We know that golf seems to be an incredibly complex and confusing game from the outside. So many rules, so many different clubs. And a bunch of mysterious words – birdie, bogey, pitch and putt … Golfers speak this language every day and do not see anything special in it, but for those who are just about to pick up a club, such a number of incomprehensible terms can put to flight.
That is why we decided to make something like a guide to the world of golf for beginners, answering the most burning questions. What clubs will you need? How to learn to play? How to understand that you are ready to enter the real field? We believe that there are no stupid questions related to golf – only those that you are afraid to ask or, even worse, that you cannot find an answer to. The main task of this guide is to make sure that the latter do not remain.
The history of the origin of golf
Golf was mentioned at different times, so historians are still arguing whether Scotland really became the progenitor of this sport. Many of them stubbornly claim that golf originated in the Roman Empire, where part of the training of warriors was moving a ball stuffed with feathers across the field with bent sticks. This was done for better weapon control during battles. Other references are from the Chinese Ming Dynasty, on one of the scrolls that have survived to this day, the emperor hammers the ball into the hole with a stick. In England and France, there are also stained glass windows and frescoes depicting the nobility playing a game reminiscent of golf.
Scotland is considered the official country of origin of golf. Historians say that the game was invented by shepherds who were bored with grazing. They played with bent sticks and pebbles, trying to stuff them down rabbit holes. In 1457, there is even a royal decree that forbids this game. The premise behind the creation of the law was that warriors shied away from preparing for hostilities against England by playing golf and football. After that, several more similar prohibitions came out, but they did not have much force, the shepherds, and the military, continued to play. The lifting of prohibitions and the first rules of golf appear in 1502 under King James IV, who himself became interested in this sport.
Due to the passion of the king and the local nobility began to play golf, the first equipped fields, etiquette and rules appear. Throughout the 16th century, golf began to seep into other countries, becoming an international sport. In 1900, for the first time, teams of golfers compete at the Olympic Games.
Everything you need to know about golf clubs
No doubt, the right equipment will never be superfluous, but this does not mean that you have to go broke to start playing golf. It’s better to focus on finding clubs that will help you mitigate your weaknesses – at the lowest possible cost. You will still have the opportunity to try the most sophisticated new items, especially since they appear every year, but at the beginning of the journey there is no need for this.
- You only need a few clubs. The rules allow golfers to carry a maximum of 14 clubs in a bag, but at first you may well limit yourself to much less. Take the driver (the club with the largest head for the farthest shots), the putter (you definitely can’t do without it – this is the club that makes the rolling hit, after which the ball falls into the hole) and the sand wedge (this is the stick with the letter S engraved on the sole or a 54 or 56 degree slant), add a pair of irons to them (a flat head stick) – for example a 6th and 8th, pitching wedge and fairway wood or a hybrid with an 18-21 degree slant. These are the most forgiving clubs and are the easiest to get the ball up in the air with.There is no need to chase after new clubs from the latest collections – you can very well buy used ones for very reasonable money.
- Don’t guess – try before you buy. Even if you are just starting to play, before buying or ordering clubs, go to a golf store or driving range and ask them to let you try hitting a 6th iron with a shaft (handle) that has a regular (regular-flex) or increased rigidity (stiff-flex). In most cases, the faster and more aggressive swing a golfer has, the more he likes clubs marked S – that is, stiff, hard.You will feel that one of them is easier for you to control your blow. This is the shaft stiffness you should choose for all your clubs to start with. Later, when you are convinced that you have become interested in golf seriously and for a long time, and learn how to consistently hit the ball, we advise you to go through the “club fitting” procedure – individual selection and adjustment of clubs.
- The larger the loft (the angle of the head relative to the shaft) – the better. If you are not a strong and well-coordinated athlete who has experience with a stick/bat/racquet and ball (e.g. baseball, softball, hockey, tennis, etc.), choose woods (big-headed sticks) with a high angle of inclination heads relative to the shaft (in golf it is called a loft). Why? The point is that a larger loft helps lift the ball up into the air and also reduces the lateral rotation of the ball – so it flies more straight. Let your first driver have a loft of at least 10 degrees and have fairway woods start at 17 instead of 15.
- Take advantage of beginner clubs. Some clubs are a little easier to hit than others. To begin with, it is better to give preference to hybrids (a cross between wood and iron) instead of the 3rd, 4th and 5th irons. But if you choose irons, then remember that a wider sole (the lower part of the iron) will help the stick not dig into the ground if you put it too far behind the ball. Also, the more weight on the sole, the lower the club’s center of gravity, making it easier for you to send the ball on a higher trajectory. In most cases, the most forgiving irons have soles that are about two fingers thick (near to far). If the sole of an iron is narrower than one finger wide, then you can only play it if you are paid to do so.
- Find the correct ball. Your main yardstick when buying balls will be how many balls you lose per round. If you’ve never played golf before or are losing two or more packs (a pack of three balls) per round, don’t spend more than $20 a dozen (to find the best brand within your price range, putt a few to get a feel for how the behavior of the ball upon contact with the striking surface of the putter). When the number of balls lost per round is reduced to three or five per round, you can move on to balls costing between $20 and $30. And only when you consistently leave no more than a pack of balls in one exit on the field, you will be able to consider more expensive models.
