In this Article
Starting golf and not sure where to begin? Our complete guide covers everything new golfers need - from golf basics, rules, and etiquette to how to choose golf clubs, perfect your swing, chip, putt, and lower scores as a beginner. Learn golf fundamentals step-by-step and practical tips to make rapid improvements. This is the ultimate golf instruction manual for newcomers who want to learn golf quickly and develop skills to play their first full rounds.
Welcome to this beginner’s guide to golf! Learning golf as a beginner can seem intimidating at first, but with some basic knowledge of fundamentals, the right equipment, and plenty of practice, you’ll be sinking putts and hitting great shots in no time. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know as a golfing novice to get started. We’ll cover golf lingo, swing techniques, clubs, rules, etiquette, and more. With our tips, you’ll gain the skills and confidence to play your first round of golf. Whether your goal is to join friends at the local course or compete in a tournament one day, this beginner’s guide is designed to help build your golf game from the ground up. So grab your clubs and let’s get started with the basics of how to swing, putt, and play winning golf as a beginner.
Table of Contents
Let’s start by quickly going over some golf lingo and basic concepts.
The aim of golf is to complete each hole in the fewest number of strokes (or hits) possible.
This is the most common format of play, where the total number of strokes taken to complete all 18 holes is counted as your final score. The lower the score, the better!
Golf courses typically have 18 holes, and professional courses can be over 7,000 yards long from the back tees! Each hole will have a different “par” number, which is the expected number of strokes needed to sink the ball.
The par number rates the difficulty of each hole. Par 3 holes are shorter, Par 4s are medium length, and Par 5s are longer holes requiring more shots.
You’ll need clubs, balls, tees and optional gear like gloves and ball markers. We’ll go over these in more detail shortly.
A stroke is taken every time you hit the ball with a club. The goal is to minimize strokes per hole.
Your score per hole equals the number of strokes taken. In the end, all stroke totals are added up for your final score.
Now that you know the basics, let’s get into the fundamentals of how to swing and hit the ball properly.
Mastering Swing Fundamentals
The full golf swing is made up of a series of complex motions. Here are the key steps to practice your beginner swing technique:
How you hold the club is one of the most important fundamentals. Use a neutral/overlapping grip by:
- Holding the club mostly in fingers, not palms
- Keeping hands close together and overlapping the pinky finger of the top hand
- Avoiding holding the club too tight in your hands – stay relaxed!
This helps you control the face of the club through impact.
Stand about arm’s length from the ball, legs shoulder-width apart. Place 60-80% of your weight initially on your back foot. Keep your body aligned parallel left of the target line.
Rotate your shoulders and turn your back to the target as you bring the club up vertically. Don’t sway – maintain spine angle and posture!
Shift weight onto your front foot as you drop the club into the slot. Let gravity and the weight shift accelerate club head speed.
Strike the ball with a slight inwards path to put backspin on shots. The clubface should be square to your swing path. Follow through smoothly post impact.
Fully rotate through the shot and balance your weight onto your front leg, holding the finish briefly to check balance and form.
Practice the full swing in segments, focusing on proper setup, backswing transitions, impact positions, and follow-through. It will start coming together naturally with enough quality reps!
Choosing Your Clubs as a Beginner
As a beginner, you can keep your golf club setup simple starting out:
Longest hitting club off the tee
Versatile for long shots from fairway or rough
Mix of wood and iron for easy launch from variable lies
Short to mid-distance from fairway; 5-9 irons recommended
Accuracy on short chip shots around the green
For roll on the putting greens
Buy used clubs in good condition to save money as you are learning. As your skills improve, consult with a pro on fitted clubs tailored to your swing.
Proper Golf Attire and Gear
Part of golf etiquette is looking the part. Collared shirts and golf slacks or shorts are standard. Dress in layers for changing weather. Spiked golf shoes provide traction for swinging. Break them in before hitting the course!
Other handy gear includes:
- Tees for proper ball height on drives
- Divot tool to repair marks on greens
- Ball markers to lift the ball from putting surface
- Golf gloves for grip and preventing blisters
- Golf bag to carry clubs and accessories
Learn Course Etiquette
Part of the golf experience is learning the proper etiquette expected on the course:
Pace of Play:
Keep things moving to avoid slowing groups behind you
No loud talking or yelling that may disturb play
Watch Your Shadow:
Avoid casting shadows over putting lines
Shut off phones or keep on silent while playing each hole
Repair marks your swing takes in grass and sand
Use rakes to smooth over bunker sand after playing
Fix Ball Marks:
On greens, repair marks made by landing balls
Watch Your Step:
Avoid stepping on putting and hazard lines
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Like any skill, excellence in golf takes practice and repetition. Work on:
Hit buckets of balls at driving ranges to dial in your swing
Spending time on practice putting greens helps sink more putts
Book time with a teaching pro to correct faults in your swing
Get experience by playing as much as you can
Don’t forget golf is a game, enjoy your time on the course!
The more you play and practice with proper technique, the faster you’ll drop strokes from your score.
Ready to Hit the Course!
And there you have it – an introduction to playing golf for beginners! With a grasp of the basics, essential gear, practice time, and etiquette, you’ll be ready to get out on the course. As you play more, don’t get discouraged, be patient with yourself, and stick with it – golf is a game that takes some time to master. But with the right attitude and work ethic, you’ll be a great golfer in no time. Now grab your clubs and get out to the first tee!