How to Golf for Beginners

Being new to the game of golf can seem overwhelming, because of all the equipment you need, and all the tips and tricks you’re probably getting from your friends and family. Here is some basic information on How to golf for beginners.

How-to-golf-for-beginners

You need to understand that golf is supposed to be fun, and when you’re having fun you’ll play better. The aim of golf is to go around an 18 hole Golf Course in the least amount of strokes.

Pretty Simple Huh???

Learn the Basics of the Game

How-to-golf-for-beginners

The first step is to understand some of the real basics of the game.

Some of these basic terms will be of benefit before you begin your journey to starting the game of golf.

Driving Range – A practice facility where you will spend a little time initially to practice and work on your golf swing.

Tee Box – Short grass where you start each golf hole.

Fairway – Short grass you aim at from the tee box.

Rough – Long grass surrounding the outside of the fairway, and the green.

Bunker –  A shallow pit filled with sand also known as a sand trap.

Green – Very short grass which will have a flag on it as an aiming stick.

Golf Holes

How-to-golf-for-beginnersEach Golf course will be made of challenging holes that vary in distance.

Par 3 – The shorter holes, normally between 100 and 200 yards.

Par 4 – The middle length holes, normally between 300 and 450 yards.

Par 5 – The longest of the golf holes, normally over 500 yards.

Scoring Terms

There are also some scoring terms that you might want to make yourself familiar with. All golf courses are made up of different holes which are either a Par 3, 4 or 5. This is the number of strokes a professional player should get the ball into the hole.

Par – Scoring term indicating the standard on a hole.

Birdie – Scoring term indicating one under par.

Eagle – Scoring term indicating two under par.

Albatross or Double Eagle – Scoring term indicating three under par.

Bogey – Scoring term indicating one over par.

Double Bogey – Scoring term indicating 2 over par.

For example, if I was playing a Par 4 and I got the ball in the hole in 4 shots, I would score a Par. If my playing partner took 5 shots to get it into the hole he/she would make a Bogey. If you get the ball in the hole in 3 shots you guessed it that’s a Birdie.

See this game ain’t that hard!!!

Basic Ball Flight Terms

The flight of your good and bad golf shots will have 6 basic names.

Slice – The significant left to right curvature of the golf ball flight. (The most common bad shot among the novice golfer) This will be right to left for a left-handed player.

Hook – The opposite of the slice in which there is a significant right to left curvature of the golf ball. This will be left to right for a left-handed player.

Fade – Only a slight left to right curvature of the golf ball for a right handed player. This will be right to left for a left-handed player. (Some of the world’s best players have played with this ball flight)

Draw – Only a slight right to left curvature of the golf ball for a right handed player. This will be left to right for the left-handed player.

Push – A shot that goes directly right of the target with little or no curvature. The opposite for a left-hander.

Pull – A shot that will go directly left of the target with little or no curvature. The opposite for a left-hander.

Understand your Equipment

The Rules of Golf will allow you to carry as many as fourteen golf clubs in your bag for tournament or competition. Each of these clubs has different lofts on them and are designed to go different distances. I would recommend getting a full set of fourteen because you will be improving fast and be needing all clubs required sooner rather than later.

If you are a beginner and are on the lookout for a decent set of golf clubs, just use the following link to read about some good options. Best Golf for Beginners.

Loft is the angle of each golf club which controls trajectory and distance.

Driver – The lowest lofted club in the bag usually between nine and twelve degrees. This club will hit the ball the furthest when struck correctly. It also has the biggest head size up to 460 Cubic Centimetres.

Fairway Wood – Woods are no longer made but the name will always sound better than 3 Metal. Usually between thirteen and nineteen degrees of loft.

Hybrids – These are fairly new but are essentially something in between a fairway wood and a 3 or 4 Iron. Also known as a rescue or utility.

Irons – Made of solid iron or steel. The irons will make up at least seven or eight of the clubs in your bag.

Wedges – Used for short shots inside one hundred yards, and around the greens and bunkers. The highest lofted clubs in your bag.

Putter – Used to get the ball in the hole on the really short grass.

