First published August 21st 2013
I don’t know how people generally start playing golf. There are natural barriers to entry in terms of the equipment needed, the cost, and the fact that you can’t just walk onto a golf course and have a go. I guess a lot of people follow their parents into the game and start at a young age, whilst others start playing because friends do or they try pitch n putt which sparks the desire to attempt the real thing.
I’m 53 years old and prior to becoming interested in playing golf a few months ago, the only experience I’ve ever had was on a local park putting green as a youth, and a couple of visits to a driving range about 15 years ago.
But in late May 2013 the catalyst for what has become an obsession appeared.
I play tennis, a lot.
Doubles with the local club and singles v my mates, with whom for the past 3 years I’ve taken a trip to La Manga Club to play tennis in the sun and get some coaching.
This years trip was somewhat different though …
Because a week before we were due to leave for Spain, I’d broken the three smaller toes on my right foot in a Jui-Jitsu training accident
So although I went on the trip, I didn’t bother to pack my tennis racquet, because I could barely walk.
And on our first day, it rained, so tennis was off the agenda anyway.
However in addition to providing excellent tennis facilities, La Manga Club is also home to 3 golf courses and an 80 bay driving range, so we wandered down to take a look at the facilities.
Mike is a 12 handicap golfer who’d given up the game when his regular golfing partner moved to Gibralter a couple of years ago. His brother Gez had played for a couple of years when he was in his twenties but also gave up, frustrated with the game. I knew which end of a club to hold and had three broken toes.
We bought a E30 ticket for 400 balls, hired some clubs at E2 each and headed for the driving range where after Mike showed me, and reminded Gez of the basics, we spent a pleasant afternoon hitting golf balls.
My limited mobility meant I could only take a short backswing and couldn’t pivot on my back foot at the end of it, something that would prove to be difficult to rectify later. But I did manage to hit a fair percentage of the balls straight and a reasonable distance.
We held on to the last 20 balls and spent another hour on the practice greens, chipping and putting.
Two days later we repeated the afternoon and from then on, I was hooked.