Tips for Beginner Golfers
So you and your friends went out, bought some golf gear and are heading right out to the
links, ready to be the next Tiger Woods. Unless you are a natural, prepare to be humbled. I can
play most sports at a decent recreational level, some better than others. Golf is by far the
hardest game I ever played. A lot of the rules are based on the pro game; you can build up to
them. I have skimmed the rules of golf. For new players, some of them are just dumb.
Let’s start with the score card. It is a waste of time starting out. You aren’t shooting par
right out the gate. When you are on the 3rd tee box, already 15 strokes in, you don’t need the
card to tell you that you are bad at this. Just take it 1 hole at a time. You’ll appreciate the good
shots you manage to sneak in more. You’ll know you are improving as you start hitting more
and shots. Counting good shots will turn into counting good holes. The game is hard enough.
You don’t need to fight the scorecard too.
Another bad one for beginner golfers is hit the ball as it lies. Let’s be honest, if you drove the
ball deep in the woods, surrounded by trees, chances are your next three shots will still be in
the woods, bouncing off trees. Pick up your ball, go to the edge of the tree line and drop it. I
recommend on grass, not dirt. You might still end up back in the woods, but at least you have a
chance for a decent shot. Also, if you hit the ball right and hit a tree just right, the ball is
coming back at you like a bullet. I almost took out a friend this way. My only consolation is he
was a diehard and wouldn’t let me drop. He never refused me a drop again.
If you hit into the water, the official spot to drop usually keeps the water in play. Drop so
the water is out of play. There is no need to put ball after ball in the water. The goal is to get
better, not enrich the golf ball companies. Chances are you are losing 3 – 4 per round without
fighting a losing battle with a lake. I recommend doing the same with bunkers starting out, just
focus on hitting the ball.
There are rules about clubs. If you are just starting out and have a club you like, use it. I
have no idea if my current clubs conform or not. The only way I’ll have to worry about being on
the pro tour is if they let me water the fairway, so I carry what I like. There are also rules about
how many clubs you can have, I know I am under, but disregard until you find clubs you like. I
have never been on a course that checked my bag.
Another consideration is ready golf vs. furthest from the pin. Go with ready golf. I play
relatively quick, even when doing badly. If you are at your ball, and the player furthest isn’t
even out of the cart, just hit your ball. The people behind you appreciate it. This can also help
keep the ranger away.
There are some rules you should follow. Replace your divots; we want the courses in good
shape. Learn how to repair ball marks on the green. Let faster players play through. If there is
an open hole in front of you, and the group behind you is on top of you, let them play through.
At this point you are annoying them and after a few holes of this, the ranger is going to be a
prick about it. Trust me; they aren’t going to hold you up.
These will help make it easier to enjoy the game starting out. As you improve you’ll start
staying closer to the rules. Don’t worry about what better golfers you get paired up with think,
no one has ever said a word to me, even when they are sticklers with others in the 4-some they
know. Remember, the point is to have fun, not make yourself miserable.
By Sebastian Wyczawski