Oh, the sweet thwack as the club hit the ball which soared 100 yards through the air towards the distant Cumbrian fells … I’d done it. I’d actually managed to hit a golf ball in the right direction, with a vaguely appropriate ‘golfing’ stance. Wow, did it feel good. AND – it had only taken half an hour to go from complete novice to … well, not a pro, but someone who could at least go out on the course and have a go.
I was at Carus Green, the stunning new Golf Club just outside Kendal, with three rivers meandering through its par 70 course (whatever that means!) It’s got an architecturally contemporary Club House but espouses traditional values when it comes to teaching individuals how to play golf. “We take people from where they are when they come to us and help them to enjoy the game, whilst improving their performance,” says Andrew Pickering, one of the two quality pros who coach beginners through to international standard players.
In a private teaching bay in the ultra-modern Driving Range I had to hit a few balls so Andrew and Dave Turner could assess what my level was. That didn’t take long – I managed to hit 3 balls out of 6, all but one nicely trolling across the ground. The guys then showed me how to hold the club – feels VERY strange and counter-intuitive. They instructed me on how to stand; already my body was feeling muscles that had been dormant for ages. Then I had another go hitting some balls. A wee bit better but still, literally, hit and miss most of the time. Next I was given what looked like a giant baseball bat and shown how to improve my swing. All the time, I was encouraged and given tips on what to do. “Bend your knees a bit; balance on the balls of your feet; don’t think about hitting the ball, just swing through.”
Finally they said I could try a real driver and Andrew produced an incredibly lightweight club (titanium I think) and told me to aim for two posts far off down the course. The first shot was OK – went slightly to the right but the second … I won’t forget that delightful sound as the ball arched in the sky and sailed out towards the posts. The only trouble is, I’m hooked now – anyone got a bag of golf clubs they want to pass on?
Read how I got on with my first activity for ‘Challenge Zoë’, Tank Driving; it was great fun!