Sports are a great way to incorporate strength training and cardiovascular activity. They are also a great way to spend time with friends or meet new people.

Golf

Strength, power, flexibility, balance, core stability, body awareness, even endurance are all physical traits that every consistent golfer must possess. Here are a few tips on getting started with golf and improving your game!

Getting Started

  • Golf clubs are the tools we use to strike the golf ball. A golf club has three components, head, shaft, and grip. A standard set of golf clubs consists of three woods (the 1-driver, 3, and 5), eight irons (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and pitching wedge), and a putter, twelve clubs in total. The rules of golf allow you to carry fourteen clubs in your bag, so many golfers add another iron or specialty wood.
  • Woods are used to hit long shots. If a golf hole is 450 yards from tee to green, most golfers use a wood to hit off the tee. A wood is a hollow-bodied large headed golf club. Use your woods when you are 175 yards or more away from the green. The driver (also called the 1 wood) has the lowest loft of any golf club. Loft is the angle of the club face that controls trajectory and affects distance. A driver has a loft between 7 and 12 degrees. Experienced golfers have traditionally favored lower lofted drivers (less than 10 degrees of loft), which require much more skill to hit than higher lofted drivers.
  • Most golfers also carry 3 and 5 woods in their bag. A 3 wood has a loft between 15 and 18 degrees, and a 5 wood has a loft between 20 and 22 degrees. The higher the golf club number, the higher the loft. In addition, the higher the golf club number, the shorter the club. A 3 wood is generally 1/2″ shorter than a Driver and so on with each successive club.Irons
  • Irons are generally used when you are less than 200 yards away from the green. The closer you are to the green, the higher the iron you will use. A standard set of irons consists of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 irons and the pitching wedge. The 3 and 4 irons are harder to hit than the higher number irons. Many golfers, especially ladies, seniors and higher handicap golfers, are changing to a modified standard golf set that replaces the 3 and 4 iron with higher lofted woods like the 7 and 9 woods. We think this is a sensible trend and one that a beginning golfer should consider. Higher lofted woods, like the 7 and 9 wood are easier to hit than a 3 or 4 iron and result in comparable distances.
  • Wedges are basically specialty irons. The first wedge is the pitching wedge, which is usually about 48 degrees in loft. Wedges generally increase in 4 degree loft amounts. So wedges commonly come in 48, 52, 56, 60 and 64 degree lofts. Wedges are extremely useful to your game and most golfers have a few of them.
  • A putter is a golf club with a special purpose, getting the ball into the hole. The putter is used on the green and there are many styles of putters including short, belly, long, bent, center-hosel, heel-toe, mallet, and so on.

Technique

Now that you know about the different pieces of golf equipment that you will need, it’s time to start practicing before you call the nearest golf course for some tee time. Your goal in golf is to strike the ball and get it into the hole with the least number of strokes. But for someone who has never even attempted to touch a golf club and hit a golf ball, it is best to set your goal to simply being able to strike the ball and get it into the hole in the end. Forget about the number of strikes, you can aim for a birdie later.

The first thing that you need to know is how to hold your golf club or the grip. There are different types of grip and the type that you use usually depends on the size of your hands. After being able to hold your club, you will start setting up. It is important to stand properly to maintain balance when you do the final movement; that is swinging and finally striking the ball. Each of these golf techniques are interrelated.

A good grip is when you feel comfortable, and when you are able to take full control of your club and give full power to your golf swing. There are three kinds of grip. The ten-finger grip when your right hand rests next to the side of the index finger of your left hand. The overlap grip when the pinkie of your right hand rests on the groove between your index and middle finger of your left hand. The interlock grip when the pinkie of your right hand is intertwined with the index finger of your left hand.

Next you will need to know the basic golf stance. The perfect stance is when your weight is balanced in the center and slightly forward over the toes.

Here are a few tips:

  • Your feet should be shoulder width apart.
  • Your knees should be slightly bent but keep your back straight.
  • Your golf club should rest flatly on the ground.
  • Your weight should rest lightly on the balls of your feet.
  • Your arms should be stretched, forming a V-like shape.
  • The clubface should be square to the target.

The club you will be using also plays a part. For the short irons, your ball needs to be positioned in the middle of your feet. Using long irons and the five-wood will require you to put your ball just in front of the center of your feet. For long woods – including the driver, the ball is positioned just inside your front foot (the left heel).

