I distinctly remember what is was like playing beginner golf when I was in high school in St. Louis. My dad and I sometimes went to the driving range. It was this old worn down place. Dad was a natural athlete and he literally found an old driver in the used club bin and starting driving them 280. Golf was a hard sport for me to get to know then. Playing beginner golf and finding a way through to playing the game was a difficult journey. So I was very interested in seeing golf through the eyes of someone who is just learning to play the game now.
Today I went to visit with Issac Henry-Cano of Interbay Golf Center. Interbay is just a hop, skip and and a jump from where I live. Interbay is the perfect facility for honing your golf game. But I had the same initial experience I’ve always had when I visit a golf shop. ‘Wow! Where do I start?’ So when we met today that’s where we began.
Literally standing in the front of the store I asked Issac to explain what a beginner golfer would do when coming to Interbay. Leaving the pro shop behind, Issac took my over to the instruction board. Here’s where a place like Interbay which has an amazing pro shop, a driving range, and executive course shines. Just before going out to the range is an instruction board. They have learn to golf classes, ladies night instruction class, and a free golf instruction hour among the choices. And this is the place to start. Learning how to swing a club, how the game is played, what you need to go golfing.
This is part of what I was looking to find. When I lived in San Francisco a number of my friends took up golf at The Presidio Golf Course taking their beginner golf lessons and later playing in their twilight golf league. What I found most amazing about this is that after a year my friends where really playing and playing well. The instruction was top notch, they had a ton of fun and made lots of friends. When it came time to play for work, they went. And I thought that this was completely different from how I learned to play golf. It was great to see that the on ramp to becoming a golfer had become easier and a lot more enjoyable in case your parents and friends didn’t nudge you into the game.
So we walked back to the pro shop and I asked Issac where a beginner golfer would start. The obvious answer was with a golf glove. Yep, the really big initial expenditure to play golf is about $20 or less. For $8 Issac’s staff will rent you a set of beginner golf clubs and $8 will get you an incredibly large bucket of golf balls. In Japan, most folks know golf mostly through going to the driving range. My roommate in business school went out and played golf every weekend because it wouldn’t have been possible to play back home. You can have plenty of fun and learn a ton about golf just on the range.
By the way, one of the best things you can actually do when trying to learn about golf is to simply make an appointment instead of walking in. First, the staff will have set aside time to help you and second it’s great to have a guide show you the ropes. Here’s where the PGA has really moved the sport along. Issac is a PGA Golf Professional. Aside from making sure the course runs like clock work, he’s a skilled club fitter and extremely knowledge about all aspects of equipment and the game. This type of professional contact can make learning the game a lot easier when you’re starting. Of course, Issac and his understudy are the defending champs of the PGA Western Washington Chapter Wilson Staff Pro-Junior Best Ball. And with help like that how can you not succeed?
Tomorrow I’ll continue on in my journey through the pro shop and talk about buying your first set of beginner golf clubs.