How to get started in golf

There are many reasons why a person wants to start playing golf. However, the primary reason should be to have fun and make it an enjoyable experience. The game of golf can be both difficult and humbling. It just takes that one swing per round like a long straight drive, long putt for a birdie or breaking a personal milestone to keep a person coming back even though you may be playing other golfers, you are actually playing against yourself challenging both your physical and emotional skills. Seeing individual improvement also keeps us wanting to play more. It is a game of a lifetime whether you are young, old or somewhere in-between. Once you establish a handicap, you can play against anyone, even a professional, and havea fair competition (the only sport of its kind).

Lessons
Before heading off to the course for the very first time, you may want to invest in quality time with lessons and practice. Every golfer had to start somewhere. Even the most skilled golfers in the world had to hone their skill by practicing hours upon hours to get to that level. Check with your local golf courses or driving range facility to find a local PGA teaching professional who you will feel comfortable with. Speak with friends or relatives in your local area that have taken lessons for a referral.

Most lessons are given individually. However, the local teaching pro or civic groups like the YMCA or an educational institution may offer group lessons. This is especially true for women and children to be less intimidating while learning the game. Golfers who are self-taught or learn from a friend or relative will generally take longer to proper techniques. Learning the golf swing is not only think that you should learn, but also etiquette as well. We have devoted a special section to learn the basic etiquette on and around the golf course.

Practice
Most golfers, even individuals who are naturally athletic, need to spend time developing their swing. There are special places devotes to practicing your swing called driving ranges. These may be stand alone or may be part of the golf course. The golfer pays a nominal fee to hit a basket or bucket of balls in a wide open surrounding. The name driving range would indicateit is for the Driver, but it is a place to learn to hit every other club in your bag (except possibly the putter). Spend time knowing what direction and just how far each club goes. This will be extremely helpful when you are ready to go to the course.

Golf courses also have a practice green to help you learn the speed and contours of the putting surfaces you may play. This is much different from a Putt Putt course as the golf course greens are not flat nor have barriers for mis-struck putts to bounce off of. Spend some time practicing here as putting will account for approximately 40% of your shots, especially before you head onto the course.

If you mow grass at home, then you can spend time practicing chipping and pitching around the lawn. Hitting full shots in your neighborhood are strongly discouraged for obvious reason, but learning to hit short shots with your highest lofted clubs (wedges) can be useful. Trying to hit into a basket or bucket from 10 to 30 feet away will pay dividends around the greens on the course.

Play
The first time playing on an actual golf course can be intimidating and exhilarating as well. Before going to the best know golf course or country club in your area, you are best off probably playing a less formidable challenge. Speak with friends or local family members who often play golf to suggest the easiest course in the area. This may be a Par 3 course (where the longest hole may be 150 yards or less) or an executive course (much shorter than a traditional course). Gradually build your game up. Otherwise, playing a very difficult course and playing poorly will do little for your self-confidence and may discourage you from ever playing golf again.

When you do go to play your first time, play with a peer or someone you are comfortable with. Playing with your boss, a complete stranger or a wife playing with her husband can be unnerving at best. But if you are put into this situation, don’t become discouraged, have fun and show proper etiquette. Remember, those playing with you also remember the first time they played.

Equipment
First, you came to the right place. Hireko has a huge assortment of clubs and training aids for any golfer. If you are beginning to play golf or becoming interested, obviously you will need equipment. Chances are you want good quality clubs to make the game enjoyable and that is also affordable. If you went out to buy new, name brand equipment (like Callaway, TaylorMade, etc.), it would cost in excess of $2000 for 14 clubs, a golf bag, balls and shoes. Buying clubs at Hireko will cost you approximately 1/3 of the price for comparable equipment.

How? First, major name brand manufacturers spend millions of dollars in advertising, endorsements and free clubs for professional golfers that adds to the price of their equipment. At Hireko, we simply offer quality equipment without the expense of expensive advertising, and pass the saving onto you. Plus we are factory-direct, further reducing overhead, middlemen and added costs. Yet, at the same time proving the best technology and quality heads, shafts and grips as the major brands do. So why spend more?

Additional Resources
To learn more about this great game of golf, there are several other resources you may find helpful. The most popular golf periodicals are Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golf World. Many of these will offer tip on how to improve your game as well. Another important resource is The Rules of Golf, a small handbook of the rules we all abide by on the golf course. You can obtain this book at either your local golf course or by going to www.usga.org. There are also a number of internet forums and chat groups to “hang out” and learn about and contribute your own experiences on all facets of this game. Watching television coverage, will also get you a feel of the tradition of the game. But most of all, you will learn from your own experience during all the practice alone and playing with fellow golfers, friends and colleagues for a lifetime to come.

by Jeff Summitt
Hireko Technical Director