How to Avoid Looking Like The Golfing Noob the First Time You Play

Ask any beginner golfer what their biggest fear is about playing and many will likely tell you exactly the same answer; making a fool of yourself out on the course.


Whether it is by breaking a simple rule of etiquette, being unable to hit the ball properly, losing too many balls and taking too long to find them to simply slowing down all the golfers playing behind you, it is little wonder that many beginners have a sense of real trepidation when they head out onto a genuine 18-hole, full length golf course for the very first time.

So how do you avoid looking like the nervous newbie out on the course for the first time? We’ll show you precisely how below…





Everyone once had a first time out on the golf course and whether you are a wide-eyed youngster starting out, or a more venerable player picking up a club in earnest for the first time in your retirement, all players have that singular dread of heading out onto the course and looking like a complete amateur.


Everybody knows that golfers can be sticklers for tradition, etiquette and adhering to the myriad of complicated rules of the game. Then there’s the actual problem of hitting the damn ball, which seems to defy all your attempts to swat it away down the fairway.

Well outlined below are some simple tips to help avoid you looking like you are the on course newbie and instead, have you playing and acting like a seasoned golfing campaigner, even if it is the first time you have ever been out on the course.




1. Head the range and have a few beginner lessons from a pro before going out on the course

There’s no better advice than as soon as you get your clubs, head to your local driving range and speak with the resident professional. Even just a few lessons will put you on the right track with your swing and will help you practice all the right things at the range.


Then keep heading the range to hone your swing until you are confident you can hit the ball consistently. You don’t need to hit it 300 yards every time, just relatively straight and relatively often and you’ll be ready (often within a few hours of practice) to take on your first challenge of a real round of golf.

Avoid the temptation to take your first swing of the club on a full-sized 18-hole course. You won’t be terrifically popular with the groups behind if you take 26 shots and 45 minutes to complete that short opening par 4.


2. Learn basic golf etiquette, especially when taking shots from the tee, around the green and what to do in the even of a missing or lost ball

Good manners cost nothing and in golf, there is a certain etiquette you are expected to follow on the course.  Have a read through of the rules of the game and golfing etiquette but most of it is common sense. Be quiet and still when other players are playing their shots. Don’t walk over their line on the putting green and certainly don’t laugh pointedly at a player if he misses from two-feet (well not unless you know that person REALLY well!)


As a new player, its likely that you are going to spend a large percentage of your time looking for balls in the rough. Sometimes they can be hard to find, so familiarise yourself with the rules of what to do when you declare a missing ball. It is so much easier to hit a ball into a rough, play a provisional just incase, then go and look for your first ball (picking up your provisional if you find it) than failing to find your shot and then having to walk back to the first tee to rehit your shot.


If you are in any doubt about whether you’ll find a ball, always hit a provisional just in case. There’s no penalty if you find your first ball and you can simply pick up the provisional ball.



3. If there’s a smaller group behind you, or you are playing slowly, let those behind you play through 

Ask any golfers what the most frustrating aspect of any round of golf can be and it will be playing behind a fourball who are playing very slowly, but won’t let the backlog of groups behind them through.


Nothing gets golfers more angry and frustrated than spending 10 minutes or longer waiting at every tee to play while you and your three friends finish the hole.

If the group behind appear to be playing much more quickly, then let them through. They’ll not only be grateful, but you’ll enjoy your round more not always looking over your shoulder worried that you are holding them up.  It is a simple courtesy and one that is not too often extended nowadays, sadly.


4. Switch your phone off, or at least onto silent

Nothing will make you less popular with fellow golfers than if they are taking a shot and your phone goes off, disturbing them. Always turn your phone off on the course, or if you are using it with a golf app to record your score, then switch it to silent so you can still use the app without it disturbing other golfers around you.




5. Avoid first tee disasters by hitting your shot with the easiest club in your bag to hit 

For many new golfers, that very first shot on the first tee, often with a lot of expectant golfers watching, is the stuff of nightmares. All your faults laid bare for everyone to see as you take a driver and top the ball 5 yards from the tee. It has happened to all of us, many times before.


So, reduce the pressure on yourself and ease yourself into the round by taking the club you hit most confidently with, such as a 7-iron, and hitting your tee-shot with that. Two solid 7-iron hits will get your ball around 300 yards, which is more than enough to put you in a decent position on the opening hole and avoids you using a club which you are not confident of hitting in front of an audience, which makes it all the more nerve-wracking.


Images Courtesy of Gorilla Golf Blog Stock, Nike and Apple

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