Is it for me? Taking up the game of Golf

Published 02/08/2008 11:00:20

Enthralled by The Open? Been bitten by the golf bug? Fancy yourself as the next Padraig or Poulter? Then read on as we try to make golf newbie friendly and show why it's more than just a game.


More Than A Game


There is no doubt that being able to play golf is a life skill that will provide you with endless hours of enjoyment and give you opportunities to visit some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, from Augusta to the Algarve. Golf, however, offers so much more; it is an excellent networking tool which can provide great opportunities to get to know business associates, help seal exciting business deals, provide a platform to catch up with old friends and make new friends.  It is also an excellent form of exercise and moreover, its unique scoring system means that you can play against people of any ability, anywhere in the world and still compete evenly (click here for more info about handicapping) .


People get put off by some of the stereotypes surrounding the game such as it being a rich man's sport, expensive to take up and difficult to find a decent members club. Don't be.  Golf can be an expensive game initially but it no longer has to be because there are now a number of excellent outlets (in comparison to a relative few in the not too distant past) that sell good quality equipment. There is no shortage of quality places to play, offering brilliant value with equally good pro's on hand to bring on your game. (See our UK golf course and driving range locator for details ).


Learning to play golf can be difficult, so it's naive to think that you will be driving like Tiger or chipping like Nicklaus anytime soon, so be patient. Your first step towards getting that Green jacket is obtaining the all important clubs  - of which there is a vast selection available on the market, ranging from laser cut drivers to graphite shaft Irons - the choice is endless but don't be daunted by scientific jargon or price, there is a set out there for you.


The Clubs


beginners golf clubs

Don't judge clubs buy how much they cost - you can pick a decent starter set up for less than £150 now and as a beginner there is no need to kit yourself out with top end clubs straight away. You need to learn how to use your clubs first, so it's all about what you feel comfortable with. You don't necessarily get what you pay for with golf clubs, technique is everything on the course so as long as you like what you are holding, don't be talked into spending more than you planned for by an over zealous salesman. Be careful buying second-hand sets as they may need to be re-gripped or be could be imbalanced. See our 7 tips for buying new clubs for further information.


Half Sets


As a beginner, buying a half set (consisting of something like a driver, fairway wood, wedge, 9 Iron, 7 Iron, 3 Iron, putter and possibly driving Iron) is not a bad idea because you will get a feel of what works for you and your natural swing without unnecessarily purchasing clubs that will never leave your bag during a round.  Everyone has their favourite clubs but whatever equipment you decide on, make sure you are particularly at ease with your putter; it will be used to make over half of all shots in any given round, so you need to be friends.


Before you purchase a set to get you up and putting make sure you shop around, high street stores, such as Argos and Sports Direct, now possess ever expanding golfing sections, and there are bargains to be had.  American Golf and JJB Sports' megastores also have competitive golfing catalogues and maintain excellent indoor testing ranges, so always take advantage of the try before you buy facilities. Don't be intimidated just because you're a beginner - everyone had to start somewhere.


Where To Play


Once you have your clubs, you will need somewhere to play regularly to get some sort of form. There are various training tools around at the moment but there's nothing quite like getting on the fairway. As a beginner, before actually becoming a member of a club, it's a good idea to play a few rounds at several different courses so you can gauge not only if the course is for you but whether or not you like the atmosphere in the club house as well as the resident pro.  Don't get tied in to a membership contract if you are unsure.


Practise Makes Perfect


practise makes perfect

Wherever you decided to play, it's likely at the outset at least you won't be able to make shots as you visualise them or have seen them on television. Golf is a game where practise definitely makes perfect so trial and error and hard work at your swing will pay dividends. Don't be disheartened by scuffing a few shots or hooking a few drives in front of watching members at the tee, although there is no hiding place at times like this everyone makes mistakes in golf, just watch Van Der Velde's 1999 Open collapse for reassurance!


You should be aiming to simply enjoy the game at first, don't worry about getting your handicap for the initial period and don't be concerned or intimidated by the form of people around you. It's likely that the people you see breezing round your course have been playing since childhood and probably know every blade of grass, so just concentrate on your own game and the improvements you will make if you keep at it.  That first Birdie will give you all the motivation you need - there's always a great shot around the corner!


Your golfing adventure starts here, get yourself out on the course and keep it at. In the words of The Golden Bear: "Hit a ball, go find it and hit it again."


Further Reading



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