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Breaking down golf — it’s not just for rich, old, white guys

An outdoor sport that suits physical distancing
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IVAN MILIUKOV/THE VARSITY
IVAN MILIUKOV/THE VARSITY

Golf seems to be the new COVID-19 obsession. Makes sense. It’s always been one of the most popular sports in the world, but now with this pandemic mucking things up, more people have been turning to the green.

There are still concerns about golf and COVID-19 since golfers interact with other people on golf carts and in clubhouses. However, golf is an outdoor sport that people can play with their own equipment while staying physically distant. Hence, golf  seems to be a relatively safe way, compared to team sports, for competitors to get their sports buzz.

As a fan of pickup basketball, I’m very jealous. I’m a recreational athlete myself, and I’ve been searching for that same fix to scratch my competitive itch. That was how I was introduced to golf. A good friend of mine — one who’s played a lot of golf before — was the one who finally shipped me out and taught me how to swing a club.

I want to write this for all you other first timers. I’ll give some tips and share my experience golfing for the first time.

Get a putt buddy

It was good to have a buddy, especially one who’s more experienced than me. My friend was able to correct my technique when I was off, I was able to pick up on the lingo just by being around him as he played, and most importantly, it’s good to have someone to talk to when you’re out there. 

There’s a lot of “in-between” moments in golf, so it’s important to have something or someone there to fill those.

Keep swinging, even if you miss

Don’t get discouraged. If this is your first time golfing, then you will be bad. I mean, really bad.  I know I was. I could hardly hit the ball at all for the first few holes, much less get it on the green.

The key is patience. Once you find your rhythm and start to get the hang of the technique, you’ll start to improve really quickly. By the end of the day, I was still bad, but at least I could play the game.

Stick around!

Don’t be embarrassed on or off the field. Golf culture seems so key to the sport, and I’ll admit, at first it made me uncomfortable. I had only ever seen golf as a sport for rich, old, white guys; it’s a game that you would play because you could do it while talking about business, or you were too weak to play anything else.