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9 Things to Know Before You Golf

August 9, 2012

9 things for beginner golfers to knowWhat to know before you play golf

When you start to play golf, it may seem like there’s a lot to learn. Everything from rules, etiquette, how to swing a club, how to navigate a course and even what to wear when you play. But golf doesn’t need to be complicated. We’ve got you covered with nine things to know before you play nine or 18 holes of golf in Minnesota. Golf is a great game that you can play for many years – so let’s start hitting the links!

Do I need to book a tee time?

When you go to play golf for the first time, make sure you book a tee time. This way you’ll know you’ll be able to play at a time that works best for you. Some courses only take tee times over the phone but many will now let you book your tee time online. Click here to find a Minnesota golf course close to you and get ready to play!

It’s important to know that your tee time is when you will actually start hitting – it’s not when you check in. So, make sure you get to the course about 30 minutes before your tee time to have enough time to check in and get your cart before starting to play.  A Starter will check you in at the first tee.

What should I wear to play golf?

A common question from beginner golfers is “what should I wear when I golf?” First – check and see if the course you’re going to play at has a dress code. A collared shirt and khaki pants will likely always be fine for men and ladies can often wear a collared or polo shirt with pants or skorts (a skirt/short combination). Jeans and athletic pants are typically a no-no. Golf shoes might be required – but make sure they have soft spikes or non-metal cleats because many golf courses have banned metal spikes. The easiest way to make sure you’ll wear something appropriate is to simply call the course and ask.

Which clubs do I need to play golf?

Taking the right equipment to the golf course helps you follow the rules and etiquette of golf. You can’t have more than 14 clubs in your golf bag – but you can have fewer than 14. Which clubs do you need to have? Start with a driver, a putter, a sand wedge and then add in a 6-iron, an 8-iron, a pitching wedge and a fairway wood or hybrid.

Pack Extra Tees and Balls

Make sure you have plenty of golf tees when you play golf. And – make sure you have plenty of golf balls. When you start playing golf, you’ll likely lose a lot of balls. That’s OK! Just make sure you have plenty with you so you can keep playing.

Where can I drive a golf cart?

Before you go speeding off to the first tee – make sure you know where you can drive the golf cart on the course you’re playing. Many courses will have cart paths that are the designated route around a golf course. Check to make sure it’s OK to drive off the path before you head out onto the course. Courses will usually have its golf cart rules on its scorecard, posted in the clubhouse or posted near the first tee. Sometimes the rules can change based on course conditions as well so if you’re in doubt – just ask.

Of course you can always ditch the cart and walk the course while you play golf. It’s a great way to get some exercise and boost your fitness.

What do I do with my golf bag?

Most courses have a bag drop – so you don’t bring your clubs into the clubhouse with you. The bag drop is a designated area where you can unload your clubs before finding a parking space. It’s also a place to drop your clubs after you play your round.

Do I need to tip on the golf course?

Tipping on the golf course depends on the Minnesota golf course you’re playing. Tipping is required at some courses – while others actually discourage it. The best thing to do is ask when you book your tee time or check in. If tipping is allowed – consider the quality of service you’re getting and what your green fee is. The higher the fee at a course the more you’ll likely be expected to tip.  Who should you tip at the golf course? People managing bag drops, cart returns and valet parking are often tipped, along with the beverage and food staff – either at a snack bar or beverage cart. Speaking of food and drinks – many courses will not allow you to bring in outside items so ask before you pack a cooler to bring to the golf course.

How do I keep score playing golf?

Scoring in golf is actually pretty simple. The person with the lowest score wins because your goal is to hit the ball the fewest number of times. At the end of each hole, add up your strokes and write the number down. To make sure you don’t slow down another group of golfers behind you, total your scores at the start of the next hole. At the end of the round, total the strokes for each hole and you have your score.

Practice at the driving range

If you’re not yet ready to go out on a golf course – try going to the driving range. You can practice your golf swing and form, get familiar with a golf course and start feeling comfortable at a course as well. You can buy a bucket of balls to hit on the range – without worrying about picking them up when you’re done practicing. Many clubs will also let you rent or borrow clubs to use on the driving range.

Want to know more about how to start playing golf? Sign up to take a lesson with a Minnesota PGA professional. You’ll learn the basics of the game and gain confidence before playing your first round of golf.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.


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