Interestingly, in match competitions, each hole is considered a separate element of the competition. One point is awarded for each hole taken. It is from this score that the winner is determined. To win the fight for the hole, you need to pot the ball from the least number of attempts.
Be sure to play all the holes in order. On each playing field, they are numbered from 1 to 9 or 18. Therefore, in competition, golfers must complete them all. Before moving on to the next hole, you must hit the ball into the previous one.
Golf is an exceptionally intelligent and tolerant game, therefore, in addition to the basic rules, there is also an etiquette that must be followed. By decision of the judges, a player may be penalized a certain number of points in a match for violating etiquette.
Clubs, equipment, elements of the golf course
The golf course has clear boundaries, each zone of the hole too. When the ball goes out of bounds, depending on the rules of a particular competition, a penalty point is awarded, a hole is lost, or a shot can be replayed. The area of each hole may contain traps, obstacles and obstacles. Loose obstacles that are not fixed and not in the bunker can be removed. They are branches, leaves, various insects, sometimes even birds. If the obstacle is inside the trap, then they cannot be moved. Barriers are artificial objects that can also be movable and immovable. The fixed ones include sprinklers, lanes, urns – they cannot be removed, and you will have to play from the place where the ball stopped. Movable – can be removed without penalty.
Yellow flags and lines can be placed across the field – they mean the boundaries of the water obstacle. These areas can only be played from where the ball is located. The holes also have flagpoles; it is wrong to drive the ball into them without pulling out the flags. If the ball is in the green, you need to pull the flagpole yourself, ask the caddy or another participant to do it. If the ball strikes the flagpole while it is in the hole, penalty points will be awarded, up to and including the loss of the hole.
Bags, bags, clubs, balls, cases
Bags should be strong, with reliable handles. They should freely fit the required number of clubs. For competitions, it is better to take the best quality bags with a thick bottom, as caddies often sit on them. For heavy and high-quality clubs, a bag with compartments for each club is required so that they do not get damaged during transport.
Golf bags are chosen roomy so that they can fit all the valuables that will be needed. A compartment for shoes is recommended so that they are not stored together with other things. It is better to choose a lightweight option that can be carried around the field without any problems. It is better to choose a color that is not easily soiled, since the bag will have to be put on the ground, and the lawns are constantly watered. Each golfer selects clubs according to his own preferences. For beginners, wooden or plastic inexpensive options are suitable. Professional athletes choose options with a graphite rod. Balls should also be chosen based on your own preferences, but before the game it is better to take care of the marking or choose the original design.
Some rules of golf
The ball is lost or out of bounds. Provisional ball
Check how Local Rules define field boundaries on the score card. They are usually defined by fences, walls, white pegs, or white lines.
If the ball is lost out of a water hazard or out of bounds, you must play the ball, with a penalty of one stroke, from the spot where the last stroke was played (i.e. stroke and distance). You have 5 minutes to search ball. If the ball is not found within 5 minutes, it is considered lost.
If, after a stroke, you suspect that the ball may be lost out of a water hazard or could be out of bounds, you should play a provisional ball. You must declare that it is a provisional ball and play it before you move to search for the original ball. If the original ball is lost (outside a water hazard) or out of bounds, you must continue to play the provisional ball at a penalty of one stroke. If the original ball is found inbounds, you must continue to play that ball and the provisional ball must be abandoned.
If your ball is in a water hazard (yellow pegs and/or lines), you may play the ball as it is or, with a penalty of one stroke:
– play again from the place where you made the last blow;
– drop the ball at any distance behind the water hazard, on the continuation of a straight line from the hole through the point where the ball last crossed the boundary of the water hazard.
If your ball is in a side water hazard (red pegs and/or lines), in addition to the water hazard possibilities (above), you may, with a penalty of one stroke, drop the ball within two club lengths of:
– the point where the ball last crossed the boundary of the obstacle;
– points on the opposite border of the barrier, equidistant from the hole;
but no closer to the hole than these points are.
Immovable Obstacles and Abnormal Field Conditions
An immovable obstacle is any artificial object on the field that cannot be moved (for example, a building) or that can only be moved by applying excessive force (for example, a firmly rooted sign). Objects marking the boundaries of the field are not considered obstacles. An abnormal condition in a field area is accidental water, a repaired area, or a burrow, indentation in the soil, or a path made in the field by a burrowing animal, reptile, or bird.
Except when the ball is in a water hazard, you may, without penalty, remove the effect of an immovable obstruction or an abnormal condition of a section of the field if it physically interferes with the position of the ball, your stance or swing. You may lift the ball and drop it within one club-length of the nearest Relief Point (see Nearest Removal Point definition), but no closer to the hole than that point (see diagram). If the ball is on the putting green, it is placed on the nearest point of relief that may be off the putting green.
Problem solver. Incurable bacon specialist. Falls down a lot. Coffee maven. Communicator.