How To Learn Golf? – A Comprehensive Guide

Savdeep Kadian
Savdeep Kadian Facts & How-To's
23 Min Read
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Are you interested in the beautiful game of golf but don’t know how or where to start? Let me, a national amateur golfer, help you learn golf. Let’s get started with How To Learn Golf”.

Whether you’re an adult who wants to stay active and enjoy the outdoors, you have kids who want to play golf, or you want to enjoy your retirement, this guide is all you need to get started.

This article contains information and advice to help you get started in golf but is not a substitute for professional golf instruction. However, the article does provide information and insight that will give beginners a head start on their journey to learning golf.

How To Learn Golf
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1. Introduction

To begin with, learning golf is a lifelong journey. Hitting your first good shot may take quite some time, but once you get the feel for it, there’s no stopping you.

1.1 The Allure Of Golf

Golf is perhaps the greatest game of all time. Some people might not see the point in hitting a little white ball in a field and then chasing it, but those who play golf and understand the beauty of this amazing game love it dearly. 

Moreover, there is no other sport, in my opinion, that provides an environment such as golf. The birds chirp, and the cool breeze, among others, are experiences no other sport offers. While out on golf courses, you will witness some of the most beautiful sunsets of your life.

Lastly, golf will challenge you like no other sport. You will rarely get the same shots twice, in your life! Every shot, every hole and every golf course will force you to think out of the box to overcome the challenges thrown at you.

2. Getting The Basics Dialled In

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2.1 Some Basic Rules of Golf

  1. You are not allowed to move a ball unless you are hitting it.
  2. A golf ball is considered lost if not found within 3 minutes.
  3. Golfers are not allowed to manipulate the lie of the ball.
  4. Players must start every hole from within the tee markers.
  5. You must hole out before finishing a hole.

A comprehensive understanding of the rules of golf is vital. For this purpose please visit USGA’s website.

2.2 Know Your Golf Equipment

When you play golf, you will use a variety of equipment. You can get these at the local golf shop on your local course.

How to Learn Golf
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2.2.1 Golf Apparel

There are a wide variety of clothing combinations in golf. For example, a basic set of golf clothes includes collared T-shirts, trousers or shorts and golf shoes. You may also choose to wear a golf hat.

2.2.2 Golf Clubs

A complete golf set consists of 14 clubs. Let’s take a look at them.

  • Driver 

The Driver is the biggest in size, longest in length and generally hits the golf ball the furthest. You will mostly use it to hit your first shot on a hole.

  • Fairway Wood

Fairway Woods are like a smaller version of a Driver. A typical golf set consists of a pair of Fairway Woods, generally either 3 and 5 Wood or 4 and 7 Wood. 

  • Hybrid

A Hybrid, as the name suggests, is a mix of Wood and Iron. It is also known as Rescue. It is a versatile club that is used almost everywhere on the course.  

  • Irons

An Iron is a club that looks like a slim blade of metal. You will generally use this when you are aiming to hit the ball on the green (parts of the golf course are explained in the next section).

Your Iron collection will most likely range from a 5 Iron to a 9 Iron. 5 is the longest and 9 is the shortest.

  • Wedges

A Wedge is a high-lofted club that is generally used around the greens. A wedge has a higher loft compared to other golf clubs. Therefore making the golf ball spin a lot and launch higher.

  • Putter

This, my fellow golfer, is what separates a really good player from the rest of the field. The Putter is the most commonly used club during a round of golf, as about 50% of all shots are made with it! Although there is only one putter in a golf set, it plays a crucial role on the green when it comes to finishing a hole by getting the ball into the hole.

Investing your time in refining your skills with this club will yield great returns.

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2.2.3 Other Essentials

  • Golf Balls

We will need something to hit when swinging the club and thus, the golf ball. You can get golf balls from any golf shop. You should keep around 10 golf balls.

I would recommend you get the Callaway Chrome-Soft Triple Tracks golf ball since the tracks on the golf ball will help you line up your putts easily. 

  • Golf Glove

You require a golf glove to get a better grip on the golf club. Moreover, it helps prevent blisters that may occur by swinging at high speeds.

While playing, you wear a glove in your lead hand (Left hand for right-handed golfers and vice-versa).

  • Tees

Tees are little items usually of wood or plastic. At the start of every hole, you have the liberty to use a tee and place your ball on it.

  • Alignment Sticks

Although not compulsory, you will benefit greatly from alignment sticks. You will learn how to aim better, a necessity to play good golf. 

