"You play golf?" is probably the most common question I get asked when hobbies and interests get brought up in conversation, writes Charlotte Forde, a member through PlayMoreGolf. At 32 years old, people seem shocked that a young female wouldn’t be enjoying a more athletic or energetic game.
With March 29 just 11 days away I cannot wait to get back on the course! In fact, I’m already furiously booking multiple golf trips and taking advantage of my PlayMoreGolf membership across Merseyside.
How I found a love for the game
Whilst I might break the mould of a ‘stereotypical golfer’, my love for the game started at a local municipal course near my college, using some of my dad's old clubs.
Today, at the age of 32, having endured 18 years of high impact sports as well as 14 years in the fitness industry, I’d undergone two foot and knee surgeries but that didn’t keep me from fairways.
Working in gyms all of my life and training people day in and day out takes its toll. It's physically and mentally tiring, so whereas going to the gym or group exercise classes is a therapy for some, it doesn't motivate or excite me in the same way golf does. The course is my place to relax. When I practice, I put headphones in and it sets my mind free. Pure bliss.
What the game does for me that other sports don't
Whilst I’ve been lucky to combine my experience within the fitness industry with my love for golf making me the only TPI Golf Fitness Specialist in the Merseyside region, I still feel the daily strain of lockdown.
As I’m self-employed, it’s hard to switch off from work. When I get the chance to play, I relish the moment I can drop my phone in my bag and ignore calls, emails and texts for a few hours and enjoy the moment and the company of my playing partners.
Admittedly, I’ve been able to hit a few balls during lockdown thanks to my fitness studio being on the doorstep of a driving range, but nothing compares to being out on the course.
For the first time, I'll be able to invite some of my clients to play with me or even visit them at their home clubs too as I make use of my PlayMoreGolf flexi-points.
It’s not easy being a young female golfer
I didn’t always have the confidence that I have now when playing golf, which did make it less enjoyable. Unfortunately, golf has a strong ‘old school’ stigma attached to it that it’s very much a man's game and this is part of the reason why I think that women are put off playing the sport.
When some clubs only host ladies' days midweek when most women my age are at work, young women are often deemed as inferior on the course. I’ve been made to feel unnerved on a few occasions by either male or much older players. I can’t speak highly enough of Wirral Golf Course and Sean Bailey who has done a fantastic job of actively encouraging women and juniors to pick up the game in an encouraging environment. The game needs more pros like Sean!
It took me a while to build up the courage not to panic when teeing off in front of others, as I realised that the majority of those who I felt intimidated by didn't understand as it was my insecurity, assuming other people were just going to be better than I was.
If I could say one thing to women who are unsure about picking up or continuing playing, I'd say to them to follow England Golf and get involved in any local ladies-only events and group sessions that are advertised. Also, don’t be afraid to go out and practice on a course.
To learn more about the first flexible and affordable golf membership in the game, please check out our friends at PlayMoreGolf.