Golf for the casual golfer

So, you’re going to play golf, maybe even for the first time, congrats! You’re going to love it. But before you go out, you want to make sure you at least understand the basics. That way you’re not that guy at the soccer match shouting touchdown every time someone scores a goal. But no worries, it’s not hard, so here is a crash course on the basics of golf.
Golfing Score Card

Keeping Score

What’s the point of sports without some friendly competition? Here’s how to keep track of your score when playing golf. The first thing you need to know, unlike most sports, golf is won by whoever has the lowest score at the end of the game.

A full golf course consists of 18 holes (don’t worry you don’t actually have to play all 18 holes if you don’t want to). And you count how many times you have to hit the ball to get it into the hole. The simplest way of keeping score is counting each swing that you make per hole and whoever has the lower amount of swings wins. That’s not too hard now, is it?

Your Clubs

Golf bag full of golf clubs next to course
But how are you going to hit a tiny ball several hundred yards into a hole that is only slightly bigger than the ball? Well, the key is to get to know the clubs you’re using. Each club has a slightly different style and can be used in different situations. Now, this may sound complicated but a lot of this is actually pretty simple.
A wood golf club preparing to swing at a golf ball

The “Driver” or “Wood” club is extremely light and has a longer handle than most of the rest. It does exactly what the name implies and drives the ball further than the rest of the clubs. Using this club when you start at the beginning of a hole is a good idea and it's easiest to use when the ball is propped up on a tee.

Next, we can talk about the hybrid which looks a lot like the driver but it’s a bit smaller. It’s good to use to get a good distance once on the course and it can hit the ball pretty well right off the grass.

Bag of golfing irons

Then you have a bunch of different numbered golf clubs called irons. The simple way of thinking about it is, the higher the number on your iron the higher the ball will fly and the lower the number the further your ball will go. So you can play around with those depending on your situation to either get the ball up a hill or send it farther than your opponent.

Then, of course, you have your putter, which if you have ever tried putt-putt golf you have a good idea of how to use it. But if not, just remember the putter is used to go short distances on flatter areas, and it also keeps the ball on the ground so it doesn’t bounce over the hole you’re aiming for. Now that isn’t a full list of all the club’s pros use but that’s an average idea of the clubs you’ll see and use your first-time round on the course.

Properly gripping a golf club

Your grip and swing

Finally, let’s take a quick look at the proper grip of your clubs and a proper swing. Now I’m not about to get in to all the absolute best posture and grip ways. But as a rule of thumb, when holding a club, you should try to interlock the pinkie of your stronger hand with your pointer finger of your weaker hand, keep your weaker hand up higher than your stronger hand on the grip of the club.

Also, don’t grip the club too tight or too loose, just hard enough for it to not go flying when you swing. (When you shout, “Fore!” people aren’t usually preparing for a club coming their way). And when it comes to your swing, if you’re a beginner and are going to just have fun don’t stress on every little detail about foot positioning and where your head is supposed to be but do remember this, just because you swing harder doesn’t mean the ball will go further. The smoother your swing on average the farther the ball will go and straighter it will go as well. If you’re planning on trying to go pro you should probably spend more time looking up the best grip and swing for you so that you don’t pick up any bad habits but if you’re going out to have fun then do that and don’t get so technical, you’ll lose the fun of hitting a golf ball as straight and as far as you can.

Image of a green golf course surrounded by a wooded area

Well, now you’re ready to go out. Give it a shot or more and enjoy your time out on the course! If you're wondering why you should give golf a chance read my other article Got Golf?