How to Play Golf

How To Play Golf: A Beginner’s Guide

Many people want to take up golf, but choose not to, for many reasons. They say it’s either too expensive for them, or too complicated, or even too challenging.

However, I will point out that every professional golfer was once a beginner. Naturally, there are many guides out there, in print and online, on how to start golfing.

With a little digging, I can find lists of essential items to use, what to do, what not to do, what terms to use on the course, how to behave in a game, etc.

I will give you a brief rundown of some of the golf’s basics in the paragraphs below.

Basic Rules of Golf

Naturally, most of these rules are already available on popular websites such as Wikipedia. But it’s still nice to have a brief rundown since it helps people who’ve never picked up a club in their life.

The first rule is obvious – the course has 18 holes, and the goal is to sink balls in holes. Each of these holes has the ideal number of strokes that a player should take to sink the ball.

These stroke numbers are what we call pars. Usually, that number is anywhere between 3 and 5.

Based on this number, a par can have the name “Par 3,” “Par 4,” etc. A player adds up pars for every hole to equal the total par for the course, which is usually 72.

Each hole has a name based on the performance.

Golf Ball With Word Eagle Are on Green Grass

If I were to shoot two under par (for example, a three on Par 5 or 2 on Par 4), that’s an Eagle.

Consequently, one under par is Birdie and an even number with par is… well, par. If I go one over par (4 shots on Par 3), that’s a Bogey.

Two, three, four over par become double, triple, quadruple Bogey, and so on.

A Few More Rules

Teeing means starting a new hole. When you tee off a hole, you must move the ball behind the brightly colored markers stuck into the ground.

The further away the marker stands, the more skill it will require. When all players reach the putting green or the finely trimmed grass area, the furthest away player from the hole shoots first.

This practice continues until every player makes their putt.

Picking Up a Golf Ball After Being Hit Off Course and Landing in a Dangerous Area Out of Bounds

Finally, there’s the out-of-bounds rule. This relates to hitting the ball into the water or out of play. You first take a one-stroke penalty for that shot.

Then you take a new ball and either drop it where you made the shot, or at the place just before it went out of bounds.

My Golf Bag (and the Items In It)

Naturally, I need clubs. And for any beginner, the best number of clubs to carry is also the biggest allowed under golf regulations – 14.

The obvious two are the driver and the putter. One will start off each swing well, and the other is used to sink balls into holes.

Next, I will need an iron set – a total of five clubs, with an additional sand wedge. The name tells you where it’s used on the course.

The remaining spots will most likely go to a three wood, a five wood, a lob wedge, and three hybrid clubs.

Non-Club Items

A golfer’s bag should consist of many items. Let’s start with golf balls.

Most experienced golfers carry both new and old balls. This is because old ones can be used for practice – it saves money and improves one’s game.

A lot of tees are also a must, mainly because I can use a tee as a ball marker and as a divot tool. Naturally, these two are also the tools beginners can have in their bag, though they’re not as essential.

Hand and Bottle of Water on Green Background

Golf can be exhausting. So, naturally, I pack lunch, snacks, and a few bottles of water. I also have a first aid kit handy, just in case.

My body will sometimes need protection from the elements, so I take rain gear and an umbrella with me, as well as sunscreen during hot summer days. Protection from insects is also vital; therefore, I remember to bring the bug spray, too.

But, my body isn’t the only one that needs care – I always have a towel or two handy to wipe off my clubs if they get mud or dirt on them from putting.

Finally, there are golf gloves – it’s essential to have more than one pair, as they can rip during play or get lost along the course.

Other useful items a player can carry are the official golf rulebook, writing utensils (including a sharpie to mark your balls), a rangefinder, a golf ball retriever, and even a pocket radio to chill with music while playing.

Common Beginners’ Mistakes

Here’s a handy list of what not to do during a golf game:

  • Playing without warming up.

    Every sport requires warming up before playing, and golf is no different. Before I take my first shot, I take a few key practice swings with each individual club I bring. It warms up the muscles and helps me get used to the clubs before starting the game itself.

  • Buying the wrong clubs.

    This isn’t just a matter of getting the clubs wrong. One common mistake is that people pay large amounts of money for professional, expensive sets that pros use. These sets will not do well for a beginner. The best solution is to purchase a used set and work up to the pro level clubs. It saves money and helps with practice and improvement.

  • Mishandling the club.

    Some people grip too hard, some grip it too softly, and others don’t hold it properly altogether. A club should be held firmly, but not tightly, as the muscles need to flow naturally with each swing. The best thing to do here is to observe how professional golfers hold and swing their clubs, and learn from there.

  • Shooting the wrong way.

    This includes aiming at the flag rather than at the green, not timing the swing correctly, and not accelerating properly. Nearly all of these can be worked on with practice.

Conclusion – When Is a Player Finally Ready to Play Golf?

The best answer I can give to this question is – when he or she feels ready. The first step is, obviously, to learn the rules and get the right equipment.

The next step is to find the right teacher and practice as much as possible. Furthermore, it’s important not to get angry over the mistakes, but to use them as a learning experience.

The last step is to decide what type of a golfer a person wants to be, a casual player or a professional.

Golf, like many other sports, requires time, practice, and dedication.

But it also helps if you’re having fun playing it. Once a person feels confident enough to swing on an actual course, they’re ready.

Leave a Reply 0 comments