For the sake of beginning, you can simply place two clubs on the ground parallelly.

  • Ball Mark

Ball markers are used to mark the position of your ball on the green. You can simply use a coin to mark your ball.

For now, these are all the essential tools you need to know about. 

2.3 Know Your Course

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Every golf course is different and so is every hole. Nevertheless, all of them have the following key structures:

  • Tee

You start every hole from a tee box.

To illustrate, there are 2 Tee Boxes and you have to hit from in between those tee boxes. 

You are allowed to use a tee or place your ball on the ground however you like.

  • Fairway

A Fairway is the area on the course with shortly cut grass giving you a cleaner lie.

Thus, you ideally want to be in the fairway till you reach the green.

  • Rough

The rough is the area with the thick grass.

  • Green

The Green or the Putting Green is part of the course with extremely shortly cut grass. This is also where you will find the hole. 

You only use a putter on the green or extremely close to it.

  • Bunker

A bunker looks like a pot of sand. You want to avoid these on the course.

You are not allowed to ground the club before you hit the ball.

  • Water Hazard

Water Hazard is a body of water on a hole. It is marked with red sticks or lines. 

If your ball ends up in a water hazard you will incur a one-stroke penalty and will have to drop the ball according to the rules of golf.

For this reason, you should try to avoid hitting your golf ball into the water hazard.

  • Out of Bounds

Everything outside the general playing area, or as the golf course decides, is Out of Bounds. Out of Bounds is a no-go zone.

You will get a one-stroke penalty and will have to replay the shot again.

That covers the essential parts of the golf course. Let’s move on.

3. Getting Started

3.1 Finding The Right Golf Course

Finding the right golf course is very important. This is also going to be like your second home. You should look for the following on golf courses:

  1. Distance from your residence.

  2. Membership fee or playing cost (generally higher if it is a private course).

  3. A good 18-hole golf course. If unavailable, even 9 are sufficient for playing.

  4. A good Driving Range.

  5. Practice Putting Greens.

  6. A short-game area (also known as the Chipping/Pitching Range).

  7. A roster of qualified golf coaches.

3.2 Finding Your Golf Coach

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I cannot stress the importance of a good golf coach enough.

Your coach will be your educator, your motivator, your advisor, and a catalyst in making you a better player. 

You can take individual lessons or if you are a child, many courses offer camps with group lessons. Individual lessons are better than group lessons as your coach can fully focus on your golf shots.

Take your time and pick the right coach. Try out a few and find someone who you can see yourself working with and then stick with them unless obviously, their coaching isn’t benefitting you. 

3.3 Getting In The Right Shape

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Although fitness might not be an absolute necessity to play golf, it is to play good golf. 

A few decades ago, most golfers were not considered athletes by the sports community. Only a handful of golfers understood the importance of fitness in golf. One of them was Tiger Woods.

His spectacular golf journey and his domination of the golf world owe a decent amount of credit to his focus on fitness. For the longest time, he was the strongest and the fastest in the field of golf.

You need the endurance to walk 18 holes, the flexibility to twist and turn your body without breaking something and the core strength and speed to swing the club and maintain balance.

I would highly recommend you work on your fitness as it will reap enormous benefits in your golf game. 

4. Mastering The Fundamentals

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Fundamental form the core of the game. Rather than binge-watching golf lessons on the internet, get the fundamentals right and you’ll be a great golfer.

During your golf lessons, your coach will teach you the fundamentals. Here are the GASPS fundamentals you need to know:

4.1 Grip

The grip is the only place of contact between you and the golf club. Therefore it is of utmost importance. Some key tips are:

  1. You should grip the club in your fingers, not the palm.

  2. Do NOT grip too tightly

  3. It is ideal if you can see 2-3 knuckles on your lead hand.

  4. Ensure that the club is pointing at the target.

4.2 Alignment

Aligning both the club and yourself correctly is necessary for hitting shots at the target

The basic formula is to aim your clubface toward the target and then align your body parallelly. 

4.3 Stance

A proper stance is the foundation of your golf swing. Here’s a how to take a proper stance:

  1. Place the club behind the golf ball with proper alignment.

  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (also with proper alignment).

  3. Stand firmly but do not stiffen your joints. 

  4. Your arms should hang comfortably, without being too far away or too close to the body.

4.4 Posture

You should have an athletic, yet comfortable posture. Do not set up with stiff and rigid joints. Keep your spine relatively straight.

