Are you someone who is looking to start playing golf as a hobby or a golfer who is eager to improve his game? Well, here is good news for you! Golf is an extremely elegant and satisfying game that lets you enjoy a sunny day on the green course with your close friends. Also, you get to relish some refreshing and chilled beer.
With this guide on golf tips, you will not only get all the essential information you need to start playing golf, but also be able to stay away from committing usual mistakes.
In this guide
Basics of Golf
Golf Terminology – The golf lingo is diverse and you will have to learn a lot to begin.
Golf Rules – Golf has many rules, though not all are very obvious. In my opinion, not all rules are very crucial if you are not playing in a tournament or for money. Fun is my motivation to play the game, but “your mileage may vary”. But you surely would want to know about what to do, where lost balls are concerned. To know more rules, take a look at these threads.
Golf Attire – Usually, men need to wear collared shirts or polos for golf, though the rule is more relaxed for women. Women can go for shorts, pants, or even a skirt. It is also wise to carry along sunglasses, a hat and sun-tan lotion.
Essential Golf Etiquette
It is not uncommon to make some blunders when it comes to etiquette on the golf course. So it is better if you read the list of golf tips for beginners given here before you hit the greens. A few usual mistakes are:
If you don’t repair your pitch marks – After your ball hits the greens, it can leave behind an indent which can mess with the putts. If it is not repaired correctly, the root might get damaged. You can watch this video to know all about repairing pitch marks. The divots and rake sand traps must also be fixed right.
If you don’t keep up with the play pace – When it’s your turn to take the shot, you should be ready.
If you talk while others are taking their shot – Talking loudly can distract people teeing or putting off on other holes. A little consideration can go a long way.
If you don’t pick up your tees – If your tee’s not broken, you can use it again. Or else, just get rid of it. In case you are on a par 3, you can leave the top of the tee for another player to use.
If you offer unsolicited advice – I absolutely avoid offering advice on the course, unless it is a friend who I am sure would welcome it and use it. Also, I start by asking if they want any advice at all. If I offer it, it’s only for mistakes that can be easily corrected or for high-visibility. Giving others unsolicited advice is frowned upon in golf and it might damage their game by making them over-think while they are taking a shot.
If you hit the ball near other players – Just wait a bit if other players are in range. If you hit near them by accident, shout out “Fore!” or similar to warn them.
If you don’t let people play through – It might happen that your group is very slow and the one behind you has to wait too much for you to complete. In that case, they should get to play the next hole first.
If you park or pull cart on the green – Since greens are highly sensitive and very pricey to repair, avoid any risk of harming them.
If you stand too close to the cup – The ground surrounding the cup is not really sturdy or hardy. And if you stand too close to the cup’s lip, you might end up damaging it.
If you walk or cast a shadow on others’ putting lines – Putting is already very challenging, and other players wouldn’t like it if you distract them.
If you stand very close to a player and swing his club – Never ever do it, or you might end up learning this lesson the hard way!
Buying Golf Clubs
Initially, your clubs might not matter a lot, as you will not be hitting consistently and buying $1,000 irons will be a complete waste of money. Most people start playing golf by renting clubs from the golf course or borrowing them from friends. This will help you decide if you are interested sufficiently to invest in your personal set.
If you’re seriously planning to buy, then the safest bet is to go for used clubs piecemeal or a used set on Craigslist. If a set of clubs is only a few years old but in great shape, then they can be a wise buy at a reasonable price.
As far as I am concerned, buying a new beginner’s set is not a good idea as they are not usually of the best quality. Plus, when you gradually improve, you’ll naturally wish to upgrade your set. So in the long run, you will end up spending more if you buy a beginner’s set. Hence, buying brand new clubs will not be the best use of your money at the moment.
Rather, you can put the money to better use by purchasing a used set and taking golf lessons, learning about range time, and playing golf. Check out this post for more information on purchasing golf clubs.
Other Necessary Golf Gear
Getting only golf clubs is not enough. Here are some other items you will require:
Golf bag – In my opinion, get a bag that stands up automatically and comes with backpack straps.
