Are you a new or beginner golfer excited and ready to get out onto the golf course, but nervous because you don't know much about those complicated golf rules?
Relax! In this episode, we're going to cover FIVE simple rules/guidelines that are easy to remember, and will have you feeling comfortable with getting on the golf course today!
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Welcome to the Smart Golfer podcast where we help aspiring golfers improve their skills, strategy, and know how for better performance, fun and play. I'm your host, Dr. Greta Anderson, and I am beyond excited to help you move from just hitting balls to playing your best golf. So let's get to it. Thanks for tuning in today. I am Dr. Greta. So today we are going to be all about that new and beginner golfer and helping him, you, whoever that may be, out there to get on the course. Because of course, you know what I say all the time, getting out onto the course is so important because that's where the action is. But even more importantly, that's where we really learn to use our existing skills, how we learn to grow our skills, and how we identify the things that we have not learned or mastered so that we can get back to the lab over there and working on our own or whether that's with your coach or whatever the case may be. So we've got to really figure out how to get on the course. But for a lot of new and beginners golfers, they're excited about getting on the course cause, you know, that's where the funny is. But we're really nervous because you may not be very familiar with all of those complicated golf rules and etiquette and all that stuff that you've heard about, which is really important, it's super important. But if you don't feel like you know any of it, the course is just overwhelming and intimidating so you don't get out there. And that is what we don't want. So I want you to relax if you're feeling a little bit nervous like that. Because today we're going to cover five simple areas. You can call them rules, you can call them guidelines, whatever term fit, floats your boat, they are easy to remember and they're going to have you feeling comfortable with getting on the course. So after this episode, you're going to feel good about getting out there and getting going on using your golf skills out there. Okay? So there are five areas we're going to talk about. And the first one is this one. Follow the basic rules of golf etiquette. So I know that I just said that there's a lot to etiquette, but that doesn't mean that we get to play ignorant about this, right? We may not know every nuance, but there are some general groupings that all of us can understand quite easily. And so I'm going to run through those, right, because etiquette is a really big deal in golf. Golf is a game of gentlemen and women. But etiquette is important, but it ties in so much. But this is the areas of etiquette that are kind of basic. But I want you to know that you can follow even as a beginner. Firstly, I want you to make sure to play ready golf. Which means that when your turn comes up, you should be ready and prepared to hit the ball. I mean, this means having your club selected and if you may be on the putting green asking that the flagstick be moved or put back in, whichever is your preference. So for a lot of us as beginners, you may not be playing with all of the you may not have a full set of clubs, you may be playing with a few that makes the decision making process about which club you're going to use even simpler. So there's really no excuse. What we don't want is someone else in your force on or your group hits the ball and then after we watch their ball land you're, then climbing out of the golf cart, trying to figure out which club, so on and so forth. Nope, that's important time in there and we use that time to prepare. Doesn't mean that we can't watch the ball because we can kind of do two things at once. But ready golf is all about being ready when it's your turn. Secondly, we always want to be aware of other players on the course and avoid taking too long when you're playing. So this means that we're keeping an eye on the time so that we don't slow down the group behind us and also being mindful of the group in front of us and the surroundings and not damaging the golf course, right? We know that we pay attention to the group in front of us. In particular, when we lose sight of them, it usually means that our group is running a little bit behind schedule and so we want to be able to keep them within our site, right? And so we want to do that along with being respectful and mindful of the golf course. And we're going to talk a little bit more about that particular facet of things in a few minutes. Now, next, in terms of basic good etiquette that we're following, I want you to of course, be respectful of other people's golf equipment and don't touch it or move anyone else's belongings without their permission. It's just like kind of mom and dad used to tell us back in the day, right, keep your hands to yourself and don't put your hands on things that don't belong to you. Don't ever assume that it's okay to borrow someone's putter or try out their seven iron or whatever the case may be unless they said so. It's as simple as that. And then we want to always replace divots. Now, I'm not sure if you know what a divot is, I'll just describe it real quick here, but we always want to replace a divot fill in the holes with the sand or the