Golf sometimes gets a bad rap. Some naysayers say it has too many rules, it’s too intimidating and it costs too much.

Although there are approximately 25 million people who play golf at least once a year, according to the National Golf Foundation, the number has been stagnant for years and is lower than its record high of 30 million in 2005.

JC Golf is doing its part to change the perception of the game with its Intro2Golf program.

Taking a page from the PGA’s Get Golf Ready program, Intro2Golf is designed for newcomers of any age. The “come as you are” program provides five one-hour clinics, range balls and two rounds of twilight golf – all for just $99.

The program is featured at five JC Golf courses – Encinitas Ranch, Temecula Creek Inn, Twin Oaks, Reidy Creek and Oaks North.

“The program has taken off,” said John Mason, the director of instruction at Encinitas Ranch. “It’s all about learning the basics and having fun. We provide the golf clubs and there’s no dress code. You don’t need golf shoes either. The program is designed to help people feel comfortable.”

New players can transfer what they learn on the practice range to the golf course as the program also includes two rounds golf for an additional $10. Getting real game experience provides instructors an opportunity to focus on pace of play, an important initiative for the game and JC Golf.

“Pace of play is just not taught, so this gives us an opportunity to teach people to take a club and just go,” Mason said.

At Oaks North, where head pro Lloyd Porter estimates about 2,500 sessions have been conducted since the program began more than four years ago, the focus is on true novices. He estimates 75 percent of Intro2Golf students don’t own golf clubs.

“It’s great that we are introducing beginners to the game,” Porter said. “Many of them are scared to death to go to the first tee and hit that first shot. We help them get over that.”

For more Intro2Golf program details or to sign up, click here or call (858) 675-8470.

Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years.