Golf is regarded as one of the greatest games ever played because it is the ultimate test of your mind and body. It is a game that is rich in history and tradition and can be rewarding, challenging, and frustrating, all at the same time. It can have you pulling out your hair one minute, and the very next minute, you will be in love with the sport once more. The end of it all is that golf is a beautiful game, one that has a loyal following all over the world. It is an occasional hobby for some, while others are obsessed with it.
The game will help you forge new friendships, bring you highs and lows, cause you despair and joy, teach you life lessons, give you travel opportunities, and on and on it goes. To enjoy all of this, you first need to learn the basics. Every golfer started as a beginner, so you don’t have to be ashamed about it. You can take advantage of this guide to get on the fast track to becoming a happy and brilliant golfer. Let’s get started:
Get to Know the Clubs
You cannot start playing golf without the golf clubs, so it is the best place for you to start. You will come across a wide array of clubs, and this can be very intimidating, but do not let it get to you and ignore the hefty price tags you will find. There is no need for you to spend thousands of dollars on golf clubs, especially when you are not even sure if you will stick to the game in the long run. When you are just getting started, there are just two clubs you need; one is a putter and the other one for hitting the full shots.
The maximum number of clubs that players can carry during a round of golf is set at 14, but you do not need a full set right away. You can get a half-set until you are sure you will commit to the game in the long run.
What are the different golf clubs? Take a look below:
This is the longest club in your bag, around 46 inches, and has the biggest head. This is the club used to tee off, i.e., start at the hole and hit the ball further than any other club you use. You will use the club after putting your ball on the tee peg.
This is the second-longest club that you will have in your bag and will be used for long second shots or off the tee.
This club is similar to 3-wood but has more loft, which means it can fly higher, but does not go as far. There are different kinds of woods, such as 9-wood and 11-wood, but 3-woods and 5-woods are commonly used. Some players carry a number of them, while others do not use them at all. It is up to you to decide what you are comfortable with and what works for you.
The term ‘long iron’ is used to refer to any club from a 1-iron to a 5-iron, and these are the longest iron when it comes to a physical length, along with the shot distance. They are also considered the hardest to hit, due to which they are used rarely, and many golfers prefer to use hybrids instead.
These are considered a happy medium between irons and woods, and getting them airborne is easier than long irons, due to which they are quite popular.
This term is used to refer to irons from the 5 to 7 range and is generally used for longer approach shots.
Wedges and Short irons
You can find four different types of wedges and the amount of loft varies for helping players in hitting the ball for different distances. Some golfers prefer to use one wedge for taking all their short shots and like getting creative in making them go as far as they want.
This comes after the 9-iron and is typically used for full shots, but players can also use it for pitch shots.
Beginners do not usually need this because it is used to plug the gap between their sand wedge and pitching wedge.
As the name indicates, this club is used from the sand, but golfers can use it from anywhere and for taking any short shot.
Not all golfers will have this club, but it is the most lofted one you will find. It can help golfers in getting out of deep bunkers and can also be used for approach shots. Hitting hard shots with this one is difficult, but using it around the green is fun.
Perhaps the most important club in your bag, the putter, is one you will use more than any other. You can find a horde of different designs and models, but the primary choice is between the ‘mallet’ and ‘blade’. The latter is fairly slim, while the latter are mallet-like. The choice depends on your personal preference.
Other Golfing Equipment to Have
While clubs are the most important piece of equipment you require to play golf, there are a couple of other things that can come in handy. Check them out here:
You will not need a golf bag if you are going to a little pitch and putt court or the range, but it is a must for an actual golf course because you will have more than two clubs. There are plenty of options available in different price ranges. Just make sure it has a double-strap, which is very comfortable.
You can clip this onto your bag, and it is handy to have because you can wipe your club after each shot to keep it clean.
While these are also available in different price ranges, it is best to get low-cost ones because you will be losing a lot of golf balls during play. Hence, the cost can increase pretty quickly.
You have a choice between plastic and wood ones, and while snobs prefer the latter, the former last longer and also help you tee your ball at the same height each time.
