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Golf, what a game. The small ball, hit with a club that is aerodynamically streamlined, can make your heart sing when it soars through the sky on target to the green. The ultimate guide to golf is designed to assist you with your engagement with the greatest game. Golf, may perchance, be newly on your radar or you might be digging a little deeper into something you already know and love. Whatever your current situation, golf is a portal into another world. A realm of white belts and white shoes. A land of fairways, hazards, and greens. Nature beckons on the course with green grass beneath your feet. Blue skies, on fine days, above you, can make you feel glad to be alive.

The crack of a well struck drive down that opening fairway can fill your soul with good cheer. Life is good, golf is good.

Robert Sudha Hamilton
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What To Do When Starting Out In Golf

What do you need to start out on the golfing journey? I would begin my initiation into the game of golf by visiting potential golf clubs to join. Having your own local golf club is the best way to immerse yourself in the total golfing experience. Many golf clubs have beginner packages to assist you in learning to play golf. Talk to the representatives of these potential clubs and tour their facilities for best results. You can get a feel for the type of golf club and membership each place offers prospective new golfers at their establishment. You might begin with an introductory level package to dip your toe in the water so to speak.

There are different levels of the golfing experience, as in most things in life. There are those who play every now and then, who would stand on the periphery at the outer circle of golfers. These folk may consider themselves too busy with work to commit further to the greatest game and, therefore, this is where they stand. Next, there is the social club golfer, who plays on Sundays, usually, as part of a travelling group of golfers on a circuit of courses. These are the golfers standing on the in-between ring, neither really in or out. Then, the club golfer, a 7 day member of a real golf club, who plays several times a week and lives and breathes golf. Membership of your own golf club offers an immersion into the greatest game not found anywhere else in the amateur game of golf. If you want to really play golf – join a golf club and get stuck in!

Your Guide To Good Golfing

Next, I would sign up for 6 lessons of 30 minutes each with the club’s PGA instructor. You can do this prior to purchasing clubs, as your teacher can aid you in recommending the right clubs for your physique and level of proficiency. They will have clubs you can use in the meantime, whilst learning the basics of the golf swing. There are 14 different golf clubs that you are legally allowed to carry in your bag during a competitive round. Most important is the putter or the flat stick. This is the club you use to roll the golf ball on the green into the hole with the flag in or out at the time. This process completes each of 18 holes, so you can see why it is the most important stroke. Getting the ball into the hole is the name of the game. Putting is often called a game within a game because of its ultimate import to succeeding in golf. Buy a putter first, in my book, as you can practice with this at home on the carpet.

A good putting stroke is a foundation upon which you can build a satisfying game of golf.
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Learning To Swing The Golf Club

Learning to swing the golf club can be challenging and downright frustrating at times. Perseverance, however, rewards the golfer in the long run. Correct guidance is essential, which is why having lessons is the smartest way to approach golf. Those who do it all by themselves, often, head off in the wrong direction. The golf swing is not a naturally occurring sequence of movements and many of us have gone astray. If you develop a golf swing founded on unsound basics it will prevent you from achieving your full potential and can set you up for physical injury. I have seen, and had personally, golf swings that put undue stress on the back. Take the time and provide the modest investment necessary to get off to a good start in golf via professional instruction. No matter your age or physique it pays to be properly instructed in the game of golf. Don’t fall for the old, ‘how hard could it be, I mean the ball is sitting on the ground at my feet?” Hitting the golf ball solidly is a major part of deriving enjoyment from your golf. Many golfers fail to do this even after having played the game for years and years. It is a tragedy really and one that could have been avoided if they had of started right. However, there is always hope, of course,  because it is never too late to correct bad golf swings. Golf teachers love to set players on the straight and narrow to better golfing outcomes.

What Golf Ball Should You Use?

What golf ball should you use? There are so many golf balls on the market these days to choose from. It used to be white with dimples only, but now every colour under the sun imaginable is up for grabs. Golf balls have different properties, especially at the pointy end of golfing performance. Elite players want a responsive golf ball around the greens, that also flies vast distances off the tee when required. Famous names are heard here, such as Titleist Pro V 1, whilst new entrants are making their presence felt like Callaway Chrome Soft, Taylor Made TP5, and Srixon Z-Star to name a few. If you are a beginner you may like to start with a distance ball and wait until you get your handicap down before playing the more expensive ball mentioned above. All manufacturers make a range of golf balls suitable for players of all levels. Generally, the harder distance orientated balls are cheaper to purchase. Spend some time talking with your PGA instructor about the best ball for your current game. Once you have decided on a ball remember to mark your ball with identifying marks via Texta or stamp so that you can find your ball when it goes astray. Beginners must be extra vigilant about ensuring they play their ball and not someone else’s during a round of golf. You have to train your brain to develop these new awarenesses around the protocols of the game. Never pick up a golf ball that is not yours on the course because this may be another golfer’s errant shot. Imagine how frustrating the experience would be if someone pocketed your game ball during a competitive round of golf. The empty feeling this engenders, especially when you have a good round going, is awful.

