So the big day is finally here, the day you’ve been waiting months for; you’re about to play your first round at one of your bucket list golf courses.
You and your buddies are driving four hours to get there and staying the night; you’re all prepared, you’ve got your shoes, your clubs and bags are packed, and you’re ready to go.
But are you ready to play one of the best rounds of your life? or are you going to come home disheartened from what should’ve been one of the best days of your golfing life? The last thing you want to do is drive half a day and spend $500 on green fees to shoot three digits.
So what goes into planning a round golf? Well, this article takes an in-depth look at the different factors to consider to play great golf. Factors such as suitable clothing, course recon, goal setting, and managing expectations, all need to be considered.
I’ll provide actionable and easy-to-implement advice and strategies to give you the best chance of playing one of the best rounds of your life. A round of golf you’ll be telling your grandkids about for years.
Let’s get started.
Research the Course
- 0.1 Research the Course
- 0.2 Practice Specifically
- 0.3 Don’t Bite Off More Then You Can Chew
- 0.4 Have Realistic Expectations Going In
- 0.5 Playing Your First Round Of Golf Ever?
- 0.6 What Equipment Do You Need?
- 0.7 To Rent or Borrow Clubs?
- 0.8 In the Bag
- 1 18th Hole.
If you’re playing a round of golf at a course that’s been on your bucket list for years, chances are it’s one of the best courses in your State or maybe the Nation. This is good news, especially if you’ve never played the course before.
By jumping onto the club’s website, you can do some in-depth research that will help you prepare for the round. Well-known clubs and resorts provide detailed information on the entire 18 holes. Everything from the yardages, the undulation of the greens, hazards like bunkers and water, and even the prevailing wind conditions.
Gathering as much information as possible will help you plan exactly how you’d like to play each hole. You can plan shot by a shot like a professional would. Planning like this provides you with confidence when you’re standing on that first tee the next morning.
You can select the holes you’d like to attack and holes that you need to play conservatively. Another benefit of researching each hole is that warming up before the round allows you to practice the shapes and yardages of each shot you expect to play.
Researching the course and prevailing local conditions also provides you with plenty of information to help make sure you’re dressed correctly. Do you need to pack a windbreaker? Maybe a waterproof jacket? How about an extra hat or two?
Footwear will be another essential factor to consider; is the course long? is it hilly or undulating? If the course is long, it might be a good idea to wear spikeless golf shoes. However, if rain is forecast, you’re probably better opting for traditional “spiked” golf shoes.
As we touched on earlier, taking the time to do some research can pay big dividends when your bucket list round arrives.
Practicing specifically is something professionals and top amateurs do regularly. As a matter of fact, it’s what separates the best from the rest. What does “specific practice” actually mean, you might be asking.
Specific practice before your round:
- Practicing the shapes of shots you expect to play during the round.
- Hitting to the exact yardages you’ll be facing.
- Practicing with specific clubs, you might be using more during the round.
- Practicing the types of putts you’re expecting on the course and
- Practicing your short game, including chipping or even playing some “bump and runs” if the course calls for it.
Depending on how early you started your research, you might be left with a day to prepare or even a couple of weeks. Obviously, the earlier you start, the better you can prepare. A couple of weeks, for example, gives you plenty of time to get your swing mechanics “dialed in” and time to work on specific types of putts you’re expecting.
Remember, though, that each course you play is uniquely different. It’s one of the fascinating aspects that make golf so enjoyable. But with each course comes varying conditions, so research thoroughly.
Practice specifically, and you’ll shoot the best round of your life.
Don’t Bite Off More Then You Can Chew
As you’re probably aware, there are several different colored tees to hit from when you’re standing on the box. The tees aren’t fancy colored just to look good. The color of each tee corresponds to specific groups and playing levels.
- Black tees are used by the pros
- Blue tees by low handicappers
- White tees are used mid to high handicappers
- Red tees are played by the women
- Green played by seniors, juniors, or beginners
It’s easy to get carried away and pumped up when you’re on the 1st tee, especially playing a course you’ve been looking forward to for years. But resist the urge to be a hero; leave your ego in the locker room.
Playing from the correct tees gives you the best chance to test your skills against the course from suitable yardage. If you play off the white tees but think, “today I’m stepping up to the blue tees,” don’t. Yeah, you might shoot a good score and have something to brag about, but the chance of that happening, particularly at a new course, is zero to none.
I’m not saying there won’t come a time when you can give the longer tees a crack; there is, just not at a course you’ve paid $500 in green fees and never played before.
Have Realistic Expectations Going In
You’re on the 3rd hole, and the group is playing well. Then it happens, one of your playing partners becomes increasingly angry. You can see it, slamming clubs in the bag, they’ve stopped talking, and you can quite literally see the steam coming out of them.
DON’T BE THAT PARTNER.
I know, we’ve heard it all before, but it’s true, golf is a game that’s meant to be enjoyed. Yes is it can be frustrating but take a look around. You’re out with friends, playing a sport you love, and enjoying all mother nature has to offer.
Managing your expectations is a critical element for shooting a good score. The chances are the bucket list course you’re playing has hosted professional events and maybe even a major. In that case, it’s going to be one of the most demanding and probably longest courses you’ve ever played.
The rough will be deep, bunkers will be everywhere, water hazards will be dotted throughout, and the greens will be as fast as glass. All these factors combined, plus not playing the course before, means you’re likely to shoot a few over your handicap.