Pitch mark repairer
There will come the point when you will hit a beautiful shot that lands with a thud on the green and leaves a little dent. You would need to repair the putting surface, and a pitch mark repairer is what you need for it.
GPS or laser
This is certainly not essential, but most golfers do have a GPS or laser nowadays that can tell them the exact distance to the flag. This helps them determine how far their next shot needs to be. You can either get a laser that you aim at the target or a GPS that comes in the form of a small handheld device or watch.
Types of Golf Shots
Once you have all the required gear, you are probably wondering what you are meant to do. This means it is time for you to understand the different types of golf shots because that is the game’s purpose and why you need the clubs. The different shots are:
This is a normal swing that will give you the full distance from whatever club you decide to use.
You shouldn’t focus too much on the ‘half’ because this refers to a shot where you deliberately hit a bit shorter than it goes normally.
This is when you keep the ball lower than usual deliberately because you have to go under some tree branches, or it is windy. You will play this shot several times if you are playing somewhere there are trees.
This is a controlled shot, which is usually taken from 100 yards or less and is aimed at sending the ball in the air and stopping quickly once it hits the green.
It is regarded as an alternative to a pitch shot in which the ball flies lower but will bounce and roll after landing. You can use any of your irons for this shot, but those with less loft are preferable.
You will need the most lofted club for this shot, which flies high yet stops quickly upon landing. This is considered a high-risk shot, which is rarely needed, but sometimes used for getting over an obstacle.
This refers to any shot that curves in the air from left to right, or vice versa if you are a left-hander.
This is for a shot with a more severe curvature from left to right, especially when it curves too much and could even miss the target. Many golfers struggle with this shot, not just beginners.
This refers to a shot curving in the air from right to left, or vice versa for a left-hander.
An aggressive right-to-left curvature is called the hook, especially when you miss your target to the left.
Shots that you hit with your putter are called putt, and these are usually on the green.
Clothing on the Golf Course
What you wear depends on the golf club, so it is recommended that you check and see if there are any requirements. Some golf clubs are relaxed in this regard and permit players to wear t-shirts and jeans, while others may require wearing collared shirts and even have requirements about your sock length.
If you want to keep it neutral or only want to look like a golfer, it is best to opt for a collared polo shirt. It is best to steer clear of football shirts and any shirts that have huge logos. Go for some trousers, such as chinos, but avoid tracksuit bottoms or jeans.
When it comes to footwear, several clubs allow you to wear trainers, but a few places do insist that you wear golf shoes. It is worth getting a pair of these because they can offer you a better grip.
You will hear a lot about etiquette where golf is concerned, as opposed to any other sport. This has less to do with manners and more to do with the safety of players, the pace of play, and other rules that can maintain the quality of the golf course.
When it comes to safety, you should not swing your club until others in the group are at a safe distance. Do not swing in the direction of another player because twigs or pebbles in the grass might hit them. Avoid hitting the ball until the group ahead of you moves out of range. Yell ‘fore’ if the ball appears to be heading for another group or player.
Always be prepared to hit your shot when your turn comes to make others wait on you. Usually, the first is the player who is away, but you can also go with ‘ready-play’, i.e., ready players will take the shot. Do not waste a lot of time searching for a lost ball, especially if there is a group behind you. Always try to keep up with the pace of the group ahead of you. When you are walking to your ball from your cart, take a couple of clubs along to save yourself some time and to keep up the pace. Leave the putting green when your group is done putting.
Keep your golf carts away from hazards and greens. Observe the rules for carts, as some courses have ‘cart paths’. Any divots in the fairway should be repaired, similar to ball marks you might leave.
It is best to stay quiet when another player is taking a swing. Do not yell after a shot unless it is ‘fore’. Even if your partner likes the cheering, other players on the course may be disturbed. Be conscious of your shadow on the course so it does not bother another player. Do not walk through the putting line of a playing partner. When your partner is putting or swinging, try to stay out of their line of vision and maintain silence.
You will be off and running with the help of this guide. If you want to improve your game, you should practice regularly and take some lessons from golf experts.