Golf For Beginners:
The Definitive Guide (Updated)
This is a complete guide to golf for beginners in 2021. In this beginner’s guide to golf, I will cover everything for those who know nothing about golf but want to learn golfing.
So if you want to improve your game and cover those extra yards with every shot then you will enjoy reading everything in this guide.
In addition, I will share some pro tips to make your game better.
Let’s dive right in.
In my early days, I used to think like there are so many rules, equipment, and golf terms. It made this game looks hard for me. Over time I learnt a lot of things and felt like I must write this guide.
So, I did.
Know Basic Rules & Jargon before the Game
It is very important to learn the basics of any game before playing, The same goes with the golf. Having the basic knowledge helps you to learn the game faster on golf course.
In this chapter, you will learn some basic terms and rules of the game.
Let’s get started.
Golf terms to remember
Whenever I guide a new golfer, I ask them to learn the golf terms first. It will help them to learn the golf lessons faster as they are familiar with the terms.
Beginners need to understand some basic terms of the game. So, they don’t feel like an outsider on the course.
Here are some important golf terms to memorize:
Terms related to golf course
- Course: It is an entire area of play, where golf is played.
- Tee Box: It is the teeing area where you start your game.
- Putting Green: The smooth grassy area surrounding the hole is called putting green.
- Hole/The Cup: A circular hole in the putting green. It is 4.25 inches in diameter.
- Flagstick/Pin: A flag marker, it is used to indicate the position of the hole.
- Fairway: Area of the golf course between the tee box and putting green.
- Hazard: Anything that comes between the shots, like, Bunker and Permanent water.
- Bunker: A trench area containing sand.
- Rough: Taller grass on either side of the fairway and borders the fairway.
- Apron: Grass surface around the green that separates it from the fairway.
- Out of Bound: Any area outside the course and restricted to hit stroke is called out of bound. You will get a one-stroke penalty if you hit the shot out of bound.
- Slope Rating: A rating between 55 to 155, it determines the level of difficulty of the course.
Terms related to Gameplay
- Club: An equipment used by a golfer to hit the golf ball.
- Clubhead: A part of the club that hits the ball.
- Shaft: A tapered tube that connects the clubhead to the grip and is used to hold from hand.
- Tee: A small wooden peg, used to place the ball before a stroke.
- Swing: Motion of the club, while hitting the ball.
- Backswing: A backward motion part of the club swing.
- Downswing: A part of swing from top to the impact.
- Stroke: A swing made with intent to hit the ball.
- Fore!: A warning, shouted when the ball is heading towards someone.
- Shank: Mis-hit a ball terribly.
- Over clubbing: using a club that tends to hit the ball further than necessary.
- Putt: A shot hit by a putter (later on that) on or just off the green.
- Approach: A shot that aimed to land on the green.
- Drive: A long, distanced shot played from the tee box.
- Duff: A bad shot.
- Explosion shot: A technique to hit the ball out of a bunker.
- Chip: A short shot played around the green.
- Draw: A shot played by a right-handed golfer and ball slightly curves to the left in trajectory.
- Hook: Over-draw shot.
- Slice: A bad shot that curves sharply.
- Fade: A shot played by a left-handed golfer and ball slightly curves to the right trajectory.
- Pitch: A short shot played with a higher lofted club.
- Punch Shot: A shot with a low trajectory.
- Away: Golfer, whose ball is farthest from the green.
- Carry: Distance that ball travels in the air after shot.
- Chunk/Fat-shot/Chili-Dipping: Clubhead hitting the ground before hitting the ball.
- Ball-marker: A small coin or token used to mark the position of the ball before lifting it.
- 19th Hole: It is a clubhouse bar where players sit after the game and enjoy beverages.
- Caddie: A person who carries player’s golf clubs. He can also advise the golfer during gameplay.
- Handicap: Points according to player’s ability, used in scoring.
- Loft Angle: The angle between the golf club’s face and shaft. Higher loft will give a higher trajectory.
- Lie Angle: The angle between the golf clubhead’s sole and the center of the shaft.
Terms Related To Scoring
- Par: It sands for Professional Average Result. The predetermined number of strokes that a golfer should need to complete a hole.
