Who am I
My name is Walter, but more important than my name is how I would like golf newbies and veterans to consider me, that is as their golf buddy. A friend who wants to give ‘em a heads up on many golf related things before buying and spending their cash on this sport-hobby-game, which is as gratifying as it is sometimes frustrating, and even more when you’re just a beginner.
Living near the San Diego, CA area, south of the border to be exact…yup that’s right Tijuana, home of the legendary Caesar Salad and the infamous “donkey show” (which by the way… it’s an urban myth ) many people would say it’s a privileged area for golf as we have good weather to play almost all year round.
Can’t say that I am a pro though, nor a scratch golfer, I’m just your average golfer with ups and downs in my level of play. Currently I would say I have about an 18 handicap (score in the low 90s), and my best was 10 when I was a turning into a golf freak. But I don’t play as often as I want to these days, the work, the wife, the kid, you know how it is …but every now and then I hit the fairways. Sometimes once a month, sometimes twice if all goes well, and now I just can’t wait for my son to get old enough to take him to the range
Anyways I love the game, too bad I learned to play it while I was 31 y/o, and I say too bad because I would’ve had the chance to play the game more often when I was a single guy, but now that I’m married with a kid, it’s harder to find the opportunity but anyways, that’s another story
How did my love for golf start
Started to play the game thanks to a computer sports video game pack that I got for about $20 bucks. This was bundled with old football, baseball and racing games, and it also had a golf game and fishing game… the two sports I found boring at that time he he. This was about when I was 26.
One afternoon, on one of those boring days when any of your buddies is available and you find no interest in the available movies on the dish, no appealing tv shows and you’ve exhausted all the fun from your current video games, I looked at the 2 unopened CD cases from that game pack and said
“I have nothing else better to do right now so…okay lets give these two bores a shot and see how it goes”
so I grabbed a beer and started playing.
The fishing game well, I must say that I got “hooked” with it for about an hour until I had an introspective about how lame I might have looked waiting in front of the computer screen for a digital fish to bite he he. So I said, “screw this!! one down one to go, and if the golf one is no better than this I will actually force my self into read a book”.
So there I was playing at pc golf, with no freakin’ idea of what the rules of the sport were, but after a while I got the hang of it, learned all the basic rules of golf, common golf terminology, and I really really was enjoying my self. Well for a game that I thought there was no excitement in, lo and behold there I was hooked on golf and before I knew it I was addicted to play the game every afternoon after work.
It was weird that I actually found it relaxing on the computer to stare at the fairway scenery, the water, the pines, and the sounds of birds, ducks and the occasional eagle so then I wondered…
“if this is what I feel on computer game, I can just imagine what it would be like to play the real thing”
But sadly, my poor understanding of the possibilities to play the real thing had me believe that only rich people could play being a member of a country club or something (in Mexico is not as common or accessible as in the US), so I settled for a long long time to play the game only in the computer (trying a few different ones until eventually got the EA Sports Tiger Woods) and in fact I was for some stupid reason ashamed to tell my friends I enjoyed playing golf in the computer so nobody knew how much I was enjoying it.
When did I start to play it for real
Tiger Woods had already reached his career peak around 2004 or 2005 when one day talking about sports with a couple of friends, the subject came up to talk about how this guy was breaking golf records and paradigms regarding the game, so then I finally confessed about my guilty pc golf pleasure and that for a couple of years I’ve actually watching some tournaments on the tv. To my surprise one of these guys told me he enjoyed watching the game also when nothing else was on the tube.
So the golf chat really was building up in interest until another guy said:
“We should all go hit some golf balls at the local Country Club”
I thought he was kidding, so I said:
“Yeah right dumb ass… so you’re suddenly a member with money to spend?”
and he said:
“Nooo stupid, I am talking about going to the driving range. You can get a bucket of balls to practice for $5 bucks”.
