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Golf – Getting Started – Learn and Enjoy
Golf as we know it today has long been played in Scotland since the late 1400s. Saint Andrews, Scotland is the home of the oldest and most famous golf course in the world. In the late 18th century, the rules of play of the game of golf was put together by the Company of Gentlemen Golfers – the first set of formal rules governing the game set forth by the first organized golf club in the world. More than a hundred years later, America’s first golf club was established in 1888 by Peter Reid and the Apple Tree Gang and was appropriately called St. Andrews Club.

With golf being played in two continents, the game has never been the same. It has been exported to the four corners of the globe and has become a multi-million dollar industry; golf is also the preferred game of today’s businesspersons, bankers and industrialists. The novice golfer interested in learning the game should therefore be aware that golf has a rich legacy and tradition that goes back hundreds of years, full of inspiration and lots of fun and excitement!

Golf does not only have a physical aspect it has an equally important mental aspect as well. To really enjoy the game, the novice player has to be acquainted with both to get the most out of playing the game of gentlemen.

●  Do not go on a buying spree of equipment and accessories.

● Do your homework. Find out where the nearest public golf courses are near your residence. Membership to exclusive clubs is expensive, and if you do not have deep pockets the excitement will easily get lost because of the expense involved. Golf is a game you can play with your spouse, children and friends but it is difficult if you just dive into the game without knowing what you are getting into. Ask around.

● Talk to club pros and other players. Go to the driving range and hit a bucket or two. Ask for advise and tips on how to hold the club, what club to use, etc. This way, you can easily find out if you really have an affinity for the game.

● Rent or borrow your equipment at first. When you discover that you do like playing the game, then you can go ahead and buy. However, remember to always ask for guidance, especially when buying your golf equipment.

● Observe other players. Pay close attention to what they do and how they do it. Relax, and have fun. Remember, you are not going to beat others the first time out.

● Take lessons from the club pro and polish your putting on your own when you have the time on weekends.

● The local club pro can teach you the correct way of holding the club, positioning your feet and making that all important swing. Most especially, he can also teach you the different properties of the various clubs and when to use them.

Only then should you buy your own set of golf equipment and accessories! Tips:

GOLF CLUBS Golf clubs have different types: woods, irons, and putters. Woods are used to hit the farthest whereas irons are used for intermediate distances while putters are used to push the ball at close distances. There are other types of clubs that are sharply angled for chipping the ball up steep hills or out of sand traps. Get clubs with grips that are neither so small the club twists in your hands on impact, nor so large you can’t wrap your fingers easily around it.

GRIP Remember to get clubs with grips that are just right for your hands – neither too small nor too big. The starting grip is very vital. The most common is the one in which the index finger of the one hand hooks the pinky of the other hand. Check the V’s (the angle between your thumb and forefinger on each hand). When looking down, make sure you can see the first two knuckles of your left hand and a “V” formed between the thumb and forefinger pointing towards your right shoulder; the “V” should point towards the right shoulder.

SWING Heels about shoulder width apart, practice a few swings. You should hit the ball squarely in the middle of the club left to right and slightly higher from the bottom. Hold the club firmly (not tightly) and balance your self on your feet. As much as possible, keep the swing in one plane; follow through after making contact with the ball and watch the ball as it goes up in flight.

RULES There are several golf rules but there is one cardinal rule: tee up, hit the ball towards the flag and try to get the ball into the hole where the flag is in. The lesser the number of strokes it takes you to get the ball into all of the holes assures you of victory. Remember, you should only hit your own ball and record every stroke you make.

ETIQUETTE Do not be a danger to other players by standing too close to them when you or he makes their swing. Keep quiet when someone is preparing to hit his ball. Do not make other players wait for you – if you lose your ball, let them ‘play through’. Replace ‘divots’ and fix other damage you accidentally made on the green. Be courteous to people around you. Golf is a gentleman’s game!

BEFORE YOU BEGIN PLAYING Learn, study and ask questions from others who have been playing the game for some time. Do your own researches on the game but never forget the primary purpose of the game: HAVE FUN with your family and friends.