The third and the most important golf technique is the swing. The golf swing is a three-step process involving the backswing, downswing, and follow-through. In the backswing, you take your golf club away from your ball. It is important that the clubface and the back of your left hand remain facing front throughout the backswing. Then you make the downswing, wherein you move your club towards the ball until you hit it towards your target. In the Downswing, the angle of your club shaft and left forearm should remain unchanged as your club and hands moves towards the toe line. You should be able to hit the ball just because it happens to be in the path of the club and not because you aim for the ball throughout the downswing. The last step in the golf swing is the follow-through. The follow-through comes after you hit the ball. This is done to finish your golf swing. The power of your swing will vary depending on the type of golf shot you need to take. Hitting from the tee-box requires more force than putting.

Putting requires less force since you do not need to strike your ball to fly for about a hundred yards. For putting, you follow a swing path similar to the pendulum of a grandfather clock. You move your club for only about 10 inches away from the ball as the backswing and then move it towards the ball for the downswing. Then Swing it for about 10 inches more for the follow-through.

Etiquette

Golf etiquette can be broken down into 5 categories:

  • Dress Code
  • Basic Rules
  • Respect for the Golf Course
  • Pace of Play
  • Respect for the Other Golfers

Golf Etiquette Tip #1: Dress Code
All golf courses have different standards of dress code. Remember, it is your responsibility to inquire before your starting time what the expectations of dress code are for that golf course. If you are unable to acquire this information in advance, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Collared shirts and trousers, not jeans, are always a safe bet for men. Collared shirts and knee length skirts or shorts are generally accepted for women.

Golf Etiquette Tip #2: Basic Rules
Knowledge of the basic rules of golf is a must before you head out onto the golf course. Things like when it is your turn to play, where you may tee your ball, and how to count your score are essential basics that you want to know before you play. If you were unable to obtain this information before your first game, make sure you ask your playing partners what to do if you are not sure. This is far better than doing something wrong and irritating the members of your group.

Golf Etiquette Tip #3: Respect for the Golf Course
If you are a guest at a private golf course, this is an absolute must if you ever want to be invited back. You must be aware of the places on the golf course that require more attention than others. The most important places to be respectful are around the greens and tees. The grass is shortest here and the most vulnerable. Replacing divots and fixing ball marks are probably the most important practice. Raking sand traps and walking carefully on the greens are a close second.

Golf Etiquette Tip #4: Pace of Play
Nothing takes the enjoyment out of golf like slow play. Playing quickly does not mean that you have to rush. Simply being ready to play when it is your turn, marking your scores on the tees and not on the greens, and playing the appropriate tee blocks for your ability level can make a huge difference in how long your round will take to complete. If you are just starting to play golf, you may want to limit yourself to a maximum of ten shots per hole. Once you reach your maximum, pick your ball up and drop it on the green so you can finish out the hole without holding up the other golfers on the golf course.

Etiquette Tip #5: Respect For The Other Golfers
Golf is a game that requires a player’s full concentration. Therefore it is important that you remain quiet and stand still when your playing partners are hitting their shots. Although golf can be a very frustrating game at times, wild displays of rage and disappointment are generally frowned upon. If you are playing early in the morning, or late in the day, you should also be aware of where your shadow is. If it interferes with another player’s shot, it can be very distracting.

Jargon

Some people think that golfers have their own language! Here are the definitions of a few golfing terms:

Address: The manner in which a golf player positions his or her body right before hitting the ball. Everyone has a unique address.

Alignment: The alignment describes the manner in which you aim the clubface and line up your body at address.

Amateur: Amateurs are golf players that compete but do not play for prize money. In order to earn money from winning golf tournaments, a player must compete as a professional.

Approach Shot: This describes any shot that sends your ball onto the green area.

Away: Away describes when you are the farthest distance from the hole.

Baby Shot: Describes a shot that is much shorter and softer than usual, and from a specific club that is normally used for that shot.

Back Nine: The second half of an 18-hole course (the last 9 holes).

Backspin: A backspin is the reverse spin on the golf ball that has been hit towards a target.

Backswing: The first part of the golf swing, which ends as the club stops moving, right above your head, and before the downswing portion.

Ball Marker: A small-sized, flat object that is used to mark the specific location of your ball when it is on the green.

Ball Mark Repair Tool: This is a forked-shaped tool that is used to fix any marks on the green that are left behind by your ball.

Baseball Grip: A specific grip that is used to hold the club. When used properly, all 10 of your fingers will remain in contact with the club grip.

Best Ball: This term describes a golf game that uses the best score to be counted from a 2-person team.

Birdie: This is when you make the ball in one less stroke than the total par of the specific hole you are playing. For example, if the hole is a par-4, and you sink the ball in only 3 shots, you have yourself a birdie.

Blocked Shot: The blocked shot refers to the ball being hit straight ahead but then sweeps to the right of the intended target (right handed golfers).

Bogey: A bogey describes when a golf player hits the ball into the hole in one additional shot higher than the par. For example, if a player gets the ball into the hole in 4 swings on a par-3, he scored a bogey.

