Golfing is one of America’s favorite pastimes. In fact, estimates are that 29 million people play golf in the United States. Here in Gainesville, we have a number of excellent public and semi-private golf courses golfers of all skill levels can enjoy. If you are a novice golfer, you may be looking for some instructional resources and golf tips before you head out on our local links. That’s why, in honor of National Golf Month, we here at VW of Gainesville, your hometown VW dealership in Gainesville, Florida have put together a few key tips and golf etiquette essentials that every beginning golfer should find useful.
Proper grip – Correctly gripping the club is the first key to success. Golfers new to the game will tend to grip the golf club more like a baseball bat. A couple of commonly used terms are the “lead hand,” which refers to the hand that’s closest to the hole, and the “back hand” which is farthest from the hole. Take the club in your lead hand and place your thumb on the top of the grip pointing down. Place your back hand below your lead hand and interlock the pinkie finger with the pointer finger of the lead hand. The thumb of the back hand should also be pointing down the front of the grip just below the thumb of the lead hand.
Approach and stance – Adopting a stance that is balanced and comfortable is another basic of golf. Start by bending your knees slightly with your upper body leaning over the ball with your arms extended. Your posture should not be hunched, and your arms should not be too far out. Beginners should position their feet shoulder-width apart with equal distance between the back and front foot. Hint: take a 7-iron and place it so that the shaft runs from the toe of your back foot to the toe of your lead foot. The club should be pointing to where you are hitting the ball. Put the club head behind the ball, which should fit naturally into your hand at a 45-degree angle.
Correct swing – Now that your approach and grip are dialed in, it’s time actually to hit the ball. There have been thousands of pages devoted by golf experts to this part of the game. However, for beginners let’s keep it simple. Keep your feet firmly planted while keeping your upper body and head relatively still. Keep your eyes on the ball all the way from when the club hits it to the follow through. Keep your lead arm as straight as possible when you bring the club back, rotating your hips as you do so. Your weight should also shift from the lead to your back foot. Keeping your eye on the ball, let your hips rotate through the swing as you hit the ball. If done correctly, your upper torso should be facing the hole.
Of course, these are just the basics. Mastering the fundamentals of golf takes time, patience, practice, and persistence. Now, here are some tips regarding golf etiquette from one of America’s greatest golfers, Arnold Palmer:
- Don’t play too slow – Try to be right behind the group in front, don’t spend more than five minutes looking for lost balls, and be ready to play. Be honest about your slow speed of play and work to improve it.
- Don’t be a jerk – Sometimes golf can be exasperating. Keep your temper under control and avoid using “colorful” language. Throwing your clubs or sulking just ruins the game for everyone.
- Be on time – If you make a commitment to play golf, try your best to honor it. Arrive at your tee time at the appointed hour and show up a little early for your golf lessons.
- Be respectful of the course – Fix ball marks with a penknife or two-pronged tool designed for this purpose. Replace divots or use the seed mix packed on the side of your cart. Rake bunkers so that they are nice and smooth.
- Silence is golden – This tip is self-explanatory. Stay still and silent from the time a player sets himself until the ball has left the club. Also, never walk in someone’s line of play on the putting green; especially around the hole. And never stand either directly behind the ball or beyond the hole.
- Practice cart etiquette – Golf carts are a common fixture, and you should make sure that your golf cart does no damage to the turf. Your goal is to leave no evidence that your cart was there. Another good practice with multiple carts is to avoid driving single file; rather scatter in different directions to spread out the cart traffic.
- Dress appropriately – Both on the course as in life, your appearance speaks loudly about who you are. Take care that your clothing is neat with your shirt tucked in and ball cap correctly worn. Dressing sharply on the course won’t make you a better golf, but it will give you respect.
- Turn off mobile devices – A no-brainer here. Be sure to shut off your cell phone. If you must make a call, make it brief and move away from other players.
- Be helpful – Pay attention to what’s going on and help your fellow golfers as you would want them to help you. Watch errant shots, pick up left clubs, help look for lost balls, and compliment your fellow players when they hit a good shot.
- It’s the little things that count – There are dozens of rules regarding golf etiquette, but perhaps the most important is to be considerate. Be observant, polite, and respectful and the game will return the favor many times over.
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When it comes to playing golf, we may not be experts. But there’s one Golf we know a lot about, and that’s the award-winning 2015 VW Golf, winner of Motor Trend’s prestigious 2015 Car of the Year award. With plenty of room and performance to spare, the versatile, stylish, and fuel-efficient Golf has upped its game for 2015, turning in a championship performance. We’re teeing up substantial savings on our entire lineup of 2015 Volkswagens, so swing on into our Gainesville Volkswagen dealership today for a test drive. We’re conveniently located at 3737 North Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32609. For more information, call 352-240-0880.