Thinking of learning golf?

How about getting some exercise in the fresh air that does not require you to be hugely energetic, is a challenge to master, and which can grow into a really social pastime?

Golf is the perfect combination of exercise, skill and social interaction.  Looking forward, it is also a sport that you can still play into your 80’s to keep you fit, and if you have a husband who plays, then it could become something you can enjoy together ( just don’t get better than him!) I started a year ago and find that being outside, even on a dull and misty autumnal day, does wonders to raise my spirits. It also gets me out on days when otherwise i probably wouldnt get any fresh air.

If the prospect of playing golf conjures up images of men in plus fours, and sturdy ladies waving rule books, then take another look, as things are changing down at the golf club.

golf ballLots of younger women in their 30’s and 40’s now play golf, and clubs are keen to attract new members, often offering taster sessions and incentive membership rates to join. You will eventually need to buy a set of clubs, but when you start out at a golf range you can hire them.

Until you know if you have caught the golf bug you don’t need to spend a fortune on annual club membership either as there are lots of public courses across the country which, if you play during the week, will be quieter and cheaper.

The best place to start is at a driving range, where you can begin lessons, and then move on to a public course to gain confidence. The added advantage of starting off on public courses is that you won’t feel you need to go out in all weathers to get your money’s worth, so you can hang up your clubs with a clear conscience in cold wet winter.

You will need golf lessons – they are quite expensive, but an essential investment. Generally, the more expensive instructors are the ones with more experience, and who are attached to a more upmarket golf course. But there are lots of teaching pros out there who are less expensive and very good. Every golf instructor’s best advertising is past students, so ask friends who play for their recommendations.

golf driveTo get maximum benefit from golf lessons, you must be able to practise in between to build on the instructor’s suggestions. You should also aim to play once a week at least, but 9 holes will only take 1.5 to 2 hours, so its not as time consuming as you may think.

It is well worth starting with a friend – but if you can’t drum up any interest don’t be put off. You will find that most courses – public or private – will offer ladies beginners groups, so you can sign up to play with others of your level.

It’s a great way of building a whole new social circle, and keeping fit. You will walk 3.5 to 5 miles uphill and down, and this low impact exercise will benefit your cardiovascular system and won’t stress your knees, whilst helping to tone your body and arms. Your abs, back and hips are the powerhouse of a good golf swing, so golf will also build core strength and keep you flexible too.

If you want to go seriously pink with your kit and balls go to