Golf Ready

Tom Green, Cardinal Golf Club manager and PGA professional, demonstrates putting on the practice green. Green is one of two instructors for the Get Golf Ready in 5 Days program. (Photo by Amy Perry)

FORT LEE, Va. (July 7, 2011) --Never played golf? 

Confused about the lingo, which club to use or want to share a hobby with your significant other?

Nervous about one-on-one instructional time with a golf pro?

Well, the Cardinal Golf Club has a program that's right up your "fairway."

"Get Golf Ready in 5 Days" is geared toward getting future duffers familiar not only with the game, but also with the environment at the golf club.

"The program is designed to be instructional, but it is also a comfort program and a road map for what to do and where to go," said Tom Green, golf club manager and PGA professional. It includes activities like a tour of the facility so people are more comfortable when they get there."

Green is one of the two instructors for the course, and he said the class isn't meant to be a huge, massive gathering - the sessions feature small groups with no more than an 8-to-1 ratio, and most have even fewer participants.

"It's intentionally kept small to facilitate that hands-on interaction with the instructor," he said. "The idea is to get them to be really comfortable with coming here to the facility. What we found is that you can teach people things all day long, but if they don't enjoy going there or don't have a good experience going there - regardless of how they play - they are not going to continue."

The five sessions cost $99 total for active duty military and their families and $109 total for all others. Groups of at least four can sign up to have a customized schedule and can spread the classes out over two to five weeks.

Comparing the cost of this special package to the $40-for-30-minutes individual instruction with a PGA pro at the golf club, Green said, "This program gives customers five 90-minute sessions at roughly $20 each - it's a great value."

Each of the golf-ready sessions focuses on the various skills need to drive, chip and putt your way to the pin, and it's not limited to a specific practice area - participants will be heading out onto the actual course to experience the real thing.

"The class isn't limited to the driving range - we try to get the people out on the golf course every single time," Green said. "Even the first lesson starts with the short game of putting and we take them out on the course and have them try it. Then we work further and further away, from putting to chipping to pitching to longer shots."

Capt. Jon Soronda, Alpha Company, 71st Transportation Battalion, took the class and said it was great for beginners.

"It takes the fear out of being on the course," said Soronda. "The instructors are great - they don't take it too seriously and that always makes the game fun."

If anyone is interested in learning how to play golf, Soronda said he would definitely suggest taking advantage of this program.

"For a long time, I've been going to the driving range by myself with no instruction," he said. "I wanted to get the techniques down and learn the fundamentals. It's a lot better to take this class than to try to learn it on your own."

Green stressed that one of the goals of this program is to help people feel more comfortable on the course so they are less intimidated by a friend or significant other who plays regularly.

"The part of the program that is successful for ladies is that they feel more comfortable in a group session - especially if they can come with people they know," said Green. "There's less of a self-awareness issue of ‘I'm not doing it well,' especially if her husband plays. Even if the husband isn't a good player, if he's played more and is more comfortable in the setting, he'll play better."

For military members and their families, getting into golf can be a fun family activity, said Green.

"Golf is a great thing to get involved in because there are 230 military golf courses around the world," he said. "Every single one of them offers beautiful scenery, challenging game play and a friendly community of fellow golfers. That's the thought behind our sales pitch ... ‘Give us five days and we'll give a game for a lifetime!'"

For more information about lessons at Cardinal Golf Club, call (804) 734-2899.