Dani’s Quest To Be A Golfer

AZGA Arizona Golf Excellent Adventures

Dani Smith is a very personable and polite young woman who wanted to play golf. “I was always invited by my friends to go to the golf course,” said Dani. “But they wanted me to drive the cart and serve the drinks. I didn’t think that was much fun, I wanted to be part of the game.”

"Golf Belle" Dani Smith

For those who grew up in “golf families” or have been playing a while, the game, the traditions and the rules are quite familiar. But for someone just beginning, it can be very intimidating. How do you find the right teacher? What about clubs? Who will share the rules, the language and etiquette?

To start, Dani did what any 20-something adult does these days. She turned to the social media space and searched Facebook for women’s golf groups. Through this effort she found Susanita de Diego, Michael Kuhbock and the Golf Belles Facebook page. Dani liked the fact the Golf Belles, as the “heart, soul and face of women’s golf,” approached things differently, so she joined their Global Golf Sisterhood.

When I first saw the Golf Belles and Global Golf Sisterhood pages, I was a bit worried. I’m not a believer in the whole “women are mistreated by the industry” thinking that permeates a segment of the female golf population. But I was curious about the group, who has a base of over 5,000 fans, so I reached out to the head “Belle” Susanita.

It took a couple of weeks, but when we connected, I was pleasantly surprised. Susanita and Michael are Canadians who love golf and found Arizona to be the perfect place to enjoy their calling during those cold Canadian winters. They are passionate about using their connections and business acumen to help their “Belles” fulfill their golf “quest”.

Think Make-A-Wish for golf. Through the Golf Belles and their Global Golf Sisterhood, Susanita and Michael broadcast individual member quests – whether it is helping a sister who wants to take up the game, raise funds for a worthy cause, help organize/enhance a charitable event or connect professionals with sponsors – and the network then bands together to make it happen.

So when Dani shared her quest to learn to play golf, Susanita and Michael called on their Golf Belles contacts for help. I caught up with the threesome on Day 2 of Dani’s quest. The Minnesota native was not only enjoying her Arizona getaway, she was amazed at what the Golf Belles had done. Dani was decked out in a beautiful Tracey Lynn Golf outfit, carried a fabulous golf bag with matching headcovers from Glove It and a brand new set of golf clubs. She had just completed her first golf lesson with Kay Cornelius Jeanquartier, LPGA Class A Member, Director of Instruction at Ocotillo Golf Club and a Golf Belle herself. Dani was now ready to get on the first tee.

It was at this point, that Susanita, Michael and I were provided a really good lesson about all the things veteran players take for granted on the course. We drive to the first tee and grab our drivers, ball and tee. We assumed Dani would know what to do, but how could she? No one had told her about what happens on the tee box. So Michael explained. Dani teed it up and hit it straight down the middle of the fairway. We were excited about her drive; she was disappointed because it didn’t go far. We explained that being in the middle of the fairway was really good and distance would come with practice.

Dani and "Belle in Charge" Susanita

By the end of the first hole, Dani learned where to drive and park her cart, how to mark her ball on the green, where to place the flagstick and the order in which you putt.

On the next tee, as the girls approached the tee box, Susanita looked at me and said “go ahead, we play ready golf.” “That’s great,” was my response. Dani asked “what does ready golf mean?”

On the third green, Michael explained to Dani that you walk around the ball markers so as not to step on a player’s line. Next Dani question – “what’s a player’s line?” It was a great eye-opener and we loved it; the veteran players were reminded all the things we don’t think about on the golf course, but all the things a new player wants to understand so they can feel comfortable and not think they are doing something wrong. “You have to take a class and get a license to play golf in some European countries,” commented Michael. “But in the US, you’re expected to learn it on your own.”

While Dani was worried she was asking too many questions, we encouraged her to ask more. It was a real life example for each of us to understand the barrier of entry into the game. It’s not so much the ability to hit the ball, it’s so much more about the fear of doing something wrong because the beginner isn’t taught what’s right.

At the 19th hole, we all agreed Dani had an incredible first round, she was hitting the ball straight, putting well and keeping up pace of play. She thought she could do better and couldn’t wait to get out the next day.

“I am so thankful to the Golf Belles for the incredible opportunity they provided me,” said Dani. “I’ve only played one round, but I can honestly say I love golf. I can’t wait for my next lesson and round because as I get better, I will play the Golf Belles mission forward.”

Dani’s quest means her life has changed forever. She is fulfilling her dream just as Susanita and Michael are fulfilling theirs. She has faced the challenge and experienced the friendship and camaraderie of the game. She has caught “the disease.” She is now a golfer.

To learn more about Golf Belles, visit: www.facebook.com/GolfBelles

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