Ok, so now you're addicted to the game; it happens quite easily. How do you get comfortable playing with other people?
Well, most seasoned golfers have compassion for the plight of the newly afflicted player. Most of the time, they will be eager to play with you and to encourage you. They will also want to impart their wisdom upon you.
This is always well intentioned, but not always good for you. At this stage of your golfing career, it is easy to get confused, so you'll have to listen politely and decide what fits you and what doesn't. Tell them you are taking lessons from a golf professional and that may be all the input you can handle for now. It's easy for a new golfer to try and digest too many suggestions; stick with the professional.
Most new players are a little apprehensive about playing with people who they think play well. If you learn to get yourself around the course quickly and are aware of the rules to some degree, they won't mind playing with you, regardless of the score.
Slow play seems to be the one thing that gets everyone on the course upset. You can avoid this misery by being aware of what's going on and be ready to play when it's your turn.
Don't worry about how well the other people are playing. Just enjoy yourself and try and learn something about managing your way around the course every time you play. It will get easier each time out.
Stick to your practice routine, but remember you have to practice but have to play also. The playing is just as important to your improvement. That's the measure of the effort you put into practice.
Remember - golf is a game and it has got to be fun before you will ever get better.
Tim Peightal is a PGA Pro, general manager and director of golf at Pelican Bay Country Club - north and south courses in Daytona Beach. He also owns Summit Driving Range in Port Orange. Mr. Peightal can be reached at (386) 304-4774 or by sending an e-mail to GypsyPro12@ aol.com.