Golf balls – Buy the cheapest balls if you are a beginner. You can either buy used balls online or from the $.50 bin at the golf course. There’s no point in wasting more money, as you will lose a lot of balls initially. I’ve spent just pennies to buy balls from Craigslist for instance.
Tees – I only paid $10 to buy a bag of 500 tees some years back, and they will last me my lifetime.
Divot Repair Tool – You might need this from time to time, to mend greens when your ball makes a divot after landing.
Ball marker – You will need something small and flat to mark the position of your ball on the green, and a coin especially can be handy.
Two towels – You will need one towel for your balls and clubs, and another for your sweaty face.
Golf shoes – Though these are optional, shoes can help if the grass is wet. Also get them if traction is an issue. Buy shoes with plastic spikes though, not metal ones, as many courses don’t allow metal spikes now.
Golf glove – Though I don’t use one, gloves can provide extra grip if your hand becomes excessively sweaty. They protect your hands from calluses as well. Many gloves wear out over a short time, and if sweat or calluses aren’t a problem for you, don’t buy them. But if you buy one, spend sufficient money. Cheap gloves wear out fast and will cost you more in the long run. Check out the helpful comments about gloves below this post.
Approach Golf the Sensible Way
The biggest mistake you can do while approaching golf is to do it with unreal expectations. If you are not Kim Il Sung, neither will you be able to shoot a perfect game (18 hole in ones), nor will you get to shoot anywhere near par every hole. A perfect game will take time. Only seasoned golfers hit well over par regularly and they put in many hours into this game to achieve that. You are not there yet. Don’t go by what is shown on TV. On TV, you get to see only the leaders in a tournament and highlights from other golfers. You are watching only the best of the best of the best on television.
You can read this article on golfing tips to learn about how many golfers have unrealistic expectations. Even pros miss 5% of the time from 5 feet, when it comes to putting. And their success percentage goes downhill from there, exponentially. But I have noticed many of my friends become disappointed when their putt is off by about 6” from 20 feet. Such a shot is successful only 1% of the time, and even pros should rejoice!
You can take a look at this article about an older player who regrets not cherishing the game while he had the chance.
Please understand that I am not trying to dishearten you or dampen yours spirits, but there are two things you must remember:
Golf is not a game of perfect.
You cannot win golf.
I had the chance to observe many people play golf with the ambition to make every shot perfect, and get upset and disillusioned when that doesn’t happen. In my opinion, it probably makes people either love or hate this game. They can’t simply enjoy the process even if they don’t achieve a perfect score finally.
Golf Can be Depressing at First
Golf is not very exciting when you mess up 80% or more of your shots. And this doesn’t refer to instances when your ball doesn’t go right where you want it to. There are times when you can ruin your swing completely and hit the ball aimlessly. There can also be times when you top the ball and it goes 10 feet, or when you simply miss it. Such moments are frustrating.
But remember that it will get better with time. Though you will have painful moments in the beginning, gradually you will start hitting the ball with a nice loft and distance. And it will feel awesome! By following this guide and with careful practice, you can keep the bad experiences to a minimum.
Remember: You have to be bad at something first, to become good at it later.
Basics of Swing
Now we can finally start discussing about the actual game of golf and golf swing tips. Take a look at these basic first steps to establish a swing. Feel free to check out many more videos on golf as well.
- The Grip
- The Setup & Common Mistakes at Setup
- How to Swing
- How to Putt
- How to Chip
- How to play out of a bunker
Once you have mastered the above steps, there is no limit to how much you can improve your swing and the ways to do so.
Make Sure You Take a Lesson
If you want to play the game right, do take a lesson and golf tips from a golf pro. If someone shows you the basics in person, it can be very helpful to start off. You might have to pay $50-100 per hour, although private lessons can cost you $500 or more. Most golfers agree that a first-hand lesson initially is absolutely worth the money, and is a wise investment that will pay off. So it is better that you pay a small amount now to acquire good habits, rather than pay much more later on, to try and mend a bad habit.