A first experience with anything can be intimidating. Whether it is a new activity or new job it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the unknown, especially with golf. There are so many rules, different types of clubs and all that golf jargon; bogeys, birdies, bunkers, oh my!
We all start somewhere. Even Tiger Woods was writing his first chapter at one point. Here are 6 Tips for Your First Tee-Off to help you take that first step onto the green:
Chances are, if you are going golfing for the first time you aren’t going to invest in golf lessons and play by all the rules. That is okay if you are playing with friends and family. However, there will still be other golfers on the course who are taking their game a bit more seriously. Proper golf course etiquette is crucial to a good day of play while staying out of other’s way. Here are a few golf course etiquettes to follow for your first game:
- Let other golfers play through if your pace is slow.
- Have fun, but keep the decibels to a minimum. You might be surprised how close the next tee box is.
- Patch the ground you play on. If you make a divot, use the seed mix to fill it in. If a bunker looks like you made a sand angel in it, grab the rake and smooth it out.
- Don’t touch other’s balls (get your head out of the bunker, we are still talking about golf).
2. Don’t practice during prime time
Going golfing on a Sunday at 8am sounds delightful, but isn’t the best choice for a beginner. Instead, play at twilight when the rates are cheaper and there are less golfers on the course. Many golf courses have their tee sheets online so you can see how busy they are before booking a tee time.
3. Keep it simple
Learning the game of golf starts with setting small, achievable goals. Don’t let your ego take over and get too technical on the first round. If there is a tree in the way, pick up your ball and move it. Don’t try any fancy moves for the sake of bystanders and nearby houses.
4. Take it to the range
Practice makes perfect and we aren’t just referring to practice on the golf course. Try to contain your excitement to get out on the course so it doesn’t overpower the patience to understand your clubs, your swing, and direction of your ball. Top Golf is a great first place to start and ease yourself into the game of golf.
5. Keep your kids entertained
It isn’t uncommon for parents to bring their kids golfing, even if they have no intent of playing. If your kids aren’t golfing you’ll need to give them something entertaining to do. Kids love having a special job that makes them feel important. Here are a few fun tasks that will keep your kids preoccupied while you work on your golf game:
- Grab the ball from the hole on the putting green.
- Hold the flagstick for you while you putt.
- Be your caddie, it will help them learn the clubs too
“Kids are more focused on having fun. And playing bad golf just isn’t fun. I know a young man who thought caddie bibs were the coolest, so I got a small one for him and he eagerly helped his dad on the greens -- a three-year-old, fixing ball marks, reading putts and taking care of the pin. It was adorable and taught him early on to fix his ball marks.” - Jordan Fuller, Golf Enthusiast
6. Keep it short
The game of golf can take 4 to 5 hours if you’re playing a full round of 18 holes. But who says you have to play all 18? You can play 9 holes in a couple of hours, or simply go for a 30-minute range session. A 9-hole round is a reasonable time to spend on the course, especially when booking a twilight rate.
We all start somewhere. Professionals like Tiger Woods will make the game of golf look easy, but you shouldn’t compare your chapter one to a professional’s chapter twenty. Learning to play golf can be frustrating and patience is key to conquering the game.