A single game of golf can cost anywhere from $5 to
$100 dollars, but, even so, sooner or later you're going to get the
urge to do more than whack a ball around a hundred times. You're
eventually going to want to go out and spend some real money!
Before you rush out and spend hundreds on your own golf clubs, take some of
that money and invest $50 or so on a lesson or two. That investment, if
made with the right instructor, will get you started on the correct
grip, stance, posture (hey - the essentials!), swing mechanics and
exercises, as well as proper equipment selection. Start with putting
practice, and a few weekends on the driving range. Move up to nine
holes, then onto 18 after a few weeks. During the week, do some of the
basic golf exercises,
while you learn the rules and etiquette of the game.
So what are some of these basics I'm talking about?
There are three basic categories of golf clubs: irons, woods, and putters.
are used to hit the ball the farthest, irons intermediate
distances, and putters for up close.
The lower the number club you are using, the
farther (or so the deluded followers of the game are led to believe) the ball travels. On average, a 1 wood, if used
correctly, knocks a golf ball about 170 yards or more, a 5 iron about 100
yards, a 9 iron about 60. Putters are used to push the ball a few feet, or on a bad day, yards, across a much smoother grass
area called the putting green, or simply, 'the green'. Pitching
wedges and sand wedges are special, sharply angled clubs for chipping up
steep hills or out of sand traps. Get clubs with grips that are neither
so small the club twists in your hands on impact, nor so large you can't wrap your fingers easily around it.
One of the more obvious starting steps, a good golf grip is vital.
There are a dozen different kinds of golf grips, about as many as there are golfers, but the most common is the one in
which the index finger of the left hand hooks the pinky of the right.
(For right handed individuals, of course.) Then for proper alignment, "check the V's": The
V's are the angle between your thumb and forefinger on each hand. These
should point between your chin and back shoulder. Make sure that when
looking down, you can see the first two knuckles of your left hand and
a "V" formed between the thumb and forefinger pointing toward your
right shoulder. With the right hand, have the "V" pointing toward your
chin or slightly to the right shoulder.
Start to address the ball
with a Nine iron. ("Address" is just a term for standing near, and ready to
hit, the ball. Who the heck knows where these words come from!)
with your heels about shoulder width apart, take a few practice swings.
You want to hit the ball squarely in the middle of the club left to
right, but slightly up from the bottom. Take a firm grip and balance
stance, but don't crush the club nor dance on your toes. Try to keep
the swing in one plane. (A plane is a flat surface; think of swinging
alongside the top of a round table tilted on end. Curve with the table
edge.) Follow through after making contact with the ball. Keep the ball
in the center of your field of vision.
As with all the other sports, except Australian rules football (what rules?), of course, the official rules of golf are many and, often quite
complex. For the rule-imparired, however, the simple version is this: Tee up, hit the ball toward
the flag. Try to get the ball in the hole the flag is in. (When you get
close and ready to putt, don't forget to take the flag out of the hole!) The fewest
strokes over the course of all holes wins. Hit your own ball and count
every stroke...yes, EVERY stroke.
Don't endanger another player by standing too close them when you or
(s)he swings. Be courteous and don't make excessive noise when someone
else is addressing, or hitting, the ball. Avoid holding up the other
players behind or with you in your group. If you lose your ball, let
them "play through". Replace all "divots" (These are the
chunks of earth and grass you dug up by using the golf club -
accidentally - as a shovel.) Fix other any other damage you made. In
short, be courteous to those around you. Golf is one of the few games
where civilized behavior is actually enforced!
WRAPPING IT UP
For the novice, the game of golf can be enjoyed from the start. For
those interested and motivated, there's an inexhaustible supply of
information about the physics and physiology of swing mechanics, grip, stance, and other
arcane lore. You never stop learning. Even Tiger Woods, who
is one of the best and who has been practicing and playing from a young
age, still takes lessons. For the beginner, there's a large amount of
knowledge to absorb and physical movement to practice right at the
outset. But don't get so overwhelmed that you forget that the primary
purpose:of golf, or any other game, is to have fun!
Golf - Getting Started: Part I
Golf Clubs and Accessories