Anyone can play golf, but not everyone can play golf well. Though golf’s pace may be slower than sports like football or baseball, it is no less technical or demanding than those sports. This blog features some helpful golf tips for beginners and will prepare you for your first trek through 18 holes.
Clubs and Balls
No matter what hobby you pick up, as a general rule, it’s a bad idea to buy the latest and greatest equipment. Start cheap! Your first step will be to learn, so buy clubs and balls that will allow you to do that effectively. There is no point in having the most expensive tools if you’re not prepared to use them yet.
A good starting kit will include a driver, a 3 wood, a 4 hybrid, 5-9 irons, a pitching wedge, and a putter. These types of clubs can usually be bought as a set at a sporting goods store, complete with a golf bag. It can be tempting to buy online, but you’re better off getting your first set in-person, where you can try the clubs out to ensure they are the right fit for you. Balls follow the same line of thought: start cheap and, as you improve, invest in nicer ones.
Learning to Play Golf
You could take your new clubs and balls to the nearest driving range and start whacking away, but don’t. Take lessons. Like any sport, you can be injured in golf if you participate incorrectly. Find a professional and take the classes.
When you become a regular on the range, start with a short iron, through the middle irons, to the driver. Your body will thank you for warming up first. As important as it is to work on your long game, your short game is just as crucial. Setup a makeshift putting green (buckets, carpet, and anything else you have lying around can work) around your home and practice putting for as long as you practice driving.
Slow Your Roll
Learn different shots and practice them regularly. Know the difference between things like chipping (low shots that run along the ground) and pitching (a shot that doesn’t roll as much and flies higher above the ground), and when to use each. Spend some time in the bunker and figure out how to get your ball out of the sand. It sounds like a lot of work (and in a way, it is), but better you figure it out now and not on the course with your friends. Like anything else, practice makes perfect.
Golf Rules & Etiquette
Many long-time golfers do not know all of the rules to golf. Don’t stress about memorizing every detail. If you’re aware of these few, you’ll have a great experience and you can pick up the rest over time:
- Don’t move your ball unless you absolutely have to.
- Don’t hit other people’s balls.
- If it’s not out-of-bounds, you can hit it!
- Out of the course is out of bounds.
- Lost your ball? Give up after five minutes of searching and use another.
For many players, etiquette is as important as the rules themselves. You can find whole pages about golf etiquette on the internet, but here are a few that seem pretty common:
- Keep up the pace so your group doesn’t lag behind.
- Wait your turn.
- “Fore” means “Look out” and you should yell it when you need to.
- Did your swing make a divot in the grass? Replace it.
The above is in no way everything you need to know to start golfing, but it should get you started in the right direction. As with all new physical activities, be sure to talk to a physician before trying anything new.
Have fun and enjoy your new favorite sport!