The game of golf is surprisingly simple, but still incredibly hard to master. For these reasons, it is one of the most enjoyable sporting activities that people partake in on a professional or amateur level. Playing golf is a great way to spend time with friends, hone your skills, and find some quiet time away from your duties.
Even though it is simple, there are a lot of things that go into making you a better player. Even if you just want to hit the links or the driving range for some casual fun, you still want to give it a good go so you aren’t wasting your time. Here are some basics that every golf player needs to know.
Know the Differences In Your Clubs
One of the most intimidating things for beginners is to know what clubs are which and how to use them. For advanced players, this is less of a concern but it does take time to understand which clubs do what. The 9 iron and driver are typically used for longer shots, while a chipper is for maneuvering the ball out of a tight jam, and the putter is used on the putting green. You don’t need an extensive arsenal of clubs, just a select few that will help in the major situations of short, medium, and long shots.
Learn What Swing Mechanics Are
You don’t need to be a physics major to understand how important mechanics are to the quality of your shot. Figuring out how to turn your hips, follow-through with your arms, and focus on the ball will allow you to hit your driver better and expand on your skills. Even the short shots like putting are a lot more complicated than many think. Understanding feet placement (shoulder-width apart) and elbow movement (straighter the better) on a putt will help you improve your score.
Simplicity Is Often Key
There are a staggering amount of pages in the official rules of golf, but that doesn’t mean you need to understand them all or even know them. It is good to brush up, but often it is best to keep it simple. Focusing on a select few clubs in your bag that you are comfortable with and focusing on perfecting your skills with your shot mechanics, as well as your patience, are all you really need to be successful. Spending thousands of dollars on equipment won’t make you the next Tiger Woods, so focus on simplicity.
How to Pick the Right Ball
Picking a ball is not as complicated as picking the right club (which itself isn’t very hard, mind you). The main things to think about are how often you play and how often you seem to lose them, which is also quite normal, especially for the pros. Balls will come in packs of sleeves which equal out to a dozen usually, so if you can find cheap ones, you won’t be losing out on money when you slice one into the rough. It is also important to try practice putts with balls to see how they handle.
Choosing a Good Course to Play
Picking the course for your skill level depends on a lot of factors. Mainly, how difficult the holes are but also how much you want to pay. Many regular courses will charge a simple playing fee that could be less than $20 for a full game, but the course might not be as well-maintained (think Caddyshack). The better the course, the higher chance it will have more difficult holes for experienced golfers and may require a membership. Knowing how to pick the right course means being comfortable with difficult shots, a lot of sandtraps, and plenty of water hazards, or being okay with just a basic set-up to help you play quicker and easier rounds.
Stretch Before Playing
Golf players get joked around with because they are not seen as the most physically gifted or athletic of sp. This is true to an extent as you don’t need to be a 6’4 genetic superhuman to excel, but it is still a sport with physical requirements after all. Stretching before a game, or even an afternoon at the driving range will help reduce your chances of pulling something on a shot or your muscles getting tired from walking and repetitive motion. Focus on your hamstrings/legs, your lower back, and your forearms/arms to help minimize risks, as any good player will know these areas are most prone to soreness.
Being a good golf player takes time and practice, but there are plenty of basics that you should know regardless of skill level, and this list includes some that will help no matter how little or long you’ve been playing.