This post is going to be about the process of how to start playing golf i.e where to go, equipment required, possible costs etc rather than how to physically start hitting a golf ball. It isn’t an exhaustive list rather some basic information for someone who is totally new to golf. I will have other posts on the actual game itself which will include instructional information but this is going to be more about the things you need to do and what you can expect when you first start playing.
You’re almost halfway there already.
Have you ever had a go at crazy golf? How about a go on a putting green somewhere or maybe you have just had a putt in the garden. If you have did you manage to hit the ball in the vague direction of the hole? Well if you have had a go at putting at some point in your life then that is almost half the game covered. Statistics show that on average 43% of all shots people play in a round of golf are putts, so there you have it, you thought you didn’t know anything about playing golf and actually you know how to play half a round already (OK 43% to be precise) …. well done.
The Other 57% of the Game
OK so you now have 3 choices depending on your budget.
Low Budget – Simply get yourself a club ( borrow one if possible if not go to a charity shop, car boot sale, golf shops sometimes sell odd clubs new or second hand or look online) go to a local driving range or open field/park that permits golf (not all do though for obvious safety reasons) and try to figure it out for yourself with the aid of books, YouTube or free content on sites like this. If you are lucky enough to know a keen golfer who can help you with the basics that will help.
This is by far the hardest way to get started but it’s not impossible so don’t let having little or no budget stop you.
Seve Ballesteros learned to play with a home made 3 iron on the beach near his home in Spain using stones as he didn’t have any golf balls and he was pretty good. If you’re lucky enough to be so young that you haven’t heard of him look him up, he was a golfing genius.
Mid Budget – Look up a local driving range and inquire about Beginners Group Classes. Most, if not all driving ranges will offer these and they are a great way of learning the basics with a group of fellow beginners. These classes are usually anywhere between 4 and 8 weeks and are great value, the last ones I did for example were £25 ( $33) for 5 x 1 hour lessons with all equipment provided.This is a great way of starting, you will make some golfing friends and you will have a Professional on hand to answer all your questions and to offer guidance.
High Budget – Book yourself some one on one lessons with a PGA Professional. Most Professionals offer a series of lessons for a new golfer which often include a 9 hole lesson at the end or at least an introduction to the course. Obviously you will get more done in one on one sessions and the lessons will go entirely at your pace but of course they are a little bit more expensive. To give you an idea I offer my students 5 x 30 minute lessons plus a 2-hour lesson around the course and the cost of this is £100 ($132) which is about par for the course ( Ouch sorry about the pun but couldn’t resist )
Which one should I go for?
Which of the 3 you choose is down to your budget and how serious you are about playing. It is possible to start playing on a small budget, there are loads of second hand clubs for sale online or why not try charity shops,car boot sales or markets and you only need 1 to get you started, ideally a 7 iron on something similar but it’s not essential.
There is a load of free content and advice online as well, loads of books and DVD’s on all aspects of the game and these can be picked up for next to nothing. Golf isn’t anywhere near as expensive as it used to be although it is still perceived this way sometimes, of course to play the top courses and own the best equipment can be very expensive but that’s true of any sport really isn’t it. You shouldn’t need to buy any equipment initially anyway if you have signed up for group or individual lessons until the lessons are over by which time you will know a bit about the game and will know if golf is for you or not.
In my opinion a great way to start is to sign up for a beginners group class with a PGA Professional. It’s so important to get the basics correct as early in your golfing life as possible and a group class is the perfect way to do this and as mentioned above shouldn’t cost you too much. By basics I mean a) How to hold the club, b) How to stand to the ball and c) How to make a basic swing, plus what each club does and when you should use it. If you have ever seen a set of golf clubs you will see they all have different numbers on the bottom, in a nutshell the higher the number the higher the ball goes, that’s as technical as you need to get as a brand new player really ( they all hit the ball different distances too but don’t worry about that just now)
Once you have gone through a series of lessons that’s it you’ve learned golf!! Just kidding 🙂 you never stop learning but you will be ready to have a go at getting out onto a course. If you think of it this way, you can learn how to hit a golf ball on a driving range or practice ground but you need to get out onto the course to learn how to play golf, does that make sense? If you have a par 3 course nearby that’s perfect but if not try 9 holes around a standard length course as opposed to all 18 as you may find 18 holes a bit too much to start off with. A par 3 course is a course made up of short holes, usually averaging around 100-150 yards.
If you have had lessons with a Professional he/she will be able to recommend a good course to start on. To play 9 holes around a par 3 course takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours as a beginner and 9 holes around a standard length course will probably take in excess of 2 hours so that’s why 18 holes may be a bit much initially. Once you are playing regularly 18 holes will take about 4 hours but you should try to get round quicker than that if you can.
Hopefully that has given you some idea how to take the first steps towards taking up golf as your new hobby. It really is a great game and can be highly addictive, you probably will have to spend some money to get started but it definitely doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
So go on give it a try, it’s a game you play for your entire life in a very healthy environment and once you start playing you will meet a whole new circle of friends.
If there is something you want to know that I haven’t covered then please feel free to leave a comment below and I will happy to help you.
All the best