How to Play Golf – The Great Beginners Guide

The Great Beginners Golf Guide

For you who want to learn how to play golf or just getting started and want to get a little check on the sport.
Here is a guide were I will go through the basics and which clubs and equipment you need. Rules, etiquette, tips and the things you need to know when you want to start to play golf.

 

The Golf Clubs

A very central part of a golf player is the clubs you will use when you play. In this topic I will show you an easy way what clubs there is to choose from and some good stuff to know when you will buy your first set of clubs.

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 The clubs are called wood clubs or iron clubs. The reason is they are called wood clubs even if there is no wood in them is because in the old days they were made of wood. That’s why the expression is kept up even in our time.

As you can see in the picture beside the wood club is shaped on a different way that the iron clubs ( I will come to that later) Here there is a big club head (The part you hit the ball with) It has a big depth. The depth is the length from the striking face to rear part.

 

The club head is made from titanium or steel were titanium is more expensive and often better.

The most famous club is the driver which is used on the “Tee” (first stroke on each course) What will determine how far you hit with a club is the shaft and how much loft (angle on the club head) you have. Longer shaft means higher swing when you hit the ball.

A disadvantage with a longer shaft is that it will be harder to hit the ball straight, which means that you can’t have any length of the shaft.

 

 

Loft

Loft is the angle that the club head have. And that you measure in degrees. A lower angle will make the ball go in a lower angle which in return will make the ball go longer with the driver.

Because its supposed to hit the longest it is the club with the longest shaft and lowest degree of loft. The loft is between 6 – 12.5 degrees usually. What loft that will fit a player varies to many factors that are pretty advanced.

 


Very simplified you can say that a player who hit the ball loose should have a higher degree of loft. It doesn’t have to be like that because like I said it has many factors that matters.

There are other wood clubs to put in the bag. These are numbered from 2 to 11 (driver is NR 1) Higher numbers mean higher loft. Standard golf sets that are sold is often with a wood 3 and wood 5. But it can be a good idea to put in a 7 or even more lofted clubs.

The advantage is that clubs with more loft is namely that they are easier to hit straight with, which is often more important and to hit the ball long.

Clubs with numbers over 1 is also called fairway woods because they are used to hitting on the fairway. It’s OK using this clubs on the Tee offs with higher numbers, which is often recommended when the risk is smaller to have a bad strike.

 

 

Iron clubs

The next club that we will look at is the iron clubs. The name come from the fact that the club head is made of metal.

These are the clubs that generally are used to hit from par 3 holes and stands for the most strokes. Clubs of this kind are different from the wood clubs as we looked on before.

Club head is available in different designs were the big difference is which player they are made for The classic type is called blade clubs, but are on the clubs you are looking for because they focus on the better players.

 

What you need is game enhanced clubs instead. These are the clubs that are constructed in a way that it will help the player to get as good hit as possible. Exactly how it works in technical terms is not very interesting. Then there are downsides with these clubs to but for beginners they are the best option.

 

The name for more easily played clubs are “Cavity back clubs” So I will recommend some clubs for you when you want to buy your first set of this type

 

 

Iron clubs is like the wood clubs numbered and there is numbers from 1-9 (higher numbers equals higher loft) Then there are other clubs with even higher loft, they are called wedges even if they are not iron clubs.

 

A breakdown for the iron clubs are long, medium and short irons. The longer are 2-4 and as the name suggests they will send the ball pretty far. However, these clubs are hard for beginners (and even accustomed to) why wood clubs with high loft or hybrids can be used as replacement depending on the lie of the ball.

 

I will come to what hybrids are in a moment. Mid irons are 5-7 and are often used for Tee offs on par 3 and for approach to the green. The short irons are 8-9 (here you can count the wedges to) and are used for approach when you are close to the green.

Most players can hit with mid irons and short irons and will not need replacement clubs. Irons are also called all round clubs because you can use the anywhere. Then we are speaking from Tee off to in the middle of the forest.

You will learn which club that fits you depending on the lie off the ball.

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Wedges

As described earlier wedges are irons but you usually talk about them as its own club type. These clubs are used for very short approaches, hits from bunkers, tricky positions and so on.

When there is a lot of lofts on the clubs and the shafts are short the ball goes in a high trajectory but not very far. That’s a function that is needed when the ball should be hit near the green. It’s also the clubs that are easiest to aim with.

There is two different ways to term wedges and that’s either after loft or with name like (PW) “gap wedge (GW) “sand wedge” (SW) or lob wedge (LW) These names give a hint to what they are used for. The pitching wedge is the club you will hit the longest with and has about 48 degrees of loft. The wedges with the lowest degrees are the lob wedges and can have 60-64 degrees in loft.

