How Do I Get Started in Golf?
A client you’ve been pitching is interested in signing a contract, but they need to get final approval from their supervisor. They suggest you all meet for a round of golf to lock up the deal.
The problem is, you don’t play golf.
This is the year that problem changes. Never miss out on another networking opportunity or an enjoyable day outdoors with colleagues. It’s time to get in the game!
Below are tips that will help you get started in golf. Your first step is to understand this simple fact: Everyone who plays golf was a beginner at one time. They all shared the same nerves, apprehension, and limited knowledge of the rules. Since everyone has been in that position, there is understanding amongst experienced players to show patience and compassion to new players.
Golf Equipment and Accessories
Purchasing a set of golf clubs is easier than ever. You can visit a sporting goods store or search online to buy new or preowned clubs. Websites like RockBottomGolf, 2ndSwing, or ClubHub sell everything you need.
A beginner set of clubs typically falls in the $150 to $300 price range and includes a golf bag, driver and 3–wood, irons, a wedge, and a putter.
You’ll also need:
✓Ball marker (to mark your ball on the green)
✓Divot repair tool (to repair divots your ball leaves on the green)
Wearing Appropriate Golf Attire
Most golf courses — public and private — have dress codes. A standard dress code for men is a collared golf shirt, golf (khaki) pants or shorts, a belt, socks, and golf shoes. Women can wear golf pants, shorts, skorts (a combination of a skirt and shorts), or golf dresses. On colder days, pullover jackets and vests are customary.
Learning the Fundamentals of Golf
Videos online are a great resource for beginner golfers. Short tutorials hosted by professional instructors can offer a summary of the basics before you start practicing. Visual learning is useful for starters and accessing videos online is very convenient.
All players should practice hitting golf balls before visiting a course. The driving range provides opportunities to hit balls with different clubs without pressure. Practice breeds confidence and comfort in your game.
Private lessons with an instructor are also a great idea. If you can invest in a few sessions, a trained professional can teach you a proper grip, stance, swing, and follow-through. The immediate, personalized feedback will accelerate your progress. Average lessons are 30-to-60 minutes and cost $50–to–$90.
Get Started with an Experienced Player
The rules and etiquette of golf can take time to learn. The best way to break into the sport and avoid breaching etiquette is to play with an experienced friend. They will be able to guide you from the parking lot, to the clubhouse, and out to the first tee. From there they can:
Tell you where to stand when other players are hitting
Inform you of whose turn it is to hit throughout the round
Recommend what club you should use for each shot
Help you look for errant shots and tell you when it’s time to play a new ball
It’s also a good idea to play nine holes your first few times out, rather than a full round of 18 holes. Most courses have designated parts of the day (usually early morning and late afternoon) that you can schedule nine holes.
Golf is a terrific sport and can offer you lifelong exercise opportunities. It’s also great for business networking and recreation. Whether you are in your 20s or late 50s, it’s never too late to start.
Rookie Golfer’s Q&A
Do I need to buy equipment to play? — Many golf courses rent clubs, but some do not. Call the clubhouse ahead of time if you’re planning to rent.
Do I have to commit to a membership to play at a course? — Public courses are open to everyone and 75% of golf courses in the U.S. are public. You just need a set of clubs, proper attire, and a tee time to play. Private clubs require a membership to play, unless you are the guest of a member.
How do I schedule a tee time? — Scheduling a tee time is simple. Visit the course website and look for “Book a Tee Time,” or use a variety of booking companies such as GolfNow, Golf Advisor, Tee Off, RockBottomGolf, etc. You can also call the course pro shop to schedule an available tee time.
When can I schedule a tee time? — Scheduling systems vary by course. Some courses allow you to schedule a tee time months in advance, while others only schedule one week in advance. If there are openings, a player can also schedule a tee time that same day.
Do I have to schedule 18 holes? — A nine-hole round is the best way to get started. Most courses offer times early in the morning and late in the afternoon to play nine holes. Start with a few nine-hole rounds and work your way up to 18.
Do I get to pick who I play with? — Golf courses try to schedule a foursome for each tee time slot. If you schedule a group of four, you will all play together at your scheduled time. If, for example, you schedule a time for you and one partner, the course will likely fill out your group with two other players.
What if it rains? — Golf courses remain open when it’s raining. Playing or stopping due to rain is the choice of the player. Thunder, lightning or torrential downpours are exceptions. The staff will clear the course, and players should inquire about a raincheck at the pro shop.
NJM, a leading property and casualty insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region, is proud to partner with the golf community. Contact your agent or broker, visit njm.com/njsga, or call 833-859-1920.