For never having swung a club until she met me in college, my wife’s swing is pretty darn good. She enjoys going to the driving range and hitting a few with my clubs, but the length and weight is obviously all wrong and holding her back. To the point where when she says, “I just don’t know if I’d enjoy actually playing,” I agree with her. We all know the course is NOT the range. But she doesn’t want me to buy her own set (cost concerns). Any good references of where to find a cheap starter set for women other than ebay? I’m talking like $100 for a set with a bag. And anyone have experience helping their wife/gf get into the game and enjoy it with them? Success stories would really help prove it’s possible and motivate me.
Not a total success story, but I would look at Craigslist for clubs. I bought my wife a set of Golden Bear clubs with senior flex graphite shafts for $75. Are there any group beginner lessons at your local range? It would be a smaller $ investment and might take some of the pressure off for her starting out.
Although my wife hasn’t made much progress in learning to play, she really enjoys going to the course with me and riding in the cart with cocktails, a stack of magazines, and 4-5 hours of sunshine. It’s nice quiet quality time together and it lets me book rounds whenever we travel.
So if she doesn’t take to the game, it’s ok. Make it about spending time together and you still get to play. Plus she’s good for taking your mind off a 3-putt.
As far as equipment, I would take her to a local golf shop with a large selection of used clubs. Have her hit a few and see what she likes. Then you can look on Craigslist or ebay for deals.
An easy way to introduce her to the game - Some universities offer adult continuing education courses for around $100. They last a few weeks and are usually aimed at beginners. Class sizes are around 15 people and have one or two club pros to facilitate. Most classes center around the full swing at the range, but they also go over chipping, and putting. The last class is typically nine holes with some on-course instruction.
I’d also recommend looking to see if the local muni offers “Get Golf Ready” lessons. Usually they are super cheap, like $100 for a pack of 4 or 5 group lessons. You’re not getting one-on-one attention, but it will help her with the fundamentals before any real financial investment. It’s how I happened to get into the game.
I would take care with the course you eventually visit and the tees you play off. Keep it short simple and easier. Nine holes max. If she plays a half set, so should you. And a drink and meal following is manditory.
Not sure where you are located, but in MN they have a place called 2nd Swing that sells used clubs up and down the spectrum (new - gently used, nice - older, worn out). I’m planning on getting my gf a set from there if she likes the beginner lessons. I’m sure a google search might yield some results for similar stores if you’re near a major metropolitan area.
$100 may be tough without going the used route. My wife has a half set of some crappy brand but I think it was $200 brand new from Dick’s or something like that. I also give her some of my old clubs which are actually an upgrade for her. Golf Galaxy or similar can stick a women’s shaft in pretty easily and cheaply.
As for introducing her to the game, I may be one of the few dissenters for sticking her in a group lesson. I personally think it’s a money grab for the instructors where you get less attention and assistance for your dollar. If you are a decent golfer yourself, I don’t see how you couldn’t be her “teacher” until she reaches a certain level. If you insist on the pro route, just make sure the dude is a total sleazeball. Too many of those jackasses out there. Or just get a female.
Now for getting her to enjoy it, I say just make it easy, fun, and stress-free. Early on when my wife and I were dating, we’d hit up the range and practice green after work and just play little games. Maybe let her win a game or two, wager on chores or something, and get her competitive juices flowing so it’s more than just aimlessly hitting balls.
Also, I know the course seems like a bad option early on but do it sooner rather than later. That’s your best bet to get her to enjoy it. We all know it just takes one good shot and it can totally change everything.
My wife did not take to golf. I got a set of Adams (RIP) women’s set that would have been fine to learn with.
A buddy gave a good approach that he had used: go out for an afternoon or evening nine and start with putting only. Then work back to wedging around the green to try to get interest. Starting with a full swing lesson on the range may not be the best thing to get interest.
My wife has luckily taken to the game quite well. She has been playing for almost a year and while she is still working on consistency (who isn’t), she very much enjoys the well struck shots and is striving for more of them.
In terms of clubs, I had the same reservations about buying a new set in case she didn’t take to the game and we actually found a hybrid/iron set on the NextDoor app for free, just by posting and asking. I got new wedges and she took my old ones and she uses one of my putters, which will be cut down shortly. I found a great Ping Hoofer on Craigslist for $40 and bought her a used Callaway driver online for $40 or so. All in, less than $100 and there is no pressure if they sit unused or if something gets damaged from a bad swing.
One other thing I will note but know that it’s not for everyone is that we are also members at a club. This has taken pressure off of her as there are less crowds to get frustrated with someone in front of them who is still learning, it’s no problem to play multiple balls if she duffs a shot, and the range is included.
Hope this helps.
Appreciate all the tips here, gents. A cheapish starter set is definitely in her future but I’ll just have to time everything right when she’s most willing to give it a go. Lots of range sessions in the future. Love the tips to do more work around a short game area. Everybody loves seeing the ball go in the hole. We’re in LA near a couple short courses that would actually be great places to go for a quick-ish 9.
I would also echo going the “used” route, there’s usually some diamonds in the rough with lady’s or senior flex shafts on the used wall. If she wants new, Top Flite makes decent (very affordable) ladies clubs that are perfect for getting started.
