Learn to Golf: For Runners
Follow these 6 Steps to become a Golfer this Summer
I am a golfer.
Earlier this year I had a great meeting with Stacy Chestnutt, Race Director for Sole Sisters Women’s Race. We share a similar passion to see women empower one another and encourage ladies and girls to become physically active. Stacy is a runner, a serious runner. I learned that day that Stacy has never swung a golf club in her life. Later, I was thinking about our meeting and thought to myself, If you can run 40 marathons, you can play golf! So I have decided to create this easy program so all runners can Learn to Golf this summer.
Many of my closest female friends and family members are runners, but they weren’t always. Some of them have taken it up later in life to get healthy or lose weight. I know of many who are now competing in marathons, half marathons, 5 and 10K races etc
What seemed impossible before is no longer seen as a challenge for them. In fact, they have their calendar and vacation time filled with various races in our community, around the country and even internationally for the next 5 years.
“I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it.” – Michael Phelps
I will admit that I am envious of their determination, but so proud of their hard work and accomplishments. My friend Tracy is heading out tonight for her 463 rd run in a row, crazy I know!
I have decided to learn to run, so I can spend time with my running friends and I am challenging all the runners out there to Learn to Golf!
I have marked my calendar and registered for the Sole Sisters 5K Women’s Race on June 6th, 2015 in Dartmouth, NS. I am determined and excited to spend some social time with my friends, however long it takes me to finish. And I have turned to a Learn to Run Program to guide me on my path to the finish line.
Recently, I read an interesting article written by Jenny Hadfield: The World’s Simplest Learn to Run Program (follow @coachjenny). I have adapted her tips to create this Learn to Golf Program for Runners. By following these 6 steps, I am confident you will be ready to play golf before the end of the summer.
- Make a Schedule: Mark three months on your calendar and schedule a practice session at a driving range three times per week every other day. (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Friday) By the end you will be ready to play golf on the course. Go ahead, book your tee time (set your goal) at a golf course because after 3 months you will be ready to play!
- Warm Up: Start every practice session with 5 minutes of stretching to prepare your body for the movement of the golf swing. (i.e. Small and large arm circles, squats, touch your toes) Start out easy, but be sure to engage all your large muscle groups and core. Spend a couple minutes taking half swings and hitting balls off a tee. This eye-hand coordination will help develop your swing.
- Stick to 30 Minutes: Keep the total time of your practice session to 30 minutes. This will give you enough time to hit about 40 golf balls. Don’t worry if you only hit one club during the session. As the weeks go by you will begin to hit other clubs. Start by hitting the 9 or 7 iron with a tee and work your way to the longer clubs (Driver). As the weeks go on you may want to increase your sessions to one hour.
- Finish when you hit a good shot: If we keep missing the ball, the chance of us repeating the activity again are nearly zero. Golfers need to be happy. Always end your session with a good shot, even if it isn’t your last ball. Any golfer can tell you the complete story of how they hit their most amazing shot of all time. If you are missing the ball and getting frustrated– take a short break and start back by making half swings, watching the club make contact with the ball.
- Be the Beginner, not the Pro: We are impatient – Don’t try to be Tiger Woods the first time you step out onto the driving range. Your new golf swing will become habit over time. Many of the best male and female golfers in the world learned by simply hitting golf balls. If you want to learn more about your swing or proper equipment and etiquette you may wish to take lessons from a PGA Teaching Professional. They will ensure you are working on the right things. Most facilities or golf clubs will be able to arrange lessons for you.
- Get out and Play! If you make contact with every ball you swing at and commit to picking up and heading to the next hole after making 10 swings you are ready to play! We do not need to be expert golfers to enjoy the game. You are ready! Grab a few friends and head out for 9 holes.
If you still need a little more convincing I have outlined a few similarities between running and golfing:
- Physical activities you can do for a lifetime
- Social activities that can be done with friends (or meet new ones)
- People with various body types can participate
- Require very little equipment to start
- Best enjoyed outdoors
- Can be done for competition or just for fun
If by the end of three months I can become a runner, I know you can become a golfer! Grab your running shoes, a golf club (and a new outfit), I will see you on the first tee!