Getting started with golfing is often made out to be much more difficult than it really is. You don’t actually have to learn all of the rules in depth beforehand, you don’t need an incredibly large selection of equipment and you don’t need to register with a club. All you really need is some understanding and passion for the sport.

First – establish that you are passionate about golf.

There is no point at all in getting really into it for about a week, buying everything, paying registration costs and getting involved in every level of the sport and then completely losing interest a week later and never using any of it again. There are items of basic equipment you will need in order to play at all, but you can borrow these or even rent them from some clubs before investing in the decision to play.

Second – pack a golf bag.

Okay – even if you’re borrowing all of your equipment there are certain expectations and things that you may need. First of all you will be walking around a golf course, quite often for over an hour and depending on where you live and when you go this might be in uncomfortably heated conditions. Make sure you take a bottle of water, a pencil and some money (spare change as well as some notes) at the very least. The pencil is for marking your scorecard, the change for marking your ball on the green and the money is of course to spend in the 19th hole (that’s the name usually given to the clubhouse, where drinks and often meals are served).

Third – find a friend.

Whether or not they can already play golf or already do it isn’t the sort of thing you’re going to stick at for long if you’re always doing it alone, not unless you really love the game at least. You want someone who will be happy to play alongside you from time to time, both for companionship and competition. Don’t forget this is a rather competitive sport and having someone to play against brings out some of the more enjoyable elements of the game. Not to mention if they are already a frequent player you may be able to take advantage of their club membership for cheaper green fees.

Fourth – Understand your specifications.

You need to know not only your own limits, but your requirements too. Your handicap for example is something that you discover over time based on your scores on the course, but things like your equipment are learned only through experience. You might prefer longer clubs to shorter ones, you might have a preference of ball or a different taste in bags; regardless of what your specifications are you should look around at all of the options and try as many alternatives as you can before settling on one idea or option. There are plenty of resources available to help you understand how to find the right golfing apparel and most golf clothing stores are happy to provide advice in this area.

Fifth – buy what you do need.

What do you actually need? Well – you might be able to borrow the clubs, balls and bags the first few times you go until you’re sure you enjoy the sport but this won’t last. Eventually you will have to invest in your own equipment, but from the beginning there are some forms of equipment that you will have to buy for yourself. You will need to ensure that you have a shirt such as a polo shirt, proper trousers, shorts or skirt and a tie. These might differ slightly depending on which course you are visiting but many courses enforce strict rules in regards to acceptable attire, both in the clubhouse and on the course. Of course you’re also going to want acceptable shoes; something comfortable that won’t damage the course.

Kate Critchlow is a young but passionate writer with a quickly developing interest in golf and particularly UK golf courses.

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