Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

golf for beginner
How to hold a golf club

There are a variety of options when it comes to holding a golf club correctly but the most important thing is that you are comfortable. As long as you choose a correct grip, you will be able to hit the ball straight and precisely. Once you have the grip that suits you best, your skills will follow. 

Firstly, take the club in your opposite hand, so if you are right-handed, hold the club in your left hand. Make sure the grip area is lying across the inside of your fingers, with your palm out level. The butt should be just beyond your smallest finger. 

Tighten your three fingers round the grip, curl your forefinger round the grip and your thumb should be flat on the opposite side. In this position you can see the knuckles from two of your fingers. Your thumb should be in contact with the handle, not lying across your fingers. Now take your dominant hand and grip around the club in the opposite direction. 

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How to hold a golf club
How to grip a golf club

he most common grip for golf is the Vardon grip, which involves taking the little finger of your dominant hand, and moving it back so that it lies over the fingers on your left hand. It will be sitting in the gap in between the middle and index finger. It can be tricky for those with smaller hands. 

Another option is the interlocking grip, which involves separating your middle and index fingers on the non-dominant hand, before moving your little finger from your other hand into the gap, interlocking your two hands. 

How to grip a golf club
How to hit a golf ball

The key to being able to hit a golf ball successfully is to set yourself up with a good form to start with. You need a comfortable but secure grip, and a clear strong stance. Stand square to the ball and then rotate your body to swing the club. 

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There are a number of different types of hits you can carry out but setting up the hit in the first place is the key to success no matter what type of shot you are planning to take in the game. Here is a quick guide to hitting that ball: 

  1. Stand with your feet apart and bend slightly at the knee
  2. Bend forward from your hips, with your arms hanging comfortably
  3. Make sure your body is square with the ball
  4. Move your weight back as you start to turn your hips and body
  5. Raise your arms back in a straight line
  6. Rotate your arms, your shoulders and your hips back as you raise the club
  7. Begin the downswing by moving your weight forward and tilting your shoulder down
  8. Carry out your swing and on impact your body should be back square with the ball
  9. Continue round as your body follows through, rotating towards the target
How to hit a golf ball
How to drive a golf ball

When it comes to driving a golf ball, again, it’s important to get the set up correct and there are a number of steps that can help including visualizing the target line which you want the ball to travel along. 

Here are some key tips to improve that drive: 

  1. Pick the target where you want the ball to go
  2. Stand behind the ball and imagine a line directly from the ball to the target
  3. Look for something that’s around 10 yards down your imaginary line
  4. Drive the golf ball towards the object you have chosen, and past it down the line
  5. Move your hands down the grip to shorten your driver and give more control
  6. If you are hitting straight down the course, make your swing shorter
How to drive a golf ball
How to chip a golf ball

A chip is a short shot and can be used to get the ball up on the green area quickly. You can use any club for this type of shot and the key is to pick where you want the ball to land, ideally a flat, smooth surface. 

Here are some tips for a successful chip: 

  1. Visualize exactly where you want the ball to land
  2. If the ball is in longer grass you need a longer swing
  3. Practice chips with all your different clubs
  4. Start with a narrow stance and put your weight on your left side
  5. Place the ball just to the left of the big toe on your right foot
How to chip a golf ball
How to putt

Putting looks like the simplest move in golf but it is incredibly deceptive and most golfers struggle with this type of stroke. So here are some key tips broken down, to get that putt just right every time. 

  1. Make sure your putter face is going to be in the right direction when you hit the ball
  2. Make sure your grip is correct, it should lead to a direct line from putter to your arms
  3. Have good posture to ensure your swing goes the way you intend it to
  4. Point your putter face towards the ball, and line up your body to match
  5. Always tilt from your hips, making sure your spine is neutral and not twisted
  6. Make sure your arms are in a comfortable and natural position
How to putt
What is a par in golf?

A par, sometimes also called a bogey, is a way of scoring in golf games. It is largely used in amateur matches and at clubs. It involves playing against the golf course. Scoring is carried out by comparing the number of strokes taken for each hole, compared with the par or bogey for that hole. 

The par or bogey is the number of strokes a good golfer would be expected to complete the hole in, so your score would be either above or below par. The winner is the player who has one more holes than lost, compared with the course scores. 

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What is a birdie in golf?

A birdie means you have scored one under par. It was coined in America where the word bird was used to mean something excellent. The term birdie has been in use in golf since as early as 1903 and is a commonly heard score on the greens. 

What is an eagle in golf?

An eagle means you have scored two under par which is an even bigger success than a birdie, therefore becoming known as an eagle. Again, it has become commonplace to hear this term on the golf course since the 1920s. 

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What is an albatross in golf?

Unlike the birdie and eagle, which come from America, an albatross is a British golf term and it is used to refer to a score of three under par, which is a very rare score. In America this score is often called a Double Eagle instead. 

Both the score and the bird are very rare but have been recorded in golf history as early as the 1930s and is one which most golfers dream of attaining at some time in their careers, as their skills progress. 

What is a handicap in golf?

A handicap in golf is a way to measure a golfer’s possible potential. Each player is given a numerical handicap score which allows other golfers to know and understand people’s abilities when setting up games and tournaments. 

The lower the handicap number, the better the golfer’s ability. The rules around handicaps and the way they are designated changes from country to country but this year was meant to see the introduction of the new World Handicap System. 

How many clubs in a golf bag?

If you are going to be playing in any kind of tournament or competitive event, it’s important to know the rules around carrying clubs and The United States Golf Association has laid down clear rules on this. 

If you have too many clubs you can get penalised. So, according to the association, the number of clubs allowed in a golf bag is 14. This can include three woods (e.g. fairway wood), eight irons and the putter, which make up the standard 12 clubs supplied in golf bags. Extra clubs can be added to make up the 14, if required, but having too many can lead to penalties and even stop the tournament. 

How many clubs in a golf bag
Conclusion

Learning to play golf might seem a little confusing at first, with all of the techniques, technical jargon and scoring to keep track of, but with our quick guide to some of the key elements you will be starting out on the right foot. 

From how to hold a club, to the different types of swings, there is a lot to learn in this sport which is growing in popularity, but plenty of clubs offer golfing lessons and the opportunity to practice skills on the driving ranges as well. 

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