The ultimate guide to golf advises players to never pick up golf balls that don’t belong to them.

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Tees, Ball Markers & Gloves

Tees, ball markers, pitching forks, gloves, and other necessary accessories. The golfer carries on his or her person tees, ball marker, pitching fork, and a glove during a round of golf. Teeing the ball up at the start of every hole allows for a better strike, well it is supposed to anyway. Teeing up your golf ball should make it easier to hit it more solidly. On the longer par 4 and par 5 holes the golfer employs a longer tee, as the driver is designed to strike the ball on the upswing. You play the ball off the heel of your lead foot, teed up so that the top half of the golf ball sits above the level of the head of the driver face at address. The bottom of your downswing arc occurs several inches behind the teed golf ball, thus it is struck on the upswing. This derives optimal distance from a well struck drive, as it reduces the backspin on the golf ball.

If you hit the golf ball with a slightly descending blow with the driver the spin created reduces carry distance because of the excessive spin generated by such a blow.

Understanding the role of the golf tee, is, as you can see, important. It works alongside your set up at address for the various clubs in the bag. Your golf instructor will teach you the various positional changes for the different clubs. Broadly speaking there are 3 distinct changes to set up for wedges/short irons, mid/long irons/ hybrids, and driver/fairway metals. Narrower stance with ball just forward of centre for wedges/short irons. The height of the tee used for tee shots with an iron is much shorter. The golf ball is struck with a descending blow when playing irons. The golfer hits slightly down and through the ball, taking ball, then divot. A divot is a shallow strip of turf cut by the head of the golf ball via the correct action of the strike. A divot can be 3 to 6 inches long depending on club and circumstance. Don’t be afraid of hurting the grass in golf, as it is part of the game. Always replace your divots with sand from your bucket. Golfers carry a small bucket of sand, which they regularly refill during a round of golf, for this very purpose. The stance for mid/long irons/hybrids is a bit wider, as the shafts of these clubs are longer. Everything we do in the set up is engineered to optimise our ball striking.

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The golf glove is an anomaly for non-golfers. Why would you wear one glove and not two? We have two hands right? The golf glove is worn on the lead hand to better facilitate a secure grip. Two gloves, which I have tried when it is raining feels overly bulky and detracts from the gripping sensation. The grip in the golf swing is very important, as this is our point of connection with the golf club. The handle has a rubber grip to improve our ability to hold onto the club. Your grip pressure should be light without actually losing control of the club when swinging. This is why tacky glove surfaces and rubber grips aid us in keeping hold of the handle without gripping too hard. If you grip too firmly your wrists cannot work properly through the golf swing. Plus, you will develop tendon injuries from excessive tension. I speak from experience in regard to these injuries. Aesthetically, white golf gloves are popular and continue this whole white belt and white golf shoes fashion statement. Why this is I have no idea.

Some players, a minority admittedly, play golf without a glove. Hell, there are people who go to nudist camps.

The ball marker is usually a disc designed to mark the position of your golf ball on the green when your playing partners are putting. It is a two shot penalty if a player’s ball hits a stationary ball of another player when putting. Thus, marking your ball is a required action when requested by another player in your group during the putting process on the green. It is good etiquette to mark your ball of your own volition anyway. Golfers who don’t are lazy, in my opinion. You can keep your ball marker in your pocket and some golfers have them affixed to hats via a magnet to avoid the digging around in a pocket full of tees etc. Ball markers can be coins, gambling chips, coloured discs, anything that is highly visible on the green and no larger than the golf ball’s circumference (is usually recommended). The ultimate guide to golf emphasises the importance of always marking your ball on the green.

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Pitching forks are a small digging implement about a few inches long made of metal or strong plastic, which are designed to repair the pitch mark created by the landing impact of your golf ball on the green. Greens are delicate surfaces that are labour intensive and expensive to maintain. Golfers can help keep their greens in good shape by always doing the right thing by them. Unlike the fairway and rough divots are not taken on greens. You do not want to stand on the line of another golfer’s putt either, when going about your business on the green. Spike marks from your white golf shoes can create an uneven surface to putt on and, thus, disadvantage your playing partner. The green is where you must have your golfing protocol radar on full beam. Be mindful of your movements when other golfers are preparing to putt. Stand still, don’t talk, and don’t make any sudden moves. The green can be a twitchy place where golfers get annoyed with their fellow and sister golfers. We are all trying to make the putt and so we are hypervigilant to any distractions. It takes time for beginners to feel comfortable on the putting surface. At the start you are not sure what you are doing and feel like a bit of a pretender. It seems like everyone is watching you and you can feel very exposed. I used to tell myself that I have as much right to putt as the best players. Low self-esteem can hamper your efforts on the putting green at the start of your golfing journey. You often see newbie golfers rushing their putts due to the discomfort factor. Take a few deep breaths and go about your business methodically for best results. No one likes a slow player but you can find the balance. Remember that the ultimate guide to golf tells us that the aim of the game is to get the little white ball in the hole.

