There are many questions that new golfers have on how to start golf. Of course, it’s intimidating. Questions like what to wear, where to go, what to bring, what to buy, how much – for a round, for the driving range, for coaches, for equipment; who to ask, will arise.
Fear not. This blog post will attempt to give you an overview of golf, and what you need to get started, without paying more than what you’d normally pay for a meal. Let’s talk about how to start golf.
Let’s Find Out How to start golf:
How a golf course looks like
So this is a simple picture of how a golf course looks like. You arrive at the clubhouse, make payment to the pro shop/golf counter, then proceed to tee off. 1 hole consists of:
- The tee box – where you start hitting from
- The green – where the pin (flag) is at, which is stuck into a hole where your ball is supposed to go into
- The fairway – area in between the tee box and the green.
- Rough – darker areas of grass you can see in the image above. Usually, grass that’s longer and not as easy to hit from.
- Water hazard – water area in the course. You can hit from it, but it’s usually impossible, so you can take a 1-penalty stroke from outside of the water.
- Bunkers – sand traps (white area in the image above), where it’s not as easy to hit from too.
- Trees – also obstacles which you want to avoid.
Not all holes have water, bunkers, or trees. But it’s there to make golf more challenging than it already is.
How a driving range looks like
OK, now it’s a bad idea to start golf on the golf course. You’re better off trying it out at the driving range first.
This is how a driving range looks like. Think about it like a bowling alley, but instead of rolling balls down a lane, you just hit balls from one spot.
Golfers come to the driving range for a few reasons:
- When they’re completely new at golf and have no idea what anything is. There’s usually a pro shop/registration counter there where you can buy balls and rent clubs.
- When they want to practice, instead of going out to the course for a round of 18 holes. The driving range provides an avenue to try out new swings, new techniques, new shots, before using it on the course.
What is in a golf bag
The golf bag must look pretty complicated, with so many different types of clubs of various lengths and sizes. We’re going to make it super simple to understand the different clubs.
This looks like a nice looking golf set. Let’s break it down for you:
- Drivers: What you normally use to get it off the tee box. This is usually the last club you learn, since it’s the longest and therefore the toughest to hit. But when you hit it right, it goes the furthest.
- Fairways / Fairway woods: If you still need to hit it a long distance but you’re on the fairway instead of on the tee box. You can still hit your driver on the fairway, but it’s much tougher.
- Hybrids: A hybrid between a fairway wood and irons. More people are opting for hybrids since they’re shorter (so they’re easy to hit), but still goes a long way.
- Irons: Every set has about 6-7 irons. Most sets now come with a 5 iron, 6 iron, 7 iron, 8 iron, 9 iron, and a pitching wedge (also an iron). Some sets come with a 4-iron or even a 3-iron too. The bigger the number, the shorter the club, and the bigger the loft. P (pitching wedge) being the shortest and the most lofted of the irons.
- Wedges: Comes in a variety of degrees. Most people have 2-3 wedges in the bag. The bigger the degree, the more the loft, the higher the balls go. Examples are 48 degrees, 54 degrees, and 60 degrees. You want this not for distance, but for accuracy so that the ball doesn’t roll much after it lands. For beginner golf sets, the wedges are part of the full set where you will maybe get an A (approach wedge), G (gap wedge), and an S (sand wedge).
- Putters: You only need one of these, for use when you are on the green (where the flag is). Putters basically make the ball roll along the green and (hopefully) into the hole.
If you’re wondering what a loft is, it’s the degree of how the golf club face is positioned:
So they all give you different distances:
What to wear
Golf attire has been a whole big fashion thing now. You have golfers dressing like slobs, and you have golfers dressing for show. Professional golfers always show the latest fashion in golf, since they’re always sponsored by golf brands. However, golf attire is not cheap, but with the right fit, they do look good!
For men, Tiger Woods is your benchmark:
However, you don’t have to wear long pants all the time. It’s just required to be worn in professional golf tournaments. For most of us, shorts are fine in hot weather:
But don’t dress like this:
For women, it gets interesting. There are a lot more options for women (as usual). Collars are still a must for most golf courses. But shorts, skirts, skorts, long pants are possible for all golfing occasions.
But really, for a start, at the driving range don’t get to hung up on what to wear. In Asia, any sports attire, shorts, shoes, are sufficient for the range. So don’t go spending big bucks on looking good just yet!
Start golf at the driving range
So we know we won’t be going to the golf course any time soon until we have had a couple of dozen sessions at the driving range. Most golf courses have driving ranges, and there are also some that are stand-alone without a golf course.
For most ranges, you can just rent clubs from the pro shop for a few bucks, and then buy balls for about USD3-4 for 100 balls. For club rental, best to give the range a call to see if they have any available. You can find the most driving ranges on Google Maps.
Learn by watching others / YouTube
How to hit the ball, has too many parts to it to learn in this blog post. Best way to learn when you have 0 knowledge, is just look at the next person at the driving range, and just do what they do.
There’s also a bunch of YouTube channels that teach you some basics here and there. So just explore away!
There’s a few things you might want to pick up right away:
- How to stand
- How to grip the club
- and finally, how to swing.
Get a coach
After hitting a few sessions at the range, and you feel like YEAAHHH golf is something you like and you want to pick up. Then STOP GOLFING! And get a coach. You don’t want to be getting muscle memory on wrong swing techniques, so best to get it right from the beginning to have life long enjoyment of golf.
There are probably some coaches you can engage from the driving range that you practice at. Otherwise, ask around, or Google for one. There is no one right coach for everyone. It’s like a masseuse, some like some, and some don’t like some.
And for whatever reason, if you don’t like golf after 3 sessions. Don’t force yourself, play another sport, but happy that you tried golf!
If you’re in the Kuala Lumpur area and want to try golf out, JNG Driving Range at Tropicana Golf & Country Club is providing some awesome deals for range balls and coaching if you join via the Deemples app!