Golf is seen as a ‘posh’ game by the general people. Such is the case because of its magnificent visual, complicated rules, and costly essentials required to play the sport.
It’s not like they are wrong though, this sport is loved by the elite, which has prompted investors building luxury golf resorts and giving out millions of dollars in cash to the game winner.
In fact, beginners of all kinda sports get initially intimidated seeing all the different equipment, rules, rules and so on. However, how they overcome the situation and ace the sport matter at the end.
9 Golf Essentials for Beginners to Learn
This is a write-up for those newbies who are shaken to their cores thinking about which brands they should go for, what are the must-haves to play golf and the things that they should know before playing.
- 1. Clubs
- 2. Balls
- 3. Apparel
- 4. Learning How to Play
- 5. The Basic Shots
- 6. Playing on the Course
- 7. Etiquette
- 8. Rules
- 9. Fitness
Rather than spending a ton of money on the expensive clubs, your priority should be on the clubs that fit right with your physique and with which you will be able to develop your imperfect skills to the perfection. There will be plenty of time once you get the hang of the game to go after the expensive clubs in the market. Not buying, learning has to be your priority.
Here are some tips that you need to know about golf clubs before buying any of them:
- There are various kinds of clubs. Typically consisting of irons, woods and a putter for different situations like – trying to dig the ball out of the bunker or teeing off at the beginning with a driver and so on.
- Numbering is done in each of the clubs. The lower the clubs are numbered, the further the ball is meant to be sent by the clubs. Note that, numbers starting from 1 through 9 represent irons and woods.
- All of the clubs are angled to dissimilar degrees. The one with a lower number has its face angled at a lesser degree from the perpendicular than that of a club with a higher number. For example, a number 3 iron is angled at 20 degrees, but the iron number 8 is angled at 15 degrees while the sand wedge is at 57 degrees.
- There will be a greater backspin on the ball each time you use a club with a higher number.
- You will be allowed to have a maximum of fourteen clubs in your bag during the game.
You Don’t Need a Lot of Clubs
In golf, you are not allowed to carry more than fourteen clubs in your bag. However, as a beginner, you don’t need as many. You will only need a sand wedge, a driver, a putter and a couple of 6 or 8 irons to start with.
If you’re not a well-experienced athlete who has played ball and stick sports, you need to go for the woods with more loft. Because having an extra loft will make it easier to get the ball airborne while reducing side spin resulting in straight-flying shots. In addition, the drivers with a minimum of 10 degrees of loft and fairway woods starting at 17 degrees are what you should go for.
Make the Best Use of Those Clubs Made for Beginners Like You
Certain types of clubs are easier to hit in comparison to the others. As a beginner, it is better for you to use hybrids instead of using 3, 4 or 5 irons. When you hit too far behind the ball, irons that have wide soles will increase the tendency for the club to be stuck in the ground. The Center of gravity of the iron will be lower when more weight is concentrated towards the sole, and this will aid in launching shots on a more significant trajectory. The sole of an iron that measures up to the width of two fingers is the one that you should be playing with as a newbie.
Before You Buy, Try
You’re a beginner, and you have yet to learn a lot about golf clubs. Therefore, go to the nearby golf shop and ask to try out a six-iron with a stiff-flex shaft and a regular-flex.One of these two will make you feel that this one is ‘easy to control’ and that particular one is the one that you, as a beginner, should begin with for all the clubs that you’re willing to buy.
More the Loft, the Better it is
Unless you are a well-coordinated player who is experienced with the ball and stick sports, go for woods that has more loft. This is because the additional loft means easier to get the ball into the air. This can also decrease side spin, and hence, shots will fly straighter. So, aim for the drivers with at minimum ten degrees of loft and fairway woods that start from seventeen degrees as well.
As a newbie, you may think that all the golf balls out there are more or less the same. They just have different names as they’re manufactured by different companies. This is not the case. Abilities differ from player to player. So the different kinds of golf balls are made to suit the needs of all the players.
Use Durable Balls
Since you’re a beginner, you need balls that are very durable to make sure that you don’t lose a significant number of balls while playing a round of golf. Losing too many balls will lead to increased expenses.
There are three types of golf ball layers, namely – the two-piece, three-piece, and the four-piece. The two-piece balls with surlyn covers and solid rubber centers should be used by the beginners as they’re more long-lasting than the three-piece or four-piece balls used by the pros.
Go for the Second-hand Balls
You can buy second-hand balls at much lower price compared to the new ones in case you end up losing balls at a heavy rate. The course-owners often collect them from their courses, and so you can buy the balls from them.