 

     

As a beginner its not common to have these wedges in your bag. You will probably come a long way with just a PW and a SW (about 56 degrees in loft)

When you played golf for a while you will know if there needs to be any changes to be done or if any club is missing.

 

The Putter

This is the club that you will have the most strokes with. The putter is used on the green and next to it. You will with a great probability just use this club 30-40 times per round. Because you average about two putts per hole and it is 18 holes so that’s 36 times per round if you will keep that average.

Hopefully you will putt better and put it in the first time and don’t have using it so often. A putter can look different as you can see in the picture. Everything from classic putters to modern clubs that looks like they come from space. You can’t say straight away which type of putter that are best for a beginner.

 

Putters is about feel.

Go to a shop and try to feel what is best for you. As I said there is a lot of feel in a putter which means that nothing says that a cheap putter can’t be good as an expensive one. If you have confidence in your putter you will probably will do a good job regardless what the price tag is.

 

Hybrid Clubs

The last club that we will look at is the type that are called hybrids. Clubs of this type are relatively new on the market. The idea is pretty simple when its going to help a player to hit with some type of clubs.

That’s why they generally be very good       

for beginners.

If you will explain in short terms what a hybrid is you can say its a mix between a wood club and an iron club. You have taken the ability to hit the ball as in the wood clubs and mix it with the aim from the iron clubs.

 

The sum is a club that’s forgiving and help your game.

The most common is that the hybrid replace the iron clubs 3-5 and even higher. Then it should be said that there I whole sets that contains hybrid clubs. In these sets are the clubs with lower numbers.

 

Loft

I have spoken about loft in several occasions in this article but I will explain why loft is important and why its better with more loft that low.

Loft is the angle which the club head have. You can say that more loft will make it easier to hit the ball good. What happens when you hit the ball good with a club with more loft is that it creates more back spin (ball rotates backwards while in the air)

 

 

Back spin makes the ball go high and have the effect to reduce side spin. Side spin is the reason why the ball can slice (go sideways)

 

Buying your first set of clubs

When you shall buy the first set of clubs its a good idea to buy a beginner set of clubs. The first time as a golfer its about learning to play and that it doesn’t matter so much which clubs you play with. What matters is that they are easy clubs to play with and have good qualty.

 

Here is a reviews on two Quality Golf sets that i Highly recommend

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       Knight Golf Women’s            Nitrix Pro Ladies Complete Set (Review)

12-piece Complete Set (Review) 

 

 

Shafts

A player that have a fast swing shall have a stiffer shaft. And a slower swing shall have a softer shaft.

If you are a senior or a lady go for the softer shafts. If you are a man go for the regular shaft that’s in the middle.

Here is a video explaining how to grip the club.

 

Here is a beginner golf instruction video below.

Two tips they dont bring up in the clip is that i want to give you is that you should swing full and through. This video below will show you what i mean. 

 

Handicap

Golf is one of the few sports were worse players can compete against better. The reason to this is the handicap system. Shortly its about that lower handicap players gets extra stokes under a round against a better player.

This makes that they can compete or just have a nice round together. In someway competing.

A beginner starts with 54 in handicap (HCP) He or she will play down to an official handicap of 36. To lower your handicap the first step is to from 160 yards make it into 5 strokes per 9 holes.

After it comes a few steps before official handicap is achieved. This is not usually very hard or take a long time. Exactly how it works you will know when you take the education at your local golf club.

As I said to come to 36 in handicap is pretty easy.

This is were the journey begins.

To lower your handicap you sign up for a round in a golf club or competition. A signed round you the score after. Down to 11.5 HCP a player can lower him/herself by playing 9 holes. Lower handicap you can only reach if you play 18 holes.

If you reach 4.5 in HCP you can only lower yourself by playing in competitions. A good player can come to 0 and is called a scratch player. Players who have 0 aren’t many in the world.

Here is a video below expalined πŸ™‚

 

How many strokes you get ?

It’s not as easy as saying that a player with handicap 20 get 20 strokes. It’s decided on what course you play on. 20 is the handicap a bogey player have and is a player that will have 1 stroke over par per hole. If, the course are normal, the player with 20 in handicap get 18 strokes. The strokes the player get are called handicap.

There is a chart on every course that shows how hard it is. This chart is called a slope. There you can read how many strokes you get course that shows how hard it is. This chart is called a slope. There you can read how many strokes you get with your handicap from the tee you want to play from. If the course is difficult you probably get 2-3 more strokes that you would on an easier course.

You obtain different strokes depending on what tee you play. On the courses that use colors as a marking off the tee, red is the shortest. The player that choose this marking will get fewer strokes that if you choose yellow or white.