filler that's provided to us by the course and repair our ball marks on the green. And I'm hoping that you know how to do that. If not, maybe I'll send a link to a video to help you understand that. But in terms of a dividend, a dividend is simply that piece of turf that often comes up when we properly or improperly descend upon the ground. Now, ideally, we're going to get the ball first and then the club will go into the ground. Sometimes people miss the ball and the goes into the ground first. Nonetheless, when we pull up that turf, it's our job to grab that piece of turf and put it back and pat it back down with your hand or your foot or whatever right back into that spot. So that's what we mean when we say replacing that divot. Okay? So those are those basic etiquette areas that covered all of the first of our top five of those simple golf rules and guidelines that every beginner needs to know to enjoy the golf course. Now, we're moving on to guideline number two, which is understanding the basics of the golf scoring system, assuming we're talking about stroke play here. Now, when we're playing stroke play, which is what a lot of golfers and most of us play in our typical day to day rounds, right, the main goal of the game is to use as few strokes as possible to get the ball in the hole. This is the one sport where unlike basketball, baseball, tennis, and all the rest, where we want to keep our scores low, not high. Now, so in understanding how the scoring works, I'll just describe it in a very simple terms here. Scoring and golf is simply the total number of strokes you take during a round. Now, we know that we play holes in a round that might be nine, that might be 18. So what we do is we add up all of our strokes and that's your score for the entire round. The score that you get on each hole, you add those up and that's your score for the entire round. It's as simple as that. Now, as a newer golfer, I want you to know there is no need to feel pressure about one keeping score, right? Now you may want to kind of generally kind of have a broad range of understanding about what you shot on a hole, but don't, please don't become obsessed about it. But more important, or I shouldn't say more important, but if you choose to keep score, which is also fine, don't be obsessed about shooting low scores because it takes a while. It won't take you forever, but it can take a while. And don't be discouraged because sometimes scoring can be a little bit frustrating and discouraging as we're just getting our bearings and understanding the basics of ball striking and course management and that type of thing. But nonetheless, again, if we're going to be out on the course, having at least a general understanding of how we keep scoring golf will make it so much easier for you to maintain proper pace and feel relaxed throughout your round out there and that's important, right? So just with that being said, there are a few terms that you should know that will help you keep score or understand what's going on if you're playing with others who are keeping score. Okay, so par, you've probably heard this word in casual parlance, no pun intended there, but you've heard people use it, maybe off the course or on the course, but let me explain what par is. Par is the number of strokes a course is designed to be completed in. Now, generally speaking, again, most golfers aim to shoot par or below on every hole. But again, as a new emerging, golfer do not worry about shooting power. So the whole golf scoring system is based around par and our scoring in relation to par, whether you were on par, above par or below par. And again, don't worry about that par thing. It can be daunting early on in our game. If we shot par, that means, again, it's the number of strokes a course is designed to be completed in. But if I'm on a hole, let's just say, and let's just say the hole is designated as a par three and I get it in. Hole in three, well, that's a par. I've shot par for that hole. Now, the next scoring term that you should familiarize yourself with is birdie. A birdie is when we score one stroke below par. And again, remember, in golf, that's a good thing. When we have those lower numbers, that's a good thing. You'll see that designated on a scoreboard as a negative one, minus one, which is again, minus one is a good thing. Now, if you happen to get two strokes below par, guess what? It's a bigger bird. We call that an eagle, two strokes below, and that would be designated as negative two, two under. Again, that's a good thing. Now, from time to time, all of us are going to not quite be at par or below par and we will be one stroke above par, which is called bogey, and we go from bogey. So let's just say I was two strokes above par. So let's just say it was a par four hole, but I scored a six, that would mean a double bogey. If I scored a seven on that hole, it would be a triple bogey. If I scored an eight on that par four hole, that would be a quadruple bogey. And if I scored five over, let me just tell you, it's time to pick up Joe, don't worry about it, pick it up and move on to the next hole. Right, so those again, those are very general terms just to have a broad understanding of what scoring is about. And if you're going to be out on the course, again, you don't have to keep score. But if you're playing with others, at least you'll know what's going on. And it will allow you to help maintain some pace of play with the others. Okay? So