Golf - Getting Started
Enjoy as You Learn - Part I
For the novice getting started, the game of golf allows them to enter a world with a rich and varied history!
A short few hundred years ago, as history is measured, in 15th century Scotland, the game known at that time as "gowf" was born.
Somewhere near the year 1744, the Company of Gentlemen Golfers, established in the city of Edinburgh, put together the first rules of play. Since then, the world has never been the same.
Golf is, without argument from many, one of the most popular sports the world over. It is played in countries from Mexico to Ireland, South Africa to China, Italy to Vietnam... and, of course, in Scotland. There are even universities that offer a major in Golf and many high schools have a golf team. My own grand nephew just got a degree in Golf Course Management and is a golf pro. Lucky guy!
In fact many a student has gone through college on an athletic scholarship in golf!
So, for the novice getting started, learning how to play golf, the game entails entering this lifestyle with such a rich and varied history, a
potentially major investment of time and money, a steep physical and
mental learning curve - and enormous fun!
In learning golf, as with so many a hobby, the best way a beginner can begin is by learning what NOT to do first.
First, and perhaps most important, of all, don't rush out and spend a huge wad of cash on
course fees, equipment, supplies, accessories, lessons, clothing, and so forth. You don't yet
know which courses are worth it, what equipment is quality, which suits you, and lessons can wait a short while.
Part of the enjoyment of learning to play golf is its novelty, and the pleasure of finding a sport that you can play alone, with friends and spouses, or even with the whole family. But, golf is a difficult game to play well and it can be frustrating and expensive if you don't invest a little time finding out what you need to know and practicing what you learn.
As with so many other things, you should start small and don't take
everything too seriously too soon. Many pros will advise against
spending many weeks on a driving range when first beginning, because
they want you to avoid developing bad habits which are hard to break.
But, some time on a range can be a cheap way to get your muscles
moving, find out if you have an aptitude or interest, and give you an
idea of the types of clubs and balls to use.
Find an inexpensive course and wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing that
doesn't bind your arms and shoulders.
Save that $1,000 you'd spend on
pants, shoes, and shirts for later. You can comfortably start with a
simple three club set borrowed from a friend or rented from the
clubhouse. A 9 iron, a wedge, and a Number 5 wood is plenty for the
beginner. In fact, you'll use the wedge less on a driving range, but
you can add a putter and move to the putting practice area later. Some
have miniature sand traps to practice escaping.
Relax and observe those who hit the ball well and imitate their grip, stance,
and posture. Tee up, keep your eye on the ball as you swing, and give
it a firm whack. If you miss a few, so be it. Enjoy. You're teaching
your body what the swing feels like, what angle and impact produces
what kind of flight.
On the putting green, start very close to the hole - no more
than a couple of feet away. When you can make 25 putts in a row fairly consistently,
move back to six feet, 10 feet, 20 feet - no
farther. More or less consistently is good enough as even the pros
sometimes miss a two-footer!
Whether driving or putting, stand so that a casual push wouldn't knock
you over. Golf is about balance, concentration, and some simple
physics. Now, go have a cool drink in the clubhouse and enjoy the day.
You did well your first time out.
Getting Started Part II
Balance and Posture
Basics of Bunker Shots
Get a Good Golf Grip
Simple Golf Swing Drills
Correcting a Slice
Conquering the Chip Shot
Putters and Putting
Articles, Thoughts, and News
Golf Practice Aids
The Complete Golfer
Golf Clubs and Accessories
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