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 golf three days a week and insisted I take a few lessons so I could join her on the course.
It was a long, slow journey to learn to hit the ball in the center of the club face (Why can’t coaches teach golf using shopping analogies instead of baseball?)
Eventually I enjoyed the challenges and rewards of golf so much that I started organizing girlfriends golf weekends with Jane and all my new golfing girlfriends.
Learning The Rules
One summer 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 the other players in our group 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. 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 I reluctantly 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 my unplayable lie.
“Honey,” the female rules official named Casey said, “You can take stoke-and-distance relief anywhere you’d like on the course, even out of a bunker, and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t!”
That experience made me realize that even very seasoned players (and professional caddies!) can get confused about the rules of golf, and I became interested in learning the rules.
I began attending rules clinics with SCGA, USGA and NCGA, and actually read the rules of golf book. (Who does that, right?)
My rules official friends were a tremendous help in learning the rules of golf, and I eventually earned the USGA Advanced Rules Certification.
Paying It Forward
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 of golf.
My friend Jane encouraged and supported me in my journey, and I hope to do the same for women all over the world.
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.