our third of those top five guidelines that every golfer that's a beginner must know to enjoy the course is about respect for the golf course. Now, let's just put it out there. Without those fluffy fairways and the rolling greens, we really have no place to hit our shots and enjoy the game with others. So that makes it imperative that we take great care of the course. And of course, all the courses have superintendents and groundskeepers to do the heavy lifting to keep the courses in good order, but it takes constant effort from them. That is why these golf courses have full staffs of men and women whose sole job is to cut, fertilize, maintain, do all these things to keep the golf courses in good order. So from replacing the divots to repairing marks on the putting green, each player this is just my opinion each player has a responsibility to do her part in preserving the golf course because they are high maintenance locations, there's no way they would put it. Now, when we are driving the golf cart, this is a whole separate category within this respect for the course here. So when we're driving the golf cart, always adhere to the days course directives that will be provided at the start of your round by the staff or maybe in the clubhouse. Now, there are some important to know pieces of golf cart etiquette that definitely go into this bucket. We're terming respect and repair of the golf course. Now, the 90 degree rule the 90 degree rule is that when the fairways are soggy or fragile or extremely dry, the 90 degree rule helps to preserve the terrain. When this condition is in effect, you should keep your golf cart on the path, except for making a right angle turn across the fairway directly towards your ball, and then follow the same path back to the path. Now, this protocol must be followed between each golfer's ball. So even if you're on the cart with a cartmate and their ball is in a different direction, you've got to come back and then revisit that 90 degree rule. Now, let me say this. The 90 degree rule has nothing to do with the temperature outside the 90 degrees we're talking about is that right angle turn that you're allowed to make. So 90 degree rule has nothing to do with the weather. It's all about the course. Now, I know that 90 degree term may seem inefficient, but remember, everything is not about us. It's about the preservation and the maintenance of the course in the terrain. Okay? Second, within that bucket, that's about respect and repair of the golf course that falls under Kurt etiquette. This is one that a lot of us don't really care for, but it happens a lot, especially as we move into kind of off season golf cartpath only. You'll see, signs with the initial CPO or your heel. Golfers say or mention CPO. That's what they're speaking of. Cartpath only. Sometimes cartpath only. Again, CPO becomes necessary when we need to eliminate all trampling and distress on the grass and the fairways that the golf carts create. Remember, the golf carts are weighs, they're pretty heavy. They weigh 1000 plus pounds. Rolling the motoring, it's traumatic to the grass. And so sometimes it has to happen. In these instances, CPO will be put into effect. And what happens then is that as golfers, we are only allowed to walk. Maybe you have your bag on as a backpack or maybe you have your rolling cart. Or maybe if you're driving the golf cart, the powered golf cart, that's perfectly fine if you're playing around, but it must stay on the paved or the gravel path. But it cannot come on the fairways. And that is really important because typically, if the core superintendents have deemed it necessary to designate CPO, the fairways are in a pretty delicate shape. And so again, it's all about repair and respect. So we have to honor that. And so now we're on to number four of our top five golf guidelines that every beginner golfer must know to enjoy the course. Right? Number four, we want you to mark your golf ball. So whether you're playing alone or within a group, it really is essential to mark your golf ball so that it is easy to identify. This goes so far in ensuring that everyone is playing with the correct ball. And in turn, again, it goes back to helping us maintain that appropriate pace of play. So there are a variety of ways to mark your ball, but one of the most common methods is to use a sharpie. Now I'll say this across the board. The sharpie is the way to go for a bunch of reasons and whatever color you choose is just fine. But sharpies don't smear. And of course your golf ball is going to experience impact from the club. It's going to get in dirt, it may get a little bit of moisture on there, all types of elements. And so the sharpie doesn't fade out like a regular magic marker or something like that. So just know that the sharpie is the way to go. Now from maybe your jam is putting your initials on the ball. That's what I do. I just put my initials on there. Nothing too fancy. Some people take the time to draw and put emojis on there along with dotted lines. You can mark your ball and it is a way, it is a fun way to express your personality. But it also helps, most importantly, helps us in avoiding that confusion which again delays around. Because now that the golf balls come in a variety of colors, that is true. But what you'll find is that for the most part, most of the golf balls in your grouping, your force and are going to look the same. So that's just the four of you, you and your playing partners