Use the Ones with A Lower Compression Rate
Compression rates of golf balls ascertain the kinds of balls used by different levels of golfers. Compression produces a density in the golf ball that affects the loft and distance.
It’s recommended for the beginners to use balls having a low compression rate of about 70-80 on a scale where 40 is the lowest and 100 is the highest. When the balls with lower compression rates are hit by a club, they’re easily compressed making them the perfect ones for the beginners.
Every sport has its signature apparel and golf is no different. The necessity of wearing appropriate clothing in golf is probably more than other sports. They have their own dress codes and it is mandatory to follow.
You might be asked to go back home if you’re not dressed up accordingly. Therefore, it is a must for you to be in the proper apparel while playing golf.
Now, on to the matter of what comprises a set of proper apparel for golf players.
Pick the Shirt with the Right Collar
Collared shirts made of microfiber, polyester or cotton for men and collared or collarless golf tops adhering to the traditional sense of modesty for women are the dress codes of most golf courses out there. T-shirts, tank tops, bathing suits, sleeveless or shoulder-less tops are typically prohibited.
Wear the Right Trousers
Long trousers made of polyester or cotton and in some fairly uncommon cases, jeans are typically what consist of men’s golf style. Long and three-quarter trousers or dress shorts can be worn by women.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
While golfing, you won’t be spending the whole time under the shadows of the trees. So, it is imperative that you have protective glasses and sunblock on. During the rainy season, always carry a rain jacket. Lastly, a towel should always be there with you so that you can keep your hands dry.
Go with Sneakers
When you take that swing, you have to wear the proper shoes. It is the shoes that you’re wearing help you to stabilize your swing. Like all other restricted dress codes in golf, you have to abide by a specific golf shoe etiquette.
Running shoes and trainer shoes aren’t usually allowed, but some courses do have exceptions. Under no circumstances boots and sandals are allowed. But it’s not necessary to buy golf shoes right off the bat. You can buy sneakers that are allowed by the courses, and you can use them both in and out of golf courses.
4. Learning How to Play
You can start playing with any one of the two goals in mind – to be more socially active, i.e. social purposes or to be a serious golf player.
If it’s the former, you only need a basic idea to play, but if it’s the latter, there is a lot to go about. Think hard about how much are you willing to put in.
Hurry Up and Take the Lessons
You’re a beginner and you don’t know much about golf. That’s good news as much as it’s bad news. Because you haven’t developed any bad habit if you’re a complete novice. As a result, when you select a professional to teach you about golf from scratch, you get to learn it the right way.
Learn the Short Game First
Spend half of your time practicing with your putter and wedges because almost half of your blows approach inside fifty yards of the green.Now, this may sound a bit boring, but the good thing is that you can practice in your backyard or your TV room. Make a setup for the practice according to your liking.
Make Yourself A Routine for the Range
Resist the temptation of ripping the drivers right from the start. You might be able to swell few but remember that hitting for the maximum distance will quickly make you go out of your sync. Come up with a routine and follow it accordingly.
If You’re Doubtful, Go Back to the Basics
There are just too many rules for playing golf. This can easily make you overthink and it isn’t going to help you but will demoralize you. If you find yourself overwhelmed while playing, just go back to the basics.
5. The Basic Shots
Learning the basic shots are very important as it is the basics that help you when you’re lost playing the game. Hitting an iron off the ground or hitting a driver off the tee are some of the basic shots that you need to know to play golf. Since you’re a beginner, the tips below are what you should start with.
The Greenside Bunker Shot
The interesting thing about this shot is that you don’t hit the ball while taking it. Rather, you hit the sand just behind the ball and the sand does all the work. It’s recommended to hit the sand two inches behind the ball with your sand wedge.
Learn when to Pitch and When to Chip
A pitch shot is a shot that flies high and doesn’t roll much. On the other hand, a chip shot makes the ball to stay low and roll along the ground.When you need the ball to go over some obstacles, use the pitch shot and in the case of having quite a bit of green between the hole and your position, use the chip shot.
Use the Athleticism in You
All the instructions may make you lose your basic athletic instincts. Yes, golf is a game that requires more mental prowess than other sports. But the ‘swinging’ part of the game needs your athletic movement.Hence, you have to use your athleticism while playing golf.
Don’t Dread the Driver
At first sight, the driver may look quite hard to handle because of its length and the big head. But, it’s the most forgiving club in case of mis-hits for golf players. So, practice with it a bit and you will get the hang of it.
When Lost, Return to Chipping
Due to complications, learning golf can be quite a hard thing to do. If you feel frustrated at some point, start doing chip shots. Going for a longer swing after repeatedly practicing chip shots can help you to get on track.
