After Teresa Hale lost her husband, she wanted a new challenge – golf fitted the bill perfectly. She is now a keen member at Garon Park Golf Complex in Southend-on-Sea and a self-confessed ‘golf-addict’.
“My husband always played golf, but the game held no interest for me,” says the 62-year-old former nurse, who now works as a part-time carer. “I used to say to him jokingly “why on earth would I want to walk around and hit a ball?
But after I lost my husband four years ago I was looking for a positive challenge, something new for me to try – and I began thinking that actually golf might be the answer.
I had also moved to a new area and was keen to meet people. After years of insisting I wasn’t interested in the game, I suddenly realised that golf actually offered everything I needed – friends, fun and a challenge.
I thought I would give it a go and liked the idea that the Get into golf lessons were especially for women and that you could just turn up wearing comfortable clothes.
I was a bit nervous at the first session but Ben the PGA professional was brilliant – kind and patient. Terry Whiteman, who acts as a mentor to new players on the Get into golf courses, was also there. She welcomes you in and nurtures you through from beginner to playing proper games on the golf course. She introduces you to other players and lets you know about any competitions and playing opportunities you might be interested in. This helps boost your confidence.
From the moment I started on the beginner courses I loved the atmosphere. It seemed like a lovely social gathering with absolutely no pressure. I was hooked from the start.
What’s not to like – it’s brilliant for meeting people, it gives me a new challenge and I keep healthy out in the fresh air.
I go along to the Get into golf course every week – I just keep signing up for the next course because I still have so much to learn and I’m enjoying it. Terry Wightman is always there every week. She is such a friendly face and chats to us about how we are getting on. When you seem ready, or are looking for new ways to play, she lets you know what’s going on at the club beyond the beginner courses. You feel really connected to the club as a whole and everybody is so welcoming.
There are so many other golfing opportunities and Terry keeps everybody posted about upcoming competitions, from easy beginner ones which are just for fun up to more serious ones. She encouraged me to play in fun competitions where there are four of you in a group but they only take the best ball at each hole. This is a great way to take the pressure off because you don’t feel as if you are going to let the team down.
All along Terry encourages you to the next stage and introduces you to new people. She just tries to chat to as many people as she can and find out how she can help.
I now play at least once a week out on the course with other women I have met at the beginner courses. I also take a couple of extra lessons a week.
I am addicted to golf. It’s brought so much to my life. The courses are so beautiful with lakes, wildlife and fresh air that I walk around feeling how great it is to be alive. I’m also healthier and happier since I started playing – and I can definitely tee off pretty well now. What’s not to like!