The Beginner’s Guide to Golf | Everything You Need to Know About Golf
Stop, you’ve found it! This is your go-to list for everything golf: your Beginner’s Guide to Golf terms, tips, and a directory of the top Florida golf schools. A one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about this ancient, yet still popular sport. So, bookmark this page and get comfy – Deer Creek Golf Club is going to teach you all about the game of golf.
Abridged History of Golf
We don’t want you yawning, so we’ll keep it short. Golf can be traced back millennia to China, but the modern, 18-hole version started in Scotland in the 1400’s. The first recorded mention of golf was when it was banned by Parliament in 1457 because it was distracting people from military training. The Scots preferred a round of golf over sword fighting, it seems.
It is important that every Beginner’s Guide to Golf dispel the legendary myth right away: golf does not stand for “Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden”. Golf was the ancient word for “club,” so the game was essentially just called “club.” The term “golf club” literally means “club club.”
For local golf enthusiasts, we have also covered the history of golf in South Florida that goes a little more in depth about how Florida became the golf retreat we know today.
Of course, no Beginner’s Guide to Golf would be complete without the important golf terms to memorize:
- Golf Tee – the wooden peg you place your golf ball on at the start of the hole. The area in which you first play the ball at the start of the hole (A.K.A. the tee box) is also known as the golf tee
- Fairway – the part of the golf course that leads to the green
- The green – the soft, plush ground surrounding the hole
- The rough – the wild area on either side of the fairway Often filled with trees and long grass.
- Bunker – a sand filled ditch. Usually surrounds the green.
- Hazard – streams, ponds, bunkers, trees. Anything that comes between you and successfully getting the golf ball in the hole.
- Stroke – the swing made with intent to hit the ball. You keep track of score by counting strokes; a miss can still count as a stroke.
- Ace – a hole in one
- Eagle – 2 strokes under par
- Birdie – 1 stroke under par (sometimes called a double eagle)
- Par – the standard number of strokes it should take to get the golf ball from the tee to the hole
- Bogey – 1 stroke above par
- Double Bogey – 2 strokes above par
- Triple Bogey – 3 strokes above par
Golf Clubs and Golf Gear
Sure, good golf clubs and top of the line golf gear is going to improve your game, but it shouldn’t be a crutch you rely on, especially when you are new to golf. Your first set of golf clubs are likely to get scuffed, banged up, and possibly even broken, so don’t spend a fortune on a nice set until you are an intermediate or expert golfer.
Beginner’s golf tip: New golfers should find decent, mid-price range clubs. Golf clubs for intermediate players differ from those that new golfers should buy, and even intermediate golf clubs are vastly different from the ones the pros buy. Keep in mind that there is always the possibility that you will end up not liking the sport or not doing very well in it, so splurging on a set of golf clubs in the beginning is not ideal.
The professional golfers at Deer Creek Golf Club in Deerfield Beach recommend the following tips for beginner golfers:
- Ask a friend if you can borrow their golf clubs.
- Rent golf clubs from the golf course clubhouse.
- Buy used golf clubs from sellers on eBay and Craigslist.
- Don’t buy an entire set. Get a wood, two or three irons, a sand wedge, and a putter.
- Don’t forget: there are an array of golf club numbers to choose from, so do your research!
Florida Golf Schools
Golf lessons are important if you want to actually be a successful golfer and play a great game. For the most part, golf for beginners is not intuitive. You must train yourself and your body to do things that do not come naturally, and without someone there to correct mistakes and give guidance, you will develop bad habits.
There are more than a few golf schools in Florida to choose from that teach you how to golf properly. The following South Florida golf schools are all conveniently located at or near Deer Creek Golf Club:
- Roland Stafford Golf School
- Denise Lavigne Golf School
- Matt Robbins Golf School
- Jess Frank Golf School
Professional golf lessons are better than any Beginner’s Guide to Golf, so get out there with a pro and learn golf by actually playing.
If you really start getting into the sport, you are most likely finding yourself watching tournaments on TV and even in person at local golf courses. The following are the more well-known golf tournaments with a bit of information:
- The Four Majors (Grand Slam: Win all four in a calendar year. Tiger Slam: hold all four at one time)
- The Masters – First week of April and always held at the same place every year: The Augusta National Golf Club.
- The US Open – Mid-June and held at various golf courses around the United States.
- The Open – Mid-July and held at various golf courses around the United Kingdom. Also referred to as the British Open.
- PGA Championship – Mid-August and held on the eastern side of the United States.
- The Ryder Cup – End of September. The Ryder Cup is the most important team golf tournament. The tournament is between the United States and Europe.
- The Barclays – Mid-June and held at various golf courses, especially around the New York area.
- The Travelers – Late June, at the TPC River Highlands course.
Rules of Golf
Golf has a lot of official rules and unofficial rules as well. It is always good to have a firm grasp on the basic rules and then discuss group rules when playing with friends.
Check out the official rules of golf at the USGA website.
Deer Creek Golf Club put together this Golf Etiquette 101 article that details the seven things you shouldn’t do on the golf course. Golf etiquette will change depending on where you are and who you are playing with, but for the most part there are a few undeniable standards shared between all who play golf. Below is the Beginner’s Guide to Golf quick tips for golf etiquette:
- Don’t talk during someone’s backswing
- Don’t walk through someone else’s line (the line from their ball to the hole)
- Don’t hit the ball into the group ahead of you
- Don’t get angry after every shot that isn’t perfect
- Show up on time
- Have fun
These are the unwritten rules that you may not learn at your Florida golf schools, but they are as important as any other rules you may come across at your South Florida golf course.
Golf Handicaps Explained
Deer Creek Golf Club has a great article that details everything you need to know about golf handicaps, since they can get really involved and a bit complicated.
But there is a formula: (Your Score – Course Rating) X 113/Slope Rating.
The Deer Creek Golf Course tour scorecard, course ratings, and slopes are available online.
Tips for Beginner Golfers
Finally, here are a few tips from our Beginner’s Guide to Golf to keep in mind:
- Golf is a difficult sport at first; be persistent if you really want to learn it.
- Do not play difficult courses or from difficult tees until you are ready.
- Enroll in golf lessons in Boca Raton Florida at a professional golf school.
- Aim, don’t just swing.
- Track your stats and your progress.