How many times have you stood at a gathering lately and everyone talks about their great golf experiences? You enjoy all the stories but wish quietly you could get your spouse or child to play. Maybe there’s a neighbor you hang with, but he/she doesn’t play either.
You wish they ALL would, but just don’t know how to go about it.
Start with this understanding, you love golf. Your prospect doesn’t; at least not yet. Golfers are an intense breed. We love to play and consume the game. When getting a player started, don’t overwhelm them.
Start small with their introductory golf experience. A small amount of time and small in the amount of golf you plan to try. Golf carries a tremendous number of details with it from the start. They may seem like baby steps to you, but to a beginner there’s a lot going on.
Make the first couple of sessions very social. Take them out to the practice range and then close the session with a trip to grab a drink, or ice cream. You must allow your friend or family member an opportunity to share their experience with you (and others). A quick reward following a frustrating range session leaves a positive memory of the trip.
Try to get multiple people to start at the same time. Beginning your golf journey seems lonely. You can play and they can’t. New golfers need someone to share their growth with. You can always listen, but you aren’t going through what they are. Groups asks lots of questions and that significantly helps the learning curve.
Don’t be afraid to use non-traditional golf venues to introduce the game. Facilities like TopGolf offer video game versions of hitting at targets. Kids love gameplay. If you don’t live near an entertainment golf facility, create your own game experience at the practice range or putting green. Very, very… very few kids just want to hit balls. You have to make it fun first.
When it comes to the first on-course moment, explain what the experience will be like prior to going out. Emphasize the basic details that will make them comfortable. Embarrassment is a huge fear of most beginner golfers. Make every effort to have them feel comfortable. By the time they reach the first tee, they should understand what they will see and do.
After a couple of introductions to the game, get them a lesson. This is not a pitch, it’s important. Are you prepared to put your relationship with this person on the line? Keep your connection personal. Telling someone what to do when you aren’t qualified will put stress on a relationship. Allow an expert to be their objective observer and you can provide the empathy. In golf, we all need empathy.
There is no blueprint to starting someone’s golf experience. Follow recommendations like these and use your best judgment. Too many times we’re concerned with our game. Start by getting your beginner golfer comfortable. Play with them from 100 yards. Attend a clinic together.
Golf was a social game before it was a competitive one. We are being reminded of that every day. Get them to enjoy it and before you know it, they will join the movement.