- Under-Par: It is a player’s score when they took fewer strokes than par.
- Over-Par: It is a player’s score when they took more strokes than par.
- Bogey: A score of one over-par.
- Double bogey: A score of two over-par.
- Triple bogey: A score of three over-par.
- Birdie: A score of one under-par.
- Eagle: A score of two under-par.
- Double Eagle/Albatross: A score of three under-par
- Ace/Hole-in-one: When a golfer hits the ball into the hole in one stroke from the tee.
The Goal Of The Game
The object of golf is to get the ball from the tee box to the green and further into the hole. You want to get the ball in it with as few strokes as possible.
Don’t Move Your Ball
Don’t move your ball under any condition unless you are on the green. If you are on a green, you have to mark the golf ball’s position before lifting it.
As a beginner, you will hit the ball in unexpected places. I know it will happen. If a human-made object obstructs it, simply remove the object if you can.
If a human-made object is immovable, you can move the ball. Drop it within one club length of the nearest point of relief.
Hitting The Ball In Out Of Bound
It is the worst feeling if you hit your best shot of the day, and it lands out of bounds. Hitting the ball out of bounds carries a penalty that hurts your score. Out of bound is beyond the boundary of the course. The boundary has marked with white lines.
If you hit the ball out of bounds, you may not remove the ball without penalty. Drop the ball nearby the spot you hit within a one-club length.
Official Rules Of Golf
How to choose the best Golf Clubs
In this chapter, I will share with you what to look for in golf Clubs. I will also show you the importance of choosing good golf clubs.
By the end of this chapter, you will have a clear idea of what to look for in a driver.
Let’s get started.
What are the types golf clubs?
Basically, there are five types of golf clubs, namely: woods, Hybrids, Irons, Wedges, and Putters.
Don’t worry; I will explain these ones by one.
What are the woods:
Back in the days, these clubs were made of wood called persimmon; that’s why these clubs are named woods. But at this time, these clubs are made of metal, usually steel or titanium alloy.
Historically, shafts were also made of wood. Nowadays, graphite is used in most wood shafts, making them lighter and helps to swing better.
Woods includes driver and fairway woods.
Driver or 1-wood is the lowest lofted and longest club. Typically its length is 45 inches- which makes it hard to master. One more thing that makes it unique is that the maximum allowed size of a driver’s head is 460CC, the largest of all clubs.
The Driver covers the longest distance Due to its length and clubhead size. As a result, it is used from the tee box to hit the ball towards the green.
The driver is used to hit the ball on the tee. the height of the tee allows the ball to be struck in the sweet spot. Higher the tee will lead to a higher trajectory of the ball.
The loft of the driver varies from 8.5 to 13 degrees. The loft is the face angle of the clubhead, which decides the trajectory of the ball. Therefore, a lower loft angle will have a lower trajectory in comparison to a higher lofted driver.
Fairway woods have a smaller head and shorter shaft than a driver, but the fairway maintains the larger round clubhead. These clubs have loft mare than 15 degrees.
It has a sweet spot closer to the ground in contrast to drivers. as a result, the tee is positioned lower to hit the sweet spot, or you can use fairway wood without a tee.
Which Wood should you pick?
Typically a golfer use three woods in his bag, including the driver, 3-wood, and 5-wood. But some golfer, especially beginners and ladies, carries more than three woods. They include 7-woods or sometimes 9-woods.
What are the Irons?
Irons are the type of golf clubs used to hit the ball onto the green. Irons are often used from the tee box on par-3s, on par-4s, and par-5s. In addition, they are used for approach shots.
There are seven types of iron in total, numbered from 3-Iron to 9-iron. the difference between irons is the loft. Iron’s loft starts from 20 degrees for 3-iron to all the way 41 degrees for 9-Iron.
This slight difference between loft allows the golfer to choose the irons according to the required distance.
The number of irons carried by a golfer increase over time due to the introduction of hybrid clubs and the requirement of more wedges.
What are the hybrids?
TaylorMade initially introduced hybrid clubs to fill the gap between Woods and Irons by combining their feature. These clubs have big-sized club heads and shorter shafts, making them a great alternative for 3-Irons and 4-Irons.
