Every year I get invited to a golf tournament. And every year, I wonder how bad I’ll be and if I’ll embarrass myself with my low skill level. When I was told that more than 80 percent of women say no to playing golf, I suddenly realized that out of 100 golfers in a tourney, I’m always put onto the only foursome that has women.
Female golfers aren’t just a rarity, the lack of them on the links is also a concern. So much so, in fact, the PGA started a campaign to get more women golfing in 2013. And, like I need any more convincing that golf is a “men’s sport,” in researching this post with a quick google of “women and golf,” in 0.77 seconds seconds I’m offered numerous links for “hottest,” “beautiful” lists. Gross.
But, since I’m a “yes” girl when it comes to doing pretty much anything that get’s me physically active and moving, when Nike asked me to hit the driving range to try out the Flyknit Chukkas, of course, I said yes. There, I met golfer and Angus Glen golf instructor Lindsay Knowlton, who armed me with ways to fake it on the golf course.
1. Never apologize for lack of skill or admit you’re not a good golfer.
When I was asked about my level of play, I committed my first mistake, according to Knowlton. This was my response to the Nike invite: “I’ve taken lessons and can hold my own at the driving range, but I don’t golf often – or rather at all. So maybe ‘beginner’ would be best to describe my skills.” Never downplay yourself, she says. Confidence and banter is part of the game. “Never make [conversastion] about how bad you play.” Now, if you honestly aren’t playing at the level of your foursome, do not apologize. Instead, say “I’m having an off day.” It happens to every golfer, even the most skilled ones.
2. Give props to other golfers.
“You should always compliment others,” says Knowlton, who says to say things like, “Nice shot” or “Good swing.” I ask her for an OG compliment that looks like you know what you’re talking about, and she says to tell a fellow golfer after a good hit (one that’s not in the trees or the rough): “It looks like you’ve hit it right down the fairway.”
3. Learn the rules (and a few extra things.)
There’s nothing worse than playing against or with someone who has no idea about the game. Actually… there are a ton of things that are worse. Pap smear. Taxes. Wonky winged eyeliner. Golf fanatics love talking about golf. Ask away. But it’s also good to hold your own, too. You can learn the basics at Knowlton’s site: ironladygolf.com. If you want to raise a few eyebrows at a golf tournament, check out how many clubs your fellow golfers have. Knowlton tells me that there’s a two-stroke penalty for anyone with more than 14 clubs in their bag. No one will question you about golf knowledge after that.
4. Be prepared.
What’s in Knowlton’s golf bag? A small bag. It contains two sunscreens with SPF 60 (a lotion for face and a spray for body), bug spray, snacks (some form of a nutrition bar), water, a jacket that can get rolled up, tinted moisturizer with SPF, sweatproof Marcelle Mascara, Blistex SPF 30 lip balm, hair elastics, some kind of hair taming product that controls frizz in the heat. After hearing her list, I’ve edited my own bag to now include Garnier Ombrelle Face SPF 60, Stylize hair ties, Rodial Skin Tint+ and Herbal Essences Wild Naturals Oil Elixer for my hair.
5. Don’t sweat it – have fun.
Now this is the part of golf I can perfect. My score doesn’t matter, and most of the time, I don’t even know how well I’ve done (out of fear I don’t ask, mostly). I just laugh off the insecurities and if I have a really bad shot, it just becomes a good story. I once hit a hiker right in the ribs with a golf ball. Even though I yelled “fore,” the ball squared him, and I felt terrible and couldn’t stop apologizing – until he started swearing at me in what sounded like 50 languages. He wasn’t hurt, he was just a jerk. But the other golfers in my foursome couldn’t stop talking about it. In fact, just like the guys who got “closest to the pin,” and “longest drive,” I walked away with a trophy for “ace shot.” Golf is about being outside, having a few beers (or whatever you like), and enjoying a few laughs. Just fake it ’til you make it!