We sat down with Roupen at Swinomish Golf Links before one of his golf lessons, and he shared why he began playing golf this year. Check out what he had to say below!
Hometown: La Conner, WA
You need to put it in close to the flag from 100 yards away. Which club do you use?
Well that’s easy — it’s my 9 iron. I feel very comfortable with a nine iron.
Had you played golf before taking lessons?
I started playing in high school. A friend of mine gave me a set of clubs that were completely mismatched — absolutely mismatched — with a canvas bag. I just played with them. The driver was probably for a 6-foot-5 person, and the putter was probably for a 5-foot-5 person — I don’t know. But that’s when I started – and then a little bit in college. Then, I stopped.
What inspired you to start playing golf again?
It wasn’t so much inspired, as much as conditions kind of favored that return to golf. First of all, the friends that I met in La Conner asked me to go golfing, and I said I don’t have a set of clubs. Shortly around that time, through family, I was given a full set of clubs. I had no idea what they were because it was Callaway brand – I had no idea what Callaway brand was. I didn’t know they were a good brand. So it was a very interesting sequence of situations. So I thought, “OK, I’ll go out with him.” So I just kind of did that for fun. Then, 40 years later, I sort of picked it up again, just as a hobby more than anything else.
What have you improved on the most?
I’ve been just getting a good idea of the swing and the very basics, because I’d never had lessons before, and that’s what prompted me to take lessons. So I thought, “Well, I just want to get a good, natural, swing and see what I would do.” So maybe just getting used to the idea of swinging the club in a more consistent way.
How do you practice outside of lessons?
Of course, my instructor is asking me to practice as much as I can, and that’s what I’m doing, really. I’ve decided that I’ve got nothing to lose but to take what he’s telling me and apply that and just get used to that. Because when you’ve done something with absolutely no technique or idea, except for just being naturally coordinated, you really want to have the basics understood so that you get a better understanding of the game and knowledge. Basically, just practicing the technique, just for itself, just to make sure I’m doing it right. I’m not worried about the results. I’m not worried about anything. So, when I do go out for fun, I’ll do the same thing. I’ll use it as an exercise format. The best way for me to practice is to just go out to the range, or to just practice at home. Even without a club, I’ll just practice the things that I’m supposed to do. So, when I am golfing, I still apply that.
What’s your strongest golf skill?
Well, I’m told I have a natural swing. It’s nice to have that kind of coordination and fluidity. The consistency is another thing. Sometimes my chipping feels just perfectly fine, but I’m not sure if that’s the right technique or not, because you can get lucky. Putting has always been a little bit stronger for me, and I enjoy the science behind it – figuring out where the ball is curving or what the situation is on the green.
Do you have any long-term goals?
Right now, I just want to learn the game more formally, and I’m appreciating the game a lot more — just because I know the science behind, the physics behind it, and all that. As far as making long-term projections, I think I’ll continue golfing just because it’s a good activity and outdoors and all that. I can see golfing in a serious way later on, but it’s like anything else really. I just want to learn what it is first.
What do you enjoy most about the sport?
When it feels right, it feels really great. Same thing with tennis — same thing with any other sport — when you are in the action of swinging, it feels effortless. When that sensation is experienced, when it’s effortless, it feels great. Those moments are really gratifying. Plus, being outdoors with the company of other people is really great.
Is there anything about golf that surprised you?
It’s very science based. It’s about lines and angles. It’s really about properties of physics. It’s about force. It’s a question of how much energy you transfer from the swing to the ball. But it’s really about the laws of physics. If you think about it, all sports in themselves have this kind of science, but coming from a completely untrained background, that part of it appeals to me.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about starting to play golf?
I’ve had knee surgery, so I know I can’t play a lot of sports that I’d love to continue playing. For golf, so far my knees are OK. But the whole idea is to just enjoy the game, and then, if that starts you on more curiosity about the game, it takes you to the deeper arenas of what it takes to really play the game.
To book a lesson with one of the Swinomish Golf Links golf pros, call the front desk at 360-293-3444 today!