Well after I heard the “heavenly angelical chorus” everything else is a blur to me that day, but I remember I got so so excited about it. That was on a Monday because I do remember we were watching Monday Night Football, so the next few days the 3 of us were trying to solve the problem of how to borrow some clubs because we didn’t knew anybody who played golf, and even if we had known somebody he would’ve surely said “are you saying that none of you 3 bozos know how to hit a golf ball but you’re asking me to borrow my clubs?? no way!!”.
Luckily one of my friends found a guy at his work that was actually learning the game for at least 3 months, and had bought one of those beginner golf sets for about $150 bucks so he couldn’t care less about what could happen to his clubs ( golf rookie mistake!! if you do cherish your golf equipment avoid 1. Lending your golf clubs to people who have never played).
The disastrous and embarrassing first days at the local driving range
So there we were the following Friday, the 3 stooges and the fourth joining the gang, yes… the 3-month-golf veteran who played baseball when he was a teenager and have never took a golf lesson, so there you go another of the rookie golfer mistakes: 2. Think that you can swing a golf club the same as a baseball bat.
Well this fourth stooge while he was a really funny guy and actually was kind enough to risk his golf clubs with us, he was a loud mouth and bragged about he could hit the ball 200 yards and he just got started on the game… well that would have been something if he could do that at least 1 out of 3 shots, but he chunked the ball with fat shots, thin shots, slices and just about every mishit you could imagine for 10 to 15 balls before he could actually make a good shot :/
Anyways, there we were the 3 of us listening to this guy’s advice and trying to imitate him. After all, we didn’t know crap about the golf swing, golf posture, address position or any of the golf mechanics in hitting golf balls and we figured since the guy had been “practicing” for 3 months more than we had, he could teach us what he knows…pf!. WRONG! and that’s rookie mistake No. 3. Taking golf advice from another newbie.
To make a long long story short, we “practiced” in the following month for 3 more times until I knew we couldn’t keep borrowing the 4th stooge’s golf set so I bought my own golf set for beginners (which by the way was a bad investment, I made my decision exclusively based on price and a couple of months later I had to buy another one).
In that month we were totally ignoring golf etiquette and club rules at the range because we were not aware of them of them nor we bother to find out about them before played. That cost us having to bare with the following embarrassing moments:
- Other players in the range shushing us, because we were as loud like we were in the ball park
- A green’s keeper scolding us…twice!
- Splashing sand at other players in the practice bunkers
- Stealing an old man’s golf cart because we thought it was left alone (he was in the club house)
- Hitting balls in the newly seeded grass
- Laughing at jokes disregarding the focus of other players
I’m surprised we weren’t kicked out! and those are just to name a few in the driving range wait til I tell the ones in our first rounds of golf in an actual course…jezz! :S
What I do remember was paying attention one day to a gentleman who told us in a very polite way:
Hey guys, I noticed you are all beginners (really, how can you tell??) so I must give you the best and most essential golf tip for newbies:
“Take 2 or 3 lessons with a golf instructor before you try and figure how to hit the ball on your own, and please DO NOT play at the course before you have at least practiced 5 times after your first lesson. TRUST me, if you really want to enjoy the game…”
Of course we paid attention and it just made sense the part to practice at least 5 times at the range before going to a golf course, but none of us took a lesson from a pro, not even from a video!! there’s another common golf newbie mistake: 4. Golf lessons?? pf! nah I can get the hang of it on my own
Okay okay, maybe all this is just the fault of being a teenager in a 30 y/o bunch of jerks with no common sense, but if you’re any where near this kind of attitude… dude! for the love of the game, and respect to all golfers out there, please stick with an experienced player, take a golf lesson or at least document your self on the basic rules of golf and golf etiquette okay?
More of my golf horror stories in later posts
Anyways, I had written long enough on this page so you know a little about me and how did I get started in golf, but if you want to learn more of my mistakes as a golf newbie you can find more here..s and YES you can laugh at me if you want