Few things in my life have intimidated me more than golf—even though I live in the Palm Springs Valley, where this game is the game of choice for a huge number of residents and visitors, young and old. I’ve jumped out of airplanes, eaten rattlesnake and roasted termites, scaled dizzying mountain peaks, and even given into love a few times. But hitting a little dimpled ball? No way.
But there comes a time in one’s life when one needs to overcome an irrational fear—and in my case, realize that golf is a social exercise that often involves business deals! Thankfully, I didn’t need to look much further than my own Rancho Mirage backyard to dive in. I made haste to the closest course I knew, and within minutes I was at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa signing up for my first lesson with the main man, Director of Instruction Barry Clayton. Barry’s a good guy. He was thorough and patient (remember, never ever played a single hole, that is if you don’t count putt-putt as a little kid).
Starting me off with tips on gripping the club and taking the proper stance, then teaching me the art of the swing and how to finish up with the follow-through, his instruction helped me actually hit a few balls into the air! He suggested that I join him and his team either in the mornings or mid-afternoon for their “revitalize” clinics, which concentrate on a different swing every day. And, frankly, at only $20 a session, it’s a great deal that includes time at the driving range on the beautiful Pete Dye course.
I’m not saying I’ll ever beat Tiger Woods—or any of the sweet little ol’ ladies who play on the course and can drive my socks off—but I am feeling a bit better about getting out there and chipping away at the little white ball. At least it doesn’t involve eating bugs.