How to start with golf - Everything you need to know
Do you like to play golf too? Why not!
More and more people are looking for a combination of relaxation and sportsmanship. And more and more often they end up playing golf. It is not surprising that golf has become so popular. Why is that? With over 400,000 golfers in the Netherlands, the elite image has now disappeared. In the year 2020, these 'rich people with shorts' have made way for an entirely different image. Namely, that of enjoying nature in a fascinating, enjoyable sport. A fascinating activity that can be played at any level with the aim of hitting a small ball "in the hole" with as few strokes as possible. Fanatical golfers can't do without the fun, sportsmanship, and relaxation that this sport brings them.
How do I find out if golf is something for me?
Getting to know the sport of golf nowadays is much easier than it used to be. Golf is more accessible than ever and on every golf course, there are enthusiastic staff members who will be happy to tell you more about this beautiful sport. They can tell you how it works, where to start, and what it can lead to if you really like it. For most beginners, golf is not something you can do right away. It requires practice and you shouldn't just 'walk into the course to run 18 holes'.
That is why many novice golfers first spend hours on the driving range, a training facility where you can practice hitting golf balls into the field. If you accidentally hit a few balls really well and suddenly hit the ball far away, then you are sold. The fascination for the sport starts for many people at that moment. A few golf lessons often exacerbate that feeling. What are you waiting for? Everyone has a friend or acquaintance who regularly plays golf.
Just ask him or her if you can come along to 'his' golf course to have a look. And... one of the best-kept secrets is that at most golf courses you can eat and drink relatively cheaply. Then you can reward your guide appropriately for his tour and your first introduction to the sport of golf. He/she will appreciate this very much.
With the 9-step plan on the way to the CFP
Until recently, it was compulsory everywhere to first obtain your CFP (golf certificate) before you were allowed to enter the golf course. Until then, as a novice golfer, you had to rely on the practice facilities. Although the driving range, putting, and pitching practice areas are very fun and educational, it is even more fun to really get into the course. That is why not long ago the GVB obligation was more or less dropped and the NGF (Dutch Golf Federation) has developed a clear 9-step plan where you can grow step by step from starter to far top golfer.
Golfpro's, where you can take golf lessons, use this step-by-step plan where on many courses you are already allowed to enter the course after reaching step 1 (achieving course permissions), although this is still supervised by someone who does have the GVB. This is in order to avoid the so-called 'Slow Play' because it is not the intention that you stop things because you do not know the rules and etiquette.
In addition, golf must also remain safe. You understand that if anyone without any knowledge of the sport can hit golf balls at 200 Km/h through the course, it really becomes a battlefield. Read more about the 9-step plan here or order the step-by-step booklets that go with this step-by-step plan from the NGF.
Many golf courses still require a minimum handicap of 54. This official handicap rating will be given to you after obtaining your CFP (step 2) and then 'running your first official qualifying card' but as a real starter that is not your first priority. First, learn how to hit and gain some knowledge :-)
What do you need to play golf?
As with any sport, you need golf equipment. As a beginner, it is often nonsense to immediately spend a fortune on a golf set, golf shoes, and golf gear. If you don't know exactly whether you are going to like the sport of golf, it might be wise to buy a beginner's golf set first. Investing is always possible. Starting with a very old golf set from your neighbour is less smart. With older golf equipment it is much harder to hit the golf ball properly.
Especially the last few years a lot of progress has been made by the big manufacturers in the field of 'forgiveness'. This term means that if you don't hit the ball completely clean (and this still happens at the beginning) then the hit ball still reasonably retains its intended direction and length. Compared to 'before', the ball then disappears left or right into the woods
What does golf equipment consist of?
Below we have made an overview of what you at least need to be able to be called a 'real golfer'.
- Golf clubs
Starting golfers often still use a golf set consisting of just a few clubs. According to the rules, you may have a maximum of 14 clubs in your golf bag, but not everyone has that. Without keeping a technically difficult story right now, this is the essence: Golf clubs are numbered and each club stands for a certain stroke length. Between two consecutive numbers, there is generally a stroke length of about 10 metres because the loft (slant of the club magazine) is different.
