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Intro to Golf

golf course

A golf beginner just getting on the golf course is probably overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information they need to know before they even start swinging. Golf clubs and equipment is nothing compared to the experience and know-how while playing a good game.

Rules and Etiquette

Golf has a lot of rules. A lot. There is no way anyone can remember them all perfectly, which is why reference handbooks exist. If you don’t already possess one of these handy-dandy books, go out and get one now because you’re going to need it. Some rules are more strict than others, and breaking certain rules can cost you your game. However, many are primarily for professional players, and if you’re out there for fun, chances are you’re looking for a more casual approach to golfing.

The big thing on the course is etiquette. There are lots of little things you should begin to observe as soon as you are out on the course, such as:

  • Keep up with the pace of the game. This is important, because you are absolutely not the only person on the pitch. The game doesn’t revolve around you, so if you’re holding up other groups of golfers who move much faster than you, it’s only polite to let them play the hole first, and you can go afterwards.
  • Don’t damage the green. This is exceptionally important. When you finally get on the green, it’s important to fix your dents; when your ball lands on the green, there’s a high probability that your ball will cause some divets in the green. This obviously causes issues with putting, so to make the experience great for everyone, fix your indents. As well, don’t drive your cart on the green. Doing so can severely damage the playing area, and it is a very expensive fix.
  • Being too close, too noisy, or otherwise being a nuisance. Golf requires a high amount of concentration to do well in, and while you can never play a perfect game, many golfers do try to get close. That’s why talking loudly near other golfers, standing in the way of their putting line, or even casting a shadow where they are aiming is bad news, and could result in you making a few enemies. Stay quiet and courteous while playing the game, and everyone will have a great time.
  • No such thing as a “Perfect Game”

    Everyone wants to do well in golf, but the fact of the matter is that you’re not going to be hitting close to par on your first try. You’re new; you haven’t yet factored in wind speed and direction, or the curvature of the earth as your little ball goes flying through the air. Perhaps you’re actually more prone to breaking your tee than you are actually getting anywhere. That’s absolutely alright; you’re new. Even seasoned and professional players can’t play an absolutely perfect game, and you’d be surprised how hard it is to get a fabled hole-in-one. It’s possible, yes, but it takes years of experience and a little luck to get going in that direction.

    Golf Gear

    If you’re going to work towards playing a great game of golf, get your gear together. You’re going to need more than a few clubs and a rented bucket of balls to really play the game.

  • A full golf club set, and a bag to carry your stuff. This is a no brainer; it’s not soccer, you don’t kick your golf ball around. A good set of clubs will carry you for a good while, and most decent sets are only about $200.
  • Golf Balls. Your own golf balls are a must, and it’s a good idea to mark them with your own personal symbol so you can differentiate them from other player’s balls. After all, you wouldn’t like it if someone hit your balls around, so don’t do it to other people. A special marking allows you to easily pick out your ball, so that you’re only playing your ball during the game.
  • Golf Tees, a divot repair tool, and other small essentials. Tees are obviously for holding your ball up, and a divot repair tool is an absolute must for fixing green divots. However, you may also want to pick up a golf glove to minimize the number of calluses your hands will no doubt receive, a ball marker for marking your ball on the green, and some towels to remove moisture from your clubs and from your face. Golf is a sport, often played under the hot sun. Be prepared.
  • Practice makes (near) perfect

    Golf isn’t just an occasional part time, once a month deal for some people. Hardcore fans of the game live and breathe the smell of fresh cut fairway. They are your role models, the people who take golf as a way of life. If you want to be good, you’re going to have to take some of that essence in you too.

    Signing up for a golf lesson is a step in the right direction; not only will you improve your swing, but you’ll also drastically improve your score as well. Constant practice will make you more relaxed, and you’ll start to get the feel of holding a club the right way. Lessons aren’t too terribly expensive either, so it’s a great way to get into the game at a cheap cost.

    One of the biggest mistakes many beginners make is they take their eyes off the ball too early. A good practice is to watch the ball through the entirety of your swing. Lifting your head too early will ultimately cause your shoulders to shift, which in turn moves your club and causes you to whiff your swing. There are no mulligans in professional golf, so make every swing count.

    Always be Improving your golf game

    Whether you are on the course or off of it, there are always ways you can improve your game. However, the most important thing you can do for yourself as a beginner is to have fun. Don’t stress too much about hitting par. Just go out there and do the best you can. Even better if you have someone to guide you through the course. Relax, enjoy the outdoors, and soon you’ll be hitting par or better.