Golf Basics: How to Play Golf

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Frustration, challenge, calm, and reward are the unique amalgam that make golf basics the ultimate mental and physical test.

Some regard it as the best game ever played, but that should not get you into thinking it’s easy. It will beat you up, make you curse it, and still have you smitten a few minutes later.

There’s something about this beautiful game that makes it an obsession for millions around the world.

Are thinking of being a golfer but have not clue where to begin?

Worry not, this guide will have you teeing up like a pro in no time!

Basic Golf Rules

Knowing the rules of the game should be the very first step in learning how to play golf.

While golf rules may seem overly complicated and intimidating, they are simple once you familiarize yourself with them. You can, however, begin with the basics and work your way up to to the more complex ones.

To become a good golfer, you need to learn from the best. Therefore, make a habit of hanging around experienced golfers and play them whenever you can. Ask questions if necessary, and don't shy away from mistakes. After all, we all learn from mistakes, don’t we?

Before you hit the golf course, here are a few necessary things you need to keep in mind:

1. Scoring

A golf course contains 18 holes. Each hole has a “par.” By definition, a par is the number of strokes you should hit before getting the ball into a particular hole.

Pars range from 3-5. In golf jargon, they are termed as Par 3, Par 4 and Par 5. The pars for each hole make up the total par for the golf course, which is usually 72.

2. Golf Etiquette

Like every other game, golf has its jargon. It is essential to learn proper etiquette in golf before your first tee.

For starters, you should learn the names used to describe your performance on each hole. They include:

  • Two under Par (you shoot three on a Par 5) – Eagle
  • One under Par – Birdie
  • Even with Par – Par
  • One over Par – Bogey
  • Two over Par – Double Bogey
  • Three over Par – Triple Bogey
  • Four over Par – Quadruple Bogey

To make things simpler, if it takes you four shots to make your ball on par 4, then you get a par. If it takes you four shots, but on par 3, you get a Bogey, and so on.

Other Important Golfing Rules

Besides the basic rules outlined above, understanding the following rules will also come in handy:

3. Tee Markers

“Teeing off” is the golfing term for starting a hole. You need to tee the ball up behind the markers.

Typically, markers are brightly colored and oversized, so they should be easy to identify. There are different tees for each skill level. The more experienced the golfer, the further their tee will be.

4. Shot Order on Green

When all players on the hole have reached the green, the player who is furthest from the hole takes the shot first. This is repeated until every player makes their put.

5. Out of Bounds

You’ll probably be amused when you see a guy hit the ball into the water or in the bushes. When this happens, that player should take a one-stroke penalty before dropping a new ball.

The new ball can be dropped at the point where the lost ball was hit, or the point at which it went out of bounds. After this, the player is allowed to resume play.

The above rules are just the basics, but they are enough to get you started.

Taking Your First Swing

First things first, you need to decide on which side to take a proper golf swing. Usually, the side of the plate for which you normally swing a baseball bat will most likely be your most comfortable golfing side.

Just try both sides and find out what works for you.

After getting your preferred swing side, you need to master the golf stance. This involves getting the right knee flex, feet angle, and the overall posture. Avoid taking a stance that is too narrow because it will limit the amount of power in your swing. Having mastered the golf stance, you can now take your first swing.

With the golf club in your left hand, picture yourself facing a clock, with the club’s shaft at 12 o'clock. Your left hand’s thumb should be on the club’s grip at one o'clock. In this position, you should be able to easily see the left hand’s middle and index finger knuckles.

Maintaining your stance and grip, take the swing. Beware of missing the ball!

With regular practice, you will be swinging like a pro in just a few days.

Happy golfing!

Meta title: Golfing 101: All You Need to Know About Playing Golf

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