Golf is an amazing sport that offers the participants a challenging and rewarding experience. Some even find the game’s calming effects ideal for beating the blues. While people from every walk of life enjoy the sport, getting started in golf may sometime seem like an uphill task. With so many different things and lingos to learn and practice, prospective golfers can feel overwhelmed and scared at the same time. Since interest in the game is on the rise, we’ve decided to create this beginner’s guide to help those looking to sail through the initial uncertainties, which would let them love the game and continue enjoying it.
Let’s delve into the world of golf.
The mindset required for golfers
Deciding to step into the world of golf is easy, but it needs a clear understanding and deep respect for the game to sustain in the long-term. While golf is an extremely enjoyable game, it may turn out to be frustrating, especially when you’re learning and things don’t go your way. Remember – even adept professionals still hit bad shots. So, don’t lose your cool and learn from the mistakes instead. And most importantly, learn to manage your expectations.
The equipment needed to play golf
Almost everyone sets aside a budget that s/he wants to spend on golf, and it may differ from person to person. If you’re just stepping into golf, it may not be wise to dive in and spend hundreds of dollars at a go. When you’re in a sports equipment shop, ask if they’ve got any stock or any recommendation in your price range. As a good alternative, you can always pick up some decent stuff by browsing through online marketplaces. Let’s have a look at the equipments to start with.
- Golf clubs: They comprise of a grip, a shaft and a clubhead, and are used to propel golf balls towards the holes on the golf course. Usually, a typical set comes with a variety of irons, woods, wedges and putters, and is available in a bag of 14. Each type is specifically designed to provide the golfer with different distances and degrees of trajectories. The cost of new drivers (one of the standard golf clubs) from leading manufacturers can range from $250 to $600. However, there’re numerous not-so-famous brands that new drivers can get for less than $120, which should work quite fine for beginners and average amateurs.
- Golf putter: It’s the most used club in a golfer’s bag. The putter helps you feel the ball, detect the shot line, and sense depth and pace. Putters come in an array of weight placements, lengths, clubhead shapes and alignments. It’s important to find one that complements the unique mechanics of your stroke perfectly. While top-of-the-range putters can cost you up to $400 or at times, even more, you can have a standard quality putter for about $120.
- Golf balls: Golf balls, fashioned from synthetic materials, generally have a dimple pattern on the surfaces. The pattern advocates better aerodynamics by reducing drag throughout the ball’s flight path, thus facilitating its elevation, distance and spin. Remember that you don’t need to buy expensive, superb balls as a beginner. Chances are you’ll lose most of them. It’s better not to look for fancy compression stats or spin. Instead, go for playable and affordable balls that let you master the game’s nuances. Ideally, you should look for two-piece balls that come with surlyn cover and a solid rubber center. While the price heavily depends on models and brands, you can get a dozen from as low as $10/$15 to $50.
- Golf shoes: These are blocks fastened to the surface of your golf shoes to provide optimum support for your footing. They offer your feet the comfort and traction needed when hitting shots or walking a long round. Look for shoes that come with spikes on the bottom surface and offer water resistance. Prices may vary from about $35 to $300 and more. The more expensive ones will feel better on the feet and last you longer.
- Golf tees: Usually made with plastic or wood, tees help you elevate a ball’s position by being stuck in the ground. They come with a pointed bottom, which is driven into the ground together with a head for the balls to be placed on. As tees come in different lengths, it’s important to determine your proper tee height at first, which would give you optimum confidence and make you most comfortable. While the basic tees are quite inexpensive and cost some cents, long-lasting ones may cost you around a couple of dollars.
- Gloves: Gloves help you achieve more controlled swings and better grip while reducing the risks of skin abrasions. These are generally worn on the non-dominant hand of the golfer, but you can wear them on both hands too. Regardless of the glove quality you prefer, remember that the proper fit is far more important than any other factor. While the minimum prices are in the range of $8 to $10, high-end gloves can cost you around $15 to $20 and more per piece.
- Golf bag: You may think the type of your golf bag isn’t going to influence your game’s quality directly, but if yours is an uncomfortable one, lugging it around a large course is going to leave you tired, which in turn can adversely affect your performance. So, go for a comfortable one with well-padded straps. While a lightweight bag costs around $120 and an overall good bag a little over $200, a bag that helps you look like a pro may cost you around $300.
- Golf clothing: Typical golf attire comprises of a polo shirt (short or long sleeve) with khakis or golf pants. Remember – dress codes differ from one golf club to another. So, you should be prepared to dress accordingly. Keeping the unpredictable weather in mind, you can have some waterproof clothing too, provided your budget has a provision for it.
Where to learn golf
You’ll need to learn the fundamentals of golf as a beginner. You can contact a local golf store to inquire about beginner golf lessons. These lessons typically teach you the basics like how to swing the clubs, follow through, make impact, and how far you can aim to hit the ball, among others. The cost of golf lessons is influenced by different factors like the experience of your instructor, the facility where the instructor works, duration of the lessons etc. When you’re starting from scratch, lessons may cost you anywhere between $30 and $70 per hour. If you want to learn from a LPGA or a PGA teaching professional, you may have to shell above $100 to $150, or higher per lesson. One way to lower the price is to opt for group lessons sometimes offered by local educational institutions or golf facilities. While they don’t offer the one-on-one training of individual lessons, they can certainly help to a good extent.
Start Playing Golf Today!
Don’t get discouraged ever as learning and mastering the techniques of golf is tough. You’ll miss the ball, miss a shot, or even ground the club. You’ll feel horrible in the beginning, but with enough positivity and patience, you’ll surely get over the obstacles. And once you start improving and enjoying the game, you may find it difficult to stop. Here’s wishing you good luck!R