Golf for Beginners
Golf is the premium summer sport, and is well known the world over! It’s so well known, it’s easy for anyone to get into it. All you need is a little energy and flexibility, and then it’s off to the races.
For years, golf was thought of as “the gentleman’s game”, and this started when the first golf club was officially opened by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith in 1744. The rules? Well,
“…’If your ball comes among water, or any watery filth, you are at liberty to take out your ball and bringing it behind the hazard and teeing it, you may play it with any club and allow your adversary a stroke for so getting out your ball.’” - Golf.com
Very much the same, then.
But golf as we know it - all 18 holes of it - wasn’t established until 1764 at St Andrews in England. Following some time, King William IV titled the course ‘Royal & Ancient’ in 1834 and the club became the world’s first premier golf club.
Of course, golfing wasn’t the precision sport it is today. Many of the golfers at the time were using hand-crafted wooden clubs to hit balls made of compressed feathers and horse hide - I know, the commitment of these golfers is almost too much!
Golf has come a long way! It wasn’t until 1895 that the first US Women’s Amateur was held in New York. This was the very first golf tournament for women held in the US, and it opened so many doors we see for women now.
But you may find yourself asking - how does one break into golf in the first place? We’re here to give you the rundown of golf for beginners so we can see you out on the court in no time!
Golf Basics - How to Play, How it’s scored, and Why play?
Quick Golf Tips to Level Up Your Game
Best Golf Clothing and Accessories
Golf Basics - How to Play, How it’s scored, and Why play?
Why Play Golf
Golf is a great way to practice flexibility and build strength and is a moderately low pace. There are many reasons golf is one of the best exercises for people of all ages.
- Golf is good exercise!
You spend most of the day on your feet, so you’re walking, in some cases, as much as 4 miles by the end of the course.
- Golf is a great way to get outside and reap the benefits of that.
Being outside feels good for a reason. Many studies suggest being outside for long periods of time helps you sleep better, lower blood pressure, boost creative thinking, and reduce anxiety! Just remember to bring the sunscreen.
- Golf brings people together.
Golf is one of the easiest ways to make new friends, especially if you like to stop at the clubhouse on the way out. Most clubs are more than happy to help you join other groups to play, so you get to know your neighbors, near and far. But if you want to play with people you know, it’s also a great family activity. You can get golf clubs in just about every shape, size and color which means that no matter how old your kids are, they will love getting some fresh air and being a little competitive with you.
- Unlike most sports, golf is relaxing
Golf is a game that is competitive and can be fun in that way, but golf is first and foremost a slow-play game. It’s just you, the ball, your club, and wide open spaces. It’s easy to let you problems slip away to focus on the problem at hand - getting the ball into the hole.
- It’s a way to connect with friends that doesn’t have a high barrier to entry.
Golf isn’t as hard as it looks, and is great for groups. Groups are encouraged, actually! And, with some local courses, it’s not expensive to play a round every now and then.
“According to a Golf Channel survey, the median cost for an 18-hole round at a public golf course is $36 including cart. Private clubs are costlier with annual membership dues and additional fees and range anywhere from moderately-priced to six-figure initiation fees.” - GolfWeek.com
Most clubs let you rent clubs or any equipment you need, so just show up with your sunny attitude, ready to sink some holes.
Can anyone learn Golf?
Yes! The beauty of golf is that it’s completely open to everyone! Starting with children that are aware enough to hold a golf club, there’s really no age limit! Golf is a great way for children to improve coordination, and a fantastic way to retain it as we age. Because golfers can like the game for different reasons - social or competitive - anyone can play golf, no matter the experience level. It’s always more fun when the people you’re playing with are the same skill level as you to keep the pace even, but really, any group of women can play a great game of golf together.
The Golf Course
You know a golf course when you see one! Or maybe you think it’s a big park. An 18 hold golf course usually occupies between 100-250 acres of land, depending on their age. Nine hole courses are also common, particularly in urban and suburban areas where space is limited.
A full size golf course - the ones you see on TV that is - range from 5,000 - 7,500 yards in length, which is the distance you cover as you play all the holes, from tee to green.
