where women celebrate their ageless authenticity

Golf -- Good Fun and a Dirty Little Secret

The Alphabet Adventures With Nancy Hubbell Fournier (pronounced Forn yay)

Journey along with our resident humorist Nancy as she embarks on unusual adventures from A to Z. With the alphabet as her guide to new experiences, Nancy rates her excursions as a “Fourn-Yay” or “Fourn-Nay.” 

Letter “G”: Golf, Getting Outdoors and Going for the Green

It was a gorgeous May afternoon in Costa Mesa, Calif., and I was golfing with my boyfriend. He was pretty good and wanted me to take up the sport, so I was using hand-me-down clubs my hairdresser wanted to purge from her storage unit.

We approached the 8th hole, a par 3 over water. I dug in my bag for the ugliest ball I could find, teed it up, swung and cheered when it went over the water. Then it rolled…and rolled…hit the flag and PLOP! Into the cup. A hole-in-one!

Nancy gets ready to tee off in golf

My boyfriend went crazy and said, “you’ve got to call your dad!”

When we got home, I called my dad, and he was…well…mad! “I’ve been golfing for 50 years, and you’ve been golfing for a few weeks. YOU got a hole-in-one??!!” So, I did exactly what he trained me to do. I rubbed it in. I made a video for his birthday called “Ten Easy Steps to Hit a Hole-In-One”.

Soon, I learned that many people I worked with (mostly men) were jealous of my accomplishment. In order to continue to brag, I realized I needed to actually learn how to play golf. I recruited some friends, and we started playing in a women’s league after work, and then on regulation courses on the weekends.  We took group lessons and signed up for tournaments.

My company was very golf-focused at the time and I saw the advantages of being among the few women who played. In a meeting with Human Resources, I inquired about getting an MBA and was told, “It won’t help you get promoted and if you want an MBA, you should probably quit work and go to school full-time.” Or…I decided…I could just spend my time and money working on my golf game.

By and large, playing with my co-workers was a blast. However, there’s no shortage of demeaning terms in golf. When a putt was left short, I often heard, “Hit the ball, Alice/Mary/Nancy.” If a drive from the men’s tee didn’t pass the women’s tees, some of the players declared, “You need to play the rest of the hole with your (thing) out.” And my worst-ever scenario was when my boss booked a tee time prior to the designated hour women were allowed to play at his country club. I was about to tee off when I was told to pick up my ball and go sit down. He said, “See that 13-year-old kid over there? He can tee off before you because he has the right thing between his legs.”

Nancy with Pebble Beach caddy Josh Fisher

So, it’s not surprising so many women are intimidated to play golf. But I’m here to say, there are numerous ways to enjoy the game and here are some suggestions:

  • Group golf lessons – Many courses and community colleges offer golf lessons. You can try it out and find people who are at a similar level to you. You’ll become comfortable at the driving range, putting green and chipping. No pressure whatsoever.


  • Par 3 courses – A good entry into golf are local “short” courses. You only need a few clubs and can bring a more experienced golfer to guide you on the etiquette of golf. Tiger Woods got his start at a great little course called Heartwell. I played there recently with my daughter, a friend, and her son. We will not be the next Tiger Woods, but we had a terrific morning.


  • Executive Golf Courses – A friend and I meet at an Executive Golf Course (par 3s and 4s) where we can practice a variety of clubs in our bags. We walk the course with hand carts and carry on a steady stream of conversation. There’s little pressure and we get exercise while catching up.


  • Regulation Golf Courses – These are 18-hole “long” courses, which I usually play with my husband on vacation. For many, they can be overwhelming, but when you’re starting out, give yourself grace. You don’t have to play every shot! Drive the ball. If it’s bad, pick it up. Use your foot to get a better lie. Give yourself putts that are close. BUT – don’t do this if you’re in a competition or betting for money. Then, it’s simply cheating.


  • Top Golf – This turns the driving range into a competitive game by awarding points for hitting targets. Alcohol and appetizers are served, so it’s great for a group of all talents. For Mother’s Day, we did a family outing there, and golf with a frozen Pina Colada was the perfect way to enjoy an Arizona evening.


  • Mini Golf – Who doesn’t love putting through a volcano, around the windmill, and into the clown’s mouth?
Nancy and her family at Top Golf
Nancy and her family at Top Golf

In my mind, two of golf’s biggest challenges are time and cost. Deals can be found for twilight golf and discount websites. As for time, I contend that every golf course should be a collection of three 6-hole courses.  Got a couple of hours? Play 6. Want more? Play 12. Ready for the full experience? Do all 18 holes.

Until my brilliant idea is adopted, there are still plenty of ways to make the most of a golf outing. But my biggest piece of advice: Don’t be intimidated. Here’s the dirty little secret of golf: Everyone hits bad shots and most people are Just. Not. That. Good.

Relax, find your people and your place, and enjoy the fresh outdoors!

Nancy at Pebble Beach, CA
Nancy at Pebble Beach, CA

Fourn-yay – Whether it’s a trip to Pebble Beach or the local Top Golf, there are many ways to enjoy golf. Find your level of comfort and swing away!

Fourn-nay – You can spend oodles of time and money on equipment and training. Plus, golf can be extremely frustrating. Manage your expectations and you’ll be just fine.

Don’t want to give golf a go? Here are some other G adventures: Goat Yoga, Gondola rides, Go-Kart racing.

Got something fun on your bucket list I should try? We’d love to hear your suggestions at intentfullyfit@gmail.com

Nancy Hubbell Fournier montage of fun faces