You absolutely must put on your best poker face and tell her how great Top Flite clubs are and how lucky she is that they’re so much cheaper than the clubs you play with
As far as making it enjoyable: don’t underestimate the value of having a couple gin and tonics and playing music she likes while you’re out on the course. The less you make it about the actual score the better! Godspeed.
Not sure where you are in the LA area, but I grew up down there and Vista Valencia has a great little par-3 course called “Chica” that I learned how to play on when I was a junior. Haven’t played there in ~10 years so can’t speak to the current condition, but it was perfect as a beginner.
I was lucky and we had a start up used club shop opening and got her a set of king cobra irons for like 110 and a couple hybrids for like 30. I had wedges and putter and we borrowed some woods/Driver from a friends wife 2nd (or 3rd) bag. Over the last couple years I have grabbed some demo’s for her as well from our club.
Take from the below what you will, but certain aspects might appeal to you.
After a couple of range sessions the best thing I did was sign us up for a 9 hole couple’s night, I called ahead to makes sure it was a friendly format (which turned out to be a 2 person scramble) and we went out and had a blast with another couple and an amazing dinner after. She was very nervous about this (I just booked it as a date night and when I told her just before leaving and packing the car I could see the nerves already were starting.)
It really helped that the other lady (also a beginner) could barely get the ball air-born so my wife was thrilled that I hadn’t been lying to her when I described how most beginners played. My wife is very athletic and played college softball and therefore pumps it well over 250 off the tee, just rarely straight so she immediately got some confidence cause the other lady was stunned that a “female” could hit the ball so far. It didn’t hurt that it was a bit further then the husband too. She also out drove me by a foot or so on our 7th hole of the day and proudly took a picture (and still brings it up), I held back my tears and managed to not toss out the advantage she gets off the tee, lol. We got 3rd and she got the Gift card to buy some proper golf apparel. All in all, without this day the golf bug may never have escalated, so my tip: just book something
It started spiraling from there, she isn’t interested in more then 9 holes, but has mentioned joining a ladies night next year. If that goes well in a few years she might want a membership (which will align nicely with a junior membership with my son!)
My wife had never played golf when we met in college. Last year she was the ladies club champion. There were 26 years in between.
The biggest thing she had to overcome starting out was feeling like she didn’t belong out there. There’s lots of guys (most guys) out there on the golf course stinking up the place that don’t feel the least bit intimidated - apparently the ladies don’t feel that way. It seems to them that everyone is watching and they are being judged.
My advice is to do one (or ideally both) of these things.
Make golf something you do “together”. Nine hole strolls in the evening - don’t be afraid to play from the ladies tees with her. Make sure you do things like bring your clubs on day trips to scenic places and make the golf part of what would have been an awesome day with or without it.
Seek out opportunities to play with other couples (or other women). A lot of times women aren’t as interested in the competition as they are in the social aspect of golf - especially starting out. Pay attention and you’ll notice they root for each other. Plus the presence of other women helps with that whole insecurity about being judged (strength in numbers?) Maybe even sign up for lessons together.
Also, a suggestion for buying clubs. Consider buying a few clubs at a time. Start out with a decent putter, then maybe add a wedge and 7 iron. Later, add a hybrid or fairway wood. Eventually filling in the whole set if she still has interest. Like a few guys have said, start at the hole and work backward.
this is exactly how i got my wife into it. 4 person scramble couples 9 where we just booze up and listen to music and it doesnt matter where she hits it. the other times she has played has been on vacation with me where we book a late afternoon tee time at a resort course and we are the only two people there.
Some tips from a lady who loves golf (although I got into golf for career purposes not a partner)
- I started by buying a new starter set on discount (second hand clubs wasn’t an option because I’m lefty, but I’m glad I started with a decent set)
- my girlfriends and I have a weekly wine and nine for young-ish professional women where we do a twilight nine after work on Thursdays in the spring/summer. Would highly recommend she find something similar. We started a few years ago with 2-4 of us most rounds. Through networking and inviting friends we now have 12-16 some rounds. The course loves it because they’re promoting to young woman and will always give us as many foursome slots as we need. Most ladies are brand new to the game and we just promote playing fast and socializing. Some will play a modified scramble (where they will just hit from the same place as a better player - often me ). That’s been a great way to learn the game for some/improve for others, network, make friends, etc. If you have a buddy or two whose wives are looking to get into the game, they may all want to look into starting something similar.
What starter set did you buy? My wife is a lefty as well, and would love to find a low cost entry level set for her.
I got an 11 piece set of Cleveland’s for about $500 CAD (marked down from about $800).
Thankfully my wife has no interest in the game whatsoever. She also thinks it takes 6 hours for a round, so there’s always rooms for a few scoops afterwards.
My wife isn’t really into it, but here’s what works for her:
-We play in the 9 hole couples night that our club hosts once a month. The key is making sure the other woman is terrible so she doesn’t feel like the odd ball.
-Sometimes we go out and play a twilight 9. As mentioned above, play the same tee she plays. I just hit irons off the tee and let her hit as many re-hits as she wants.
-Do not offer advice unless she asks for it.