There is a rule of 24/38 among popular golfers. It states that any club with a loft lower than 24 degrees and a length higher than 38 inches is hard to master for an average golfer. That is the main reason hybrids are replacing 3-Irons, 4-Irons, and sometimes 5-Irons.
Hybrids send the ball to a higher trajectory compare to Irons with the same loft. It happens due to the change in the center of gravity by making the clubhead larger.
You should buy at least one or two hybrids as they are easier to hit than woods and more forgiving than irons.
What are the wedges?
These are the club types that are used near the green to send the ball on the green. Wedges have a high loft that creates a high trajectory and soft landing on the green. You can use these clubs for the distance of around 130 yards or less.
There are four types of wedges, Named:
- Pitching Wedge(PW)
- Gap Wedge(GW)
- Sand Wedge(SW)
- Lob Wedge(LW)
What are the Putters?
These golf clubs are used most during a round. Putters are normally used on the green to hit the ball into the cup. It is designed in a way that rolls the ball forward instead of giving it a flight.
Back in the days, putter used to be the shortest of all the clubs. Now, these clubs are coming in a long version also.
There are three types of putters based on its clubhead design, Named, Blade, Half-Mallet, and Mallet putter. Blade putters are lighter and mallet putters are heavy, Half-Mallet putter fits in-between. The heavier putter rolls the ball longer compare to light putters.
Which golf clubs should you choose?
As a beginner, you should try before making any guess for golf clubs. So, go to a golf store or a golf range near you, try any club available there, and choose the best.
You can go for the woods with more loft. It will make you more comfortable to get the ball in the air, and shots will travel straight.
I always ask beginners not to go with more than 5 or 6 clubs. You can go with a 6-Iron, an 8-iron, a gap wedge, a sand wedge, and a putter; additionally, you can add a hybrid if you want. Some exclusive clubs in the market are for beginners. These clubs are a lot easier to play and more forgiving compare to others.
Where to find these easy-to-hit clubs?
I will suggest you use a local golf shop to find the right club, and if possible, try your hands on it before buying. You can always seek help from professionals to help you to find the right clubs.
If you are buying a used club, I will suggest you put a new grip on it. Also, it is better to change the grip after every 40 rounds.
What Else Do You Need To Play Golf?
There is some basic equipment that is necessarily required when you step into the golf course. Learning about these types of equipment is the first step to learn golf.
Here’s the list:
- Golf Bag
- Golf Attire
- Ball markers
- Clubhead covers
What should a golfer wear?
If you want to become a golfer, you must look like a golfer because most golf courses have a dress code. You have to wear a polo collared t-shirt in most courses. So, get that fits you the best. Most of the golf courses allow wearing khaki pants. Khaki is the most comfortable trousers you can have. Even some course allows shorts during the summer.
Buy a pair of shoes that provide traction and stability while going for a shot. If you don’t want to buy golf shoes right now, you can also go with good-quality sneakers.
In hot summer, it is always advised to use sunglasses to protect your eyes. In addition, you will need a sunblock lotion with the SPF of more than 30 to protect your skin against UV rays.
You can get blisters after using the golf club for a few shots. Golf gloves will prevent you from that. Also, getting good golf gloves will help you get a good and firm grip on your club, and the club won’t slip from your hand due to sweating.
Another thing you must buy is a golf bag. A golf bag is an excellent investment to carry all the clubs and necessary items like balls, water, and snacks. In addition, it will be easy for you to manage your clubs on the course.
How to start
You have bought the equipment, and you have learnt the basic rules. Now it’s time to start some real thing.
In this chapter, you will learn where to start and how to start your learning process.
Whatever you learn, keep enjoying enjoy the process.
Find A Golf Mentor
Find someone experienced enough to make you learn the game and make the learning process easy for you. The mentor is to be someone who has a sincere desire to get involved with you and respects your opinion.
The worst thing a beginner can do is play on the course without even knowing how to play golf. So, going to the golf lesson is worth spending your time and money.
Golf learning isn’t a piece of cake. It takes a lot of time to learn the right way to learn it. But, if you have learned the golf lesson, it will help you improve your game much more quickly.
As said, “Practice makes a man perfect.”