6. Playing on the Course
Once you’ve got all the equipment, apparel and have learned a few of the basic shots, you probably will be thinking about playing on an actual golf course. That’s a good idea but don’t just rush towards a course where the pros play. You will want to make your early experiences very positive ones. Therefore, it is best for you to know your shortcomings and then compose yourself.
Pick the Right Course
Remember, you’re a beginner and you need a short and flat course without many obstacles. That way, you can get started and remain optimistic. After adequate practices in courses like these, you’ll have a lot of time to test yourself on tougher courses.
The game is quite hard even without requiring eight shots to go to the green. It’s wise for you to begin on a par-3 course before trying any 18-hole championship course. All the holes in par-3 courses are generally less than two hundred yards, and so they are good options for you to start with.
Start by Playing Three Holes
Golf is a sport of endurance. Start by playing three holes on a less crowded time before playing 18 holes. The course probably won’t charge you a three-hole standard and you can keep on playing until you get frustrated and come back some other day.
Almost all the golf courses out there will ask you to complete 18 holes within 4 hours and 30 minutes. But you have to be faster. Restrict yourself to a specific number of blows per hole.
Let’s say that you’ve been invited to a game of golf by your friend, family or your boss. You may be quite frightened as you have a vague or no idea regarding the in-course or out-course protocols of the game.
You should be fine as long as you follow the following points.
The most convenient way to charm your playing partner(s) is to play fast. Playing fast doesn’t necessarily mean rushing your run to the ball or your shots. Before it’s your turn to take a swing, do one or two practice swings.
That way, you’ll have enough time to chit-chat between strokes but never talk to someone when they’re getting ready to stroke.
Wait for Your Turn
Mass confusion would arise if multiple golfers take their shots at the same time and it is necessary that you know when to go. Usually, the player having the best score from the last hole is the one who gets the pleasure of teeing off first and the person who’s the most away from the hole goes on.
Try Not to Kill Anyone
While playing, you may accidentally hit the ball towards someone. In that case, yell the word ‘FORE!’ It’s golf lingo for ‘WATCH OUT!’ It’s more helpful if you also yell the direction from which the ball’s coming like ‘FORE RIGHT!’
Look After the Course
Making a golf course requires a lot of work. As a player, you should do your part and look after the course. For example, not driving a golf cart near the putting green and scraping a bunker after you hit your ball out of it etc.
It’s true that there are 34 rules which take up 182 pages of golf. The sheer number may send shivers down your spine but here’s the catch, almost all of the golfers make rules up as they play the game on since they can’t remember them all.
As long as you follow the below-mentioned key points, you’ll do just fine.
Know When to Move Your Ball
You can move your ball when you’re on a putting green. But if you’re not, you can’t do so unless there’s an obstruction – it’s that simple. However, remember to mark the position of your ball before picking it up with a ball marker or a coin.
Don’t Take Someone Else’s Ball
Don’t just go all ‘free ball!’ when you find a ball which is not yours, leave the ball where it is. Golfers hit their balls here and there all the time.
Don’t Take More than Five Minutes to Search for a Ball
If you can’t find your ball even after five minutes of searching, stop searching. Take a one-stroke penalty and drop another ball on the spot where you last hit your previous ball from. Then play another stroke from that spot.
It is Okay in Most Cases to Play from Another Hole
If your ball lands in a different fairway, you can still play. But if that fairway is marked as out of bounds, you have to take a one-stroke penalty and play another stroke from the place you previously hit from. Also, don’t interfere with the players of the fairway. Just wait till they permit you to go first.
Every sport out there requires a decent level of physical fitness and golf is no exception. Stable back, strong hip muscles and flexible hamstrings are just some of the fitness requirements of golf. If you want to play golf all of your life, you have to do the proper exercises.
Don’t Ride, Walk
It may seem quite exhausting but walk instead of using a golf cart to move. A seven-mile walk carrying your stuff may sound frightening at the beginning but it becomes easier the more you do it.
Stretch in The Proper Way
Don’t just stretch brashly. Do them properly. Only do long-hold stretches after the game or after you return home. Do some dynamic stretches that will make your muscles ready for swings before a round.
Don’t Eat Those Foods Served at the Courses
Almost all the food available at golf courses are unhealthy – burgers and whatnot. These foods are appealing; they don’t help your body in any way. Pack your food, like turkey or chicken, bananas, etc. and always carry water.
Our Final Thoughts
Golf can be a complicated game. As a beginner, these are all the things that you need to keep in mind. As long as you follow these, you are good to go.