How to Play Golf

By alk2310

Golf sounds simple: Hit a ball into a cup in as few swings as possible. Anyone can play, but mastering golf is incredibly difficult. One reason for the difficulty lies in the inherent challenge of duplicating the perfect golf swing every time you step up to a ball. The golf swing has many different moving parts, any one of which can make a swing go awry.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Step 1
Put the necessary clubs into your golf bag. For a novice, you'll need at least a driver, putter, either one of the wedges, and a couple of irons (preferably the 7 and 9).
Step 2
Go to a driving range and practice hitting balls with each club. Getting a gauge on how well you hit each club will guide you during a game. Be sure to bend your knees slightly and grip the club so that the index finger on your top hand interlocks with the pinkie on your bottom hand. Smoothly lead the club head backward as you shift your weight and bring it back down through the golf ball, making sure to keep your head down until the ball is struck.
Step 3
Step up to the first tee and choose the proper club for the length from the tee box to the hole (also know as the "pin"). Your scorecard or a sign near the tee box should note the distance. The driver is the most commonly used club to tee off with, since it drives the ball farthest. But if you're more comfortable with another club, don't feel obliged to use the driver.
Step 4
Visualize your shot before you hit it. Whether you are preparing for a tee shot, fairway shot, bunker shot, putt or shot from the rough, think about how you want to hit the ball before you address it. Think of what it will take to execute the shot and then step up to the ball and take a practice swing. If you are satisfied with that practice stroke, step up to the ball and hit it. If you don't like your practice swing, take another and do it until you get it right. However, don't change your approach. Execute the plan you decide to use before you stepped up to the ball.
Step 5
Plan ahead. Knowing what comes after you hit the shot will help you understand how to play the game and compete with other golfers. For example, the green may be 225 yards ahead of you, but a creek is 10 yards in front of that green. You can take your 3-wood and try to hit a perfect shot to the green and likely end up in that creek or way wide of the green, or you can take a 5-iron and hit it 175 years and give yourself an easy approach to the green.
Step 6
After teeing off, find your ball and prepare for your next shot, keeping boundaries in mind. Each hole will have an out of bounds area marked alone the sides of the fairway. Standard golf rules state that a 1-stroke penalty will be placed on any shot that goes out of bounds. This rule is strictly enforced in professional games or sanctioned matches, but if you are just playing with friends you can agree on whether to enforce the rule. After finding your ball, once again select the best club for the distance you are away from the pin, based on your practice with the clubs. Use the same stance and grip as before.
Step 7
Use a sand wedge to hit a ball out of sand traps. For other short shots that are near but not yet on the green, use the pitching wedge. For wedges, get in the stance from step 2, but don't draw the club back as far: use only enough swing to get the ball onto the green. Use your putter for the remaining shots. Bend down and check the slope of the green to visualize how it will impact your putt. Then step up to the ball and stroke it confidently. Once you have sunk the ball, move to the next hole and repeat all the prior steps.
Step 8
Total your score after each hole and at the end of the match. On the scorecard, there will be a number called "par" for each hole. This is the number of swings it should take you to make the ball into the cup. Write down the number of swings you needed for each hole in the box under the hole number you just played. If you make the ball in the cup in the recommended number of times, this is called making par. At the end of the match, the player with the lowest score wins.

Tips & Warnings

There is also a one stroke penalty for hitting the ball into a water hazard. This is another rule that is strictly enforced during professional golf games or sanctioned matches, but not necessarily used for casual games.
Don't try to overpower your shot. A good golfer realizes that the swing is the thing and having good pace and tempo is much more important than muscling up and blasting away. The looser you are when you swing, the better the chance that you will have top clubhead speed at impact. That's what makes the ball go the greatest distance. Knowing NOT to swing as hard as hard as you can represents a greater understanding of the game and allows you to make significant progress.
Practice, practice, practice. Whether you are going to the driving range, the practice green or going to play a round of golf, think about the ramifications of every shot and make the most out of it. You will enjoy your time on the course much more if you try to improve while enjoying your surroundings.

About The Author

Anthony is a freelance writer and amateur filmmaker. His work has appeared in various online publications, such as eHow and Golflink. He is currently a senior in college working toward graduating with a B.A. in English-Writing.

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