Congratulations on your decision to play golf! It’s one of the most genteel of all games – etiquette and rules are prominent and almost everyone you meet is pleasant and encouraging. It’s a game you can play for your entire life, and it will help you stay young, meet people and have fun. When you’re starting out, there’s so much to think about – here are our top 6 things to know.
1. How to hit your clubs. Don’t expect to get hitting practice while you’re playing – do that at the driving range. Hit enough balls that you’re comfortable with your clubs, and that you can hit them reasonably consistently. For instance, at the driving range, set a goal that you’ll hit 5 or 10 decent shots in a row with a specific club…it’s harder than it sounds! But if you’re comfortable with your clubs and becoming more consistent in hitting the ball, that will take a lot of stress out of the game.
2. Rules and etiquette. Golf is a game of rules and etiquette. Don’t stress about learning all of them at once. Perhaps focus on etiquette first, as it makes you easier to play with, and takes some of the stress out of the game for you – you can always ask your fellow golfers about a rule until you understand it. Golf Canada has put out an easy guide to golf rules and etiquette, which I recommend you download and read. You can download the PDF here.
Keep following this blog, as we’ll discuss rules and etiquette, and how we use them in Ladies Links Tour. And if you have a question, by all means submit it so we can address it.
3. When to pick the ball up. We’ve all had a hole where we just keep flailing away, hoping that sooner or later the ball will get to the green. Or the hole where every shot is either in the water, or out of bounds. Enough already! Pick the ball up, and hold onto it until you get to the green. Then drop it on the edge of the green and play on. In Ladies Links Tour, we have the Par rule: if you’ve hit the par (i.e. par 5) for the hole but are still in the fairway, pick the ball up and putt when you reach the green. And limit your putts to 3. There are two key reasons for this:
- You must keep up the pace of play, which means you try to keep up with the group in front of you. It keeps the game moving along, and avoids frustrating the people you’re playing with, or the people behind you.
- You must enjoy yourself. Flailing around and feeling like you’re holding people up is not the way to have fun. So recognize that as a new golfer, you’ll probably need to pick your ball up. But if you keep on playing, the odds are that this won’t be permanent.
4. You have a right to play! Just because you’re learning the game doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to enjoy any course. Everyone on the course was a beginner once, too. Don’t think that you’re a burden because the rest of the foursome are good golfers, and you’re the newbie. In fact, most golfers will welcome and encourage you. When I started out, I’d try to get matched up with senior men – I found them to be so respectful and encouraging, and they loved having a woman playing with them.
If you hit a bad shot off the tee, just discreetly pick it up, and drop your ball where the best of the foursome’s tee shot landed. Sooner or later you won’t need to do that anymore.
5. Golf is supposed to be fun. So get out there. Embrace the scenery and the challenge. Take a deep breath and dive in – the hardest part of the game is getting over yourself!
6. Oh yes, and join Ladies Links Tour – we offer a friendly, non-competitive and safe environment where new golfers – and experienced golfers – can learn and improve! For more information, visit our web site. Or come out to our Open House to see what we’re all about!