How To Play Golf – Quick & Easy Guide For Beginners

Are you considering learning how to play golf? It's not as hard as you might think. I have compiled an easy guide to get you started.

I have helped countless beginners on their journey to play golf. This article will help you understand what it takes to be a golfer.

Keep reading to start your journey as a golfer!

Should I start playing golf?

Golf is expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating at times. On the other hand, it’s the greatest game ever invented!

Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented

Arnold Palmer

Making the decision to play golf has a massive impact on your life. Golf is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding but also challenging hobbies to pick up.

Golfers often spend a big part of their time playing golf, reading about it, or socializing after the game. Golfers are also known to spend quite a bit of money on equipment.

Getting started won’t have to cost you a lot of money, and luckily there are cheap options available.

What equipment will I need?

You don’t need more than 7 clubs to get started!

There are dozens of different clubs to choose from. Every year new clubs come to market, and your choices seem endless.

You will spend a lot of money unless you have a plan that helps you to get started.

Here our recommendation for your starting set:

Clubs

  • Driver
  • Putter
  • Sand wedge (54 – 56 degrees)
  • 6 Iron
  • 8 Iron
  • Pitching wedge
  • Hybrid

You can have up to 14 clubs in your bag, but we recommend getting started with 7 clubs.

Balls
Don’t bother buying premium golf balls when you are getting started. Most clubs and shops will sell lost balls or water balls. These are balls that were lost in hazards by previous players. It’s normal to lose balls when you play golf, and you will have to re-stock – especially in the beginning.

Tip:
Let a golf pro help you with your club selection! You are looking for beginner irons that offer you a lot of forgiveness .

What are the Rules of Golf?

As if learning to play golf is not challenging enough, you need to follow plenty of rules. Breaking golf rules can earn you a penalty (extra strokes) or disqualify you from a tournament.

The Basics

In a full round of golf, you play 18 holes. You can also play 9 hole rounds.

Scores are compared to the par of each hole. Pars range from 3-5. You call them Par 3, Par 4, and Par5.

Your score on each hole has a name:

  • 2 under par (you shoot a 3 on a par 5) Eagle
  • 1 under par – Birdie
  • Even with par – Par
  • 1 Over par – Bogey
  • 2 over par – Double bogey
  • 3 over par – Triple bogey
  • 4 over par – Quadruple bogey

When you finish a round, add the number of strokes on each hole together. This represents your score for the round.

Note: You are not expected to score par! Par is defined as the score an excellent play would make on that hole. Pros play against par and often shoot below par!

Play the ball as it lies

Unless you are on the putting green, don’t ever move your ball! You have to play your ball as it lies. Not doing so will also earn you a penalty.

Play within the golf course

You will hit the ball out of bounds (OB) from time to time. OB is market on the course by white stakes and on most scorecards. If you do so, either drop the ball back in the playing area or hit another one from your original position. Both will earn you yet another penalty.

How do I Improve my game?

Get a Pro to teach you the basics!

Nobody likes to lose! Golfers are no exception. Unless you enjoy not knowing where the ball will end up after hitting it, you need to start putting in the hours on the driving range and short-game area.

Hire a Pro! You must learn to play with the proper technique. Don’t listen to the guy on the range giving you unsolicited advice. Instead, seek the help of a qualified professional.

The money you spend on lessons will return its value tenfold. Especially when you start beating your friends during the Sunday match!

Start out on the driving range. Only play a course once you get a ball airborne consistently.

What course should I play?

If you are lucky, you have plenty of courses in your area. Picking the nearest one might limit the fun you’ll have during your first time on the golf course.

Do some research, ask friends and professionals which course they recommend to beginners. Courses have ratings and vary in level of difficulty.

The Jargon

Golf Handicap
A number, which represents your skill level based on your previous golf scores. For most golfers, that score ranges from 0-30

Course Rating
Course Rating shows the difficulty of a course for a par-golfer (Golfers that shoot level par).

For example, if a course has a par of 72, the Course Rating might be 71.4. This is the score the par golfer is expected to shoot on the course.

The number goes up with the difficulty of the course.

Slope Rating
The Course Slope shows the difficulty of a course for a bogey-golfer (someone who shoots 18 over par). Course Slope is a number between 55 and 155, with 113 being the average.

The higher the number, the harder the course.

Read more here.

Find a beginner-friendly course to get started. Consider playing 9 holes instead of 18 and pick a late-afternoon tee time.

Playing on the course for the first time can be intimidating. Go with some friends to ease the tension and leave your expectations at the clubhouse.

What about the Golf Etiquette?

Make sure not to hurt anyone with your golf ball!

Knowing how to swing a club isn’t enough, unfortunately. You have to mind the golf etiquette to play on a course.

What to wear

Tops
Most courses, even public ones, will require you to wear a collared shirt. Women are often allowed to play without a collared top.

Shoes
You can play in sneakers or golf shoes. Golf shoes often have spikes and offer an excellent grip on the course.

Pants
Khakis are always a good choice. Traditionally, you have to wear long pants, but more and more courses have lifted that rule. Check with your club if you can also play with short pants.

Keep paste of play

According to the USGA Rule Book, you have 3 minutes to find your ball if you hit it out of bounds. Respect that rule! You won’t hold up groups playing behind you, and everyone will appreciate it.

Wait your turn

In short, whoever is the furthest from the hole plays first. It is rude to cut the line and play ahead of your turn. It all depends with whom your playing, but as a general rule, wait your turn.

Fore!

Especially in the beginning, your ball might end up in places you haven’t aimed for. If you see a possibility that your ball will hit any other players on the course, yell FORE to warn them. That last thing you want is to hurt someone with the bombs you’ll soon hit of the tee.

Take care of the course

Take care of the course, and the course will take care of you. Make sure to fix any divots or ball marks on the course. Here is a simple drill to keep any course in prime condition;

If you hit the green with your approach shot, look for a ball mark and fix it. If you can’t find your ball mark, look for another player’s ball mark and fix that one instead.

Don’t stand in the way – or line of sight

You’ll notice early, golf is a mental game! Having a player in your line of sight when chipping can and will subconsciously affect you. Stand behind or next to a player, with some distance, to avoid getting in the way.

Have Fun

In the end, having fun matters the most!

Many players get frustrated and emotional when playing golf. Don’t be that guy. You’ve spent time and money to be on the course. Make the best out of it!

Remember that you are here, by your own will. Nobody forced you to get up at 4 AM in the morning, hit the driving range by 5, and tee off at 6. Why getting all worked up for shooting a couple of poor shots?

Lower your expectations, enjoy the scenery, and spend some quality time with your friends on the golf course!

What to do next

Think about it! Do some more research and join the global golfing community. I’m sure you won’t regret it. If you’re interested in learning more about the game, read 9 awesome golf rules that will easily surprise you.

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