Shaft – You will hear this term quite a lot. It is simply the tapered tube which connects the golfer hands to the clubhead. Your hands will obviously be on the grip.

For a list of all the other equipment, you might need just click the following link Equipment Needed to Golf.

Golf Tuition

One thing I can highly recommend is that unless your friends are highly qualified teaching professionals, I would not let them teach you the game of golf. A lot of golfers go backward simply by either listening to their friends or getting the incorrect advice.

It is a lot easier to get rid of any bad habits before you start them. This is where some golf tuition comes in very handy. The learning process is much simplified if you get lessons before you start golfing. There are also a couple of good books recommended that make learning the game very simple.

The first is an older book by the great Ben Hogan. Golf has become complicated over the years, but an effective swing does not change. If you don’t quite feel ready to take lessons yet this book is a great starting point. Hogan keeps everything very simple in his Modern Fundamentals of Golf.

If you have been playing for a little while, and not seeing any improvements then maybe the book by Clive Scarff might be a better option. It is a more entertaining look at some of the common faults and how to fix them.

Practice

How-to-golf-for-beginnersThis one is obvious, but it is amazing how many golfers get this wrong. It is much like going to the gym. If you don’t put in the work you won’t see any results.

How much you practice will depend on the amount of time you have, but as a beginner at least one hour per week will be of benefit.

As a beginner, you can even practice at home and do not have to go to the golf course. The correct grip can be practiced whilst watching your favourite TV show, and getting a feel for a golf swing can be practiced in your very own backyard.

There is a book which has made learning and practicing the game a lot easier. A lot of more accomplished players say they wish they had of read it long before they started wanting to improve with golf.

When starting out it is easy to get carried away with the mechanics of the game, and all the tips and techniques you might see and hear from magazines, tv shows, and your friends. In the Book Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, Dr Bob Rotella will help you understand how easy and effortless the golf swing can be.

Professional golfers rarely have any more than two swing thoughts during the game of golf, and reading Dr Bob Rotellas book will help you achieve this.

Golf is a game of feel and rhythm, and making a club feel natural in your hands will make the game a lot easier.

18 thoughts on “How to Golf for Beginners

  1. Brian

    I am a real novice when it comes to golf. I normally listen to commentary when it comes to really big events like the Ryder cup and I hear all these terms like pull and hook and never understood what they mean! So thanks for a really basic and essential summary!

    Occasionally I am asked to join a friendly game of golf and feel quite embarrassed. It would be good to learn some basic skills but without spending an immense amount of money. You mentioned some books but I can’t see any links to them. Do you plan on reviewing some books or recommending some training?

    1. Chris Post author

      Hi Brian

      Thank you for reading the post. I understand the Golf Course can be an intimidating place when you have not played much and don’t know a lot about the game. Yes I will be providing some links to fantastic books and also doing Product Reviews in the very near future. Golf is not as complicated as most think. Players can improve rapidly with the correct guidance and some marginal work ethic.

      Cheers

      Chris

  2. Evie

    I used to play golf a lot at University (we had a special deal with a very nice golf club near Sunningdale) but haven’t played at all over the past few years. My best friend has just taken the game up again (he’s been hitting the driving range a couple of times a week) and is trying to convince me to retake up the game. Seriously I am tempted especially on a really nice day. But I know that I definitely will need a couple of lessons before going out on the course (I know I’ll need to work on my grip position and body position too). I’ll have to take a look at those books you mention.

    1. Chris Post author

      Hi Evie

      Yes playing golf is a perfect way to spend one of those nice sunny days. You have played before so you already know most of the basics. Getting the grip in the correct position and making it feel natural is essential to hitting solid golf shots.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      Cheers

      Chris

  3. steve81

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you very much for your post. I really don´t know much about golf and I was always curious to know how should I correctly hold the stick, which club should I use in each occason, etc. Your website provides very useful information for people like me who want to get the very basic information that we sometimes are embarassed to ask in public.

    1. Chris Post author

      Hi Steve

      Thanks for your comments.

