19th Hole: Pinehurst to Feature 'DiscoverGolf' Program
Eric Alpenfels knows a little about teaching people how to play golf.
As director of instruction at Pinehurst Resort, Alpenfels has seen every type of swing man -- or woman -- has managed to create. And he's convinced that those who learn how to make a correct swing will enjoy the game more than those who keep hitting clumps of grass farther than the ball.
It's a known fact that fewer people are entering the game of golf in recent years due to the time, difficulty and cost factor. Based on a recent study, Pinehurst has created a beginners golf program to help combat all three.
Named DiscoverGolf at Pinehurst, the one-day golf school is intended as a "love it or leave it" approach. Its aim is to have beginner golfers start with the basics in the morning, and be consistently hitting balls in the air by the end of the day.
"We created the DiscoverGolf program to take the fear and frustration out of the game," Alpenfels said. "Our studies showed the new golfers feel success not by distance and power, but simply by making good contact with the ball and hitting a solid shot. Take the intimidation out of being perfect before you get out on the golf course, and you'll increase a golfer's enjoyment of the game. It's that simple."
Dates for fall DiscoverGolf days include Sept. 13 and 21, Oct. 11 and 21, and Nov. 8. The program runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes club rental, instruction, lunch and play with an instructor on a Pinehurst course.
At a cost of $125 per person, the day, which is open to the public, gives golfers the basics without overloading their pocketbooks -- or their minds.
"I've taught a lot of women to play and find that this program specifically benefits them," said Kelly McCall, lead instructor at the Pinehurst Golf Advantage School. "The patterns are relatively straightforward: their husbands teach them to play like men do, and they wonder why they can't perform at the same level. We've had women who were considering quitting the game go through the DiscoverGolf program and completely change their attitudes."
Barbara Thompson, a Raleigh banking executive who went through the program earlier this year, agrees.
"I applaud Pinehurst for developing a program for women -- especially beginners! I believe I learned a lot and am now totally inspired to practice. I also connected with some other women here in Raleigh to get more course time," she said.
The day consists of a few hours of instruction on the driving range in the morning, with an emphasis on grip, posture and alignment as it applies to full swing and short game play. After lunch, the group will focus on short game and end the day with instructor play on the golf course. The one-day sessions are limited to 12 people.
Reservations may be made by calling the Pinehurst Golf Advantage School offices at 291-4427. Pre-registration is required.
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