Golf is a favorite pastime for many people, but the game can seem a bit intimidating for beginners. If you’re new to golfing and unsure of where to start, don’t fear: consider this a handy beginner’s guide. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the game, but before you start, you should brush up on some of the rules, etiquette and equipment involved in golf.
Necessary Golf Equipment
Golf clubsEquipment necessary for any golf trip includes:
- Golf shoes, or comfortable shoes
- Golf balls
- A golf bag
This comes as no surprise, but the most important item that you’ll need for golf is the right golf clubs! In addition to your golf clubs (see below for special details on clubs), you’ll also need golf balls, golf tees, and a bag for carrying your clubs and smaller items.
Most golfers also have a pair of golfing shoes, which have special spikes on the soles to help with grip when they’re swinging clubs. If you don’t want to invest in a pair of golf shoes, just make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes with a bit of grip (and avoid wearing heels or any shoe that may damage the golfing grounds or making walking uncomfortable). Additionally, most golfers like to wear a golfing glove, which is worn on the lead hand (for reference, your “lead hand” is the hand that you do not write with). Gloves can help with grip, and most golfers consider them a necessity.
There are a lot of other golf gadgets that golfers like, but that aren’t necessarily required for beginners. For example, you may want to invest in a towel to keep your golf balls clean, a golf ball retriever in case your ball goes into the water, golf club cleaners, GPS golf watches, golf ball trackers, and even digital golf scorecards. Until you become a frequent golfer, though, you can just stick to purchasing the basics.
All About Golf Clubs
Choosing the right clubs can be the hardest part of starting up your golfing game. A professional can work with you to help you select the right club; typically, this is based on your natural swing, weight or height, and other factors. In addition, different clubs are better suited for certain drives. Here is a quick rundown of the types of clubs you’ll encounter on your golf trip:
Woods are the type of club that are used to hit the ball long-range. These can be difficult clubs for beginners, and may require practice or assistance. A wood has a large head, and is used for distances of 450 yards or more. Woods are classified by numbers. For example, the number one wood is the number assigned to the driver, or the club that is used to hit the ball during initial tee-off. The number represents the loft of the club, or the angle of the clubface that control the trajectory of the ball. Woods are numbered from one to twelve. Most golfers have a one, three, and five wood.
Irons are used for shorter distances, and typically are the next club you’ll use after teeing off. Irons are also numbered, and the general rule is that the further away you are from the green, the lower numbered iron you’ll use. Irons are number three through nine, and there’s also a pitching wedge.
Wedges are used when a golfer is very close to the green, but not quite on it. Most golfers have a few different types of wedges, such as a pitching wedge, last wedge, approach wedge, and lob wedge.
A putter is used for one purpose: getting the ball into the hole once it’s on the green. There are a lot of different styles of putters, and choosing a putter is mostly about personal preference.
Caring for Your Clubs
Golf clubs are expensive, so it’s important to take care of them properly. Make sure you store them in a place that’s temperature-controlled. Be sure to keep them clean, take measures to prevent them from chipping, use head covers, and keep the grips in good shape.
Like any sport, golfing can become easier with practice. However, even if you’re a beginner, there’s no better activity for a relaxing family vacation. So when you’re ready to try your hand at golf, grab your equipment and hit the course for some summer fun!