A Golf Lesson with Bridget Moynahan
June 1, 2019
By Joanne Kaufman
The actress and co-author of “Our Shoes, Our Selves” teed up at Chelsea Piers.
Bridget Moynahan doesn’t understand people who don’t understand the appeal of watching golf. “I don’t think it’s boring,” said Ms. Moynahan, 48, a star of the police drama “Blue Bloods,” which was just renewed for a 10th season. “I find it really relaxing.”
But when it comes to playing golf, relaxing is not quite the word she’d choose to describe her sorties around the course. More like agonizing. Terrifying. Stomach churning.
Eager to address those fears, and to better address that little dimpled ball, Ms. Moynahan booked a private lesson at Chelsea Piers Golf Academy. She showed up on a windy morning not long ago, hair bundled into a ponytail and wearing the comfortable clothes that had been advised: cropped khaki pants, the legs decorated with cave-style drawings of the faces of cats and dogs; a gray button-down shirt; very white Adidas shoes.
She shook hands with her instructor, Chance Scheffing, and was directed to a simulator on the fourth floor overlooking the Hudson River.
“I find golf an intimidating game because when you’re bad you’re really bad,” said Ms. Moynahan, also the author, with, Amanda Benchley, of “Our Shoes, Our Selves.”
The recently published coffee-table book features 40 high-profile women (including Christiane Amanpour, the four-star-general Ann Dunwoody and Senators Tammy Duckworth, Susan Collins and Patty Murray) discussing their most meaningful footwear. Ms. Moynahan writes about a pair of black leather Miu Miu motorcycle boots that were bought on impulse during a trying period in her life.
“Any injuries that we should be aware of?” said Mr. Scheffing, who seemed very fond of the majestic first-person plural.
“There is, like, a shoulder-neck issue, but I think we’ll be O.K.,” Ms. Moynahan said.
“Have we played golf before?” Mr. Scheffing wanted to know.
“We have,” said Ms. Moynahan, who took up the sport in her early 30s, when she went down to Florida and checked into a hotel with a golf simulator. “I did a long weekend of all golf and I loved it, so I really started playing.
“And then I had a child,” she continued, referring to Jack, her son by the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, with whom she was in a relationship from 2004 to 2006. “And then I had no time to play golf. Who can carve out time in their day to play even nine holes, let alone 18?”
Now Ms. Moynahan’s son is turning 12, and he has taken up the game. Her husband of three years, Andrew Frankel, a businessman, plays. Her three stepsons play. “The last couple of family trips we went on, everybody went out to play golf and I did not,” Ms. Moynahan said.
“So it’s time for me to get back into it. So this is me making a commitment. But I’m scared.”
She was generally able to make contact with the ball, she told Mr. Scheffing. “But I feel I never understand how to create the direction.”
“Control the direction,” he corrected.
“Yes, control the direction,” Ms. Moynahan said. “The last time I played, I was using the driver, and the ball kept going to the right. I would love to get it to go more straight.”
Mr. Scheffing reached into a bag of clubs and handed Ms. Moynahan an iron (shorter and easier to control than a driver) for some warm-up swings. “This will give you a better understanding of how to strike with the club face,” he said. She nodded, holding the iron aloft and doing some side stretches before getting down to business.
Thwack. Divot shot. Thwack.
“I hit it,” Ms. Moynahan said, delightedly.
“Yes,” Mr. Scheffing said. “No. 1 goal: hit it. No. 2 goal: get it in the air. Let’s do one more and then we’re going to talk about it.”
On his phone he showed Ms. Moynahan the videos he had taken of her swing, and murmured some guidance about proper sequencing — lead with the hips followed by the torso, then the arms, then the club. She nodded attentively, taking a few practice swings to demonstrate her comprehension.
“We’re looking for more of a trophy finish,” Mr. Scheffing told her. “All the weight on the outside of the left heel over the left leg.”
Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. Divot. And then, a solid hit to the center of the green netting.
“That felt better,” Ms. Moynahan said, whistling appreciatively, and Mr. Scheffing agreed.
“Excellent job, Bridget. I love it.”
So it went for the next hour and 100 swings, as Mr. Sheffing switched out Ms. Moynahan’s iron, first for a wood-iron hybrid, then a 3-wood, then a driver, then back to the iron.
“Lovely, I like that shot a lot,” Mr. Scheffing said as one ball soared. “When you make solid contact, you’re hitting it 115, 120 yards. That’s a good thing.”
“So I’m ready to join the pro tour?” Ms. Moynahan said, then scolded herself over the next several shots. This one was a little choppy. On another one she was swinging her club like a baseball bat. “Oh, that one was tense,” she said. Consistency eluded her.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Mr. Scheffing said. “Jack Nicklaus said if golf were only 12 holes it would be a lot more enjoyable.”
Ms. Moynahan nodded. “When I’m playing,” she said, “I always wish there was a nachos stand like around the sixth hole.”