Golf for Beginners: Your Guide to the Game

February 17, 2023

Golf for Beginners: Your Guide to the Game

Relaxing and fun, yet challenging in mind and body, there’s a lot to love about a good game of golf. Not only is a day out on the green an excellent way of staying active while enjoying the great outdoors, it also offers a wonderful opportunity to socialise with like-minded people in your community. 

Golf is a highly accessible sport which can be enjoyed by people of all ages, genders, skills, and fitness levels. All you need is a couple of pieces of equipment and a booking at your local golf course.

If this is your very first time, you may be feeling a little nervous. But don’t worry, our beginners guide to golf is here to introduce you to all the basic golf rules, skills, and equipment you’ll need to get started.

Golf Overview: How is the Game Played?

The aim of golf is fairly straightforward: get the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. 

Each hole of golf begins at the ‘teeing ground’, a prepared area where the ball is first struck. Unlike most ball games, the playing area and terrain will vary from course to course, adding an extra layer of challenge. Players strike the ball with a club, aiming for a second prepared area known as a ‘putting green’, where the hole awaits to receive the ball.

Between the teeing ground and the putting green are a variety of terrains, including fairways, rough (long grass), and a range of hazards which can include rocks, water, or sand-filled pits known as ‘bunkers’. A standard round of golf typically comprises 18 holes, though 9-hole rounds are ideal for beginners. 

There are two main forms of play:

  • Match play: winner is determined by how many holes are won and lost
  • Stroke play: winner is determined by how many strokes are taken to complete the entire round

Golf Rules: The Basics

With 24 official golf rules, each with their own sub-sections, golf can feel a little daunting for beginners.

The good news is, you’re not expected to know everything straight away, though it’s best to familiarise yourself with the basic rules to help speed up play and ensure an enjoyable experience. 

Here are the most important golf rules to know before the game:

  1. A maximum of 14 clubs are allowed in a player’s bag during play.
  2. Tee the ball behind the tee markers or you’ll receive a penalty stroke.
  3. Play the ball as it lies. You cannot pick up or move the ball to make it easier to hit.
  4. If your ball lands out of bounds, you’ll get a two-shot penalty and must replay the shot.
  5. If you suspect your ball has gone out of bounds and you won’t be able to find it you can play a provisional ball to prevent long delays.
  6. The player furthest from the hole should hit their ball first.
  7. If your ball is within sight but has landed somewhere unplayable, you can drop it up to two club lengths from its position, or on the line running between your ball and the hole. Your drop cannot move the ball closer to the hole.

Golf Handicaps Explained

A golf handicap is a numerical rating given to a player to gauge their approximate ability. This helps level the playing field, enabling players of all skill levels to play together. The handicap works by allowing less skilled players to deduct strokes from their overall score whilst more experienced players cannot. 

Every hole on the golf course has a ‘par’; the ideal number of strokes it should take to get the ball in the hole. The handicap rating indicates how many strokes ‘over par’ you’re likely to shoot in a round of golf. The lower the handicap number, the better the player. For example, on a course with a par of 72, a golfer with a handicap of 20 would be expected to complete the course in roughly 92 strokes, while a golfer with a handicap of 8 would typically complete it in 80 strokes. 

As a beginner, you’ll start with the maximum handicap of 54.

Golf Tips for Beginners

Now that you know the basic rules of golf, it’s time to start learning how to play it. Here are some golf tips for beginners learning to play.

Start at the Driving Range 

The best place to start your golfing journey is at the driving range. Here, you can typically hire equipment and have a go without having to buy your own clubs and balls. 

The driving range is a comfortable and pressure-free environment where you can get a feel for your clubs, practise your golf swings, and perfect your technique before heading out to the golf course. 

Play 9-Hole Games 

Now that you’re a little more familiar with the basics, such as how to grip your clubs, hitting the ball, and the appropriate golfing posture, it’s time to try out your new skills on the golf course. We recommend starting with a shorter, 9-hole course, as it’s quicker and a lot less daunting than a full 18-hole course (which can take many hours to complete).

Master Your Short Game

Whacking the ball as hard as you can may be satisfying, but in golf, the short game is king. 

Once you’re on the green, the only thing that matters is sinking your putt in as few shots as possible – something you’ll struggle with if you’ve spent all your time hitting drives. Be sure to spend plenty of time strengthening your short game, practising shots such as putting, chipping, and pitching. 

Learn from the Best!

To be the best, you’ve got to learn from the best. It’s much easier to learn good habits than to unlearn bad ones. A trained professional can teach you the basics of the game and help you perfect your technique – laying the foundations for a lifelong love of golf. 

Book your golf lessons today to get started. 

Golf Beginner FAQs

What are the best golf clubs for beginners? 

Golfing beginners don’t need a full set of 14 golf clubs to get started. In fact, you’re much better off investing in a few high-quality clubs rather than purchasing a cheaper, low-quality set. 

Here’s a list of the best golf clubs for beginners to start off with:

  • Driver
  • Three Wood
  • Three, five, seven, and nine irons 
  • Pitching Wedge
  • Sand wedge
  • Putter

What are the best golf balls for beginners? 

As a general rule, golf balls with more layers are better suited to advanced players. 

As you become more experienced, you’ll be able to select a ball that better fits your game, but we recommend starting with a 2-piece golf ball to begin with.

What do I need for a day of golf?

Here are the essential items you’ll need before setting out for a day of golf: 

  • Reliable set of golf clubs
  • Golf bag
  • Golf balls – losing golf balls is expected. Be prepared with spares
  • Golf tees
  • Comfortable golf glove
  • Golf shoes
  • Light snacks
  • Water
  • Hat

Your Golfing Journey Starts at Eynesbury 

At Eynesbury, we have a world-class, 18-hole golf course designed by golfing legend, Graham Marsh. Golfers of all skill levels will love playing against the lush and striking backdrop of the Eynesbury Golf Course. 

Ready to try a round of golf for yourself? Find out more about our pricing today. 

We can’t wait to see you there.

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