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How to Catch the Golf Bug

After training golfers for over 25 years, Carrie Chambers of Swing Sync has all the tips for the novice golfer.
| |Illustrations by Antonio Giovanni Pinna
Chambers suggests finding a golf community to learn with, even if you are just picking up a club for the first time. iStock

In February, after 25 years of training golfers, Carrie Chambers opened Swing Sync, a TrackMan golf instruction and sports massage studio. (Chambers’ wife is a massage therapist.) “There are a lot of barriers, from time to money,” she says. “If you didn’t grow up around it, golf is like a foreign language, a different world. I think for women especially, that can be very intimidating. You go to public courses, a lot of times you’re the only female there.” More than 75 percent of her clientele is women. As for the other quarter: “I usually start giving lessons to the wives. Their husbands see them improve, and they knock on my door a little bit later.” Here are Chambers’ tips for golf newbs.

Don’t Gear Up (Yet)

golf fitting
Antonio Giovanni Pinna

“You don’t need to go out and spend $800 to $1,500,” she says. “You just need a few clubs to get started to make sure you like the sport.” Most instructors will let you borrow their equipment, but Chambers often sends clients to the used-gear chain 2nd Swing to get fitted. “If you’ve got a club that’s too heavy or too light, or too short or too long, it’s going to affect your swing.”

Find Your People

golf cart drinking and driving
Antonio Giovanni Pinna

“Especially if we’re talking about women, I would encourage them to seek out a group,” Chambers says. She recommends women check out the Dallas chapter of the LPGA Amateurs, which organizes outings and tournaments throughout the year. “It’s people who have never touched a club to ex-college athletes that play. They’re very welcoming.”

Fire Your Spouse

Golf Coach
Antonio Giovanni Pinna

“We see a lot of men trying to teach their wives how to play, and that usually doesn’t go anywhere,” Chambers says. Golf can be intensely frustrating, and she suggests finding the folks who are trained to train. Search for local pros on the LPGA and PGA websites. “Am I gripping it right? How do I set up? What’s an iron supposed to do? Answering all those questions can jump-start you to have bigger success.”

Cover the Basics

Golf 101
Antonio Giovanni Pinna

“We usually start with a four-lesson series, and that goes over the four parts of the game—putting, chipping, irons, and driver—and then a little bit of course management,” she says. “That’s your crash course.” The lessons leave no golf-related matter unaddressed. She also goes over basic etiquette and things like how to make a tee time—stuff that your lifelong golfing friend might not think to tell you about.

Don’t Push It

Golf is hard
Antonio Giovanni Pinna

Chambers tells clients how to navigate a driving range and suggests hitting balls between lessons once a week. “Do I have to get the jumbo bucket? No, we don’t want you actually hitting that many golf balls,” Chambers says. “Get the smaller one. Thirty minutes of practice is enough for somebody who’s just starting.” After four weeks of lessons plus smacking balls on your own, you’ll know whether you’ve caught the bug.

This story originally appeared in the April issue of D Magazine. Write to [email protected].


S. Holland Murphy

S. Holland Murphy

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