What to expect form your first round of golf

Thomas Tanner
Oct 06, 2020
6 minutes
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Golf is booming and with so many golfers coming to the game for the first time, or returning after a few years you there's a chance you might be a little apprehensive before teeing off for your first 18-holes.

The following article is a brief checklist of what you can expect before your opening shot, the first tee, on the course and the greens.

Before your round

Before anything golf-related enters your mind, check the weather. Remember you're going to be outside a lot and things can change pretty quickly! Make sure you've packed the right clothing for the conditions - both now and what might be to come.

Make sure you get to the course with plenty of time. The last thing you want is to fall out of the car onto the first tee without the chance to swing a club or have a practice putt. Getting to the course about 30 minutes before your tee time will give you a chance to get familiar with your surroundings and settle you in before you need to hit a ball.

Although things are getting more relaxed each year, there are still some dress code restrictions in operation at golf clubs. Make sure you check, and comply with these. Otherwise you might be denied access to the course.

Once you're ready, you can make your way to the practice facilities. Make sure you feel the club on the ball to spark your muscle memory into life. Also, roll a few putts, so you've got an idea of the pace before you get caught out on the first green!

It's now probably time to head to the first tee - about 5 minutes before your tee time. Check your phone is on silent and you have a ball, tees, marker, and pitchfork in your pocket.

On the first tee

The time has come for the talking to stop and the game to start. Most golfers will want to play quickly and will adopt a 'ready golf' approach to the round. If you're ready, then go. It used to be the case of the lowest handicapper going first, and then the lowest score going first on the next tee. This tradition is not often observed - unless someone makes a birdie or better!!

It's always good to identify your ball with your partners, so they know what you're playing with - they'll do the same.

There might also be a small bet on the game; the stakes will be agreed on the first tee.

On the course

Along with playing ready golf, make sure to walk nice and quickly between your shots and when you get to the green, leave your bag on the side of the next tee. If you can save a minute a hole, then all the little things will add up to take 20 minutes off your total round time.

If you've hit a wayward shot and think you might not find it then hit a provisional ball. This ball becomes the ball in play if you cannot find your first one. Remember, you only have three minutes to find it according to the rules.

Finally, be nice and quiet when you're partners are playing, but also be ready when they've hit, and it's your turn.

Once you've taken your shot, replace your divot and start walking towards the green.

In the bunkers

If you're unlucky enough to find a bunker, then remember to rake your divot and footprints. Then leave the rake in the bunker, so it does not deflect a ball into the bunker that was going to miss. Unlike Professionals, most amateurs prefer grass than sand.

On the greens

On the green is where you'll find most golfers are still quiet particular as it's widely believed to be the most critical part of the game.

The most important thing is to be aware of your playing partner's lines and not to step on them. If you've left a pitch mark, then repair it and any others you see.

The player who is furthest from the hole will putt first. If your ball is in the way, then you will need to mark it with a coin or similar item. On rare occasions, you might need to move your marker too. This is within the rules, so pick a tree in the distance and move the marker one putter head width. Once your partner has putt past, move your marker back.

Finally, if you're close enough to the hole to tap in, then go ahead as this will help speed up play. Just again, be aware of your partner's line (and don't miss!).

The single most important thing though is to enjoy your golf!

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Further reading

According to the rules of golf we are all allowed to carry a maximum of fourteen clubs in your golf bag. But what clubs do you need? What do they each do? In this article we’ll build a virtual bag of 14 clubs explaining why each one has a vital role to play.

If you're new to golf and looking forward to getting out for your first game but don't know what actual golf clubs you'll need to start, this page is especially for you. In the guide below we're going to put any thoughts about not having the right or enough clubs to bed, and show you that golf can be played and enjoyed with just a few clubs in your bag.