Personally speaking, I will tell you to keep practicing until you get the results you were seeking. Learn your game in the range before you head to the course. It will help you to improve without the expanse of playing the full round of golf. Moreover, you will feel less pressure in the golf range because you aren’t playing a real game.
Whenever you feel confused or in doubt, as it used to happen a lot with me, go back to the golf basics. You are a new golfer and trying to learn things from wherever you can learn. This more than enough information may make you confuse sometimes. So what you can do here is start your shot from basics.
How to play golf step by step
In this chapter, you will learn how to play golf step-by-step. I will cover everything from stance to swing and to score par. This chapter will help to get the best result on the golf course.
Whatever you have learned till now, will help you in this chapter to understand it better.
Here is the step-by-step process:
When I was a beginner, I was dying to play on the course from day one. Playing one the course is the kind of feeling you can’t replace with anything.
Playing on the course is the real thing where you learn all things while playing the game. It transforms you from a beginner player to an advanced player.
Play On A Par 3 Course
As a beginner, it is ideal to start with a par 3 course. In the par 3 course, you can take only three strokes to reach the hole. So choosing the right course is going to help you.
A typical round of the golf lasts for 4-5 hours, but the par 3 course usually lasts about 2.5 hours. And the 9-hole par 3 course takes almost over an hour. So, it is an excellent choice for beginners to spend less time and money learning the game.
Don’t forget to warm up before the game to prevent any injury.
How To Hold A Golf Club
Remember, the way you hold the club is going to affect you. There is more than one way to hold a golf club, but the most popular method is “the 10-finger grip”.
Start with placing the dominant hand on the shaft where it connects the grip. Then, lift the club in the air and palace your other hand palm beneath the grip. Next, wrap your bottom figure around it and palace your thumb at the top of the grip.
Some golfer use an interlocking grip, which helps to increase their stability. To do this, you start with a 10-finger grip. Then, beneath the grip, move your pinkie finger between the middle and index finger of the other hand. Now put your index finger over your pinkie finger, forming an ‘X’ shape.
When I was a beginner, I used to hold the club very tight, which always affected my stroke. I hope you won’t make that mistake. Instead, hold the club firmly so that your tight grip doesn’t create extra tension in your forearms.
How To Take A Stance
The positioning of the ball depends on your club’s length. For short clubs place, your ball in the middle of the stance. For longer clubs, place it half an inch towards your front foot.
Your feet’ position depends on the type of club you are usually using. It should be as wide as your shoulder. If you are using a longer club as drivers and woods, you can widen your stance. And if it is a short club as iron and wedges, bring your stance slightly inside.
The position of your toe and feet is a vital role in your flexibility and body rotation speed. the angle of your front toe is to be towards your target. Check for even weight on both toes and heels.
Now to take a position, lift your club parallel from the ground after making a grip. Slightly bend your knees and drop your arms down until both are resting on your chest. Next, bend your upper body forward until your clubhead touches the ground.
In the end, what matters is If you are comfortable with your position or not. Find the correct position in which you feel comfortable while playing.
How To Swing A Golf Club
Before swinging the club, taking a proper golf stance and making a grip is essential. Start your swing with a good backswing. Backswing starts when you lift your club and bring it above your head. Try to rotate your torso and shift the body weight to your back foot.
Once you have gotten to the top of the backswing, make a pause and start downswing towards the impact. Use a sweeping motion for downswing and try to hit the golf ball with impact. In the downswing, the transition makes sure that your weight is shifting back to your front foot. Allow your knees to move towards your target.
Remember to follow through for proper golf swing even after you hit the ball. It will help you to get the most leverage out of the downswing. Also, keep your eyes on the ball during backswing, downswing, and follow-through. It will help you to lower the mis-hit.
Keep tracking your distance every time you hit the driver. It will help you to adjust based on the distance of the hole.
Putting is a golf stroke when you use a putter on or off the green to hole the ball. The most important thing in putting is keeping a firm grip and maintaining a calm body. It will help you to get more concentration. Be sure of your weakness. So, start making notes on your mis-hits by doing so you can improve them.
There are many drills out there to improve putting. Some of these are gate drill, marker drill, dustbin lid drill, clock face drill.
