How to become a golfer
A message that every player of the game should hear
By Brian Branch, Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club
Golf is a lifetime activity in that participation can be rewarding at any age or skill level and the game will provide lifelong benefits.
In addition to the skill, success in golf lies in sportsmanship and fair play. It is a game, which revolves around the concept of courtesy and proper conduct. It is a game that requires self-discipline, control of emotions and a sense of integrity because many of its rules depend upon self-enforcement. The true golfer is one who commands respect not only for his or her actions on the course, but also for the correct procedures in the clubhouse. This can all be learned by paying attention to the following:
1. Knowledge of and adherence to the official rules of golf
Rules make it possible for everyone to play the game on the same basis of fairness and wholesome spirit. Fair-minded good sportsmen would not knowingly break the rules. By observing the golfers adherence to the rules of golf, other players will follow his or her example.
2. Personal conduct
Many different playing situations confront the player during a round of golf to test their personality and character. The golfer realizes this and accepts moments of discouragement as part of the games challenge.
3. Care of the course
The average golf hole requires thousands of dollars to construct and additional thousands to maintain. In recognition of such costs, acts that reflect concern for course maintenance can be readily observed in the behavior of a golfer. Attention to the following matters will require special effort by the beginning player, but will soon become habit comfortably incorporated into the normal sequence of play.
The golfer always:
• Hits from the designated tee area
• Replaces divots with sand provided in golf cart
• Rakes the sand to smooth after a bunker shot
• Repairs ball marks on the putting green
• Refrains from scuffing the green with their shoes
• Does not walk near the edge of the cup
• Does not walk on another golfers line on the putting green
• Discards litter in proper containers
• Follows designated pathways for the golf cart, being careful not to drive over the teeing grounds or onto the aprons of the greens
The act of striking a golf ball and sending it at speeds of over 150 mph occurs several times during a round of golf. When crowded, the golf course becomes a dangerous place unless all players are alert.
The golfer always:
• Waits until players ahead are well out of range before hitting.
• Shouts fore whenever a stray shot could endanger others
• Takes practice swings judiciously, away from other players
• Observes out of bounds areas, or house property
5. Pace of play
The game of golf was designed to be played with continuity of effort. Its challenge calls for sustained concentration combined with the physical ability to execute the swing under different playing conditions. The golfer determines the pace at which he or she performs best and is compatible with fellow players — two hours or less for nine holes and four hours or less for 18 holes if you are in a foursome.
The golfer always:
• Walks to the ball with dispatch.
• Plans club selection and shot execution while approaching the ball or waiting for others to hit.
• Always is ready to hit when it is their turn
• Sets a pace that maintains a comfortable distance between groups ahead and those behind. Should the distance of a hole exist between you and those ahead of you, allow faster players to play through.
• Learns the habit of following the flight of the ball closely, marking the point where it lands so that excessive time is not needed to find the golf ball. If the ball is thought to be lost or out of bounds, hits a provisional ball, following United States Golf Association rules.
• Is discerning with the number of practice swings taken.
• Avoids giving ones self or others lessons while on the course.
• Upon reaching the green, leaves the golf cart nearer the next tee never in front of the green.
• Practices efficient handling of the flagstick to shave seconds from time spent on the green. Rule of thumb states that the player whose ball lies closest to the hole attends or removes the flag. The player that holes out first should replace the flag.
• Putts out whenever possible.
• Leaves the green immediately upon concluding play of the hole. Practice putting is discouraged. Scores should be recorded en route to or at the next tee rather than on the putting green.
By observing these simple procedures a round of golf can be shortened by as much as one hour while increasing its enjoyment.