One of the things that so many golfers love about the game is its ability to serve as an escape from life's issues. It's a chance to get away for a slice of time to enjoy nature, work on your golf skills, connect with friends, and so much more.
As a longtime golfer and golf professional, I enjoy every one of these features of the game. But as a woman of color, I've also experienced the less savory side of things....not often, but enough.
In this episode, I share a recent incident that forced me to revisit my WHY when it comes to golf. It's time to double-down!
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It. Welcome to the Smart Golfer podcast, where we help aspiring golfers improve their skills, strategy, and know how for better performance, fun, and play. I'm your host, Dr. Greta Anderson, and I am beyond excited to help you move from just hitting balls to playing your best golf. So let's get to it. Hello. It is Dr. Greta. So happy to have you here on the Smart Golfer podcast. Thanks for tuning in. This is not the episode that I intended on recording today, so let me tell you what went down. So yesterday a thing happened, and I can't say that I'm excited about that thing, but I think that it's important for me to share this little tidbit because unfortunately, I know that things happen like this to other people. So yesterday, it's a beautiful day here in Georgia. It's master's week at the time of this recording. It's a beautiful day, and I am on the lesson team working one on one with one of my clients. And it's a great time. She's having the big breakthrough. We're working on tempo. We're looking at the data on the Blast, data on the iPad, all the good things. And so it's a spring day, so people were coming in and out, but the range was we were on the range. The range was far from crowded or a waiting list or anything like that. Plenty of spaces available. So as we're working there, we're in our own little bubble doing our own thing. There's this man I won't even call him a gentleman, this man who's got some clubs, he's got a few balls, and he's obviously walking up to the range to hit some balls. Well, out of all these spaces available spaces, he decides to come to the mat, which is directly in front of the space where I'm sitting. I'm sitting in this massive wooden chair. I mean, there's no denying that the actual hitting space was impeded by this chair, not to mention the woman sitting in the chair, which was me. I'm sitting right in front of my client so that I can see down the line while I'm also able to share some video screen with her because we're working with some data and that type of thing. Okay, this is my teaching area. I'm there. I've been there for hours. I've been there for years, frankly. But that's another story. Okay? So this gentleman decides that where I'm sitting is where he would prefer to hit golf balls from, despite the fact that there are at least six other slots directly to the right of us available. So we keep doing our thing, working in our lesson, and this person steps upon the mat with his driver, as you all would know, the longest club in the back. Remember, I am sitting directly behind a mat. Directly. He goes all the way into his backswing, and I am sitting there. And when he's about just about to begin his full hinge. I yell. Hey, you're going to hit me in the head? Why are you on this mat? He then turns around and says to me, well, you need to move. Needless to say, I was offended, angry, upset, incredulous, pretty much every adjective that you could think of, along with my client, because as I glimpsed at her, I don't know that she knew what to do. I mean, we were both in disbelief, the unmitigated gall, the audacity. And so he continues to stand there. I was redlining, folks, and full credit to my client, who simply put her club down and came over and just kind of I think she might have rubbed my back or tapped my shoulder, done something, I don't know. I remember she grabbed my iPad and she kind of said, okay, come on, let's just move over. And again, because this is the middle of her time, she's paid for this time. I just kind of began moving things over, but I never recalibrated, frankly, in the middle of that lesson. And I hate that for her, because that was her lesson. And of course, we talked about the whole experience in depth and kind of tried to decompress from it and everything like that. But the reason that frustrated frustrated me for a bunch of reasons, because no human should be so disrespectful to any other human. But the reality is that I want to say this, folks. I don't just sugarcoat, you know, I don't just coat things with with the tinge of of bigotry or racism or anything like that. But, folks, let's just call it what it was a black woman and a woman of Asian descent. We didn't matter. He told us clearly we were in his way. His actions clearly made it obvious we were invisible to him. And in the big scheme of things, we know that there are instances throughout life where people of color and women are treated as such, but it can happen a lot in golf, and it does happen in golf a lot. And so, as I said, I was quite frustrated and angry about the whole thing. So as I came home last night, I spent some time really thinking about it, and I calmed down a bit because I was pretty angry, as I said. But this morning when I woke up, it was clear that this happened on purpose. I'm a woman of faith, and so I want to say that I believe this. And I always say this god's plan is a perfect plan. And so as we start this golf season, it made me think, and I believe that God was telling me a couple of things. He was telling you, like, this is time to fortify, re up and rebuild and really focus, Greta, because as you move deeper and deeper into this at the start of a season but my commitment to serving and helping to be a change agent in this game that has historically has had some bad patches here, folks. Right? It hasn't been the most equitable place to be. But many of you who may know me and know my passion for changing this game in those capacities, I don't know if there can be much more of a bold statement or illustration of why I need to keep doing what I'm doing in many facets but from an instructional perspective I want you to know that I am here to serve as your partner, coach and guide. And it's my duty to really double down and be here, but also to build programs that help connect golfers so that you aren't out here alone. Because I know, apart from the research that I participated in and the anecdotal information that I get every day from listeners and viewers like you in my DMs of every social media in my email inbox, I get messages every day. And in some shape, form or fashion, someone's outlining how they felt isolated, like they felt like they were told not to be here, where they felt like they were on the fringes. They felt invisible to him, them, whoever you wanted to be. Just like the other day where I myself and my client were treated as if we were invisible. I know that many of you feel like that, so I want to help you know that and help you hear and see that it's not just you, but we're changing that. And together, by creating community, we're going to eradicate that because that BS. It ain't going down much longer. It's just not. And so I wanted to come here to say, hey, if you are ready to be a part of golf, I know that you may have had some great possibility that you've had a less than ideal experience, something like I just dealt with yesterday or something remotely similar. Because here's the deal. If it made you feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, unworthy, then it was incorrect. Know that there is a place for you. There is a space for you. You are seen clear as day, and you belong here, and I am here to help you if you want that help and participation, whether that's instruction, community, you name it, I'm here. So hit me up in the DMs, find me out there on all these Internet streets, as they say. But I'm here to help. And so I wanted to share that because it was really kind of on my heart as we start this golf season, that I don't want those type of experiences to frustrate any of you anymore. I don't care if you live in Atlanta where I am, and you can get to me locally or if you want to participate and work with me digitally, as many people do, because you can live anywhere. Technology is an amazing thing, and we do all kind of stuff. So if that's up to you, please check out the links in the show notes or anywhere on Internet, and we're happy to help but know that you belong here. So in the meantime, I want you to have a wonderful day. Enjoy this spring and see you in the next episode. Bye for now. Thanks so much for joining us this week on the Smart Golfer podcast. 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