Golf never struck me as a sport that fostered togetherness – nor did it ever really strike me as a sport – until my family and I hit the links for the time this summer.
Teeing up at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, we learned during the course of our private lesson that being chaufferred around in a cart is certainly as fun as it looks, but it’s not the only rewarding thing about the game.
Among other things, golf teaches focus. Our instructors were golf pro Jason King and Kingsmill head of instruction Chris George, who took us through the basics.We learned, for instance, that when you grip your club, the index finger of your left hand should touch the pinky of your right (hand positions reversed for lefties).
As the instructors spent time with each of us, correcting our grip or swing or stance, we were focused on proving to ourselves – not each other – that we could handle the basics. It was play, but more like parallel play. We were learning the same skills at the same time but had wiggle room to refine our skills at our own pace, which took the anxiety out of the possibility that one of us might not be keeping up.
Golf is also lot more athletic than we ever would have thought. While seeing hula hoops, Frisbees and a hopscotch grid on the course during our lesson seemed incongruous at first, we learned that these are among the teaching aids that help golfers develop speed, coordination, strength, and stamina.
In the case of hopscotch, which my kids gleefully demonstrated in turn, golfers learn to disassociate their body parts. Plus, your instructor can tell a lot about your balance from your hopscotching. Likewise, throwing tennis balls, as we also did, gets your body moving in the right direction, emulating the rotation of your golf swing. This cross-training underscores Chris’ thinking that it’s “much easier to make a golfer out of an athlete than to make an athlete out of a golfer.”
Another discovery was that while each of us in turn was trying to tap a ball into the hole, there was no overt competitiveness making us feel that we had to beat each other to it.
Kingsmill Resort hosted part of our stay and covered the cost of our golf lesson but the opinions in this post are my own.