out there, but there are hundreds of other people out there. And so if we don't have a way to designate whether that is your title is four or his title is four, it's going to be a mess out there. So it's really important to mark your ball number five on our list. This one. All of them are so important, but this one is really important for a bunch of reasons. And so as we get into this, you'll see why I'm saying this. Number five. It might sound simple, but it's really not. We want to stay safe on the course. So we know that the golf course can be such a beautiful place. It's peaceful, all of the great things, it's nature at its finest. But it can also be dangerous out there if we're not careful. So I want to share a few safety tips to keep in mind while you're out there playing golf. The first one, it sounds again, it might sound a little simple, but oftentimes we don't do this. It is so important to always be aware of your surroundings. Look out for other golfers, pedestrians, obstacles, and realistically people who don't belong there, look out for them. Unfortunately, the golf course, while it's a peaceful, serene oasis for many of us, some people use it as an opportunity to take advantage of things. So we want to be mindful. It's not to scare you. The golf course is still very safe, but we have to be realistic and be mindful when we're out there. Many times we're rather isolated and so we just have to be mindful of what's going on. Just keep your eyes open and everything will be just fine. Okay. Secondly, when it comes to that golf cart, keep it at least 30ft away from the putting greens on each hole because that putting green, that turf over there, it's super sensitive and super expensive. So we want to keep the cart on the designated paths, particularly when we are around the putting greens and the greens. Okay? Next, keep your head up and pay attention to what's going on around you. Now, this is similar to the first notice I gave about and just what's going on. But this, what I'm referring to here is, remember, we have hundreds of people out there on the fairways hitting this projectile. That can cause great harm, right, the golf ball. So when you hear someone calling for, pay attention and cover up. I know it doesn't look cool and sexy, but cover your head. It's so important. You be surprised when you look at the statistics of how many people are injured with golf balls each year. So worry about looking cool later. When you hear someone yelling for with urgency, cover your head. Ask questions later. Okay? Next, be aware of the weather conditions and dress appropriately so many places around the world, around the country. We know that the weather changes with the hands on the clock and that's why we have these nice golf bags with lots of pockets, because it affords us the opportunity to wear clothing or layers of clothing. If we have too much on, we can stick it in the bag. If we have we don't have enough on, we can go in the bag and put something on, but you want to be mindful and just keep a few layers in your bag for contingency. Obviously the weather can vary depending upon where you live, but you tend to know the ups and downs, generally speaking, of the weather cycles in your area. So just plan for it and keep some appropriate extra items in your bag and you'll be just fine. And then we want to remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially in the hot weather. Now, because golf is a little bit different than tennis or basketball, we're not running and jumping and we may just not seem like we're perspiring and losing fluids as quickly as we might seem or as overtly as it might seem in some of those other sports. It definitely happens in golf a lot more than people realize and a lot of people don't realize that apart from all the other negative effects that dehydration has on us as humans, it has an adverse effect on your golf and your decision making, along with the other physical, you know, movements and that type of thing. So take the time to plan your hydration. Don't overlook it, especially in hot weather. But yearround now with these five rules or guidelines again, whatever we're calling them today, you're going to be just fine out there. So if you are new and emerging golfer and you've been a little bit hesitant, if you take the information that I've given you here, you're going to be just fine. Now remember, we want to expand and we'll do that. I invite you to consider checking out Project 72 Golf, an online coaching program where we work to help new and emerging golfers create a roadmap to help them drop ten strokes or more in twelve months. We talk about all of these things in great detail and you will be equipped. So if you're interested in that, check us out academy drgrettagolf.com. But these five steps will have you moving in the right direction. So I hope you get out to enjoy this beautiful fall weather wherever you live and we will see you in the fairways. Thanks so much for joining us this week on the Smartgolfer podcast. Make sure you visit our website, Dr. Greta Golfer.com, where you can subscribe to the show using your preferred podcast platform so you'll never miss a show. And while you're at it, if you found value in the show, we'd appreciate a rating on that platform. Or if you'd simply like to tell a friend about the that could help us out, too. And if you like this show, you might want to check out more of our learning programs at Academy. Dr. Greta Golf.com.