Picture a sport in your head.

Is it a ball game, like football? Baseball? Is it a body-oriented sport, like running, swimming, or weightlifting?

Imagine you’re sitting in the crowd of this chosen sport, and really consider every detail. If this is an indoor game, imagine the warmth and pent-up sweat in the room. If you’re outside, the sun is bright and beaming, coupled by a soft breeze. What are you seeing on the field? What do the players look like? And my final question: are your hypothetical players male or female?

Don’t worry, this isn’t an article on gender inequality in the media. (It’s much too short.)

It is, however, going to shine a spotlight on my fellow ladies. I imagine it’s safe to assume that a majority of readers likely imagined a group of men grunting and growling as they collide into members of the opposing team, despite there being a rise of women athletes currently competing globally. (In fact, in the 2016 Olympics, US women even took home more medals than male athletes did.)

I have one more question for you, now that I think about it. (Sorry for the white lie): Of all the sports you imagined before choosing one to envision, were any of them inclusive of golf?

Of all the sports readily available for your (hopefully now female-centric) fantasy, none are more realistic than golf, which in 2006, boasted women as being 67% of new players. (A far cry from the realm of male-dominated gridiron football, where people are still shocked to hear a teenage girl is the star of her school’s football team. But everyone loves a heartwarming underdog tale, right? Remember when the entire country shed a collective tear over the 2016 World Series?)

With more and more women entering the golf game who, you might begin asking yourself how you, too, can drive yourself into the action. (Drive, like driver. Solid golf pun.)

How do I wedge myself into this niche? (Wedge, another pun.)

First and foremost, familiarize yourself with the basics of golf. Invite friends to join you so that you can work together to grow and learn, whether they themselves are veteran players or beginners like you. The activity doesn’t necessarily have to always be turn and burn, serious business, either, nor does it have to take place on a large country-club level golf course. (Who can afford it? Well, maybe you can. In which case, all the power to you.)

Another possibility, treat your family to a night at the local putt-putt mini golf course. Even make it a girls’ night and bond with your daughter over a new hobby you’re adopting. Teach her lasting habits about exercise, enjoying the outdoors, and tooth-and-nail battling gender stereotypes in sports.

Why “wood” golf be a good choice for me? (Started out strong on the pun front, it’s slowly falling apart.)

There are a multitude of health benefits in golfing, some including:

  • Burning calories
  • Raising your heart rate
  • Exposure to fresh air
  • Reducing stress

On top of that, if you or someone you know requires an activity that is less impactful than jogging or lifting 500-lb weights over their head, golf is an ideal solution. It’s easy on the joints, requires little heavy lifting (so long as you bring along a caddy, another good reason to include your children), and is not a contact sport.

I’m convinced. Who else can I grip with my new hobby?

While golf remains a sport ideal for warm-weather climates, there are several ways to get around the mid-winter, golf-suppressed blues if you live anywhere with a bias for snowstorms and freezing rain.  First and foremost, and perhaps the most appealing (especially to those of you who can already afford a country-club membership), planning a trip south where the sun shines high and warm, and there is little black ice threatening the tread-rendered-useless on your new snow tires.

Grab your girlfriends and fellow wine-moms, send out invites over facebook, start a group chat, create a new Slack channel (which has assisted snow-stranded folks on a number of occasions, like yourself). Invite every woman you know who needs a break from her home and work life, or maybe is only interested in scoping out the tall, tanned, chiseled, handsome resort employees that will ferry your clubs and chauffeur you hole to hole on the course. Spend some time strengthening your arms and legs, catching up on the neighborhood gossip, all while simultaneously sharpening your swing.

I’ve yet to iron out the wrinkles in my bank account. What’s another option?

If you’re like the other 66% of the United States, a golf vacation might be out of the question. So while you’re snuggled up in a warm blanket by the space heater, gazing longingly out the window as sword-length icicles dangling from the gutters threaten to skewer the mailman every day he delivers to your door, how can you fight off the stir-crazies while keeping your golf-senses sharp?

Perhaps the most obvious in this modern day and age, are the innovation of indoor golf simulators. The snow has no power over you in the comfort of your own home (or maybe the nearest indoor golf facility, after you’ve recovered from the sticker-shock) and perhaps most importantly, you can practice in your PJs, no sports-bra or sun-visor necessary.

With golf on the rise and women being one of the main driving forces behind it (I made the same pun twice, totally not on purpose), now more than ever there are opportunities to join in on the game.
Modern inventions allow for year-round practice and enjoyment, and when in-season, you’ll have a reason to get out of the house to stay active doing something you love. All of this while giving you the workout you need without it taking a toll on your knees and elbows, not to mention being a great example to friends and family as they watch you grabbing this bull by the horns.
With the promise of staying healthy and enlightening your own life by accomplishing new potential goals every day, golf has become more accessible than ever. No longer is it only a country-club, upper class, prep-school kind of sport. Next on the list: millionaire yacht-racing.

The 18Birdies app is now available for iPhone and Android devices. Click here for your free download. For more information, check out all the latest news at 18Birdies.com.