The Beginner’s Guide to Golf | Everything You Need to Know About Golf



Deer Creek Golf Club has been in the golf industry for over 50 years and has seen how some beginner golfers can be missing the basic knowledge of golf before playing their first rounds. Golf is a sport rich in tradition and history. As a result, it has many terms, rules, and regulations that can be tough to learn at first. This is why our golf experts at our South Florida Golf Course compiled a list of common golf terms, rules, etiquette, tournaments, and equipment so that you show up to the course prepared.

Common Golf Terms

As part of our expert’s beginner’s guide to golf, we are helping new golfers understand the different golfing terms they need to know before their first round of golf.

Golf Course Terms

  • Golf Tee – The wooden peg you place your golf ball on at the start of the hole. 
  • Golf Tee Box – The area in which you first play the ball at the start of the hole. 
  • Fairway – The part of the golf course that leads to the green, usually where putting takes place.
  • The green – The soft, plush ground surrounding the hole.
  • The rough – The wild area on either side of the fairway. This area is often filled with trees and long grass. 
  • Bunker – A sandfilled ditch that usually surrounds the green. 
  • Hazard – Streams, ponds, bunkers, trees. Anything that comes between you and successfully getting the golf ball in the hole. 


Golf Scoring Terms

  • 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. 


The Rules of Golf

It is important to understand and follow at least the basic rules of golf to ensure a fair game is played and that the sport is competitive for all players. Our experts at Deer Creek have put together the main rules to follow when playing golf. 

  1. 14-Club Rule: This means that there is a 14-club limit per bag as you start at the beginning of each round. More than 14 will result in a two-stroke penalty for every hole or in disqualification. 
  2. Play behind the tee markers: Your ball should always be behind the tee markers. Trying to play in front of them will lead to receiving a penalty stroke.
  3. Play the ball as it lies: In most cases, you must play the ball from wherever it lands. If the ball is near a man-made object, on the cart path, or lands in an area under repair, then the golfer is allotted a ball drop.
  4. Out of Bounds: This is commonly referred to as “OB”. Basically, it means that the ball ends up outside the course of play. 
  5. Understanding Hazards: Hitting the water is unfortunately part of golf, there are many options to consider when this happens. It can be played from the water or, depending on if it is a lateral hazard or water hazard, a drop will be allotted to the player. 
  6. Lost ball rule: A lost ball can hurt both the wallet and the scorecard of the golfer. They will have to play the ball like it is out of bounds or if it really lost you could hit a provisional ball to speed up play. When searching for your ball, make sure you don’t grab the wrong one. 
  7. Unplayable Lies: If the ball ends up in an unplayable area, the golfer is allowed a drop and will receive a one-stroke penalty and that shot will be considered an “unplayable lie.”
  8. Cart path relief: If the ball ends up in the cart path or the cart path is interfering with the golfer’s swing, then they get a free relief, a free drop. 
  9. Whiff the golf ball: If the golfer whiffs the ball instead of hitting it, then they will receive a one-stroke penalty.
  10. No practice between holes: Once the official round has begun, there are no more practice shots allowed. Even if you want to try a shot you missed again, you can’t. 

You can check out the official rules of golf on the USGA website.  


Common Golf Etiquette

Although golf is a competitive sport, there are general guidelines and etiquette that are expected to be followed on the course. While not found in the official rule book, these guidelines are expected to be followed at all golf courses, including our Deerfield Beach, Florida course

  • 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. Wait for them to finish.
  • If a group behind you is playing faster, consider letting them go first at the next hole. 
  • Avoid angry outbursts.


What Is a Golf Handicap?

A golf handicap is a number that represents the skill level of a golfer. A golf handicap will vary from player to player and is based on previous scores achieved. The formula for calculating your golf score can change from year to year. You can find the latest handicap calculator on the official USGA website here. In order to calculate your handicap, you will need to have golfed at least a 9 or 18-hole course and have your scorecard handy.  


What, When, and Where Are the Major Professional Golf Tournaments Held?

A great way to learn more about the game of golf is to watch the professionals. Watching professional players golf can also give you pointers on your own game and set an example for yourself. The major golf tournaments are as follows:

  • 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. 


Put Your Golf Knowledge to the Test

Our Deer Creek Golf Course is open to the public, and to any and all golfers, from beginners to professionals. There are no handicap requirements to playing, and we only ask that you respect the golf etiquette outlined above. Check out our tee times and rates for our renowned course.  

For further golf information and golf classes to improve your game, check out our golf lessons available to all and tailor-made for your skill level. Contact us today for further information regarding memberships and our famed golf course. 


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