What to know before your first round of golf
The day is here! You’re ready to head to the course and tee it up for your first round of golf. You’ve watched instruction videos, you’ve spent time on the driving range, and you’re excited to experience the game on the course. But maybe you still have a few questions about what you need to know before your first tee time, or you want a refresher just to make sure you have what you need for a great first round of golf.
So, let’s dive into a few recommendations, reminders, and tips for you to keep in mind and help you prepare for playing and enjoying your first round of golf.
What to bring to the golf course
Even if you’re pretty sure you have everything you need to head to the golf course, it never hurts to do one more double check to ensure that you are prepared for a great time and a great round of golf.
The first and most obvious thing you need to bring – golf clubs, of course. It may seem silly, but you wouldn’t want to show up to the golf course without the number one item that you’ll need (believe us, it happens). But also keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to bring a lot of golf clubs. Driver, putter, and a wedge are all pretty much required, but from there you can select a few irons or hybrid clubs that make the most sense. It will make club selection on the course easier, and may give you a little more confidence since you’ll be using clubs you have already practiced with as well*.
You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of golf balls with you for your first round (and every other round, too). And don’t skimp here – it’s impossible to estimate how many golf balls you might lose, so always plan to have more than you think you’ll need. Even experienced golfers and professionals hit a golf ball into the water or the woods from time to time, so consider this just a part of the game.
Other items you’ll need include tees to go with those golf balls (always have extras with you), a small towel or rag (helpful for cleaning off your ball and your clubs), and possibly a golf multitool (which might include a divot tool, a brush, and other useful items).
(*If you don’t already own golf clubs, many golf courses offer the option to rent clubs from them. However, these won’t be the same clubs you have practiced with, and so you will not be used to the way they feel, how to swing them, and so on. Chances are you already own your own golf clubs, but this can be an option in the future if you’re traveling and want to head to the golf course.)
What to wear to the golf course
“Dress for success,” right? That applies on the golf course as well. The first rule is comfort; you’re going to be doing a lot of walking and swinging clubs, so you want clothes that breathe and let you move easily as well. Shorts, polo shirts, and other light apparel works well in the hotter weather, while pants and jackets may be needed for cooler times of year. Additionally, many golf courses have relaxed apparel guidelines, but some have certain requirements or restrictions. You can get that information from the golf course’s website and then pick your outfit from there.
If you have soft-spike golf shoes, be sure to bring those with you as well. Otherwise, athletic footwear that is comfortable and lightweight can often work. Again, there may be more specific information on
the golf course’s website about footwear (generally prohibiting the use of metal spikes, though, so you probably won’t have to worry about that).
Where to go when you arrive at the golf course
You’ve got your gear, you’re dressed for a great time on the golf course, and you’ve finally arrived. So where do you go from here?
This is another case where you can check the golf course’s website or call the clubhouse for specifics, but generally speaking you’ll head into the clubhouse to check in for your round. Some golf courses allow you to head straight to the golf carts and then to the first tee, and some even allow you to check in for your round right from your mobile phone and skip heading into the building unless you need to. Again, take a minute before you leave the house to check into the specific procedures. That way you’ll start your first round of golf with confidence.
What to avoid when playing golf
The last thing we want to cover is three things to avoid when you’re enjoying your first tee time. These are great rules to keep in mind every time you tee it up on the golf course, but they’re especially helpful for your first time playing a true round of golf on the course.
#1 – Avoid swinging golf clubs too hard
It can be tempting, even for experienced golfers, to get out on the golf course and “swing for the fences.” But nothing wrecks your swing and ruins your shot like trying to overpower a shot. Remember that the golf club is there to do the work for you; focus on what you’ve been practicing and let the club send that golf ball flying. A relaxed approach will help you hit the ball straighter while avoiding errant shots and unnecessary muscle strains, too.
#2 – Avoid searching too long for golf balls
Whether there are players behind you on the golf course or not, it’s a good idea not to spend too much of your time hunting for a golf ball that got away. If you clearly saw where that shot wound up, then definitely get your ball back. But if you don’t see your ball within a minute or two, it’s better to drop a new one. After all, playing golf is much more fun than hacking through the weeds or the woods to find a golf ball.
#3 – Avoid uncomfortable swings or stances
This tip is as much about safety as it is about helping you play a better round of golf. If you get set up for a swing at an odd angle, or if it feels uncomfortable for any reason, take a pause and reevaluate. Just like overpowering your swing, an uncomfortable stance or swing will wreak havoc on your shot and may even leave you sore or worse. Play smart and make sure each swing feels right, and you’ll enjoy your first round of golf (and every round after that, too).