      Golf is actually a simple game and if a beginner starts off with the correct guidance, improvements can be made rapidly.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Chris

  4. Vinnie Prasad

    Hi Chris,

    Great post to learn the basic terms and fundamentals of golf. I’ve always watched my uncle and dad play golf often but I think I didn’t have the patience for it while I was young. But now it’s a different story As of recently, I have been really reading up on the basics to get my skills right. But like you have suggested it all boils down to lots of practice. As a beginner what golf set would you recommend that is also on the lower end of the price bracket?

  5. Keith

    Hey Chris
    Great post and good info for a beginner golfer.
    I’ve noticed that the linked finger grip seems to have come back into fashion with pro golfers. By that I mean the pinky and index finger linking/crossing when gripping the club. What is your opinion. I prefer to just lay my pinky in the groove between the index and middle finger. Any reason why i should consider a grip change?

    1. Chris Post author

      Hey Keith

      Thanks for dropping by.

      I actually provide a description of the 3 types of grips on the following page http://basicgolfer.com/basic-golf-lesson-beginners. The Interlock grip is not quite as popular as the Overlap (Vardon) grip which you use. The interlock grip is generally used by golfers with smaller hands. I would suggest to keep the using the Overlap grip if it feels comfortable.

      Cheer

  6. Byron

    Hi Chris,

    I work at, as well as live on a golf course, so I do get out to hit every now and then. i feel as though I’ve improved with the iron but I have real difficulty teeing off for some reason. Any tips to tee off better? I tend to slice the ball pretty hard (right-handed) but I usually hit pretty straight with an iron.

    Cheers.

    Byron.

    1. Chris Post author

      Hi Byron

      Yes hitting your irons well but slicing your driver is a common problem amongst a lot of golfers. A slight (outside to inside) swing path is ok for irons and this is why you hit your irons well. The (outside to inside) swing path for your Driver will increase because you are using a longer lever and making a bigger swing. The slice is mainly caused by an (out to in) swing path or cutting across the ball at impact. First make sure your grip is correct and then I would suggest to make some practice swings with your left foot forward and your right foot back. This will encourage an (in to out) swing path which is what is needed to draw or hook the ball.

      Any other questions let me know.

      Cheers

      Chris

  7. John Rico

    Hey! I’ve been wanting to try golf but I don’t have the knowledge prior to it. I have the time but I can’t find the perfect guide that will teach me what is golf all about and it’s rules. I think for me golf is a fun and challenging sport. I’m interested in learning and exploring new skills. I really appreciate your informative guide about golf. Thank you.

    1. Chris Post author

      Hi John

      Thanks for your comments.

      Yes golf is a great challenging and fun sport that you can enjoy with friends, family and work colleagues. There might seem to be a lot to learn but if you take it slow and try and learn one thing it a time improvements can be made rapidly.

      Cheers

      Chris

  8. Arie

    I have played golf a few times in my life and I am looking to get more into it, however, I do feel I could use improvement.

    After reading this, I gotta say that I learned quite a bit in terms of how the sport works from the flight terms, to the different golf clubs available!

    I do also think it is important to practice swinging the club but I haven’t thought of the idea of doing so in my backyard!

    Also hearing about a book which has more experienced players wishing they had read it earlier makes me want to pick it up and practice!

    My question is, how often do you practice golfing during each week?

    1. Chris Post author

      Hi Arie

      I appreciate your comments and thanks for stopping by.

      Golf has certainly been overcomplicated in recent years with enormous amounts of inconsistent information available on the game. That, as well as a host of subjective opinions on how to play the game has made golf harder to learn, especially for beginners.

      With the correct training and guidance, improvement can be made rapidly with as little as one or two hours per week of practice.

      Keep stopping by, as I will be providing more blog posts in the near future.

      Cheers

      Chris

  9. Steve

    After many years of playing golf by myself, my wife has suddenly taken an interest. I have tried to explain everything to her, but sometimes coming from me, it just doesn’t always work. I will share this post with her. Sometimes just hearing the same things from a new and different source is all it takes. You have done a great job of covering the basics of golf. I appreciate how you laid everything out in very easy to understand terms. Thanks for spreading with the word about a great game.

    1. Chris Post author

      Hi Steve

      Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comments.

      I hope you guys manage to get out for some games in the near future.

      Cheers

      Chris

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