We get it. Golf can seem terribly complicated to the uninitiated. With so many rules, regulations, specific lingos and equipment it can seem a little overwhelming. Not only is it competitive but can also be physically challenging. You could easily catch a game in the evenings and play 9 or 18 holes. It’ll keep you active, it’s a game that can be played with only one player as well as multiple others. Some of the benefits of playing golf include, alleviated stress levels, aids in fostering friendships and keeps you exposed to the outdoors.
Golf is formally described as a game played on a large open course, in which a small hard ball is struck with a club into a series of small holes. To get to these holes, players use different types of clubs that allow the ball to reach different distances. The ultimate aim is to get the ball in these holes in the fewest shots possible.
Let me break it down for you
Before you hit the driving range aka an area where golfers practice their golf swings. You need to wear the appropriate clothing that will not restrict movement. The standard outfit is- collared shirts, cotton or polyester blend pants, trousers or skirts and golf shoes. But you can also wear sneakers or running shoes.
Let’s start driving
Let’s find you the nearest golf course before you start playing. Dubai has the following courses that encompass the 18-hole course, driving range, par 3 courses (9 holes of only par 3’s), and putting green and chipping/pitching area for practice.
- Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
- Emirates Golf Course
- The Els Club
- The Track, Meydan Golf
- Jumeirah Golf Estates Clubhouses
What’s in my golf set?
You don’t have to own a golf set to start playing. Once you go to a course, there is an option of borrowing or renting golf clubs. The staff at the driving range always has clubs to offer for practising.
A golf set contains 14 clubs, however, you don’t need all 14. But the important ones are as follows:
- Driver or 1 wood- this club allows you to hit the maximum distance. Most often you tee off with this club to obtain ample distance.
- 3-wood/5-wood- this hit considerably long compared to other clubs, can be used from the fairway or the teeing off area. The fairway is a part of the golf course that’s between the tee off point and the putting green of a hole.
- Irons- Another set of clubs used to reach the putting green from the fairway or rough for longer (Irons 5-7) or shorter approaching shots (Irons 8-9).
- Pitching wedge- This club hits shorter distances compared to the irons. This is used to pitch the ball on to the putting green.
- Sand wedge- Allows you to escape from the bunkers aka literal sandpits on a course as it scoops the ball out.
- Putter- This is the one you are probably the most familiar with. It allows you to finally get the ball in the hole!
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Before teeing off
Generally, most golf courses comprise of 18 holes. These holes are made up of par 2’s, par 3, par 4’s and par 5’s. Par= the number of strokes a scratch golfer or a first class golfer should normally require for completing a hole. So, for instance, you encounter a hole that is a par 5. A scratch golfer will be able to get the ball in the hole in 5 shots. Now, who is a scratch golfer? This is a player who can play to a course handicap of 0 on any golf course. A handicap is a numerical value that determines a player’s ability or level. The lower the handicap, the higher their golf aptitude and as a result they complete a hole in the fewest shots. You can aspire to become a scratch golfer by practising and playing games.
Basic etiquette and rules
At the tee box, there will be a lot of colours. The black or gold are for championships and tournaments. Subsequently, there are the blue tees for handicap below 18, followed by the white tees for handicap above 18. Finally, there are the red tees for ladies and juniors. You can decide which one to start at depending on your level.
- The maximum number of people that play together are 4, with teams of 2.
- Players tee off in succession and then play the furthest ball from the hole and onwards.
- Count every stroke you hit until the ball is putt in the hole.
- When someone is taking a shot, don’t make noise.
- Rake the bunker after taking a shot from there.
- Shakes hands towards the end of a game with your opponents and partner.
- Duck when someone yells fore (a term used when a ball is flying at you!)
Now that you are more conscious of the game, try it out! Just remember you’re not going to become an expert after 2 days of practice. So be patient and remember it takes a lot of balls to golf like a pro!