By: John Gordon
The game of golf is booming like never before and, if you’re reading this, you likely are one of the thousands who are taking up the game for the first time.
The allure of golf is obvious: it’s fun exercise, it’s a chance to enjoy the outdoors and it’s very social. Like any sport or recreational pastime, it requires you to learn a bit about the fundamentals and to practise if you want to enjoy the game to its fullest.
Here are nine tips to help you enjoy the game. (Coincidentally, nine holes is just the right number for beginners.)
1. Go online.
There are lots of websites that offer helpful tips for beginners of every age on every topic from the basic rules and etiquette to the fundamentals of the swing.
2. Go to a course.
Even before you head to the tee for the very first time, do a little online research about the courses in your area. You will want to find a public or “semi-private” course (one that has members but also welcomes the public golfer). Drop into the golf shop, introduce yourself as a new golfer and have a look around. Ask if they have a program to introduce new golfers to the game. If they do, sign up! Find a course near you here.
3. Go to a pro.
Just about every course has a PGA of Canada professional. They’re helpful and knowledgeable. Even a half-hour lesson with a pro will get you started on the right path.. Taking a lesson is the best investment you can make if you want to enjoy the game and improve your skills. Many courses offer group lessons that include playing a few holes at a very reasonable cost.
4. Go get some clubs.
Although most courses have clubs you can rent, you will want to have your own set. Visit your local pro shop or chain store to find a preferred set. As long as you follow the course’s dress code (often published on their website), you don’t even need golf shoes at this point. Running shoes will suffice.
5. Go to the driving range.
If you’re taking lessons at a course, you no doubt have taken advantage of the practice facility, also called the driving range. If not, head for a public driving range with a friend and hit some balls. Many facilities also have a practice putting green. As you will find out, putting is a very important part of the game!
6. Go to the first tee.
You’ve hooked up with some friends or new acquaintances from your introductory program. You’ve asked the folks in the golf shop from which tees you should play as a beginner (generally, the most forward set of tees is appropriate).
7. Go hit the ball.
Assuming you’ve followed these first few tips, you should be hitting the ball in the right general direction. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not as proficient as your more experienced companions. Just relax, swing, and don’t forget to breathe! From a safety perspective, make sure you are aware of where your friends are and when they are hitting. From a “pace of play” viewpoint, always be ready to hit your next shot when it’s your turn. Most importantly, don’t get frustrated if you’re not proficient immediately. You will improve the more you play and practise. Remember, the object of the game is to have fun!
8. Go to the clubhouse.
Much of the appeal of golf is the social aspect following a round. Reliving the game, good shots and not-so-good, with friends and family is an integral part of the game.
9. Go back.
Golf has been called “the game for a lifetime.” You can play this game at whatever level you wish, from recreational to competitive, for years and years. It’s healthy, fun and a great way to meet new friends.
So there you go! Nine tips, just like the nine holes you will likely play the first few times you’re at the course.
But there is so much more!
Although you can learn the fundamentals of the swing, course etiquette and rules online, golfcanada.ca is the best resource for anyone who enjoys the game at any level.
As you play more golf, you’ll want an official handicap index and the other benefits that come with a Golf Canada membership.
And remember: The object of the game is to have fun!