The “Par” for a golf course is the number of strokes an expert golfer needs to complete the play. Generally, this number will be between 69 and 74. The most common “par” for an 18 hold golf course is Par-70. BUT that’s for experts. Personally, we love a long, 120 stroke + game.
The hole on the course has 2 meanings - one is the physical hole in the ground, and the other refers to the entire play, from tee-to-green unit of the course, like 18-holes. A hole can come in 3-4 varieties.
Par-3: Up to 250 yards for men and 210 yards for women
Par-4: 251 to 470 yards for men and 211 to 400 yards for women
Par-5: 471 yards to 690 yards for men and 401 to 575 yards for women
Par-6 holes are sometimes encountered, too, but they are scarce.
The “par” on each hole is, like the number of strokes to complete the course, the number of strokes to complete the hole. So a par 4 hole is one where the expert golfer is expected to hit close to the green with her tee shot and take 2 putts.
The Teeing Area
The teeing area is the starting point of a hole, where you place your tee and tee up your ball. You’ll know a teeing area when you see it - there’s markers to mark the place, complete with notations - usually color notations - for your scorecard.
The fairway is the path from the teeing area to the hole. It’s the route you want to follow when playing. It does not include the rough or any bunkers or hazards. The grass is short, not as short as the green, but short enough to see your ball across the field.
The green you’re probably most familiar with as the putting green. It’s the end point of a hole, with the hole in the green at some point. There’s no standard size or shape of greens, but the average of 5,000 square feet remains fair for any competitive play.
Greens have the shortest grass on the course and they’re perfect for putting - exerting little force on the ball with a long thin club.
Bunkers, Rough, and Other Hazards
There are hazards on the golf course that will cause you to either incur penalties or make the game harder to play.
The “rough” is the area outside the fairway, where the grass is unmanicured, thicker, and generally tougher to get out of. Bunkers are much the same, but these are areas of the course that have been hollowed out either naturally or by design, and filled with fine material, like sand, dirt, or other particulate. There can also be water on the golf course. You’ve probably seen photos or been on a course with a little lake or pond. These areas are penalty areas, and will require you to get a new ball and take some penalty strokes.
Golf clubs are the most important instrument on the course. You can purchase your own clubs or rent them from the club if you’re just starting out, but getting a good set of clubs is key in performing at golf. There are some rules that restrict some features of golf clubs, but generally, you’ll be able to find clubs that will help your swing.
A modern set of golf clubs contains:
- Three “woods” (the 1-driver, 3, and 5)
- Woods are used to hit long shots.
- They’re hollow bodied and large headed.
- Woods are customary when shooting from 175 yards away or longer.
- The Driver is the most famous golf clubs, and has the lowest “loft” or angle of all clubs (between 7+12 degrees) which will help lower the center of gravity, giving more lift to the ball.
- Woods aren’t made of wood. I know, it’s shocking.
- Woods are made of metal, but are called woods because traditionally, they had a club head that was made from hardwood.
- At least 1 “hybrid” (3H)
- Hybrids are interesting because they are fairly new! They’re a combination of a wood head, particularly a driver, and an iron length shaft.
- These were created to help golfers hit with irons, because these clubs are notoriously difficult to hit distance with.
- Hybrids offer more distance and give more “loft”, meaning longer shots and more controlled strength, making for a good middle-of-the-fairway shot.
- Seven “irons” (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and the Pitching Wedge)
- Irons are generally used when you’re less than 200 yards away from the green.
- The closer you are to the green, the higher the iron number.
- For beginners, ladies, and high handicap golfers, modified golf sets take out the 3 and 4 iron and replace them with 7 and 8 woods, higher in weight and loft.
- The pitching wedge is a specialty iron, and is used to increase the loft and lower the center of gravity, giving a straighter shot.
- Wedges in general are great for your game, and are designed to give you a more cynical shot when close to the green.
- A “putter”
- Putters are clubs with a very special job indeed. They’re primarily only used on the green to hit the ball into the hole.
- There are many styles of putters: short, belly, long, bent, center-hosel, heel-toe, mallet, and the list goes on!
This is a total of 12 clubs, the maximum number being 14.
The Rules + Scoring
The hardest part of golf for beginners is understanding the rules and scoring of the game. The big picture? Put the ball in the hole with as little swings and interference as possible. Once you understand the basics, you’ll find it makes the game much more enjoyable.
