Beginners guide on how to play golf

Now, we may be a bit biassed, but in our opinion, golf is an amazing sport!  Famous players, such as Tiger Woods, Lydia Ko, Rory McIlroy, and Nelly Korda, are now household names, earning huge amounts of money.  They may be highly skilled professionals, but the same game can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life, and all ages and abilities. One of the questions we frequently get asked is “how do I start playing golf?”  In this blog we will answer that question and tell you everything you need to know to start playing golf!

Why play golf?

If you are reading this, then you probably already know the many reasons that make golf such a great game.  It combines a social event with elements of competition.  Golf provides both a physical and mental challenge.  You get to see some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, often with local wildlife.  It’s a great way of keeping fit, whatever your age or ailments.  It’s a sport where old and young, talented or less able, and people of any gender can play together.  Golf is just a great game, why would anyone not want to play it?

How to start playing golf?

To start to play golf you need a few things, such as basic equipment, a rough idea of the rules, some knowledge on how to hit a ball and somewhere to play.  We will cover all of these in more detail later.  Perhaps the most important thing you will need however, is a willingness to learn.  Whilst the fundamentals of golf are simple (hit a small ball with a long stick and get it into a hole a long way away), the details are wonderfully nuanced. It’s not difficult to start to play golf, but you will have a life of learning and practising in front of you.  But hey, that’s a good thing right!

What equipment do I need?

When you first start to play golf, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on equipment.  You need some clubs, balls, and a glove is recommended to stop you getting blisters.  Whilst you can spend a lot of money on a set of brand-new clubs, many golfers, including low handicap club golfers, buy refurbished pre-used clubs, which offer superb performance whilst saving a huge amount of money on new clubs.

Although you can have up to 14 clubs in your bag, many players use a ‘half’ set, which typically has only 7 clubs, plenty for those learning to play golf, and indeed many experienced players prefer to use a half set too, as they are easier to carry and transport.

There may seem to be a bewildering number of different types of clubs, but they fall into different groups:

Woods, including the driver, the big club used for hitting the ball off a tee. Fairway woods, such as a 3 or 5 wood are often easier for a beginner to use.  These used to be made of wood (hence the name) but are now made of lightweight metal or even carbon fibre.

Irons, such as a 5-iron, pitching wedges or sand wedge.  These are used for shorter shots.  If you are new to the sport, or improving, look for ‘cavity back’ irons, which are far more forgiving.

Hybrids are a half-way house between woods and irons, and very useful for playing shots from longer grass.  These are sometimes called ‘rescue’ clubs.

Putter, the club used when the ball is on the green, and the one you will be using the most, so it’s worth spending some time finding one you get on with well.

The minimum set of clubs you need in your bag to start is probably a fairway wood, hybrid, a half set of irons and a putter.  Don’t forget a bag to put them in, along with some spare balls and tees!

Do I need golf lessons?

Hitting a golf ball consistently well is a lot harder than it looks!  Learning the fundamentals of the grip, stance and swing will make playing golf a lot more enjoyable. Driving ranges and golf clubs often offer group lessons, which can be an excellent and inexpensive way to learn.  So, whilst you don’t “need” golf lessons, we think they are an excellent idea and highly recommend them!

Where can I play golf?

The good news is that there are many places you can play golf, without needing to join a club.  Look for municipal golf courses in your area, as they are an excellent place to start to hone your golf skills.  Driving ranges, where you buy a basket of balls to practise with, sometimes offer radar ball tracking, allowing you to compete in online games and test your skills.  Many private golf clubs allow non-members to play, by paying a ‘green fee’.  This is a great way to play at a variety of different courses and is a good option once you have developed some basic golf skills and understand more about golf etiquette and rules.  Finally, once you have decided that Golf is the sport for you, there is the option of joining a golf club, but it’s by no means essential.  Many life-long golfers have never been a member of a club!

What is golf etiquette?

You may have heard the term “golf etiquette”, but what does it mean?  There’s no formal definition and it’s really just a way of behaving when playing golf.  Things like avoiding slow play, repairing pitch marks and divots, raking bunkers and being considerate to other players. Some things, such as appropriate clothing, will vary from course to course, so it’s a good idea to check what you can and can’t wear before you start playing.

Do I need a golf handicap?

A golf handicap is used to adjust your score to reflect your ability, and is really useful if you want to play with people of different abilities. An official handicap used to be the preserve of golf club members only, but Golf England now has a way for non-members obtaining one. If you are simply playing a few rounds of golf with your friends, then working out an informal handicap is fine, as many courses don’t ask to see an official handicap certificate.

What are the rules of golf?

Golf has a lot of rules!  You can spend your life playing golf and never become an expert.  The R&A (one of two global organisations that govern golf) have an excellent golf rules website where you can learn the basics.  Having a reasonable grasp of the official rules is essential if you are going to play in club level golf competitions or corporate events.

The good news is that for casual golf between friends, many people adapt the rules, for example playing a Mulligan (getting to hit a poor tee shot again) or taking a free drop when you can’t find a golf ball.  These are not official golf rules, so be careful when and where you use them!

About CashForeClubs

At CashForeClubs we love golf, and so do our customers. We sell a huge range of high-quality used clubs, all checked by a qualified PGA Professional and with a 30-day money back guarantee.

We buy clubs too, meaning that when you decide to upgrade your driver or try a different putter, your old clubs can help fund your new ones.

We’re here to help, and you can phone us on 03302 291836, e-mail, WhatsApp, or chat directly with our PGA professional.

Welcome to the amazing world of golf, we look forward to hearing from you.

CFC Condition Guide


5  – BRAND NEW – never been hit.
4 – VERY GOOD – This club has been hit a handful of times, may have a few very minimal marks.
3 – GOOD – This club has been used for a few rounds, shows signs of use but no major dings or chips.
2 – FAIR – Well used, still in completely playable condition but will show signs of wear and tear. Minor stone chips may be visible on the sole.
1 – POOR – This club will have heavy play marks, paint missing, with visible dents and chips.

NOT SELLABLE – major dents or stone chips on playing surface of club.


5  – BRAND NEW – still in wrapper – never been used.
4 – VERY GOOD – Have been hit a few times, but could still pass as new.
3 – GOOD – No major marks, but may show light signs of use, for example light scratching.
2 – FAIR – Signs of wear and tare, but no major bag rub and no rust marks. stickers may be starting to peel.
1 – POOR – Very visibly used with various age-related marks. Shaft sticker may be peeled or missing.

NOT SELLABLE – major bag rub or major pitting and rusting of shaft.


5 – BRAND NEW – As it says on the tin, this grip is brand new, with protective wrapper still in place.
4 – VERY GOOD – 
As new and completely clean, would only have been played a handful of times.
3 – GOOD
 – Played with, showing some minor imperfections, but have plenty of golf left in them.
2 – USED – Well used, with some more obvious imperfections. Still playable, but will likely need replacing fairly soon.
1 – POOR – Needs replacing with rubber shiny and splitting.

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