WHAT YOU’ll NEED
Like many sports and activities, golf requires a few essentials to play. In this case, the most obvious needs are clubs and balls. But there’s really no need to rush out and buy new clubs, or a new wardrobe for that matter. As a newcomer, chances are you can borrow some clubs from a friend or family member, rent a set of clubs, or perhaps buy an inexpensive set of used clubs or a starter set. As for what to wear, it’s a good bet you’ve got already got something in your closet that will work just fine. Scan through this section for some more pointers. Oh, and being that golf is a game played in the great outdoors, make sure you have some sunscreen.
The most essential component of golf doesn’t require a major investment, certainly not to start. As a newcomer, you are probably best served by borrowing a friend or family member’s extra set, renting clubs or investing in a starter set. As you play more and get better, you’ll have a better feel for the clubs that will improve your game. (Pro tip: Most golf courses require golfers to have their own set of clubs when they play… so bring at least a few, unless you plan to rent.)
Gotta carry those clubs and other essentials in something. We recommend a simple bag to start, but there are different types of golf bags, from ultralight stand bags designed for golfers who walk the course and carry their clubs, to bulkier cart bags meant only for the back of a golf cart. Once you figure out your playing style, you can get a bag that is best suited for you.
Another essential. There are a wide range of golf balls that vary in price, usually anywhere from $1 to $5 per ball, but the balls you use to start playing the game will probably do little to affect how well you play and how much fun you have. We recommend you go cheap at first, you’re gonna lose balls… even the best players do. You can get used golf balls at a very reasonable price. Bring at least a dozen balls with you.
These are the small plastic or wooden pegs that are used to raise the golf ball off the ground. The rules say that they can only be used in the designed teeing area to start a hole, but as a beginner, feel free to use a tee anywhere on the fairway, for any shot. The tee makes it a bit easier to get the ball airborne. You can get small bags of tees in the pro shop for a few dollars.
Not a necessity, but certainly helpful. The golf glove is used to provide a better grip on the golf club. It also helps to prevent those nasty blisters caused by repeated swings. Right-handed golfers typically wear a glove on their left hand, and vice versa for a lefty.
Hat or Visor
Certainly not a requirement, but remember when we mentioned that golf is a game played entirely outdoors? That means considerable sun exposure. You might be covered when it comes to sunscreen, but a hat or visor will help shade your face and eyes while playing – giving you one less thing to be concerned about when setting up for a swing.
Many courses have relaxed their dress code, but for men the classic collared shirt is still the safest play when you’re uncertain and want to blend in. For women, a collared shirt or top – with or without sleeves – is a safe way to stay fashionable on the fairways. You probably have a collared shirt in your closet right now. Should you tuck your shirt in? The old rule of thumb was yes, but again, dress codes at many courses have relaxed significantly. If you’re unsure of what to wear, call ahead and the course staff will be more than happy to give you the scoop.
Pants, Shorts or Skirt
The norm is for golfers to wear non-denim shorts, pants or skirts to the golf course. Again, public courses afford more leeway when it comes to dress, particularly in regard to clothing choices like cargo shorts or athletic leggings. If you’re uncertain about a particular golf course’s dress policy, call ahead.
Golf Shoes or Sneakers
While swinging on grass and walking outside on uneven ground, you’ll want to have shoes that offer stability, traction and support. There are a wide range of golf-specific shoes available, including increasingly more options that can be worn on and off the course, but most athletic shoes will also work just fine.
A match play term that means the leading golfer's margin is the same as the number of holes remaining; for example, 3-up with three holes to play.