The aim of the chipping is to carry the ball on or close to the green and get it rolling towards the hole. In a chip shot, the ball doesn’t take much flight. Instead, it remains on the ground with more time bouncing and rolling on the green.
There some chipping drills to improve your chipping. The ‘Y’ or triangle chipping drill, hula hoop chipping drill, trail hand release chipping drill, slam dunk chipping drill.
Pitch shots is a longer version of a chip shot. It occurs when the ball is a bit away from the green; thus, it requires more flight than chip shots.
Most beginners overlook the pitch shots and don’t spend enough time practicing them. However, it requires extra practice as a high percentage of your shots will be under 100 yards.
15 rules for good golf etiquette
Golf is the game of etiquette. You can learn the game slowly, but you should know the etiquettes of the game from day 1.
Being good at etiquette will help you at your game and make a good image of you to your colleagues.
Here are 15 golf etiquette for you:
- Do respect people’s time, don’t be late in-game.
- Introduce yourself with a handshake. (you can avoid it in corona time)
- Follow the proper dress code.
- Don’t distract yourself if someone is going for a stroke.
- Don’t lag in the game. It is always good if you are not taking extra time to play your shot.
- Never lose your temper and don’t throw or break your club or if you can’t break them all.
- Don’t shout and swear after a lousy shot. I know everyone feels very bad after every shot, but swearing and shouting won’t help that.
- Yell “Fore!” if the ball is flying towards someone, shout, “Fore!”
- Always wait for your turn to play. The worst thing you can do on the course is, go for the stroke without your turn until it is ‘Ready Golf.’
- Do take care of your course. Fixing your pitch marks in time will keep the course in pristine condition.
- Don’t look for the ball if you can’t find it in 5 minutes.
- Always help others to find there because you will also need help in finding your ball. On a serious note, being helpful is still great.
- Don’t stand on other people’s putting line.
- Don’t run during, but you can walk quickly and lightly.
- Make a mark on the ball that will prevent it from mixing with other balls.
05 pro tips to dominate competitor
In this chapter, I have something special for you. These pro tips will always help you, no matter how you play and where you play.
These tips are something that always found helpful to me. Sometimes, I wish I knew these things at my early stage.
Enjoy the practical pieces of advice.
1. Have A Range Routine
Whatever you will learn, you will need to practice it, and there is no better place to practice than a golf range. Learning new skills and practicing them are equally important. So Pro-tip is that stick to your golf range routine and practice every shot you think needs improvement.
2. Correct Your Swing Using Levels
Sometimes you may tilt your front shoulder in a swing or a little bit drop your front knee. The best way to come over this is, think in levels.
Think of the four levels as:
- knee level
- Hip level
- Shoulder level
- Head level
The key here is to maintain the levels. Keep these four levels on an imaginary shelf. You need to practice this exercise with a wedge, tee the ball high and try to clip the ball off the top. It will prevent from dropping of the head, shoulder, or hips.
3. Hit Through The Ball
Sometimes people do more flat swing, and sometimes they do more upper swing, but what most great players do is stay on the top of the ball and hit through the ball. The key here is the APRT formula.
- Through the ball
Address your target, Get yourself positioned on the ball, be in your rhythm and hit through the ball.
4. Practice Putting
Putt is the most played shot in golf. So practicing putting will help you on the green. The exercise you can do is take two blocks and place them parallelly and a little bit wider than the putter head.
Now practice the stroke by slowly swinging your putter in between the blocks. It will help you to keep your putter face square when it hits the ball.
5. Examine The Grass On Green
The grass on the green plays a big role in which way the ball will go. You can adjust the pace of putt by simply looking at the grass.
Usually, The grass will go towards the sunlight or the source of water near the green. If you take shots from the opposite side of the grass face, you will need a little extra pace on that shot.
6. Bonus tip
So, look for the equipment that has some loft and suits best. Work on your attire. Learning some basic rules is also going to help you on the course. Learning the game on the range and in practice sessions will give you enough confidence in the course. Do play your best game on the course by following proper techniques. Last but not least, do follow the golf etiquettes that makes yourself a perfect golfer.
That’s it for my guide of golf for beginners in 2021.
Which part of this guide is great for you? Or maybe you have a question about something.
Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment below and enjoy your game.