Golfing has always been associated with the elite classes. That’s probably because playing the sport doesn’t come cheap. A set of golf clubs can cost you in the thousands as can membership to a golf course.
Additionally, if you aren’t someone who had parents that took you out to play when you were young, you might find it difficult to understand the rules of golf.
Sure everyone understands you’ve got to hit a ball into a hole but it gets more complex than that. Up next we’re going to take a closer look at the game of golf and why playing golf can be confusing for newcomers.
What Exactly Is Golf?
For many, it is simply a sport that requires players to hit balls using a club with the goal of putting the ball into a hole with minimal strokes. It is played on a course riddled with numerous holes and obstacles that can make the game challenging.
This sport first emerged in Scotland during the 25th century. Like its modern counterpart, the early version of this game uses holes, a ball, and clubs. A version closer to modern golf the standard 18-hole course was first played at St. Andrews golf course in 1764.
However, some historians think that it was inspired by paganica, an ancient Roman game. Others consider games such as the Chinese chuiwan, the English camcuba, the French chambot, the Persian chowkan, or the Dutch kolven as the inspiration for modern golf.
What Equipment Is Needed?
To the inexperienced, this sport is simply a game played with balls and clubs. The thing is, there are different types of clubs for every stroke a golfer wants and needs to make.
The type varies based on its purpose, shape, and material. However, only 14 clubs are allowed in a bag. Golfers need a set of clubs composed of a driver, wood, hybrid, and putter, along with wedges and irons.
Each of these types is useful in different situations. For example, the driver is called for in the first shot while the ball is teed, while the wood is best for longer shots. It takes time and practice to figure out which golf club to choose.
You have more clubs in the irons and wedges categories, which are essential for any player’s set. These include the long, mid, and short irons, as well as the pitching, gap, sand, and lob wedges. Each kind has its own length, shape, and material to perform its respective functions.
The Ball and Course
The ball is another essential part of the game. It is recognizable through its size ad surface. It has a diameter of 1.680 inches and has a dimpled surface. This allows it to fly through the course and achieve the right distance and velocity.
The course is another important aspect as it is where each game is played. There are six different types of golf courses namely link, parkland, heathland, sandbelt, stadium, and par-3 courses. They differ in terms of terrain and features.
Some of the most important features of a golf course are the teeing ground, which serves as the starting point, and the putting green, which is the endpoint. Other terrains include the fairway, rough, bunkers, and hazards such as water and rocks.
What Skills Are Needed to Play Golf?
Memorizing each type of club and their respective purposes may be difficult enough, but the game is made much more complex when skills are considered. There are several skills aspiring golfers need to master when it comes to playing.
They need to have the proper grip, accurate aim, and the right setup or stance. These help in properly swinging the club and hitting. However, they need to learn how to properly strike the ball without the scooping motion.
Golfers also need to learn how to move their body correctly during a swing. The right pivot can help them hit the ball and drive the way they want it. This also helps in putting power behind the swing.
What Are the Rules?
As mentioned, the main goal of this game is to put the ball into the hole. However, the game is more than this as it is ruled by principles of fairness.
One of the most important principles of golf is to “play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair.”
Golfers cannot move their ball and change courses unless a rule allows it. Going out of bounds, striking the wrong ball, and hitting the flag during putting are illegal moves and merit penalties. The most common form of punishment is penalty strokes.
Aside from the abovementioned, losing the ball in water hazards, resting in a yellow or red area, and hitting another player’s ball all result in penalty shots. One of the most serious penalties is a disqualification in case of cheating, rule-breaking, and other similar actions.
Is it Hard to Play Golf?
Given the various aspects of playing golf, it is apparent that this sport is more difficult than it seems, especially for those playing professionally. However, even for casual players, this game still appears to be complicated.
For many, the challenge lies in the precision required to properly handle the club. Players need to be in a precise position, with just the right amount of power, the right grip, and consistent swings.
The terrains and hazards placed on courses also add to the challenge. Plus, courses are usually in open-air areas, which can take a toll on players, especially on extremely sunny days.
Reasons Why Some Find Golf Hard
One reason for this is the number of equipment needed to play the game optimally. Golfers may not have the need to invest in special protective gear and uniforms, but they need to complete their golf club set to match their playing style.
Another reason is the lack of control over the ball and where it lands. Yes, players can attempt to drive it in a way that is advantageous to them, but different elements can influence where it goes including the weather and plain circumstances.
Lastly, the rules of the game may look simple. After all, it basically relies on not moving the ball, not changing courses, and landing in non-penalty areas. However, the rules penalize taking relief from various situations, which can be uncontrollable given the explanation above.
Tips for Playing Golf Better
Playing this sport may be intimidating now that you know what makes it so difficult even for professional golfers. However, you do not need to back down just because it is hard to play golf. If you want to play this sport casually, even professionally, here are some of the best tips.
Learn the Etiquette
As mentioned, the main rule of this game is to play fairly. So, you want to learn the rules in order to play fairly according to the golf rulebook. However, there are guidelines that can make you a fairer player. This is where golf etiquette enters the picture.
You want to make sure that you know the local rules anytime you play at an unfamiliar course. These can usually be found on the scoreboard. You should also make sure to label your ball to avoid any issues and volunteer to mark your ball if it is on another player’s line.
Master Grip, Aim, and Stance
Skills are super important when it comes to golf, and the most fundamental ones are your grip, aim, and stance. This influences your hitting power, as well as your accuracy. So, you want to make sure that you master these fundamentals.
The best thing to do is to practice them even when outside the course. Go to a place with ample space and practice swinging your club. This will help you get an idea about the best practices with regard to your grip, and, and stance.
Focus on Posing
Another important thing when playing golf is consistent swing. The right swing lets you get the height and distance you want to achieve. This may be difficult as every swing is different.
However, you can practice focusing on your after-swing pose. Take note of your pose after a right swing, and practice achieving that pose every time you strike the ball. This can help you make the right swing every time you are focused on doing the pose.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Lastly, practicing golf is the best way to play it better. While practicing in any open space can be of great help, remember that the course is a much better option as it gives you the actual feel of the game.
Moreover, practicing on the course helps you navigate different terrains better. Remember, the experience can help you improve your game and with practice, you will know what to do when your ball lands in difficult terrains.
Golf may look easy if you’re a spectator. But once you try to play, you understand there are many intricacies in the game. Like any sport, it takes patience, time, and effort to master it.
The good thing about practicing golf is that you can do it all by yourself whenever you want. You can even get a mini golf set to practice in your backyard.