Break: When a putt shot is made on the green and starts to turn, the term break refers to the amount of turn that occurs.

Breaking Down: This term refers to the movement of your wrists as they bend during a putt shot.

Bump & Run: As the name insinuates, the bump and run describes a ball that is hit into the air and flies towards the target, then “bumps” into the ground and rolls the rest of the way.

Bunker:A bunker is a hazard area that is completely filled with sand and is typically near the green or on the fairway.

Caddie:Caddies are men and women who get paid to carry your golf clubs around with you on the course as you play the game. They can also offer advice on how to play the game.

Carry: This term refers to how far a golf ball flies through the air.

Cart: Carts are small vehicles that golf players use to drive around the course. You have the standard motorized cart that can hold two or more players, as well as a small dolly that travels on 2 wheels and is pulled manually (often referred to as the “pull cart”).

Casual Water: Casual water are puddles that have accumulated on the course through rainy weather. These puddles of water are separate from the other standard hazards of the course.

Cavity Back Iron: This is a particular type of iron that has the majority of the club head’s weight distributed around its perimeter. This design helps create a bigger head and a larger “sweet spot” area on the face. The back of the club head is basically just a large cavity. This helps reduce the mass in the center of the head, as well as the back.

Certified PGA Professional: A certified PGA professional golf player is any man or woman who has met or exceeded the golf teaching standards that have been created by the Professional Golfers Association of America.

Check: A check describes the action of the golf ball as it stops rolling because of the amount of backspin on it.

Chip: The chip is a shot that is typically played right from the edge of the green.

Closed Face: A closed face describes a club face that points to the left of the target (right-handed golfers).

Closed Stance:This term refers to a stance where your body alignment is facing the right of your intended target (right handed golfers).

Club Face: The club face is the bottom section of the club that makes contact with the golf ball.

Clubhouse: A clubhouse is usually a large indoor area located on a golf course that maintains services such as restaurants, golf pro shops, bathrooms, and conference rooms.

Collar: Similar to a fringe, the collar describes the strip of grass that runs around the green and is typically longer in length than the grass that grows on the putting surface.

Coming Over The Top: Coming over the top is a phrase that describes the direction of the club as it moves through the downswing and into a right-to-left pathway across the ball (right-handed golfers). Another term for this direction is the out-to-in blow.

Compression: Compression describes the squeezing in of a golf ball as the result of the force put on it during impact with the club head.

Course Rating: Every golf course has a course rating, which refers to the difficultly level of the course itself. The higher the course rating number, the more advanced and difficult the golf course is.

Crossed Over: Crossed over is a term that describes the club shaft as it faces towards the right of the target when it is at the top of the backswing (right handed golfers).

Cross Handed: Cross handed is a specific putting grip where the left hand is below the right hand (right handed golfers).

Cup: The cup is simply the hole itself which is at the end of each playing hole and is the intended final target of the golf ball.

Cupped Lead Wrist: A cupped lead wrist describes the backward bend of your lead hand when striking the ball. The lead hand is the one that is closest to the hole after you set up for your swing. For right handed golfers, the lead hand is the left hand.

Cut: A cut is another reference to a shot that bends towards the right (right handed golfers).

Deloft: To deloft is to decrease the amount of loft on the club face by simply tilting your club shaft in the direction of your intended target.

Dimple: Dimples are those hundreds of small holes that every golf ball is designed with.

Divot: A divot is a small chunk of grass and dirt that is removed from the golf course after the ball is hit. These divots should be repaired as basic golf course etiquette prescribes.

Dogleg: A dogleg is in reference to the curved pathway from the tee to the cup turns either left or right.

Double Bogey: When you complete a hole with 2 additional shots over the par of that hole, you have yourself a double bogey. For example, if the hole is a par 3, a double bogey would be sinking the ball in 5 shots.

Double Eagle: The double eagle describes the completion of a par-5 hole in 3 shots less than that par.

Downhill Lie: A downhill lie describes your stance in which the front foot is below your back foot at address.

Draw: A draw refers to a shot that bends to the left (right handed golfers).

Drive: The drive is the initial shot taken from the tee.

Driver: The driver is considered the longest club in your bag, which sends the ball flying farther than any other golf club.

Driving Range: A driving range is a facility that is built specifically for golf players to practice their swings. Each driving range has separate areas where you can knock a bucket of balls as long and as far as you want. Some driving ranges also have areas where you can practice your short game.

Drop: A drop is when You place a golf ball back into the game after it was considered unplayable.

Duff: To duff is to totally mess up or miss a shot, such as to “screw up” or “ruin” the shot.

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