Lesson 1: From Nervous Newbie to Confident Golf Student
You know that scene in the Devil Wears Prada, on Anne Hathaway’s first day working for Meryl Streep, and when Hathaway’s newbie fashion industry worker character, Andy, walks into her brand new boss’s office and within 5 minutes gets obliterated with the real world of fashion industry and “enlightened” for lack of a better word.
On my first day of lessons with Dale Claussen, I knew as much as Andy did, only about golf.
The only time I picked up a golf club was at Top Golf, and even there I never managed to hit the ball.
The nerves were real, the intimidation as real, and so was the sweat. Hot as the Sahara Desert I stepped out of the golf cart onto the course and was instructed to grab a 7-iron out of my bag.
My eyes went wide. What was a 7-iron? A million questions went through my head. Was it actually made of iron? Why the number seven? Was the higher the number the higher chance I was actually going to hit the ball on my first swing?
“You know how you know it’s a 7-iron?” Dale must have saw my very confused look on my face when I looked back at the bag filled with clubs.
Luckily, I managed not to sound like a total idiot. “There’s the number seven on it?” Thankfully, Dale nodded his head or that would have been a very awkward start to my first lesson.
We’re on a good track now. We have my 7-iron in my hand, which I for some reason wanted to see if it actually smelled like iron, but let’s not push it on the first day.
Dale started lining up some sticks on the ground and explained the reasoning behind them, the angles you needed to stand and why we always wanted to aim a little bit left of the flag, and then dumped a bunch of balls on the ground.
Next step, G.A.S.P., or should I say Grip, Aim, Set-Up, and Posture. Step by step he explained each correct way to hold the golf club in my hand. And let me tell you, there’s a whole heck of a lot of wrong ways to hold a stick you hit a ball with.
All of which, I managed to do.
One step at a time, he fixed my hands to that of how the pro’s do it. The knuckles were in place, my thumbs were in position and the “V’s” were in shape.
Over and over, he made me practice letting go of the club and then repositioning my hands to the point where it felt a little more natural.
I learned how to plant my feet correctly, how to lower the club perfectly to the ground (I had no idea there was even a wrong way to let something go down to the ground), and even where to hold the club in position to my waist.
Everything felt good, I knew the basic knowledge of a sport I barely ever played and it allowed a more appreciation of the sport, and my job. I understand the lingo and how simple it is to ruin a shot just by one finger being out of position.
There’s a lot that goes into this sport and I’m glad I have one of the world's best teachers guiding me through every step of the way.
We’ll see next week if I can actually hit the ball again, or if it was just beginners luck.