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Beginner's Guide to Golf Etiquette and Equipment

April 22, 2022

Beginner's Guide to Golf Etiquette and Equipment

We love golf. It’s that simple, and we love nothing more than sharing our experience to bring new people into the game. At our store in downtown Portland. Oregon, The Neighborhood Golf Shop, we have weekly get togethers to share our love of the game. Everyone is welcome to come play Urban Golf, right out on the streets of Portland, on our street course. All experience levels are welcome. We get many people that just join in that cross our paths out there on the course, and many even get free lessons right there from our professional teachers and amazing golfers. It is just a happy party, celebrating golf every week.

This blog is going to center on information on what you need to get started. This is a beginner’s guide to golf etiquette and equipment. So here we go.

First you need to learn to talk the talk. Even if you are not a good seasoned golfer, using the right golf terminology will earn you the respect needed to belong out on the course.

You must take the time to learn good golf etiquette. Knowing the right way of going about things on the course makes everybody’s day run smoother, keeps everyone safe, and keeps the course in good condition for the golfers behind you. Here is a list of mistakes newbies can make, and hopefully these give you a heads up to make your round stress free:

  • Not repairing your pitch marks. When the ball lands on the green, it can sometimes leave an in indent which will screw up putts. If you don’t repair it properly, you can destroy the root. Also fix your divots and rake sand traps.
  • Not keeping up with the pace of play. Be ready to take your shot when it’s your turn.
  • Talking while people are taking their shot. Or talking loud enough that people putting or teeing off on other holes can hear you. Just be considerate.
  • Not picking up your tees. If it’s not broken, you can reuse it. If it is broken, just toss it in the garbage. If you're on a par 3, you can consider leaving the top of the tee for someone else to use.
  • Giving unsolicited advice. I almost never give advice on the course unless I’m with a friend who I know would appreciate and use it. And when I do give it, it’s only for high-visibility, easily correctable mistakes, plus I’ll start by asking if they want advice. Giving people unsolicited advice is in poor form and you might even hurt their game by making them think too much which can throw off their swing.
  • Hitting your ball near other people. If they could be in range, just wait. If you accidentally hit it near them, yell “Fore!” or something to warn them.
  • Not letting people play through. If your group is slower and the group behind you has to wait a lot for you to finish, let them play the next hole first.
  • Parking the golf cart or pull cart on the green. Greens are super sensitive and very expensive to repair so don’t risk damaging them.
  • Standing very close to the cup. The ground around the cup is not going to be very strong so if you stand near very close to the lip of the cup, you risk damaging it.
  • Walking or casting a shadow on people’s putting lines. Putting is hard enough as it is without other players distracting you.
  • Standing too close to a player swinging his club. Some people apparently need to learn this lesson the hard way.

The golf wardrobe is now in a tug of war between tradition and the now more relaxed attire of America today. If you are on a course that has a dress code, please follow their code. There is no wiggle room on those rules. Now if you are playing a public course, check on their rules too, but they are usually pretty loose on what is allowed. I think this is an area that you can show some of your personality. You can dress old school, conservative with a collared shirt and appropriate pants/shorts, or, you can wear your favorite t-shirt that shows your creativity as a human. Golf shoes? Yes they work great, but believe me you will see people out on the munis with their Vans on. (Us included!) The hoodie has been a great scandal of golf, but is becoming more and more the usual. All the young pros are seen wearing them. Extras to think about is a hat, wind/rain gear, sunglasses, and definitely sun screen.

Let’s talk equipment. Golf clubs can really drain your bank account. If you are just starting out, I wouldn’t invest in an expensive set of clubs. Who knows, you get out there and can find out you really don’t like to golf. (I can’t imagine this, but it happens!) Go to a store with a driving range and hit a bunch of clubs there. Find something you feel good about, and then hit the internet, (Ebay, etc.) and find some nice used ones. Give yourself time with the sport and get some lessons before you fully invest in it. You are not going to hit the course and be a great golfer instantly. (Pros make it look easy) It takes years of practice, and you will still have bad days. Golf can really suck. Just have realistic expectations, and just have fun. Clubs do matter, shafts in the clubs matter, but learn your game first, and talk to club fitters. Invest some time into learning your swing and what fits you best. Also, they need to look good to you, they got to fit your eye.

A good list of other equipment you will need to go along with your clubs include:

  • Golf bag. Some bags stand up automatically and have backpack straps, or you can hoof a light carry style bag.
  • Golf Headcovers. Coincidentally, we know exactly where to go for these! For the traditional golfer, Reinland Golf Co. If you want to go more modern try Muni Kids. We got you covered!
  • Golf balls. For a beginner, I would just use whatever is cheapest. You’re probably going to be losing a lot of balls initially, so cheaper is better. 
  • Tees. To fit todays drivers you want to buy a taller tee. You can pick them up at all the courses, or purchase a big bag on-line.
  • Divot Repair Tool. You will need this to repair greens when your ball makes a divot upon landing.
  • Ball marker. You can use a coin, but at least have something small and flat to mark where your ball is on the green. There are a lot of companies selling these that you can show your personality.
  • Towel. Wipe your clubs and balls, after your shots, this will help with the next shot.
  • Golf shoes. Very optional. They definitely help when the grass is wet, but unless traction is an issue, you don’t really need them. When you do get them, make sure to get ones with plastic, not metal spikes as a lot of courses don’t allow metal spikes anymore.
  • Golf glove. I don’t personally use one. They do provide extra grip if your hand gets very sweaty and protect your hand from getting calluses. Many gloves tend to wear out quickly, and since sweat and calluses aren't an issue for me, I don’t bother. If you do go for a glove, don't cheap out. It'll wear out sooner and you'll spend more money in the long run.

In closing, this can be an expensive game to take up, but it doesn't have to be. More than anything, you have to invest in time, and the rest will all fall into place. This could be a lifetime love story.

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