The PGA has a great explainer on the rules of golf, but we’ll distill them here too.
There are many segments of rules, so we’ll go through them one by one.
Clubs and Balls
- You can carry a max of 14 clubs, but you’ll generally only have 12. They can be a combination of any clubs you like, but not exceeding 14.
- The ball you use to tee off a hole must be the ball you finish with. You can use different balls between holes, but you must finish a hole with the same ball you started with. This is to prevent any sneaky cheating.
- You can only tee off if you’re behind the line of tee markers. You can tee up anywhere between them and right back to the length of 2 drivers, but never tee off in front of these markers.
- When the ball falls off the tee before you hit it, it doesn’t count as a stroke. It’s an act of God. Pick it up and try again!
- But if you swing and completely miss, unfortunately, that’s one shot. If it falls off the tee because the wind you generated from the string was so unbelievable, that’s still one, my friend. Sorry!
- The order of play on the tee is determined by the previous hole score. The lower score hits first, then it moves to the highest. Of course, you can always mix this one up. It’s not hard and fast when playing with friends!
Playing the hole
- Never move a ball. Never kick it to a better spot, or pick it up, or even blow on it to make it move. Yes, we’ve seen you do that! You must play the ball as it lies.
- Do not try to make the ground better, either by pressing down to flatten the ground or by moving blades of grass around, or by bending branches in front or behind you to assist.
- Don’t “ground” or “rake” the club in a bunker. Don’t try to move the sand, or intentionally hit the ground. You must try to hit the ball.
- If you’re in a water hazard and decide to play out of it, the same rules apply as the bunker.
- Do not place anything in front of the ball to aim. You CAN use leaves, stones, or grass that was already in position to help you line up your shot.
- A note on practice shots - you can take a practice swing into the air, but be sure not to hit the ball. You can hit an acorn on the ground or a stone but just not your golf ball.
- The player furthest from the hole is supposed to play first after the initial drive.
- Do not play while another player is taking her turn. Everyone must be attentive.
- You need to hit the ball with one strike - that means no scooping, no pushing, no hockey swings, sorry northern states!
- Only hit a ball once it’s standing still.
- Only hit your ball - if you hit another players ball, you’ll get a 2 stroke penalty
On the green
- If ANY part of the ball is touching the green, you are on the green. You can put a marker down behind the ball and pick it up.
- You can move stones, sand, gravel, or any loose items away from your shot on the green.
- Don’t rub or scrape the surface of the green to feel the texture or test it.
- Always place the ball in exactly the same place you picked it up from using it’s marker.
- If you ball gets to the edge of the hole, you can wait 10 seconds to see if it goes in. If it goes in after 10 seconds, it’s another shot.
- You can put with the flag in
- You can ask your caddy for advice on how to play the hole, no one else. That means, no asking your friend what club they used or how they should putt the ball. We at Jofit think that if you’re playing a fun game with friends, you can ignore this rule, because where’s the fun in that!
- If the ball moves by accident or by an act of God, there’s no penalty. Don’t try to move your ball back either!
- If you lost your ball and it takes you longer than 3 minutes to find it, you’ll have to re-hit the ball and add a stroke.
Apart from all those rules, there is some etiquette that comes along with golf! And it all starts with the dress code.
- The Golf Dress Code.
There are specific items of clothing that you need to play golf because of it’s gentlemanly roots. That’s not to say that all golf courses are like this, but some of the longer, older, and more exclusive courses may still adhere to a stricter dress code.
For women, the golf dress code includes:
- A skirt, skort, shorts, or pants. There is no length requirement.
- A golf shirt with a collar.
Jofit’s collection of golf clothing adheres to these guidelines
- Punctuality is close to godliness.
If you schedule a tee time, your group must be there at that time. These times are calculated specifically for each member of the course and will stop you from running into other groups while playing. If you arrive early, use the time to use the restroom, get your equipment ready, and practice at the range.
- Keeping up the pace
Close to punctuality, keeping the pace of play is very important in golf, and can help teams out on the course to avoid each other. You need to be consistently moving forwards to the next hole. Generally, your 18 round course will take you up to 4 hours, so you should plan about 15 minutes per hole. If you’re running a little longer, you can always allow the group behind you to “play through” which moves them ahead of you.
