Make Learning How to Golf Fun

By Mary Hafeman

Golf – focus on the process of learning the game in a fun environment and you will get the results you want!

As I look at my life in golf from a young person dreaming to become an LPGA player transitioning to a successful PGA & LPGA Director of Golf Operations and now as an award winning PGA /LPGA Teacher/Coach – I set goals to reach my dreams at every level.  But what I really loved about reaching those goals was the process, the journey and challenges of overcoming obstacles while mastering my skills.  It was fun to learn and experience the ups and downs of challenging myself to keep improving my game /job and life which ultimately had me reaching my dreams and goals.

Learning to understand and enjoy the process is the key in long term successful focused learning.  While on the practice tee this weekend, I had two very different situations.  A very sweet talented young lady of 11 and a very successful fun business woman in her early 60s both learning how to play golf.  The young lady is focused on fun, small swing techniques which she is able to feel and slowly repeat in her swing.  She is aware of results but we’re focused on the process of how she is going to learn through fun practice both on and off the course.  We’re learning to master the skill while focusing on the love of the process.   She is making remarkable progress.

On the other hand, my very successful business woman is completely focused on results on each shot she makes.  Judging herself by what the shot looks like immediately after hitting the ball even though she is a completely new golfer.  She is frustrated with her lack of immediate results.  Slowly I have coaxed her to change her focus to smaller steps, enjoying the process and breaking down the game to smaller games within the entire game, she is beginning to make incredible progress.   Thus she is becoming less frustrated and she is finding a calm confidence in her ability and she’s seeing the results she ultimately wants in her game.

The second situation is not abnormal especially for people who are focused on results immediately in their games.  They usually are frustrated and upset with themselves.  How can we overcome that feeling of frustration? First you need find the coach/instructor that can guide and coach you to focus, learn and experience the basics of golf– fundamentals in small steps. The journey of learning the game is the fun part.  I realize that now more than ever – as I set a goal to be a scratch handicap.  When I achieved that goal – I said what’s next instead of taking the time to savor in that journey of accomplishment.  I know that in our society today – results are all that matters – we forget and ignore the process and how we all get there.  But as the young person exhibits the fun of learning they quickly develop the skill as they are focused on the process and let the results fall into place.  I believe it’s a very good lesson for all of us to keep in mind while we are on our journey of golf and life.


ireland_2008_165-1_full1-150x150About the Author
Mary E. Hafeman, President and Owner of Fore in One Golf Services, is a highly regarded, accomplished player, instructor and operations specialist within the golf industry. In 2009, she created Mary Hafeman Golf Experience, a web-based community to fit the needs of a growing network of people interested in all facets of the game. Mary Hafeman Golf Experience provides a realm of experiences, from exceptional golf instruction, inclusive player development programs, customized travel, tournaments and outing series, to social networking opportunities for players of all levels.  Mary is a former player on the LPGA Tour, one of the games’s “Top 50 Teachers” according to Golf for Women magazine and recognized as a ”Top Teacher” by region by Golf Magazine.