 

Why the system is like this is because when a player visits a course they will get a fair experience or competition on equal terms. Here is a video below explaining.

 

How to divide the strokes

It’s pretty simple how to divide the strokes. Let’s say the player have 22 strokes on the course he/she will play. Next step is to look what index the different holes have. All holes are numbered 1-18 in index.

Because, the player have 22 strokes you will distribute 1 stroke on each hole. That will be 4 strokes over. This will be 1-4 on index. If the player have 9 strokes you will get an extra stroke on the index up to 9. On the remaining holes you will get no strokes. There the player must play on par to make par on your handicap.

 

 

The Golf Course

In this episode we will look what’s out there on the golf course. I will quick and easy explain what surfaces there are and a little about them. You will adapt these things quickly when you start to play golf.

 

Grass Surfaces

Your goal is to keep yourself on the different types of surfaces there is on the courses. Shortly you can say that shorter grass is better for the ball lie.

Tee

The first surface you will be in contact with is the tee. It’s a shortcut area were you can peg the ball if you so wish. If you for example hit the ball in the water or out of bounds you can peg the ball from tee again but you must count it as your third stroke.

The tee is marked with colors or numbers. You should always hit from the same mark throughout the course. To peg the ball in the middle of the markings is not a must. You can peg to the left or right depending on the shape of the course. Shortly you can say that a player who spin the ball from right to left will peg the ball on the left side.

A player with a left to right spin will peg the ball on the right side of the tee.

 

Fairway

If its not a par 3 hole your goal is to hit the fairway. This is a shortcut area in the middle of the course. So if you can hit straight you will often hit the fairway.

 

The most courses will look pretty straight but there are courses that are curved. These curves are called dog legs. As you can see on the picture its holes were you can take a chance but it comes with a risk and will often give a good result. They can be curved to the left or to the right.


This photo of Federal Golf Club is courtesy of TripAdvisor 

 

Heavy Rough, Rough, Semi-Rough

Next to the fairway we have something that’s called Semi-rough. It’s an area were the grass is pretty short but longer that the fairway. From this area its usually no problem to hit the ball.

 

Next step is what is called Rough. This is not a good place to be. Here the grass is long and often leads to problem when it comes to hit the ball. It’s still an area that’s cut pretty short but the real problem comes when you hit the Heavy rough which have very long grass.

If the ball comes here you must be pretty lucky to be able to hit the ball. Here on the pictures you can see the transitions between the grass surfaces.

 

 

The Green

This area has the shortest grass and were the flag is and its called the Green. Here we speak about grass that is only a few millimeters long. To play here its another type of challenge. This is more about feel and be able to read the putt line and tilt of the green and to get the ball to the hole.

A green can look different and there is big and small ones. It’s the imagination of the designer that put the boundaries of the shape of the green. But it needs to be playable. Around the green there is an area that is called fore green or fringe. Here the grass is somewhere between green and fairway in length.

It’s still puttable even if its not officially the green.its on the green you will find the hole that is 4 1/4 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. To vary the game and prevent wear and tear on the green the hole is moved around the green during the season.

There is somethings you should know about the green. You can always mark the ball and lift it. You can only do that on the green. When you do that its possible to clean the ball. It’s also allowed using other clubs that the putter but its not recommended.

 

Obstacles

There are different obstacles on the course and these you don’t want to get in to. It dont have to be a disaster but its not a good thing to hit an obstacle.

Bunkers

To make the game more difficult and to guide the players to different points there are bunkers. A bunker is actually a big hole filled with sand. Often its hard to hit the ball here and that’s why its called an obstacle. Bunkers are divided in to two categories and that is green bunkers and fairway bunkers.

As the names implies they are placed near the green or the fairway. Often fairway bunkers are bigger and but not as deep, which makes it possible to hit the ball pretty far. Green bunkers are on the opposite smaller but deeper which often makes it harder. Of course there is exceptions.

 

When you play from a bunker there is two main things and that is that you are not allowed to put down the club in the sand before you hit the ball. On grass surfaces this is allowed. This is called to Ground the club. The other thing is to rake the bunker after yourself. The goal is that the sand should be flat and nice after you been there so the next player don’t have an unnecessarily bad lie.

On some courses there is something called “waste areas” and “waste bunkers” Its natural areas covered with sand. Here its allowed to ground the club before hitting the ball. A good player often prefer to be in the bunker green then to be in the rough provided that the ball isn’t too much buried in the sand or “plugged”

 

Water obstacles

There are two types of water obstacles, side obstacles (red sticks) and water obstacle (yellow sticks)

A side obstacle is often found next to the fairway going a long with the hole. A water obstacle you will in front of you and will make you to hit the ball over instead of beside it.

