Golf lets you enjoy the outdoors, connect with like-minded people, and take part in an activity you can pursue for life. It can also be played by almost anyone at any age.
But it takes practice to perform well on the links. For beginners especially, the sport’s rules and etiquette can seem overwhelming.
Don’t worry. We have prepared this short guide with everything you need to know about your first golf lesson. Keep reading and be better prepared to tackle Day One on the golf course.
The Best Ways to Prepare for Your First Golf Lesson
If you are thinking of taking golf lessons from an experienced instructor, here are some tips to prepare for your first one.
If this is your first time playing golf, don’t purchase the most expensive equipment available. Why spend a lot of money when you don’t know if you’ll even like the game?
However, you shouldn’t go for the cheapest options either. By purchasing older models, you might not enjoy the game as much, as outdated equipment may prevent you from performing your best.
A great idea is to rent equipment when starting your lessons. (Many golf academies offer rentals.) Alternatively, used clubs are available at pocket-friendly prices. You’ll also need a pair of gloves to protect your hands, along with a few extra golf balls and tees.
Ideally, you should have a driver, 5 irons (with one or two hybrids), a 3-wood, and a putter. If you want to splurge on clubs, buy a good driver. This club is key to getting the ball in just about every hole. Learn more about them here.
2. Dress Code
Some public courses allow golfers to play in jeans and a t-shirt, but most private ones have a strict dress code. Furthermore, if you’re spending a considerable amount of time playing, the right clothes will help ensure that you’re comfortable.
Male golfers are typically required to wear plain polo shirts which can be found in either a synthetic fabric or cotton. The material you choose depends on the weather. Your shirt shouldn’t have any colourful or bright graphics, or foul language written on it. Also, keep your shirt tucked into your pants.
Female golfers are also required to wear polo shirts, but some clubs allow you to play without a collared top. Women can wear sleeveless tops or, in some cases, turtlenecks too. What is considered revealing can be a controversial topic. Check with your instructor in advance if you have concerns.
For bottoms, men can choose between slacks or shorts made from breathable fabric. Depending on the temperature, you can alternate between the two. Women can opt for skirts or capri pants. It’s best for both to steer clear of jersey materials and jeans.
As far as footwear, clean and comfortable athletic shoes are adequate to start. Consider buying actual golf shoes later on if you decide to take up the sport.
If you are worried about golf etiquette, here’s a post to guide you.
Beginners should acquaint themselves with a few terms to better understand the game and perform well. Here are a few terms your golfing instructor may ask you to memorize:
- Tee – The (usually) wooden peg upon which the golf ball is placed
- The Green – The soft and plush ground surrounding the hole
- Fairway – A part of the course that leads players to the green.
- The Rough – A wild area on both sides of the fairway. It is often filled with long grass and trees.
- Stroke – The swing that players make to hit the ball. The score can be kept track of by counting the strokes. (Missed shots also count as a stroke).
- Hazard –Any object that can come between the player getting the ball in the hole, including trees, bunkers, ponds, and streams.
- Bunker – A ditch filled with sand, generally surrounding the green.
Along with these terms, there are a few related to scoring you should be aware of.
- Ace – A hole in one
- Par – The standard number of strokes it should take the player to get the ball from the tee to the hole
- Birdie – 1 stroke under par
- Eagle – 2 strokes under par
- Bogey – One stroke above par
- Double Bogey – 2 strokes above par
- Triple Bogey – 3 strokes above par
Golf has many rules that can be confusing for beginners to follow. There is also a ’decisions book’ based on situations that may arise which can be overwhelming for a golfer just starting out.
Don’t concern yourself with these. Your instructor will inform you of the rules you need to follow, to begin with and gradually introduce others as and when required. Remember, the best way to learn the rules of the game is with experience.
With proper golf training, it’s a game you can play throughout your life. Whether you’re playing to become a professional or just for fun, follow these tips to get the most out of your first lesson and the following ones. With quality instruction, your skills will improve over time and you’ll get more enjoyment out of the game.