It’s played by business types in suits.
You need to have proper shoes and clothes before you even get near a course.
It’s not for women.
^^^These are just some of the stereotypes believed by people who want to try out golf but probably never will as a result.
It’s quite understandable though.
Whenever you see golf portrayed on TV, it’s usually conforming to one of the beliefs above.
And while it can be true for some elitist clubs who are trying to uphold these standards and cling on to outdated beliefs (especially where ladies are concerned!)- these are few and far between and certainly not the type of establishment that a beginner would feel comfortable at anyway.
The truth is, most golf clubs are very welcoming of new members. There aren’t the waiting lists that there used to be that made them so exclusive, the clubs also know that new members are important for the future of the club.
The problem for established 18 hole courses is that they struggle to shake the stereotypes mentioned above and they’re not very good at marketing themselves. Okay, they might do a decent job of marketing themselves to people who already play and understand the game, but what about those who like the idea of playing golf but don’t have a clue where to start?
What’s anybody doing to attract beginners?
This is where your 9 hole, non membership courses come in. These require absolute minimal commitment from a potential golfer, allowing them to try out the game without having to invest in a set of clubs or in fact, any equipment at all.
9 hole courses are usually a lot like an 18 hole set up but on a smaller scale and catering more to your ‘try before you buy’ type of golfer.
Although this blog is aimed at helping non golfers feel more comfortable about going to any golfing establishment and understanding the set up, I’m not going to make sweeping generalisations about what ’9 hole pay and play’ style courses have to offer- I’m going to tell you how we go about breaking down the barriers to introduce new people to golf specifically, then leave it up to you to ask your local course if they offer similar before you go along and just assume they do.
Little bit of history- our course and driving range have been established since February 1988, opened originally to provide somewhere for new golfers to play and try out the game when theer were serious waiting lists at the 18 hole clubs in the area.
The driving range is simply an outdoor enclosed area to hit golf balls with whatever club you choose, as far as you want, to the various targets. You hit all the balls from the same spot in your bay on the range.
We provide clubs for you to hire, free of charge.
We also provide the balls via our vending machine- get as many as you want and hit them as fast or slow as you choose, there’s absolutely no right or wrong way to how you approach it.
Now there’s two real extremes of golfer you’ll see on the driving range-
Golfer A-The ones who are trying it out for the first time and just getting satisfaction out of hitting the ball further or more accurately each time and trying to reach a level where they feel confident heading out on course.
Golfer B-Then there’s the ones who you might see with sticks along the floor pointing at their target, walking away from the ball in between each shot and really taking their time over their practice.
Obviously there’s all the levels of golfer in between those two, but that’s the difference between those who are just playing for a bit of fun and those who have a set goal towards improvement in mind.
EVERY Golfer B has been Golfer A at some point and would be more than happy to tell you how they got from beginner to the level they’re at now and give you tips on how to get there. The problem is, there’s far too many ‘Golfer A’ types who don’t want to make a fool of themselves as a first timer and this stops them from ever asking for help..
Which is where the golf professional comes in…
The BEST time to get golf lessons is as soon as you first pick up a club.
So many people take up the game or try out a few sessions on the range and they’re clearly getting the bug, then they’ll say something like-
“I’ll have to get some lessons soon.”
This makes no sense at all.
It’s as if people think they have to reach a certain standard before they qualify to be good enough to have a lesson.
The truth is, it’s much easier for you to make progress as a golfer if the Pro has a blank canvas to work with, rather than having to change your grip or technique completely and have you spend your first few lessons adjusting to it.
It wastes your money and also gives you a steeper learning curve to climb.
By just having one lesson, which is a lot cheaper than the usual route people take of buying a club to fix their swing rather than starting on themselves.. at least you’ll get to meet your local Pro and the chances are they’ll follow up on it when they see you again and check your still going in the right direction with your technique and improvement. Can you imagine how much your game would come on this way rather than waiting even just a few weeks to book a lesson?
So that’s the driving range and about as in depth as I feel we need to go in this article. All you need to know is that you can turn up without a single piece of golfing knowledge or equipment and we can have you kitted out and playing in minutes..
What about playing on the course?
When you feel you’ve had enough time on the driving range and you’re ready to take on the course, we’ll hire clubs to you free of charge once again and for a very reasonable charge you can head out with a maximum of three others playing (The rules of golf state no more than 4 in a group).
You don’t need to have had much time on the driving range before going out on the course, but purely for your own sanity it’s best to check you can actually make contact with the ball first..
The biggest concern I hear from first time golfers is that they’re scared of holding anyone up or making a fool of themselves. To prevent holding anyone up, all you need to do is allow them to go ahead of you. There’s no set queuing system in golf, you don’t need to finish in the order you started, so you should never feel rushed or pressured to take a shot.
There’s also lots of rules to be aware of in golf, but at total novice level the only ones I’d recommend you were aware of concern your own safety and the safety of others, as well as care for the course itself-
Your own safety and others-
-Every level of golfer makes mistakes when it comes to which direction the ball goes when they strike it, but if you see your ball heading towards other people or it’s a blind hsot and could potentially be heading towards others, then simply shout with the direction the ball has gone wayward in relation to you- Either ‘FORE RIGHT’ or ‘FORE LEFT’
-Listen out for others shouting this and be aware a ball could be heading your way
Care of the course-
-If you take a ‘divot’ when you strike the ball (the chunk of turf that the ball was sat on), then replace it as best you can. Not only does this look after the course itself, but it makes for an easier game for others, should they land where there would have been a chunk of turf missing. You’ll be thankful when someone has done this for you at some point..
-On the ‘green’ (that’s the area of grass with the hole and flag in, cut the shortest), the only club you should use is the putter and also leave your bag or golf trolley off it too. Since the greens are usually the biggest investment for any golf course, they require real care when on them to preserve them to the standard the greenkeeper is trying to achieve. The better the surface, the more enjoyable the game is for everyone, so we can all play our part here.
When you’ve tried either the course or the range?
Congratulations! You’re a golfer. Welcome to a whole new set of enjoyable problems!
Remember, you can do all this is before you even have to get technical and think about handicaps, club memberships or even golf shoes- Along with other 9 hole golf courses/practice facilities, we’re here to continue what the facilities were originally set up for 29 years ago, to bridge the gap.
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