How far you strike with which club depends on your skills. For example the average golfer hits with iron 7 between 100 and 140 metres. Iron 6 will then strike about 10 metres further with the same stroke and iron 8 will strike about 10 metres less. This is roughly how you should calculate. The lower the number, the longer the golf club itself is and the further you can hit it. With 'long irons' (clubs 3,4 and 5) it is generally more difficult than with the shorter irons. For this reason, more and more golfers are playing with hybrid clubs instead of long irons: this makes it easier to hit the ball cleanly.
Every golfer also has a putter for 'the short work' on the green. Every set also has 2 wedges: a Sandwedge (S-JE) for the short strokes towards the green or to hit out of the bunker. The Pitching wedge is also meant to be used around the green but can bridge a bit more length than the Sandwedge.
Almost all golfers also have a driver in their golf bag. With this long club, which is almost 120 cm long, the most distance can be covered from the Tee (exit) (150 to 300 metres).
However, this driver is by far the most difficult to use. Practice makes perfect here, but some golfers have avoided using it because the slightest deviation when hitting over such a long distance can cause the ball to fly left or right out of the course. It is not easy in the beginning but many advanced players hit 250 metres straight with their eyes closed so it is certainly not impossible.
Many golfers also have one or two fairway woods or hybrid clubs. Fairway woods are much longer than irons but shorter than the driver and are meant to make many meters on the fairway. Often a fairway wood from the tee is also used for shorter Par-3 holes if the driver is not useful. The ball flight of a fairway wood is generally low and therefore less 'predictable'. Between irons and fairway woods, you have hybrid clubs. These are easier to handle than fairway woods because of the shorter shaft. They also have a higher, more predictable ball flight which is very suitable for hitting the ball hard from high grass.
- Golf bag and trolley
There are a few different types of bags with specific characteristics. For example, there is the carrying bag (stand bag), which has a folding base that folds out as soon as you put the bag down. These bags are light and often limited in storage space. Some golfers always wear them because they like it, some only if trolleys / trolleys are not allowed in the winter because the course is too soft and damage occurs. Most golfers use a cart bag.
This bag is tied to a trolley and therefore lends itself very well to golfers who do not want to carry around and/or want to take some more with them on the way (food, drinks, clothing, etc.). Both types of bags fit a complete golf set (there are exceptions). More and more people choose a hybrid bag. As the name suggests, this bag is located between the carrying bag and the cart bag. In fact, just a light cart bag with fold-out base... If you feel like it (or there is a need) to carry it, you carry it. If it is easier and you want to use the bag on a trolley, you can do so too and tie it to the trolley.
Trolleys are also available in various designs. The most common is the 3-wheeled trolley that you push out in front of you. With a simple click system, your bag can usually be quickly attached to your trolley and then you push the trolley out in front of you. There is a big difference between how small you can fold the trolleys, which is important to pay attention to when you buy if you don't have too much loading space in your car.
Occasionally you do see 2-wheeled trolleys (which you pull behind you) but that's not really the case anymore. The E-trolley is of this time: an electrically driven golf cart to transport your golf bag. Handy and comfortable on the course but even more expensive and a bit heavier to load in and out of your car. Problematic is the relatively short lifespan of the batteries (2 years if you play golf regularly).
- Clothing and shoes
Golf is a sport with rules and etiquette. That is why neat, sporty clothing is appreciated. Certainly, the more chic golf courses (there's a difference between them) don't appreciate it at all if you want to enter the course with jeans and a jumper. Checkered trousers are no longer compulsory, but decent clothing is allowed (although the picture on the right may be a bit over the top :-).
Golf shoes are made in such a way that the course remains intact and you still have enough grip. Ranging from very neat classic golf shoes to almost 'sneaker-like' shoes are for sale. It's all possible, but especially look at comfort (you walk on them for over 4 hours on 18 holes) and functionality such as waterproofness, weight, etc.
- Miscellaneous items
Then, of course, there are some so-called obvious peripherals that are useful such as a couple of golf balls, some tee's to put your ball on when you strike, not to mention a pitchfork to repair damage to the green caused by your ball. A golf glove is also recommended. As a right-handed golfer, you wear a glove on the left for better grip and less blisters (and vice versa as a left-handed golfer). There are many more golf gloves for sale, but you will learn that as you go along. (We are not going to give away everything).
Have fun with them and... If you have any burning questions you want to ask us, please send an email to our customer service.