As you know, I hosted a three-day "Ultimate Golf Conference" (the word "conference" is included only to suggest on paper that the event was work-related) over the weekend with friends and colleagues from around the country. Male friends. Lest anyone imply from the title of this blog that I have always been a "girly golfer," I will provide a little background information.
Like many female golfers whose collegiate years are WELL behind them, I grew up playing with the boys both at my course and on my high school team. I occasionally encountered one or two other girl golfers at junior tournaments around Ohio (the AJGA didn't exist back then). College was pretty exciting from the standpoint of playing with alot of awesome women golfers, but there wasn't much about the sport back then that was "girly."
After college I went back home and became the first playing female member at the course where I grew up - Muirfield Village - and for many years all of the golf I played outside of our annual county tournament was business golf with men. I always played from the men's tees, so it was great fun. I knew little else, but had absolutely no complaints. We may not have had a Ladies Club Championship, but I could play in all of the member-guest events, had no tee time restrictions at all, and even joined the Saturday pot game every once in awhile.
Then, at our county tournament two years ago, I spent some time with a really cool group of women who were all great players but certainly didn't take themselves too seriously. They belonged to another club in town, Brookside, and they asked me to come and join them one Friday afternoon for "Girl Party." Though unsure exactly what "Girl Party" was, I accepted the invitation and played in one of two groups with seven women nearly all of whom had single digit handicaps. We played from the silver tees - which I found to be great fun since I wasn't hitting utility woods into every par four! We played good golf. We laughed and chatted ceaselessly. We grabbed beers and "pretty drinks" at the turn and stashed extras in plastic bags with ice to carry with us. Walking up the 18th fairway, it dawned on me....when the guy golfers I know talk about "going golfing with the guys," THIS is what they mean. How cool. How completely fun. And how funny that it took 30 years of playing golf before I discovered "Girl Parties."
I joined Brookside six months later.
So for the past 18 months, when not golfing with my beau or my daughter, I'm playing with the girls, or occasionally the girls and their husbands. I see tiger print bags and headcovers, pink bags, hair pulled up in clippies with colored tees stashed in it. I play in Team Matches in the spring, Old Pal tournaments, and Club Championships. Man (no pun intended), it's fun.
But this past weekend, I revisited the days of old where I was the lone female in a group with nine guys. No surprise that it was great fun - a finer group of guys just doesn't exist. But with my newfound knowledge of playing with the girls, I did notice just a few differences. I thought I might share a few with you.
Golfing with the Boys
1. lucky if there is one conversation ongoing and maybe it's only with your caddy
2. acknowledgment of others' good shots
3. great reverence for honors and person farthest away hitting first
4. white and brown or black golf shoes
5. some guys where hats, others don't
6. golf bags are blue, black, or gray - period!
Golfing with the Girls
1. minimum of FOUR conversations ongoing at once (even during your backswing) for all 18 holes
2. celebration of others' good shots and outright cheerleading when they aren't so good
3. fire when ready
4. golf shoes accented with pink, patent leather, or made so that the tops of your feet still tan
5. visors and hats are accessories, darling, and are worn at all times (plus they keep your hair out of your eyes)
6. golf bags may be black, blue, or gray - or pink, animal print, light blue, or patterned
It's a start in terms of observations, and certainly they are generalizations. Don't get me wrong, I grew up playing with the boys and enjoy it tremendously still. And I'm having a ball "going golfing with the girls." As long as I can carry my pink golf bag, stash my fuschia-colored tees in my hair, wear my patent leather (but Nike!) golf shoes, and change the crystal ball marker clipped to my visor daily to match my outfit, I don't give a damn who I'm playing with!