USGA decisions in professional tournaments. I do all that so you don’t have to.

Most players just need the basics and honestly don’t have the time or interest in a ton of detail. But it’s important that everyone learn the rules from a trusted source such as the USGA, The R & A, or someone like me, who knows how to simplify the rules for the everyday player, and help you learn the correct details to keep you from earning penalties.

Just get out there

If you don’t envision yourself playing in any tournaments, and just want to get out there and have some fun, then you’re in the right place! On my blog you’ll find info on basic etiquette and golf customs you need to know to play at a private club, public track or fun charity scramble.
"Marcela’s rules videos have been such a huge help for me (and my hubby). Having the visual that her videos provide is key as I’m a visual learner."
Deborah Willis
Instagram Follower

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