An excellent way to take the edge of everyone is to play some games the whole group can participate in and enjoy. You can make it interesting by having nearest-to-the-pin comps on par 3’s, playing some skins, or even matchplay.
Trust me, when a pint of beer or a steak diner is up for grabs, the group not only relaxes and enjoys the round more, but the level of play increases too.
Playing Your First Round Of Golf Ever?
A couple of weeks back, some colleagues at work invited you to play a round of golf, and without thinking about it too much, you said yes. But then it dawned on you, you’ve never played a round of golf before. Sure, you’ve been to the driving range with friends, but that’s a far cry from teeing it up.
But don’t worry, teeing it up for the first time is not as daunting as you think. Take the advice that I’ve outlined below, and your first round of golf will be an enjoyable experience and hopefully one that brings you back for more.
So what do you need to know before heading to the course and more importantly, what equipment do you need. Let’s run through the basics of what you’ll need before and during play.
What Equipment Do You Need?
So the big round has arrived, and it’s nearly time to tee it up. An exciting day lies ahead, enjoying the fresh air with friends and maybe having a few quiet ones as you plod your way around the course.
When it comes to the type of equipment you need, it will partly depend on what you have and your goals for today’s round. Having the proper equipment means you’ll not only enjoy the round more but have the chance to shoot a good score.
To Rent or Borrow Clubs?
The obvious factor to consider is whether you even own a set of golf clubs. If not, then you’re going to have a rent a set from the pro shop when you arrive at the course.
The other question is, “how often do you intend on playing?.” If it’s only a one-off, renting is your best choice, but if you’re thinking about playing regularly, buying a set of clubs might be a better option.
Renting a set of golf clubs:
- Perfect if you don’t currently own a set of golf clubs
- Typically available for hire at most golf courses
- Beware, though, the rental fee can range from $50-$100
- The set of clubs you hire may not be the right size
Purchasing a set of golf clubs:
- You can play anytime without worrying about renting
- You can have the clubs fitted to suit your game
- A new set of golf clubs will set you back a pretty penny, though.
- They might turn out to be “expensive dust collectors” if the golf bug wears off
Another option is to borrow a set of clubs from a family member or a friend. Don’t be afraid to ask. Most die-hard golfers will be so pleased you’re thinking of taking up the game they’ll be happy to lend you their clubs. Most also have a backup set lying around too.
Borrowing a set of golf clubs:
- Without a doubt, the most cost-effective option of the three, and jokes aside, borrowing is probably the smarter option for a first-timer.
- More than likely, your friend’s clubs will be in much better condition than rental clubs.
- It gives you the chance to see if you catch the golfing bug with no outlay of money.
So to sum it up, if you’re a first-timer, your best bet is borrowing a set from a friend or paying the $50-$100 to rent from the golf course. These two options let you see if golf is a game you’d like to play regularly. Then and only then would I suggest purchasing a new set of clubs.
In the Bag
Ok, say you’ve got your clubs and are ready to hit the first tee, but not so quick; there are still some other essentials you need before teeing it up.
If you’re new to the game of golf, buying a humble golf ball can be overwhelming. So many brands to choose from, some cheap, some expensive, and some different colors. As a beginner, the strategy here is simple; purchasing the cheapest balls you can find is the best option. Chances are you’re probably going to lose a few, especially if there’s plenty of water around.
You’ll need a marker to mark your ball once you’re on the green. Markers are an essential item for play, but thankfully you don’t need to buy one. Anything small and circular like a coin will do just fine. In fact, did you know that most golf pros just use a lucky quarter as their marker?
Tees are another essential item you’ll need. Thankfully tees are pretty inexpensive and only used on the tee box, so you won’t need that many. If you do happen to forget, most clubs provide complimentary tees on the 1st hole, or if you’re really stuck, you’ll find plenty of broken tees on the tee box.
Wearing a glove is not essential, and if you watch closely, some professionals don’t wear one either. For a beginner, however, I would highly recommend a glove. Without one, you’re likely to develop sore hands and maybe a blister, plus they make it much easier to grip the club. Again, the cheapest glove you can find will be enough to get the job done.
It would be best if you had a couple of different towels to clean the clubs and wipe the sweat from your brow. You can bring a regular sports towel from home and an old rag to keep in the bag. Give the clubs a quick wipe after each shot to keep the dirt from accumulating in the grooves.
Sun and Bug Protection
Playing golf is an enjoyable experience. Being outside relishing the fresh air is an appealing part of the game. But being exposed to the elements can damage your skin. To reduce the chance of sun and windburn, apply suncream before the start of the round. It’s also a good idea to reapply some after the 1st nine. Oh, and don’t forget to take some mosquito repellant.
If you’ve never played golf, then you’re in for a really long day. The average round for a club golfer is between 3-4 hours so make sure you come prepared with plenty of water and sports drink to stay hydrated. Bring along some of your favorite snacks. Trail mix and basic sandwiches make good options. Be sure to drink and eat regularly throughout the round to keep your energy and focus levels high.
Golf is a game to be enjoyed by everyone.
Whether you’re a beginner, club player, or professional, preparing correctly for a round of golf can mean the difference between shooting the worst score of your life or a round you’ll be telling your grandkids about for years to come.
So, take the time, do your research, and you’ll be guaranteed to have a great day out.