In the last year, the number of new players who have been encouraged to learn to play golf broke all records. After all, the need to encourage relaxation and outdoor activities made golf an ideal sport for the health situation.
Although many of these players simply chose to practice in a private and self-taught way, the truth is that they do not usually stay that way for long. Unlike other sports, golf is a highly technical and complex discipline, where the best alternative is to start learning with specialists from the moment we take our first steps.
But if you prefer to venture out and begin to trace your path in a self-taught way, then we recommend you to read this article, as we will explain what you need to know to get started in the best possible way in this sport.
Golf is a sport where each player starts with a ball on the tee and his goal is to put it in the hole using as few strokes as possible. To achieve this, the golfer must use different types and sizes of clubs that will offer greater precision or power depending on his needs.
As for the accounting of the points, these are simpler than it seems, since you only have to count the number of strokes that were necessary to achieve the goal of each hole.
The par and difficulty of each hole
Each hole on a golf course determines a specific number of strokes that are considered necessary for a professional player to get the ball to the hole. That number of strokes is what is known as “Par”.
Naturally, there are courses with greater difficulty than others, so the number of “Par” usually varies from one hole to another. The most common are par 3, par 4 and par 5.
Par 3 is usually the minimum, since a tee shot is calculated to get as close as possible to the area of the hole; an approach, which allows us to enter the green; and a third shot to make the putt. Of course, being beginners, we may need a couple of additional strokes to achieve our goal.
Technical golf vocabulary
There are specific terms that allow us to refer to the performance of each player on a given hole, which is measured according to the par of each hole.
In the first part of this article “How to start playing golf” we already saw some common golf terms such as swing, par, handicap, loft, tee, etc, then we list other common terms more focused on the ultimate goal of this sport, which is none other than putting the ball in the hole.
- Hole in one: By holing the ball in one stroke.
- Albatross: When the ball is pocketed with 3 strokes under par.
- Eagle: when the ball is pocketed with 2 strokes under par.
- Birdie: when completing the hole with one stroke less than par.
- Par: When we play the strokes stipulated by the par of the hole.
- Bogey: When we need one stroke more than the par to hit a bogey.
- Double bogey: When we require two more strokes with respect to the par.
- Triple bogey: When we finish the hole with three strokes over par.
Types of blows
A few moments ago we briefly mentioned the different types of swing that every beginner should know. These vary greatly in the strength, accuracy and technique they apply.
The most important ones that every new golfer should be aware of are as follows:
- The starting stroke
- The approach
- The putter
These three types of shooting are basic and very necessary for any person who wants to start in the sport. Next we will develop each one of them.
The starting stroke
The tee shot is a long distance shot, where the power of the shot will be the most important aspect. This shot usually requires the ball to travel between 100 and 200 meters towards the green. We will probably not be accurate enough to hit it, but it is enough to get close enough.
As for the right club for this stroke, a wood is usually chosen as it is the one that offers the most power thanks to being the longest club. It is important to remember that this first shot is the only time the ball is on the tee, so it is important to make the most of it. After the tee shot, the woods are rarely used again as a beginner.
Tips for the starting stroke
When teeing off, make sure the tee is at the correct height, with half a ball protruding from the club face. Try to make the most of the full body rotation to gain as much power as possible in this first shot, and remember that the shot has to be horizontal to take full advantage of the club’s bonanzas. When it comes to getting good distance, it is more important to find a good place to hit the ball than to try to hit it with a lot of force.
The approach is an approach shot. It is characterized for being a medium distance shot, where the ball is slightly elevated and seeks to enter the green in a controlled manner. That is why the shot has to be very directed and controlled in terms of power.
To achieve this, the most appropriate clubs for a golfer are the irons, these are the mid-range clubs where the golfer gets much closer to the ball, giving up much of its power to gain accuracy.
The most important tips to achieve a good approach shot are to bring the feet together until they are shoulder width apart; that way the body will have much more control. On the other hand, the ball has to be exactly between the middle of the feet, to avoid having to tilt the body when connecting a good shot.
Finally, there is the putter, which is the shot that seeks to carry the ball with great precision in the direction of the hole. For this, players look for a flush shot, where the most important aspects to be taken care of are the direction and precision of the shot. To make this shot the club used is the putter, which is the shortest of all as it is not designed to give power but precision to the shot.
Mastering putter technique requires much more than simply trying to get molas in the hole. A good putter implies on the one hand being able to control the direction of the shot, being able to control the power on the other hand and knowing how to read the course. To train in a better way, it is best to plan training sessions where on the one hand we can practice our shots in a straight line, for example by arranging several arcs consecutively and try to get the ball through all of them.
