ABC'S OF GOLF
by Jenny Graber & Ed Boling
Someone told me that GOLF was an acronym for “Gentleman
Only, Ladies Forbidden.” When I mentioned
this to a group of “Lady Golfers”
at T.L Reed, they laughed. Principal, Ginny Zalky
said “we ignore comments like that.”
While gender restrictions may have been the case
in the ancient of days, overall it is not the
case any longer. Right? ... not exactly.
researching this idea, I was surprised to find
a plethora of private clubs who either do not
invite women into membership, or who exclude women
from playing on certain days and times. In fact,
as I called local clubs to inquire about their
restrictions and policies, I was given the run-around
by most of them; “Oh so-in-so is not here
and will have to call you back about that?”
or “Are you a member? I will have someone
get back to you?” One club did tell me that
women could not play on Saturdays after 11:00
or on Wednesdays before 11:00 and after 3:00.
So, while it seems most local clubs avoid sexual
discrimination, at least one openly admits to
Jenny: Conversely, this is not the attitude at
Kings River Golf and Country Club. My impression
of the club was that golfers of both sexes, were
not only welcome to golf, but were encouraged.
Their policies are flexible and friendly.
River Golf and Country Club is where my first
experience with Golf began. On a brisk, but beautiful
morning I drove to Kingsburg unsure of where this
story was going to take me. I was joined by Traffic
writer, Ed Boling, and Traffic Photographer, Andrew
Shinn. Steve Pellegrine, Head Golf Professional,
greeted us and we began our adventure. I shared
with him my lack of knowledge and interest in
the game and asked if he would be willing to explain
the basics to me.
explaining a couple of things to us, Steve led
us to the driving range for a demonstration. He
made it look so easy. He was even good at showing
us how not to hit the ball. So after taking bets
about if I could hit the ball past the first flag
(or even hit the ball at all), I stepped up to
the plate so to speak, and was ready to go; or
so I thought!
I had to learn how to hold the club. Steve’s
directions were clear and logical. Once I had
my grip, we moved on to body placement and posture.
Steve says proper alignment is crucial. Once I
had my body in position, I took my first swing
and believe it or not, I hit the ball! It didn’t
go very far; it crawled a few feet and then stopped.
But I was happy I hit it.
joy turned to frustration quickly when I realized
that golf was not easy. I totally understood what
Steve was saying, I could see the logic in the
grip, body posture, etc. but I couldn’t
quite put it all together in a way that commanded
much force. Going through the movements in slow
motion just didn’t produce the power necessary
to send the ball where I wanted it to go.
I decided my first lesson was done and I would
have to take up golf some other time, when I had
more time. But I had great adventure! In fact,
I really do have a different view and appreciation
of golf. I can’t wait to get out there again
to practice my swing and hit some balls.
But enough about my fun experience, let’s
switch gears and learn more about the game from
Ed: I watched and listened patiently while Jenny
took her first lesson. Women tend to ask more
questions than men. Steve says women are more
technical; they want to know “exactly”
what goes into a good swing. My attitude was basically
give me the club and let me swing. Being the athlete
that I am, I struck the first ball well and it
landed about 150 yards away. Full of confidence,
I stepped up for my next swing and swiftly sliced
it far right. Next swing, I topped the ball and
it landed about 10 feet in front of me. Ever confident,
I kept swinging, finally ending as I started with
a long straight drive.
Steve let us know most men do not want to be told
“how to” hit the ball or told they
need to fix their swing. Most men claim to know
what’s wrong; we just don’t know how
to fix it. Steve estimates that 90% of golfers
slice and 95% of all swing problems begin with
alignment. Which means if you slice and have bad
alignment, the result is broken clubs.
of the notes I took during our lesson cover the
basics. It is very important to maintain your
spine angle throughout your swing, as if you were
strapped to a pole along your spine. I’d
often heard that you must keep your head down.
Really that’s just a result of keeping your
spine angle. Also, I found out that putting requires
the most hand-eye coordination in the game.
Athleticism does count in golf. In fact, many
of the world’s best athletes try their hand
at golf. Interestingly, Steve started as a baseball
player, almost going pro. When that didn’t
work out, he took up golf. He says hockey players
have the easiest time picking up the game followed
by baseball players. I’m sure it has something
to do with the spine angle. Bottom line, golf
is not an easy game.
Besides learning about the basics of Golf, Ed
Boling learned more about the club itself and
went in search of some of the unique course characteristics.
It is these hidden treasures that make Kings River
Golf and Country Club a valley favorite and more
than just a private club.
The club is very accommodating. Members are allowed
to have guests and lessons are available to anyone.
Dinuba High, Kingsburg High, and Reedley College
practice and hold events there. Steve says events
like these help to “bridge the gap between
golf’s tradition as a rich man’s sport
and golf’s progression toward everyone’s
sport.” According to him, “It’s
a place where people can let their guard down
and just relax and have fun.”
is also more affordable than you may think. Member,
Todd Parkinson says that golfing at Kings River
with his family is cheaper than many of the nice
public courses. “There are always members
looking to get out, so if you’re interested,
I’m sure they have a spot for you.”
Steve was kind enough to take this “hacker”
to play the back 9. The farther we went from the
road, the more beautiful the course got. It was
a peaceful, friendly place to be. As we stepped
onto the 10th tee, it was a little intimidating,
knowing that “every hole has the possibility
of going out of bounds.” I’m not sure
if Steve was trying to intimidate me or just doing
his job as an interviewee.
The most memorable stretch was 14, 15, and 16
along the river; a very tough, very long par 5
on 14. Steve says, “this is where a bad
day could get better, or a good day can turn bad.”
Hole 15 is a tough par 3, very tight. Then, a
tee shot over the river starts hole 16, a 519-yard
But these are just our opinions. Why not check
out the course for yourself. You’re ALL
invited to discover the hidden gem that is Kings
River Golf and Country Club. But do not be fooled
by our fun adventures; this course is no walk
in the park.