Lessons help in quest to conquer golf fears

April 24, 2013

As a kid my dad often took me miniature golfing, and we had a great time. Then he started taking me to the par 3 courses and it became less fun. Visits to the golf range … no fun at all.

I love my dad, but a golf teacher he is not. We butt heads, and other than continued miniature golf outings, I gave up on golfing as a hobby.

Now in my 30s, many of my friends golf and I'm getting invited to numerous golf functions for business and charity. I figured it was time to rethink my boycott and take lessons from a qualified instructor.

My friend Laila was in the same boat. She had gone to a work retreat and found herself at a loss on the golf course. She had enrolled in classes through the Wauwatosa Recreation Department and was gaining some skills and confidence.

Due to traveling for work and other commitments, she couldn't make every class. She signed up again for the six-week session that began in February, and this time I joined her.

When I say I'm a beginner, that would be an understatement. I didn't have a clue where to start with the swing and connecting with the ball. But it went beyond that. I didn't know which club to choose, golf course etiquette or how far a good shot should go. I was a blank slate.

The class of five people met with instructor Chet Hendrickson, a PGA pro and golf services manager for Milwaukee County Parks at the Currie Park Golf Dome. He talked about grips and body position, and we started hitting balls. We've hit drives off the tee, chipped and putted.

Due to work and health conflicts, I didn't make all the classes. But I did spend some time practicing at the dome outside of class. I now know what clubs to use and when, have a decent body position and an increasingly stronger and straighter swing.

I have signed up for the next class, because with a small number of participants I generally get a lot of time and feedback from the instructor and plenty of time at the tee to practice what I've learned.

I understand the body mechanics. Now I need to take it up a notch and just practice so I lose my softball-swing habits and hope the golf swing feels more natural. I even bought a cute pink and white golf glove so at least I can somewhat play the part.

I know I have so much still to learn, but I've been told even longtime players continue to take lessons and practice. My first big test will come as the weather gets warmer and I venture out on a golf course. I'm intimated and exhilarated at the thought.

Stefanie Scott is a former Wauwatosa NOW reporter who enjoys being involved in the life of Wauwatosa. Invite her to your event, meeting or activity by sending an email to reporterstef@gmail.com.


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