How to Play Golf: A Beginner’s Guide

Date Published: 05/07/2024

Golf is a sport that combines skill, strategy, and a love for the outdoors. For those curious about how to play golf, how to get into golf, or how to start playing golf, this guide will provide the essential steps to begin your journey. We’ll cover everything from understanding the basics to finding the right courses and practising effectively.

1. Understanding the Basics of Golf

Golf is played on a course, usually consisting of 18 holes, each with varying lengths and layouts. The objective is simple: hit the ball into each hole using as few strokes as possible. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the essentials:

  • The Course: Comprises tees, fairways, greens, hazards (like bunkers and water), and rough.
  • The Clubs: Different clubs are used for different shots. The main types include drivers, irons, wedges, and putters.
  • The Rules: Familiarise yourself with basic rules and golf etiquette.

2. Getting the Right Equipment

Starting with the right equipment is crucial. Here’s what you need:

  • Clubs: Beginners should start with a basic set that includes a driver, a few irons (like 6-iron, 8-iron), a pitching wedge, and a putter.
  • Balls: Choose affordable golf balls as beginners tend to lose quite a few.
  • Tees: Essential for the initial shot of each hole.
  • Golf Bag: Necessary for carrying your clubs and accessories. Follow our step by step guide on organising your golf bag 
  • Golf Shoes: These provide stability and grip, essential for making effective swings.

3. Finding a Golf Course or Driving Range

Locate a nearby golf course or driving range to practise and play. In the UK, many clubs offer facilities ideal for beginners. Driving ranges are particularly useful for practising swings without the pressure of a full game.

4. Taking Golf Lessons

One of the best ways to learn golf is through professional instruction. Many UK golf clubs have PGA-qualified professionals who offer lessons tailored to beginners. These lessons will cover:

5. Learning the Golf Swing

Mastering the golf swing is central to playing golf. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  • Grip: Use the Vardon grip (overlapping grip), interlocking grip, or ten-finger grip. Ensure your hands work together as one unit.
  • Stance: Position your feet shoulder-width apart. Flex your knees slightly and keep your weight balanced.
  • Backswing: Rotate your shoulders and hips away from the target while keeping your arms straight.
  • Downswing: Shift your weight to your front foot, rotate your hips toward the target, and bring the club down to strike the ball.
  • Follow-Through: Complete your swing with a full follow-through, ensuring your body faces the target.

6. Practising Regularly

Regular practice is key to improvement. Spend time at the driving range and practice putting greens. Focus on different aspects of your game, such as:

  • Driving: Practise your long shots with a driver.
  • Iron Play: Work on your accuracy and consistency with mid and short irons.
  • Chipping and Pitching: Improve your short game around the greens.
  • Putting: Spend ample time on the putting green to master this crucial aspect of the game.

7. Playing Your First Round

When you feel ready, it’s time to play your first round. Here are some tips for a successful start:

  • Choose the Right Course: Start with a par-3 or nine-hole course to build confidence.
  • Play with Friends: Invite friends or join a beginner’s group to make the experience enjoyable.
  • Focus on Enjoyment: Don’t worry about your score. Concentrate on having fun and learning from each shot.

8. Understanding Golf Etiquette

Golf has a unique set of etiquette rules designed to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone. Here are some key points:

  • Be Punctual: Arrive on time for your tee time to avoid delays.
  • Maintain Pace: Keep up with the group ahead to ensure a steady flow of play.
  • Respect the Course: Repair divots, rake bunkers, and avoid unnecessary damage.
  • Be Considerate: Stay quiet and still while others are taking their shots.

9. Obtaining a Handicap Index

Obtaining a Handicap Index is great for new golfers as it can help you track your personal progression and sets scoring benchmarks on different courses and tee sets. 

To obtain a Handicap Index, you can join iGolf or become a member of an affiliated golf club. 

This tool not only measures your improvement but also enhances your overall understanding and enjoyment of the game.

10. Using Online Resources

Utilise online resources to enhance your learning:

  • Instructional Videos: Websites like YouTube have countless videos on swing techniques, drills, and tips.
  • Golf Forums: Join forums and communities to ask questions and share experiences with other golfers.
  • At iGolf, we have a wealth of golfing professionals at our fingertips, here are some of their expert golf tips for beginners 

Sign Up to IGolf

Learning how to play golf involves understanding the basics, acquiring the right equipment, taking lessons, and practising regularly. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the game. 

For those looking to track their progress and obtain a handicap index, iGolf offers an excellent platform without having to be a member of a golf club. With an easy sign-up process and a £46 annual subscription, you can simply join here