Then, practice our power, where the objective will be that the ball travels in a certain direction, but also looking for it to stop between two specific points, neither before nor after. Finally, read the elevations of the terrain, look for an area of the green with relief and vary the angle by testing how the ball behaves when it is downhill, uphill, with left and right elevation,
Now we open a second part of the article, where we will talk about that which complements the players; the sticks. No matter how good a player is, if he doesn’t have the right clubs he will probably never reach an elite or professional level. It is important to know that each type of club has its own size and style, but at the same time they also vary in size depending on the height and comfort of each player.
So, if possible, it is highly recommended that each player can acquire his own clubs when the possibility arises. This guarantees on the one hand that the clubs are designed for oneself, and at the same time we will have the certainty that we will not have to adapt to the clubs that are available every time we go to the club.
Basic golf clubs
The woods are the type of clubs that allow us to perform the tee shots, since they offer us the possibility of achieving a greater distance. That is why at the same time they are the longest clubs, which allow us to position ourselves farther away from the ball and obtain greater impact force. Being so far away from the ball, it makes our shot much more horizontal than with the other clubs, almost as if we were batting.
Irons are the most common type of clubs that a golfer usually includes in his equipment, and up to two thirds of a golf bag are usually variables of this type of clubs. They are designed for the approach, and can offer greater elevation or distance depending on the angle they have on the club face, and can be more open or closed.
Tighter irons, such as 3 and 4 iron, are used for longer distance shots. On the other hand, those with more inclination, such as the 7, 8 and 9 are those that achieve greater elevation but stay a little in terms of distance.
Finally, there are the putters, which are the clubs used to roll the ball on the green surface. These are characterized by being the shortest in the bag, which forces us to get closer to the ball allowing us to gain greater accuracy in the shot.
Learning to play golf: Frequently asked questions
How many lessons are necessary to learn to play golf?
That a person incorporates the correct postures and techniques, the necessary knowledge and manages to consolidate the necessary concentration to say that he/she has learned to play golf is not an easy path at all, nor is it a path that can be counted in number of lessons.
If the player really likes the sport and practices regularly what is being taught in the classes, it can happen that within four to six months from the beginning of the training he/she can be considered an amateur golfer.
On the other hand, to become a great player, the important thing is to keep practicing every day and to constantly acquire new knowledge. This is a process that can take many years.
What does it take to start playing golf?
To start playing golf you need a large number of accessories and equipment, but above all, what you need the most is time and a club nearby.
But in general they are the following:
- A course nearby: Having facilities that you can access on a regular basis to practice your strokes.
- Clubs: Although in principle clubs can be rented in most clubs, it is recommended that whenever possible each player starts practicing with his own clubs so that he can adapt to them.
- Balls: Balls usually come in different materials and quality, but to start training the cheapest ones will be more than enough.
- Accessories: Then you can see to acquire different accessories that will bring a lot to your game, such as gloves, tee, or other products. But to start with your first training sessions, they are not necessary.
Why learn to play golf?
Golf is a sport that has it all, it helps you to maintain a good physical and mental state; as well as it requires a combination of strength and precision. It is considered a very complete sport, which you will probably enjoy like no other.
At the beginning it will cost you a little, but when you start giving your first opening shots that manage to exceed 120 meters and feel that thrill of having achieved it, you will understand why people enjoy it so much.
How much does it cost to play golf?
In general, we have a perception that golf is an elitist sport, for the rich. The reality is that it is not a “cheap” sport, thinking that we need a minimum equipment and learning lessons. Playing golf does not have to be excessively expensive, once you have your own clubs, balls and the accessories you need to play you can play this sport for affordable prices in municipal courses in your city.
It is true that if you add club rental, ball rental, and other accessory and product rentals, the price will go up. As for the classes, this is the part that is a bit more expensive. They are usually around 70 euros, with the particularity that the price goes down if you hire a package of multiple classes.
You could even pay up to 30 euros per class, if you get a group of friends to join you to split the costs and hire a package of several meetings. Again, in municipal fields the prices are usually more affordable compared to private clubs.
Learning to play golf: conclusions
Golf is a sport whose objective is simple; “get the ball in the hole”. However, to reach the level of technique and precision necessary to reach an amateur level and to be able to fully enjoy it, is something that will require some time of training and dedication. As you begin to practice and become familiar with the sport, you will discover the particularities of each club, the different types of materials and functions of each one.
You will also learn different types of blows and their respective techniques; and you will identify better and better when it is convenient to use each resource. But most importantly, you will meet dozens of new courses, clubs and partners that will make you experience the sport with a unique energy.
We hope you found it useful!