Ok, so you have the clubs, you went to the range, and now it’s time to play on a golf course for the first time!
This can be daunting but also one of the best experiences for any golfers. In the end, that’s why we practice, to play better on the course.
We helped countless players to prepare for their first round of golf and collected some of our best tips below.
Read more and learn what you can do to make your first time playing as enjoyable as possible!
Especially the first time around, you’ll notice that you might be nervous when playing on a golf course!
Unlike on the driving range, you don’t have a bucket of balls next to you and can just try again if you miss a shot.
Every shot counts on the course, and it’s worth spending extra time before your round to warm up properly.
I suggest visiting a driving range before your round and hit anywhere between 40-80 Balls. You will want to start with your wedges and slowly way your way up to your driver.
Don’t focus on your technique, but notice how you’re hitting the ball today.
Are you playing a lot of fades? That’s no problem. Just play your round, knowing that you’ll most likely hit a face.
The golf course is the last place where you want to make swing changes. And you can play golf perfectly fine with any shot shape that goes a certain distance and is predictable.
After the range, make sure you spend some time on the putting green. Familiarize yourself with the speed of the greens and try some long puts, short puts, and especially puts from 5-7 feet.
If you’re confident with these, you’ll never 3-putt again!
First tee nerves
Yes, everybody gets first-tee nerves. You’re at a course for the first time; maybe you have people watching, or even worse, the clubhouse is right behind you, and 30 people are watching you tee off.
It’s hard not to get nervous in that situation. But there are things you can do that help!
Pick your most consistent club. If it’s your driver, fine. But it’s totally ok to hit an iron or wood off the tee.
Remember how you hit it on the driving range. It’s nothing different on the first tee. Just repeat that swing.
Don’t overthink. When you’re over the ball, give yourself no more than 3 seconds to start your swing.
Don’t worry; even pros have first tee nerves, and every golfer can relate. Hitting your first swing right into the bushes on the left doesn’t mean that you’re a lousy golfer. It’s just how it is.
More importantly, you don’t let a bad first hole predict how the rest of your round will go. Move on!
You might have heard about the does and don’ts on a golf course. There are plenty of rules, but I’d like to focus on just a couple that I think are important.
On the tee, usually, the person with the lowest score on the previous hole tees off first.
Who plays first
The player furthest from the hole usually plays first after the tee shot. This rule is also applicable to putting. Whoever is furthest from the cup puts first.
Don’t stand in the line of sight
Ensure you don’t stand in the line of sight of other players when they are about to hit a ball. It’s a distraction, and by having you in their field of view, they’ll think about not hitting you with their ball.
Stand behind, to the left or right with enough distance.
Take care of the course
Make sure you fix pitch marks, repair your divots, and generally take care of the course. This keeps the course in good condition and makes for a good experience for the next player!
Speed of play
Ok, I’ll be honest, depending on how well you already play, the first round can take a while.
If you consider the etiquette above, others will have you wait for you often.
There is no shame in picking up your ball and placing it next to someone else who plays better than you.
You’ll be able to finish your round without holding up play, and everyone will appreciate it.
Also, If you watched any golf on TV, don’t copy the extensive pre-shot routines of the pros. They play for millions of dollars. We play for fun, so let’s make sure people around us can enjoy the game and don’t have to wait for us too often.
Keep a consistent pre-shot routine, but make it quick.
Most importantly, have fun! Golf is a game you can play all your life, and it’s a great way to stay fit, make new friends and learn new skills!
Don’t bother to keeping score; it really doesn’t matter the first time around.
I hope you found a new passion and will come back to playing on the golf course many more times!
Chrissy Ryland - I'm a freelance writer and blogger from Northern California. I grew up loving all things entertainment and travel and now I am blessed with a career that lets me write about both of those topics along with many others. For inquiries about a story you think I might want to cover, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org