You can play the ball if possible or Drop the ball, but you must count 1 stroke more.

The Alternatives:

  • Go back to the place you hit the ball before. 
  • Drop the ball behind the obstacle as far as you want in line with the flag or in line with were the ball landed in the obstacle. 
  • If in a side obstacle you can drop the ball two club lengths from the place were the ball landed in the obstacle.

As I said its not always bad to be in the bunker but for a water obstacle its often worse.

Limited Edition - Chambers Bay PaintingLimited Edition – Chambers Bay Painting

Out of Bounds

Golf courses has a boundarys usually and if you cross it the ball is out of bounds. A boundary of this kind should be marked with white sticks or similar.

Sometimes the course boundary can be close to the hole, for example when there is houses. In other cases there are no sticks and the you can play regardless how wrong you you hit.

The rules are strict if you hit the ball out of bounds, Your only option is to hit a new ball close to the last point you played from and count 1 stroke. If you hit the ball out of bounds a second time, the next storke will count as you fourth stroke.

 

The Game of Golf

Golf is a pretty simple game when its about that you get the ball in the hole in few strokes as possible

This you will repeat under 18 holes that i normal golf course has.

Much more difficult isnt the game of golf πŸ™‚

The difficult part is to achieve this goal without having to many strokes. That golf is very difficult sport is something you should aware of right from the beginning. You will probably have it hard to reach the good results in the beginning, but this is natural.

Give it time even if its hard in the beginning.

When you played many years you will probably look back at your time as a beginner as the best moments as a golfer. You will learn a lot in the beginning which is exiting πŸ™‚

 

To Decide To Play Golf

Golf is a very fun sport and gives a good exercise and wonderful experiences. I can only congratulate you that you decided to play golf πŸ™‚

What you usually do after is to get what is called a “green card” this is what you can call the driving licence to golf. After you obtained the green card you can play on any course you like.

You can choose not to take the green card, but the you are only allowed to play on “pay and play” courses that are often easier to play on. But were you dont need a green card. 

I will focus mostly on the person who will choose the green card when this describes most of them. If you will play pay and play its just to get a set of clubs and pay the green fee (the charge for a round of golf) and start to play. 

If you choose the green card its a bit more advanced but not so much πŸ™‚ This is because in recent years the education has been simplified. The green card proves you are aware of the rules and etiquette of golf.

Pay and play courses shouldnt be looked down on. They can be fun to play and perfect for you that just want to try golf before you decide to obtain the green card and joining a golf club.

 

 

The Golf Club

If you decided to play golf the first step is to contact the golf club that want to play for. In the old days you had to stay in line to join a club, but this is usually not problem anymore. On the golf club website there is information how to apply. If the site is pretty modern you should be able to apply on their site. 

 

Then there are golf clubs were you have to stand in line. These i suggest you should avoid in the beginning. 

 

Golf etiquette

An important part of golf is is golf etiquette. There is a lot of myths about golf and many think that golfers are a bunch of boring people playing with strange rules. πŸ™‚ 

Golf etiquette isnt very strange actually. Most things are common sense really. Then of course there is things you will learn with time. But as the basics i will help you on your way πŸ™‚

  • Better to wait a little..

Dont hit a ball if you know there is a risk to hit someone. Then its better to wait untill they come away from the risk zone. But you cant wait forever, especially for courses that are close to eatchother. 

A wrong shot can come and then its important to shout FORE !!!

Shout you will do when you see there is a risk that the ball will hit someone. If you will shout its better to shout loud than to low because they can stand far away from you. 

 

  • Keep the tempo

Ensure that you keep the tempo. This dont mean that you must run on the course and then hit quickly when its your turn. It means you should be ready when its your turn. Its ok to make a few practise swings but not to many πŸ™‚

 

  • Wait for your turn

Wait for your turn to shoot. The tradition says tha the player that have the lowest handicap will go first. On the other holes the best result will go first. This is called the “honor”

The general rule for the game is that the player who is the farthest from the hole goes first. Then sometimes if the player is closer you can disregard this rule because its smoother for all of us. For example if your ball is in the forest to the right and you find your ball first, You will hit first. Then after you can help the other player to find their ball.  πŸ˜‰

Another example is if you are farther a head but you but you think you cant make it to the green but but the other player can and there is people on the green. Then you can go first to save some time. 

A good thing to know is that the player who is closest to the flag is the one to hold the flag which means you will hold the flag untill the shot is made because its easier for the player to aim. 

 

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Conclusion: I hope this guide maybe helped you to understanding the game of golf. 

If you have any questions i will be happy to answer them below  Good luck! πŸ™‚

I also suggest you also read my blog on 

How to Become A Better Golfer – 10 Inspiring tips.

 

 

 

 

 

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