Learning how to play golf strikes a balance between leisurely enjoyment and competitive challenge for enthusiasts. To begin mastering how to play golf, it’s crucial to grasp the fundamental rules and swing techniques for connecting the club to the ball. Equally important is acquiring proper equipment and understanding golf course etiquette, ensuring a safe and enjoyable player experience.

2. Setting Up Your Swing

Setting Up Your Swing

Step 1: Establish a balanced stance. 

  • Begin by positioning your feet hip-width apart, ensuring your weight is evenly distributed between them and not favoring your toes or heels. Maintain a slight bend in your knees and lean forward from your hips, allowing the end of your club to reach the ground at your ball-striking position. Golf instructor Michael Metz advises assuming an athletic posture where your hands hang naturally a fist’s distance away from your thighs, promoting optimal spine alignment.
  • Visualize the stance similar to that of a bowler preparing to deliver a ball: weight evenly distributed, slight forward lean at the hips, and your non-dominant side facing your target or the hole. For instance, if you are right-handed, you’ll direct your swing path towards the left after bringing the club up towards the right.

Step 2: Initiate the backswing smoothly. 

  • Start by raising your club parallel to the ground in a controlled manner, sequencing from the clubhead to your hands, arms, shoulders, and hips. Keep your dominant arm close to your body and shift your weight towards your dominant side as your hands pass your dominant leg. 
  • Ensure the clubface is positioned with the toe facing upwards towards the sky when the club is parallel to the ground.

Step 3: Elevate the club to a 90-degree angle. 

  • As you shift your weight to your dominant side, hinge your elbows to raise the club directly upwards, forming a 90-degree angle with your arms parallel to the ground. 
  • According to Michael Metz, maintaining this athletic stance ensures proper alignment from your feet to knees to the armpit, optimizing balance for every club, especially irons. Feel the rotation in your shoulders and concentrate the club’s weight in your hands, with the club head facing away from your swing direction.

Step 4: Complete the backswing with shoulder rotation. 

  • Rotate your shoulders so your non-dominant shoulder aligns beneath your chin, engaging your lateral muscles. This motion brings the club upwards, almost completing a 180-degree arc with the clubhead pointing downwards. 
  • Michael Metz emphasizes initiating the backswing with your chest and maintaining firm hand placement at the swing’sswing’s peak. Imagine your hands positioned at 1 o’clock relative to the ground, indicating the ideal height.

Prepare to transition smoothly from this loaded position, with your dominant hip, ankle, and shoulders poised to drive your swing downward towards the ball powerfully.

3. Executing Your Ball Strike

Executing Your Ball Strike

Step 1: Shift your weight smoothly while swinging the club downward. 

  • As you initiate your downswing, allow your weight to transfer subtly toward your swing’sswing’s direction. Ensure your dominant elbow moves ahead of your hip while maintaining central body alignment with your belt buckle aimed at the ball. Maintain wrist hinge to stabilize the club’s trajectory.

Step 2: Align your body with the target upon impact. 

  • Continue rotating your hips as you contact the ball, straightening your body on the side facing your target. Keep your head behind the ball during impact, and maintain a bent dominant wrist. Most of your weight should now rest on your non-dominant side, aligned with your intended target.

Step 3: Complete your swing with full arm extension. 

  • Extend both arms fully post-impact, ensuring a seamless follow-through. Continue the motion until your arms and club are nearly parallel to the ground and directed toward your target. This motion incorporates hip rotation, guiding your arms inward and backward toward your body. Your dominant knee should naturally shift inward, closing the gap with your straight knee.

A proper follow-through concludes with the clubhead positioned below your hand level, indicating controlled arm and wrist movement, with the club’s toe pointed upwards towards the sky.

4. Acquiring Golf Gear

Acquiring Golf Gear

Step 1: Acquire the essential clubs

  • While you can carry up to 14 clubs, beginners typically require fewer to start: a driver, putter, sand wedge, 6-iron, 8-iron, pitching wedge, and a hybrid suffice initially. Clubs can be rented at the course or purchased affordably from discount racks at sporting goods stores. If you’re new to the game, consider borrowing clubs initially, renting them at the course, or testing different clubs at a driving range before investing in your own set.

Step 2: Gather tees and balls. 

  • Tees are straightforward, resembling brightly colored wooden or plastic pegs that elevate your ball for hitting. Balls vary in quality and price; for beginners, economical options around $20 per dozen suffice. Expect to lose balls initially, so starting with cheaper ones is advisable. Some courses provide balls; inquire at the course office beforehand. Sporting goods stores are ideal for purchasing tees and balls.

Step 3: Invest in gloves and a bag. 

  • Golf gloves prevent blisters and maintain a secure grip, especially in warm weather. Visit a sporting goods store to try on gloves and find a comfortable fit. As for a bag, any sturdy option that accommodates clubs, balls, rain gear, water, and snacks will suffice. Explore thrift stores, yard sales, or online used gear outlets for budget-friendly bag options.

5. Playing with Proper Etiquette

Playing with Proper Etiquette

Step 1: Maintain pace with your group

  • While there’s no need to rush or sprint across the course, it’s essential to be prepared to take your shot promptly when it’s your turn. Understand your order in the rotation and limit practice swings to 1 or 2 before striking the ball. Golf is a social activity, so conversing with fellow players is welcomed between shots, but ensure silence when someone is preparing to hit to avoid distractions.

Step 2: Announce “”Fore!”” If there’s any chance your ball might strike someone. 

  • This practice is crucial, especially for beginners whose shots may sometimes go differently than planned. Immediately shout “Fore!” loudly upon realizing your ball is heading towards others, alerting them to take evasive action. It’s not just courtesy but also a safety measure, as a golf ball can cause serious injury upon impact.

Step 3: Respect others’others’ shots. 

  • When someone is preparing to hit, position yourself several yards to the side and slightly behind them to avoid distracting them. Please stay within the player and their intended target. Remain vigilant for other golfers on the course who may inadvertently send balls your way. If a ball from another player reaches your area, leave it untouched for them to retrieve.

Step 4: Limit search time for lost balls to 3 minutes. 

  • If you can’t locate your ball within this timeframe, accept a 1-stroke penalty and proceed with a drop shot from where you last played. Stand close to the original spot, hold the ball at shoulder height, and release it to the ground for the next shot. If your ball is lost from the tee-off, take the penalty and retry your initial shot from the tee box.

Frequently Ask Question

What Dos and Don’tsDon’ts for Beginner Golfers


  • Begin your practice at the driving range.
  • Work on improving your short-game skills.
  • Master the proper grip technique for your club.
  • Focus on achieving consistent and solid ball contact.
  • Take your time to set up and align your shots accurately.


  • Rush into playing your first full round until you consistently get the ball airborne.
  • Feel pressured by others while practicing at the range
  • Overemphasize hitting the ball hard or for maximum distance
  • Set overly ambitious expectations for your performance


In conclusion, mastering the game of golf and understanding how to play golf involves a blend of skill, strategy, and patience. 

From understanding the basics of grip and stance to navigating the intricacies of various shots on diverse terrains, each aspect contributes to the overall enjoyment and challenge of the sport. 

With consistent practice, an appreciation for etiquette, and a few lessons to refine technique, players can embark on a fulfilling journey toward improving their game and learning how to play golf. 

Ultimately, whether on a scenic 18-hole course or a compact par 3 layout, golf offers an enduring pursuit where camaraderie, personal growth, and the pursuit of excellence intersect with every swing.

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