Sometimes you just need to take time off from work and go play some golf. At least that's what Molly Schnagl did this year.
Although she works out of her home, Molly also travels frequently as the busy owner of Tomegan Marketing Group. But this summer, she slowed it down to focus on another passion of hers — golf.
"I took the lion's share of the summer off," she says. "I focused on playing a ton of golf, and had a lot of fun."
Although more men tend to play golf than women, Molly says some private golf clubs are much more welcoming to women than you might expect. It's all about finding the right one. Here's her story.
Joining North Oaks Golf Club
Molly and her husband Greg joined North Oaks Golf Club in August 2017, a year after moving to nearby Vadnais Heights. Their two kids, Tom (20) and Meg (18), aren't active golfers, so the couple enjoys the course on their own.
"We were interested in playing more golf," Molly says. "I wanted to accelerate my golf game. It was probably me who was the driver behind the decision to join."
A Warm Welcome from the Women's League
The Schnagls have played golf recreationally for the past decade, joining local leagues and playing while up at their cabin. When they joined North Oaks Golf Club, Molly immediately joined the women's 9- and 18-hole leagues.
"The other ladies in the leagues were really kind and helpful," she says. "They took me under their wing and showed me the way. I learned a lot from the ladies I played with."
Although Molly played for years before joining a club, she still needed to learn certain rules and tricks to the game. "I came into the spring not having a handicap and not knowing what it was," she says. "I had to be taught along the way. A lot of the ladies were very patient with me understanding the rules. People are serious about the game, but they're out there to have fun. It's a social sport."
A Summer of Improvement
Throughout the summer, Molly played 4-5 times per week. When Greg traveled to Malaysia for four weeks — educating teachers of graduate programs at local universities as part of his work with this own company, Teacher's Centricity — Molly played even more. "It felt like I was golfing basically every day," she says.
And she registered for every golf event she could — scramble events, the member tournament, club championship, singles match play, doubles match play, traveling league. If it was golf, Molly was there.
As the summer progressed, Molly's game improved. "I got a hole in one on the third day of women's league on Hole No. 5 (163 yards) with a 7 iron," she says. Hole No. 5 is now her favorite hole, while Hole No. 2 is the most challenging. "I just can't seem to even get par," she says. "It's always a bogey hole for me."
Molly has now played more than 70 rounds this season, not including special events, and she won "Most Improved" in her women's league. "I was able to drop my handicap significantly," she says.
She looks forward to what next season will bring. But in the meantime, she has some advice for newcomers hesitant to join a private golf club. "Don't be afraid," she says. "Just sign up for everything, and ask questions. People don't have a hard time sharing their expertise, so take it all in."