The first time you play golf can be intimidating and stressful. Here are some tips for beginners to make it a little easier and a little more comfortable for the first time.
If you have a good friend that is an experienced golfer, try to arrange a tee time for the both of you. That way, they can give you some tips on maneuvering around the golf course. The worst thing you can do is play with other beginners. The only thing that you’ll learn is that the people behind you seem to be really upset about something. The next best thing to playing with a friend is to play by yourself during times when the course is not very crowded.
If you are getting ready to go on the course for the first time, then you probably have clubs and a bag so just make sure you have everything else that you need. Have plenty of golf balls and you can purchase used golf balls off the internet at very reasonable prices. Initially brands don’t matter. Be sure and have plenty of tees and ball markers, along with a divot repair tool to fix ball marks on the green with. Also include other items depending on the weather such as sun screen and it’s always a good idea to have a few Band-Aids just in case.
If you need to make the tee time for yourself explain up front that it is your first time and take their advice on when to play. Make sure they know if you are by yourself or have your own group. Whatever your tee time is, show up early so you can warm up a little and hit a few putts before going to the tee.
On the teeing ground, you have to place your ball between the tee markers, either even with them or up to two club-lengths behind them. Tee markers can be any variety of things, but are usually small, colored cones of some sort or some other similar indicator. As a beginner, look at the scorecard and see which set of tees are the shortest and play from them if possible. If you are joining a group, just play from where they play from for speed of play reasons. It may also be a good idea to hit a club you feel most comfortable off the first tee if you are a little nervous.
If golf carts are involved, be sure to put your bag on the passenger side. You will need to observe where to drive the cart and where to park it. Be sure and pay attention to the directional markers or arrows showing where to enter and exit the fairway.
Here is a wonderful link to “Golf Rules and Etiquette for Dummies.” Feel free to ask others in the group if they have any particular rules that they play by. Most casual golfers play by more casual rules which is fine as long as everyone plays by the same rules. Going strictly by the Rules of Golf they ball will be played as it lies, but for beginners it is suggested that you should feel free to tee the ball up anywhere as long as that is okay with your companions.
Be sure and keep up with your playing partners, even if that means picking up. One of the most important things you can learn as a beginner is how to play quickly. In spite of what most people think, lack of ability doesn’t have to mean slow. Some of the slowest players are low handicappers.
You will find that most golfers don’t object to playing with beginners if they play quickly. The key factor is always being ready to hit when it is your turn.
Always repair your ball marks and also learn to repair divots in the fairway. Many courses today provide sand bottles for this. If nothing else, just kick the grass around the edge toward the middle.
Most importantly, be sure to rake the sand trap as you leave and make sure it as smooth as possible.
Either turn it off or put it on vibrate. One of the most annoying things to deal with on the golf course is someone constantly using their phone. It is considered rude by most golfers. For those reasons, some courses don’t even allow them on the course.
Check with the pro shop to see if the course has a dress code. Some courses don’t allow jeans or shirts without collars. Wearing a pair of khaki slacks and a shirt with a collar on it is acceptable everywhere.
Actual golf shoes are normaly not required, and golf gloves are always up to the golfer, but both are good things to have and use.
If you are playing a public course tipping is almost never an issue unless it is upscale. If they have someone picking up your clubs or bringing you a cart and loading your clubs, you will be expected to tip them so bring some extra cash. A couple of bucks or so is usually fine but the scale goes up as the cost of the guest fee goes up. The same holds true if they have a beverage cart. That employee works for tips.