Putting is the single most important aspect in the game of golf. So, don’t stuff it up unnecessarily.

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Wear A Hat On The Golf Course

Wearing a hat on the golf course if you live in a sunny clime is smart. A hat with a broad brim can protect your face from harmful ultraviolet rays. Keeping cool on the golf course is, also, important, as it can be a challenging place at times. Carrying plenty of water to stay hydrated will, also, assist in keeping your cool. Performing the golf swing requires as much support as you can muster, especially over 4 and half hours. I see a game of competitive golf like a journey or campaign, where the better prepared you are the greater chance you have of succeeding in your intentions. If you want to play well and score well, then, back yourself with everything you might need. Take snacks and plenty of water to keep yourself fuelled and hydrated throughout your round. Wear comfortable clothing that helps you swing well and look smart. Your local pro shop will have a range of shirts, shorts, skirts, and slacks designed for the rigours of golf.

Always Carry An Umbrella

Carry an umbrella because there are few places to hide when the heavens open up on the golf course. The number of experienced golfers I come across sans umbrellas when it rains is astonishing. Rain gear is another protective covering for the golfer available online and in the pro shop at your local club. You can get light weight rain jackets and pants to be stored in your golf bag. Plus, you can get an added raincoat for your golf bag. If you play a lot of golf there is nothing worse than carrying around a sodden golf bag in your car. Wet dog smell is not one of my favourite odours.

Golf Bag & Survival Kit

Your golf bag becomes a depositary with many pockets containing the necessary essentials for survival on the golf course. I have always said that my golf bag would be very useful in case of a disaster or being stranded on a desert isle. I have a roll of toilet paper in mine, along with scissors, sunscreen, insect deterrent spray, various knee brace and elbow brace supports, a beanie for extreme cold, a golf rules book, laser measuring device, GPS device, spare battery, pencils and pens, smartphone mount, extension ball retriever, weighted warm-up rubber shaft, Texta for marking ball, lots of tees of various shapes and sizes, ball markers, pitch mark repairers, and lots more stuff. Finding things in my golf bag can be challenging at times and this is not good. You want to ensure that all the important little stuff flows smoothly around you. Golf can be a frustrating game and you do not want to add unnecessarily to that aggravation.

The ultimate guide to golf recommends being organised and thoroughly prepared prior to venturing out on the golf course.

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The golf swing demands fine motor skills and the execution of this sequenced series of movements is best served by calm. If you ask most experienced golfers whether they make good swings all the time during their rounds the answer would be in the negative. Every individual golfer is unique, of course, but we all struggle at times to perform at our best. Why is this so? A game that lasts more than 4 + hours is very demanding. A game that is played over an arena that stretches vast distances compared to all other sports involving balls is challenging. The fact that flat lies are never guaranteed, indeed, quite the reverse, makes it even more physically demanding. The niggles and twitchiness over the ball when generating momentum to a stationary object cannot be denied. The number of gear changes required by the golfer in going from big drive to delicate breaking downhill putt, from sand trap explosion to bump and run, and all the many strokes required on any given day out on the links is remarkable in sporting terms. Golf is a hard game to play and flies in the face of modern trends toward ease and continual comfort in all things.

The ultimate guide to golf has just scratched the surface in this lengthy description of what is required to enjoy your golf. Obviously, experience is the best teacher when it comes to playing golf. Remember that every time you have the opportunity to try something on the links it is a chance to learn from experience. File everything away in your brain for future reference when you find yourself in a similar scrape. Practice on the range and on the course whenever you can. Develop a repertoire of shots to serve your requirements when playing competitive golf. Learn to work the ball left and right, high and low. You must navigate your way around a golf course with the 14 clubs at your disposal.

The trick is to get around in the least number of shots.

Keep learning for best results, we never stop learning on the golf course no matter how long we have been playing the game. Regular batches of lessons with a good instructor will accelerate your golfing journey toward a lower handicap. There will be good days and bad days out there, so, learn to take them in your stride. Walk the course if you can. Wishing you every success in your golfing endeavour.

Ultimate Golfing Guide Takeaways

  1. Strike up a relationship with a local golf club to begin your golfing journey.
  2. Book x6 lessons with your club’s PGA instructor & dive in.
  3. Start by buying a putter that your PGA instructor recommends.
  4. Likewise purchase your golf clubs under the guidance of your golf professional.
  5. Investigate which type of golf ball best suits your game.
  6. Equip yourself with tees, ball marker, pitch mark repairer, glove, umbrella, golf shoes, golf gear, wet weather attire, hat, ball retriever, GPS, and all the rest of the survival stuff you may need on the golf course.
  7. Drink plenty of water during your round of golf to stay hydrated.
  8. Take snacks if you are someone who appreciates refuelling.
  9. Stay calm, as best you can.
  10. Remember that every experience is a learning opportunity on the golf course.