Truthfully, It can be overwhelming to be a beginner at anything. Everyone you speak to will have an opinion on who to listen to, where to go, and how to begin. Golf is a unique sport in that the simple can be made complicated by the sheer amount of information and contradictory opinions available. So many articles, videos, and experts out there, but all with seemingly different suggestions.
As the saying goes, “the expert in anything was once a beginner.” Even if you never aspire to be a touring professional, but want to enjoy a fun round of golf with friends, there are some things that would be good to know before showing up on the first tee for the first time.
While these tips hold value for beginner male golfers as well, there is particular stress in being a ‘newbie’ in an otherwise male-dominated sport. It is common for women to feel rushed, intimidated, or uncomfortable in a predominantly male environment they aren’t familiar with.
The overwhelming feeling stems from the complicated rules of golf and the unspoken etiquette and lingo that go along with the sport’s culture.
Let’s dig into some of the most common questions you might have as a newcomer to the game.
How Many Clubs Should I Use?
While the rules allow the use of up to 14 clubs during a stipulated round, as a true beginner, you don’t need all 14 clubs right away. Individual, pre-used golf clubs are available to purchase online or at used sporting goods stores. Most women should be playing with women’s clubs as they typically aren’t as heavy as men’s clubs. A full set of clubs can be very expensive so before deciding if golf is for you, have a store associate or knowledgeable golfing friend help you pick out the best putter, driver, fairway wood, 7-iron, and wedge. Once you decide you want to play more often, have a professional help fit you for a full matching set of clubs you can call your own.
What Do the Numbers On Golf Clubs Mean?
For starters, there are three parts to each club: the grip, the shaft, and the club head.
Woods 9the largest wood being the driver), are designed with the least amount of loft and have heavy, large clubheads. These fly the furthest. The number of degrees should be printed on the bottom of the driver club head, and a good suggestion for beginners is to purchase a driver with 11 or 12 degrees of loft to help get the ball in the air.
The other woods are called fairway woods and hybrids. These clubs, along with the driver, typically have longer shafts than the irons do. In a full set of beginner clubs, there are 9,8,7, and 6 irons and a combination of woods and hybrids beyond that. In a professional’s set, the irons will also go up to a 5,4, and sometimes even a 3 or 2 iron.
Regardless of set makeup. the lower the number, the further the club is designed to go. The higher the number, the higher in the air the club is designed to go. For example, a 4-iron will go much further than a 9-iron but the 9-iron will fly much higher in the air. Similarly, a 3-wood will go further than a 5 or 7-wood.
It will take several practice sessions, some instruction, and either a rangefinder or a tracking system to be able to determine how far each of your clubs will go, on average. A beginner will be, by nature, very inconsistent. But, knowing to tee the ball up and hit a driver off the tee box of par 4s and 5s, but using a wedge to chip when you are closer to the green is a good place to begin.
When starting out at the range, it’s a good idea to use a tee, at a low height, each time you hit a ball. You can slowly graduate to hitting the ball off the ground as you spend more time and get the hang of your natural golf swing, but the tee will help ease frustration and keep you practicing longer!
What Are Beginner’s Essentials?
You need something to put your clubs in! The traditional golf bag will hold 14 clubs and have side pockets for things like rain gear as well as a cover to keep the clubs dry.
No need for the expensive ones until you are able to feel the difference. You should be able to purchase a box of golf balls for under $25. Keep at least 10 balls in your golf bag as you begin, so you’re prepared in case a few fly off line or out of bounds!
Purchasing a bag of 150 tees or more will last you a while! It is recommended to tee up each ball on the driving range until you are consistently making contact.
A glove is essential to lessen the number of blisters for a beginner, and also allows you to keep a better grip on the club, especially as your hands get sweaty. You should visit a golf shop to find out the size that you need before purchasing any online.
Purchasing a true pair of spiked golf shoes can wait until you decide if golf is for you (they can be expensive), but make sure to practice and play in athletic tennis or walking shoes.
It’s important to keep your clubs clean during a practice session or round of golf by dipping the towel in some water, wringing it out, and wiping it over the face of your woods and irons after each hit. There are also brushes made specifically for cleaning out the grooves of the clubface!
What’s the Dress Code for a Golf Course?
As a woman, there are many choices to pick from on what to wear when playing or practicing golf. Depending on the golf facility that you choose, there are different rules for dress code.
A private facility like a Country Club typically has a more strict code including longer length skorts or shorts and a collared shirt. Pants, capris, and golf dresses are also acceptable.
Brands like Nike, Adidas, and Lululemon have options for golf to keep you comfortable and prepared for different weather conditions. Stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy also have clothing, clubs, and accessories available for purchase.
Should I Take Lessons from a PGA or LPGA Professional Right Away?
Although pricey, lessons and clinics from an LPGA Professional are a great idea if you want to know where to begin with your game. Small group clinics can be very helpful as you will get some instruction in a fun, low-stress atmosphere with a group of similarly skilled golfers.
As your game progresses, individual on-course lessons are a wonderful option. Even though friends, partners, and strangers on the driving range can have the best intentions to be helpful, many give incorrect information. What works for one person might not hold the key for someone else. Trained professionals are able to see the cause and effect as well as the long-term repercussions of a swing or set-up change and tailor lessons to the individual.
What is the Best Time of Day for Beginners to Get on the Golf Course?
Typically, the tee sheet on weekend mornings and early afternoons are packed with more experienced golfers that will move at a quicker pace. It can be intimidating and uncomfortable to have others watch you or to be told to speed it up. After 3:00 PM is a good time to get out to play 3, 6, or 9 holes. If there is a group of golfers behind you waiting, you are allowed, and encouraged, to stand to the side and wave them through.
Depending on the size of the practice facility, the afternoon is also a good time to hit golf balls on the driving range or practice chipping and putting.
Par 3 courses are always a great option as well! The holes are shorter distances, so a driver is usually not necessary at these courses. As a beginner, don’t worry about scoring right away. Swinging in balance, making contact with the ball, and having fun should be your main goal.
What are the Basic Rules of Golf Etiquette?
- Get to the golf course with some time to spare before your tee time. You would rather be early than late to your tee time, and being early gives you time to stretch, warm up, hit some practice putts and chips, and grab a snack or beverage.
- Put a unique marking on your golf ball with a permanent marker. There is a penalty in golf if you hit the wrong ball, whether it’s an accident or not.
- Keep up the pace of play with the group in front of you. Walking at a brisk pace to get to your next shot, having multiple clubs with you (if you are riding in a cart), and knowing where the next tee box is located are all helpful to moving along at an acceptable pace. Most courses will expect you to finish a round of 18 holes in 4 hours and 15 minutes or less.
- Repair your divots and any ball marks you make on the green.
- If you are driving a golf cart, obey cart rules. If a hole is really wet or under construction, oftentimes there will be a “cart path only this hole” sign meaning you are not allowed to drive out into the fairway or rough.
- When you are on the putting green, do not walk across your own or a partner’s putting line (the line between where a ball rests and the hole).
- Be aware of where you are in relation to your playing partners. You do not want to be standing to the side or in front of anyone else as they are hitting as you might get hit! You also want to make sure you aren’t talking or making noise or movement as anyone else is hitting their golf ball as well.
Answering a few of these beginner’s questions should give you some confidence to kickstart your golf journey. It can seem intimidating and expensive at first, but there are many options that make golf more affordable and more approachable.
Golf can be played for a lifetime, as a beginner, embrace the process of improvement. So, if you’re serious about improving your skills on the golf course, then start with working on your short game with the PrimePutt indoor putting mat. It’s great for all skill-levels and fits great in any room.