4.5 Golf Swing

The golf swing is a complex motion that you would want to learn and practice under the guidance of your coach. The basic purpose of the golf swing is to swing your club in an arc around the body and return the clubface where it started from, with power and speed, while keeping it aimed at your target.

Every golf swing is different. For example, a full swing for a pitch shot is different than a chipping swing.

4.6 The Pre-Shot Routine

A pre-shot routine is a routine of steps you take before hitting every shot. Like every other part of the game, everyone’s pre-shot routine is unique. 

In addition, a consistent pre-shot routine helps you to get the fundamentals right every single time. Moreover, it will ensure that you are in the best form to hit a shot.

5. Practicing To Excellence

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Needless to say, there is no other way to get better than to practice golf. Since you are just beginning, focus on performing the right technique rather than the outcome of the shot itself.

Remember, quality over quantity. Your aim shouldn’t be to hit lots of range balls at driving ranges aimlessly. Rather, focus on hitting every shot with the correct technique and engraving the movement in your muscle memory. 

Further, try and focus on your swing. Although you can observe the golf swings of other golfers on driving ranges, try not to simply copy theirs.

Always keep a goal in your mind every time you go to practice. This way, you will have clarity on what you need to focus on.

You can subscribe to the Golf Digest magazine for practice drills, golf tips for beginner golfers and other exciting golf content.

6. Getting On The Golf Course

You as a beginner golfer might want to play on the actual golf course. In my opinion, you should practice golf for a couple of months before you start playing golf on the course. Once you have a decent golf swing and hit decent golf shots, it’s time to go to the course, that’s where you play actual golf.

If you want, you can always go for a casual round.

Golf lessons on the course are also beneficial for beginner golf.

The main aim while playing golf is to get the ball in the hole in the least number of shots possible. 

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6.1 Golf Etiquette

Firstly, let’s take a look at some good habits beginner golfers should be aware of. After all, golf is a gentleman’s game.

  1. Never get in front of your playing partners.

  2. Do not move or talk when your playing partners are hitting.

  3. The player who is the furthest away from the hole hits first.

  4. Always maintain a decent pace to ensure you are not holding up other golfers behind you. In case you need time to play, give a pass to the group or player behind you.

  5. Do not run on the putting green and clear it as soon as you finish the hole.

  6. Treat your golf club respectfully.

6.2 Know Your Game

Knowing your game is an important part of learning golf.  Let’s see two aspects of your game you should be aware of:

  1. To begin with, you should know how far you hit the ball with a particular golf club. It will help you pick the club you need to play a shot with depending on how far away from the hole you are. 

  2. Secondly, you should know your shot shape (which way your ball curves). This will help you aim correctly to make sure your ball ends up where you want it to.

6.3 How To Approach A Shot

Beginner golf is very different from how a PGA professional golfer plays. Learning how to play will take some time. As you get better your approach will change. Let’s take a look at how you should approach shots in your first few rounds.

  1. Tee shot: 

For the first shot on every hole, your main focus should be to keep the ball in the short grass (i.e. the green on Par-3s and Fairways on Par-4s and Par-5s)

Aim according to your shot shape such that your ball ends up in the short grass.

  1. Approach shot:

There are a few ways to hit this shot.

For now, whenever aiming to hit a ball on the green, it is advisable to aim toward the centre of the green. As you get better at the game, you will start aiming directly towards the flag.

  1. Putt:

Your primary target should be to get the ball close to the hole. Don’t worry if you miss putts. Even the best players in the world miss putt all the time.

Just focus on giving your best.

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6.4 Managing Expectations

Managing expectations is crucial for beginner golfers. You should not get frustrated or beat yourself up because you played badly on the previous hole. It is okay and it is natural. 

The best players in the world hit bad shots and miss short putts even though they have spent countless hours refining their skills.

Just go out there and give your best. Accept the bad shots and enjoy the good ones.

6.5 Having A Good Time

Above all, golf shouldn’t feel like a burden. It should be the highlight of your day. Moreover, have fun when you’re at the golf club, whether you’re at the range or out on the course. 

Now and then, look around and take in the beautiful environment you’re surrounded by (you might find some beautiful memories to capture).

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7. Final Words

In summary, you will surely find this information valuable if you want to play golf. Finally, golf lessons are important. 2 golf lessons every week are enough. You should practice what your coach teaches you before you learn something new.

We wish you all the best in your golf journey.

Check out our article on 11 Best Golf Swing Tips For Beginners.

Discover the Best 5 Golf Courses In Canada here.

Last Updated on by Milan

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