- Quiet is necessary! Sometimes...
Try to be respectful of others while you’re playing - this includes trying to allow the person hitting the ball to focus with some quiet.
You must duck and cover your head when this is yelled because it means that someone hit a ball in the direction of someone else. And if you’ve ever held a golf ball, you know those aren’t soft!
If you accidentally hit a ball towards other people, you must yell FORE! As loud as you can to protect them.
- Where to stand
Don’t stand too close to the backswing of the person playing, for obvious reasons. It may also be distracting to walk or stand in someone’s line of sight.
- Leave it how you found it.
Respect the golf course to use it again one day. Some courses have seed mixtures to sprinkle in particularly deep divots, but others want you to replace any grass torn up or move any sand over the divots in a sandtrap to help other golfers.
- Honor, honesty, and respect
Say positive things on the course to keep the game light and airy. If someone has a bad shot, quiet works just as well. Golf is at it’s core, a gentle game, meaning you have the responsibility to be honest, and use the honor system when counting your strokes. Try not to swear or get too angry, it changes the mood of the entire course - and try to shake your opponent’s hand at the end, even if they win!
- Golf’s secret 19th hole
This often refers to the clubhouse for a post-golf drink to socialize, reminisce and relax. A great win for any group of friends!
Quick Golf Tips to Level Up Your Game
- Spend some time learning how to swing the club before going out for a day on the course.This will make the day much more enjoyable!
- Stretch those hammies before the big day! The course is a big walking day, meaning you should probably do some stretching and moving before getting out there. It can be easy for sleepiness or sore muscles to affect your game while on the course.
- Don’t be afraid to really hit the ball. It’s something that’s very common with beginners, children, and women. Don’t be shy when hitting the ball, you want to make sure you’re following through with the swing and at the same time putting effort and energy into it.
Best Golf Clothing and Accessories
Now that we know the basics of golf, we can focus on the fun part - the fashion! When looking for golf clothing, you should be looking for the following:
Golf clothing, especially women’s golf shirts, should not be tight. You’re looking for a looser fit that promotes movement in the arms and upper back. The best way to test for a great fitting golf shirt is to practice your swing in the mirror and look for any tightness in the underarms, back, and sleeves. You want minimal tugging in these points to make sure you can follow through on any swing you make on the course. In terms of pants or shorts, you want to look for something loose that will help with bending your knees. In much the same way as a golf shirt should be loose, you don’t want your pants or shorts impeding your swing.
Women’s golf pants, skirts, skorts, or shorts should also be comfortable to be in all day. It can get warm out on the course, especially in the midday sun, so you want something that will be protective to your skin and give you the breathability factor. You’ll be looking for something that will keep you cool in even extreme conditions. Women’s shirts should do much the same, and protect you from any UVA or UVB rays. Look for moisture wicking clothing with UPF factors.
Golf shorts, skirts, and skirts for women are a great way to introduce a little femininity to the course. They’re great for the dead of summer, keeping you cool while giving you some modesty on the course. Try out our Jofit shorts and skirts with adorable panels and pockets, specifically designed for your scorecards or any other knick knacks you need like your phone.
The more traditional golf clothing option, our women’s golf pants are perfect for cooler months or early mornings out on the course. Our specially designed women’s golf pants are made with every body in mind, and fit the shape of your body. With a little extra flex than your standard leggings, our golf pants are mature and look sophisticated on hole one and hole 19.
Womens Golf Shirts with Collars
Jofit’s women’s golf shirts are second to none in their design, their fit, and most importantly their flair! You won’t see golf shirts like this anywhere else. With mocks, crewnecks, and standard polos, our golf shirts are perfect for any season! Pair them with our golf jackets to keep you warm in the mornings, and pair them with a skirt to really amp up the femme.
Golf Clothing with Jofit
Every single piece of our women’s golf clothing collection is made with you, the player, in mind. With UVA and UVB protection and a flexible fit, you’ll be hitting like a pro in no time. That’s only the start, our wonderful selection of colors, prints, and shapes is perfect to stand out on the course. You’ll want to wear our incredible selection to golf, to the store, and to cocktails with friends. Try us out today!