The Basic Rules of Golf: What You Need to Know for Your First Round


Bump day icon As mentioned in Monday’s post, Bre and I are passionate about the idea that more women should play golf. The benefits are huge, and it’s a great way to spend the day.

As relatively new golfers, we’re very familiar with how scary it can be to get out there and try the sport for the first time. I’m not gonna lie, it has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s totally worth it! And since it’s a sport that can be played well into your retirement, putting a few years of practice in at the beginning seems like a small investment with large rewards!

One of the best ways to get better at golf is to get out there and play. You can spend a ton of time at the driving range, but nothing is better for your game than on-course practice. However, being a newbie golfer can be a scary experience when faced with a course full of seasoned vets who have no patience for someone trying to learn the game.

Bre and I were in that position once, so we completely understand. I recall my hands shaking when, after a few weeks of practice at the range, I took my first step onto the tee box. Of course, I swung and missed. That’s golf! If you’re learning the sport, expect that to happen…a lot. When I finally hit the ball, it went 50 yards. Not exactly the impressive start I had envisioned!

The Basic Rules of Golf~ my first round of golf! ~

When I got back in the cart, my husband reminded me that in addition to remembering everything about my swing, I had to learn golf course etiquette too! Nothing makes you look more like a rookie than not knowing where to park your golf cart, or the rules of the green.

Now there are a million rules in golf, but you really only need to know a few of them to get out there, and avoid looking like a complete newbie (and ticking off your fellow golfers). I’ve put together some of the basics that you need to know for your first round of golf:

The Basic Rules of Golfhonor your tee time

Show up early and get your prep work out of the way before your tee time. This means putting on your glove, getting your bag set, doing stretches, whatever your pre-game routine is. You should be teeing off at your exact tee time – no later, but also no sooner. 

respect other golfers

  • Don’t tee off, or take any shot if you’ve let someone play through (see next bullet), if you’re in reaching distance of the group ahead of you.
  • If you’re playing a little slower and there is no one in front of you, you can wave the group behind you through. Take your drive, then move your cart out of the line of their shot and wave at the next group to go through. They will take their drives and play on. You can then resume your game.

be quiet

You may have seen those guys on TV holding a “Quiet” sign during a golf tournament. That’s because basic golf etiquette dictates that you need to be quiet when someone else is making their shot. This applies to any fellow golfer, not just those in your group. For example, if you’re driving by someone making their shot, stop your cart, let them swing, then continue on.

obey cart path rules

If you’re using a golf cart, the course may have certain rules in place that day. Know what they are and respect them. Rules are in place to avoid damage to the course. In addition, there will be markers as you approach the green. Do not go past these markers with the golf cart.

whoever is furthest from the hole goes first

This rule can be disregarded if all players agree, and in that case it is then referred to as “ready-play.” This means that whoever is ready first, goes first. Just be sure to stay out of the way from someone’s shot. See the next point.

park the golf cart in the right spot

This is usually to the right of and behind your ball, leaving plenty of room to swing (park to the left if you’re left-handed). Don’t park the cart in front of someone else’s shot. No one wants to get hit with a golf ball!

clean up after yourself

This means repairing your divots, you know, those big chunks of grass you dig up with your club. Replace and tap down the larger pieces that were dug up. For smaller divots, the golf course may provide sand and/or grass seed. Shake this over any holes you make along the fairway. If you’ve been in a sand trap, rake it before moving on.

never walk across someone’s line

When you’re on the green, this is the area between the ball and the hole. Always walk behind the ball, even if it means taking the long way around. 

Now that you know the basic rules, get out there and give this awesome sport a try! It’s tons of fun, it gets you out in the fresh air, and even if you have a horrible round, there’s always a glass of wine with friends to soothe your soul.

See you on the golf course! 




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