The game of golf can be one of the most intimidating new sports to break into as a beginner. Rules for the game are numerous, and there’s a dizzying array of 14 different clubs for different shots to choose from. When taking the first strokes in golf, the ball can end up in places so far off your intentions it would be hilarious if it weren’t so embarrassing and frustrating.
Aside from the rules and the learning curve for gaining competent skills, there are plenty of etiquette rules to keep in mind to avoid looking like a complete newb. To help you ease into the game with grace and class, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common faux-pas to avoid as a new golfer just getting into the sport.
Not taking time to warm up before the round
Although golf doesn’t seem like a terribly strenuous game to play, it’s actually a physically demanding sport that can cause pulled muscles or even torn ligaments. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to warm up and stretch some before your round.
Remember your body will be going through a lot of asymmetrical twisting motions, so be sure not to neglect stretching your core muscles and shoulders. Hit some balls on the driving range as well to ease your body into the swinging motion without a score on the line.
Using the wrong club for the shot
One of the most prominent challenges for new golfers is selecting the right club for each shot throughout a game. With up to 14 choices of clubs, it can be confusing knowing which one to use for shots not as obvious as a tee-off or putt.
Also remember to keep it humble when first starting out and buying new clubs. Purchasing high-end clubs used by pros may seem like a sure-fire way to make astounding shots, but the truth is these clubs are much harder for new players to wield. Pro-level clubs are designed for extremely precise golf swings that land exactly on the sweet spot of the ball with little room for error. The result is wildly off-kilter shots for beginners that aren’t as accurate with their swings yet.
For beginning golfers, using cavity back irons are a smarter choice, as their weight is distributed in a way that provides more leeway for inaccurate swings.
Having improperly spaced wedge lofts
If you don’t have the right wedges, you can wind up having disproportionate gaps in your stroke yardages. If you have a pitching wedge instead of a sand wedge, you can wind up overshooting the hole. A good rule of thumb is maintaining a 4-5 degree loft difference between each wedge in your bag. A typical set of wedges should have lofts similar to these:
- Lob wedge – 60 degrees
- Sand wedge – 56 degrees
- Gap wedge – 52 degrees
- Pitching wedge – 48 degrees
You’ll notice a 4-degree gap in the loft between each wedge, ensuring more even yardages with fewer gaps.
Swinging harder than necessary
When stepping up to the tee box for the first time, peering out into the distance to barely make out the flag you’re aiming for, it might be tempting to swing that driver as hard as you can muster to get as close as possible.
The problem with strained swings is they’re inaccurate. A more practical strategy is staying more relaxed and swinging confidently with complete control of the club. Grip the club a tad lighter, relax your shoulders, and breathe calmly, then focus on a smooth swing rather than smacking the ball hard. Despite feeling less effortful, you’ll notice you can get more range out of these more gentle swings.
Failing to extend commonly known golf courtesies
A quick rundown of common courtesy on the course:
- Rule number one on the course is keeping quiet while others are taking their shot.
- Leave the course as you found it—replace divots, ball marks, and rake bunkers.
- Don’t walk on another players’ putting line, and mark your ball if it’s in their line.
- The first player that putts into the hole replaces the flagstick.
- The player furthest from the hole shoots first.
- Adhere to the course dress code where you play.
Not practicing the short game
Over half of all golf shots happen within 100 yards of the green, and most of those are putts. But often, beginners spend a lot of their time hitting drivers and taking big swings. Of course, there’s something to be said for the feeling when a driver fully connects with the ball, and it sails into the distance exactly as you’d envisioned. If you want a lower score, though, it’s wiser to focus your practice time on shots close to the green and an even higher volume of practice putts on the green.
Have realistic expectations
Golf can definitely grate on the nerves of those who want to reach expert-level playing skill right out of the gate. The game takes considerable time and diligence to learn the precise skills necessary to direct the ball where you want it with any level of accuracy.
Instead of getting frustrated when it seems hopeless, focus on the process of learning the fundamentals that can deliver consistent results. From there, you can hone in on the specific weaknesses of your swings. With time, you’ll start to gain a feel for what you need to work on and where you’re doing pretty okay already.
When you’re just starting out as a new golfer, following all the rules can be a bit nerve-racking at times. Keeping chill in the face of adversity on the course is easier when you have some relaxing music to enjoy in the golf cart on the way to the next hole. Rokform’s wireless G-Rok speaker attaches instantly and securely with magnets to your golf cart, allowing you to stream your favorite playlist from your phone.