If your 2018 New Year’s Resolution is to learn the game of Golf, I’m here to help you get started and we will begin with an introductory tour of a golf course. When you have booked your lesson with a teaching professional your first lesson should be an introductory tour of the golf course, learning to play golf without understanding the golf course would be like learning to row a boat without a paddle !! This lesson will be perfect to take with friends who are starting out and new to golf. If you book a 1 hour lesson you can spend 30 mins on course and 30 mins at the range.
For those of you who have never been on a golf course I have included a 12 minute flyover tour, before you read on please watch a few holes of the video.
On the video you will see the rectangular tee boxes at the beginning of every hole. A “teeing ground” on a golf course is that area from which you play your first stroke on each hole. It’s where every hole starts. It is, in other words, the area from which you “tee off”. Golf courses typically offer multiple teeing grounds on each hole, designated by different colours of tee markers (the black/blue tees, white tees, red tees and so on). The black/blue tees are for tournament or championship rounds, white tees are the mens tees, red are the women’s tees and the yellow tees are referred to as the “forward” tee. From the forward tee to the green, the distance is shorter than from the tees farther back. Some people still refer to the forward tees as “women’s tees” which is incorrect. Junior golfers use those forward tees as well as new golfers and older golfers.
Note: The game of golf has the same set of rules regardless of the set of tees that are used.
Now that you have begun your on course lesson ask the teaching professional to explain:
- The “tee markers” and where you would tee up the ball
- How high to tee up the ball depending on which club you are using
After leaving the tee box you will venture onto the Fairway, the part of the course where the grass is cut short between the tees and the putting greens, exclusive of the rough, trees, and hazards: More important than long drives is keeping your ball on the fairway, the mowed part of any hole between the tee and the green.
You will notice many holes on the fairway filled with sand, this is called a divot. A divot is a piece of turf cut out of the ground by a golf club in making a stroke.
“she hit a wedge shot and carved a hefty divot out of the fairway”
I believe all players should take on the responsibility of taking care and keeping the course well maintained, this begins with repairing as we go. Grab a bucket of sand at the 1st tee before you go out and fill in your divots with sand.
The width of a fairway ranges according to the difficulty of the hole and the style of the course as a whole. The wider the fairway, the easier it is to hit. To make golf courses more challenging for tournaments, groundskeepers often cut the fairways more narrow. Doing so requires a player to be more accurate off the tee or risk having her golf ball land in the rough.
Ask the teaching pro to take you to a shorter hole which will usually be a Par 3 and a longer hole which will be a Par 5. The teaching pro should also explain what a “Par” means and explain why some holes are considered harder because of hazards. A hazard is an area of the golf course which provides a difficult obstacle, which may be of two types, water hazards such as lakes and rivers and man-made hazards such as bunkers.
Sand bunkers, a bunker is a hole or depression in the ground filled in with sand (or similar material). Bunkers vary greatly in size and shape and depth. They are most commonly found serving as greenside hazards, but also often show up in fairways and alongside fairways. Get your teaching pro to drive up to a bunker get out and take a look. Walk through the bunker and rake out your foot prints.
Ask your teaching pro for important rules to know about the bunker, the most important is that you can not ground your club in a bunker.
Stop at a green and take a walk, feel the grass, find a pitch mark left by a careless golfer and fix it properly.
The putting green, or simply the green, is an area of very closely trimmed grass on relatively even, smooth ground surrounding the hole, allowing players to make precision strokes on it. To “putt” is to play a stroke on this surface, usually with the “putter” club, which has very low loft so that the ball rolls smoothly along the ground, and hopefully into the cup.
Golfers describe a green as fast if a light stroke on the ball makes it roll a long distance; conversely, on a slow green a stronger stroke is necessary to roll the ball the same distance. The hole has a flag on a metal pole positioned in it so that it may be seen from a distance, but not necessarily from the tee. This location marker is officially called the “flagstick” but is also commonly referred to as the “pin.”. A pitch repairer must be carried on you at all times to repair pitch marks left on the green from your approach shots.
You should take a scorecard with you and get her/him to explain the scorecard as you go.
30 MINUTE LESSON ON THE RANGE
Once you’ve finished your on course tour, you can use the next 30 mins with the teaching professional on the range.
It’s vital for you to understand what each club in your bag is used for. Ask the teaching pro to hit every club from their bag to give you a demonstration of the club, the club head and each clubs distance.
Bring all your questions, this is your chance to get expertise on a lot of golf questions you’ve been wondering about. The accomplished teacher won’t want to hand you a couple of tips and leave it at that. One analogy is that we’re going to do a jigsaw puzzle. We may get a few important pieces together pretty quickly, which will give us momentum. But to construct the whole puzzle is a gradual process. Invest in a medium to long term coaching plan not a short term plan.(see prior article Golf: Is it really “Just like riding a Bike”).
In addition to personal lessons, I often watch teaching videos on the internet. Now that you know about the golf course and have invested in a few lessons, you are ready to sort through the dozens of golf lessons online. I like to watch Amanda Rolley from Australian Golf Digest, you’ll find many of her demonstrations invaluable. Below are just a few.
You can contact your nearest golf facility to book your first lesson. Golf associations such as Golf Victoria (03) 8545 6200 are only a phone call away and can help you find what you’re looking for locally.