A Beginner’s Golf Guide: What every new golfer should know when picking up the game
The 2020 golfing calendar was seriously disrupted by restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, we can’t easily forget the thrill of golfers like Dustin Johnson, John Rahm and Justin Thomas who now sit on the ranks as the top 3 golfers in the world. Perhaps, you have always admired the game, thinking to yourself when you may ever earn the type of acclaim that golfers like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus did. Truth is, every great journey begins with a step.
If it is your dream to become a great golfer, there’s no better time to begin than now. Golf has grown to become one of the highest-paid sports in the world with earnings running into millions of dollars for renowned golfers and tournaments. To truly enjoy the sport, you must first bypass all your inner and outer inhibitions. Even though the game is quite technical and daunting and could overwhelm some new golfers with the various tools and equipment required, it is doable.
The hardest part of learning golf is usually getting started. For starters, you have to critically consider why you really want to play. Could it be for work or social reasons? Then you can make some basic decisions, like getting some instructions and enlisting some of your patient friends. You also have to critically consider the amount of attention and time you’re willing to invest into it and this will ultimately determine the intensity of your training. Some people prefer to have a laid-out plan at the beginning while others prefer to just do a deep dive in and continue to learn as they go.
Many new golfers have been apprehensive at one point or the other. And just so you know, many people still are! I have put together a few things as a guide to what every new golfer should know. We would start by learning some golf terms so you don’t end up being confused when a term you’ve never heard before is thrown at you.
- Learn Golf Terminologies
- Ace: A hole in one
- Eagle: 2 strokes under par
- Birdie: 1 stroke under par, this is sometimes called a double eagle
- Par: Standard number of strokes it should take to get the golf ball from the tee to the hole.
- Bogey: 1 stroke above par
- Double Bogey: 2 strokes above par
- Triple Bogey: 3 strokes above par
- Golf Tee: The wooden peg on which golf balls are placed at the start before the first strike is taken. The area where you first play the ball at the start of the hole. Also known as the tee box.
- Fairway: Part of the golf course that leads to the green
- The green: A soft, plush ground surrounding the hole
- The rough: A wild area on either side of the fairway often filled with trees and long grass.
- Bunker: A sand-filled ditch that usually surrounds the green
- Hazard: This is the term used to describe the streams, ponds and trees. This is basically anything that comes between you and successfully getting the golf ball into the hole.
- Stroke: A swing made with the intent to hit the ball. Track of scores is kept by counting strokes but a miss would still count as a stroke.
- Golf Etiquette
Next, we shall examine some basic golf etiquettes. These are like unwritten rules that you may not learn in your typical golf training centers, but it is imperative you know them.
- Don’t talk during someone else’s backswing.
- Don’t walk through someone else’s line, the line from their ball to the hole.
- Don’t hit the ball into the group of people ahead of you. I’m sure you already know how hard the ball is.
- Do not display anger after every imperfect shot.
- Show up on time
- Basic Golfing equipment
It is also important you know and understand the tools for the trade. Some basic golf equipment you would need include;
i. Golf Clubs; the long device that you use to hit the ball to propel it to the hole. It can be wooden or metal. As a beginner, you may want to buy a set of these; new or used.
ii. Golf Balls; golf balls are simply what they are.
iii. Golf Bag; this is great for storing your golf gear and other valuables. They are light but also heavier than a typical carry bag. They are also designed in a way that makes everything inside easily accessible during a game of golf.
iv. Tees; like I mentioned earlier, they are objects (usually wooden pegs) that you place on the ground and place your golf ball on at the start of a game.
v. Towels; as an exerting sport, you’ll certainly need towels to wipe off the sweat that is bound to break out.
vi. Divot tool; this is a bit major and would usually be used by the maintenance staff. A divot tool is what is used to repair the grass after a round of golf. Usually, you leave scrapes when you brush over the grass with your clubs and the spring-like tool helps to restore their form.
Essentially, every club is designed for a particular job and as you progress in golfing, you would learn what club best suits you.
- On practicing…
Finding a practice facility that allows for a wide practice range is important. The best facilities are the ones that allow you hit off the grass after mastering hitting off a mat. Also, if you have some space in your home, setting up a net to hit into could be a great alternative. Any space with enough room that can allow you to make a full swing is a good enough spot to practice. Plastic balls are another great substitute if you don’t have a mat and you are practicing in a field near your home or even in your backyard.
These alternatives can’t hurt anyone and they will also allow you to take a full swing without losing the ball. You could also look at retail stores near you, some of them offer practice time by the hour.