Becoming A Golfer: Episode 1 – Lauren’s First Lesson

Watch beginner golfer Lauren Birks-Nicola's first lesson with PGA Pro Kristian Baker...

Becoming A Golfer: Episode 1 - Lauren's First Lesson
(Image credit: Dominic Smith/Golf Monthly)

Watch beginner golfer Lauren Birks-Nicola's first lesson with PGA Pro Kristian Baker...

Becoming A Golfer: Episode 1 - Lauren's First Lesson

Golf is seeing a boom in the UK currently with the game thriving amid the pandemic.

There are significantly more golf club members now than in years gone by and one incredible statistic from 2020 was that 25% of all female golfers who played the game in the UK last year were brand new to the sport.

One of those newbies is Lauren Birks-Nicola, who decided to join her partner and friends for a driving range session last year...and she's never looked back.

Having hit her first golf ball in August 2020, Lauren immediately got hooked and began shopping for clubs and clothing to further her golf journey.

Fast forward a year, featuring many trips to the range and multiple lockdowns, and she now has the goal of becoming a fully-fledged golfer who can tee it up on 18-hole courses, get a handicap and start taking the game seriously.

"Something after the first lockdown made me go to the driving range with our friends and I just loved it," Lauren said.

"I couldn't hit the ball but slowly after you've hit one good shot you get into the swing of it and I really enjoy it now.

"I just really want to be able to actually enjoy the sport. I get really frustrated at the moment with all my bad shots.

"It's obviously a tough sport to get into so I'm hoping with these lessons I'm going to improve and be able to enjoy the game."

To further her journey, Lauren and Golf Monthly enlisted the help of renowned PGA Pro Kristian Baker at the stunning Sunningdale Heath Golf Club.

Kristian has coached some of the country's best players and has vast experience of teaching golfers of all age, sex and ability.

In his first lesson with Lauren and in episode 1 of Golf Monthly's 'Becoming a Golfer' series, Kristian welcomed Lauren into his state-of-the-art Ultimate Golf Studio and then took her out onto the course at Sunningdale Heath to asses where her game was at.

After getting some base numbers in the studio, he initially noticed that Lauren's grip needed work as the right hand was too strong, and also wanted to see her right elbow tucked in a little more at address.

Kristian was keeping an eye on all areas of the game to help Lauren with her goal of being able to play the game to a decent standard, so there were also sessions on chipping, putting and course management.

"We've tried not to overload, so we've just said a couple of things for your long game, a couple of things for your putting, a couple of things for your chipping and go away and practise those," Kristian said.

"She really understood them, did really well and then we'll just layer it on so we'll go a little bit each week and then once we're happy where she is, we can move it on from there.

"At the moment we've barely been out on a golf course so we're looking at it and saying 'right, let's build it up to nine holes, no scorecards, just going out there having fun, hitting as many good shots as we can.'

"With the full intention of, if she wants to further down the line, 'how do we get a handicap, how do we get into competitions?'

"But at the moment it's real low key, it's about enjoying it."

Watch the first episode above and stay tuned to the Golf Monthly website for the final two parts in the series over the coming weeks and months.

You can also follow Lauren's journey on Instagram @laurenbngolf

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV