Golf is a popular game that has been around for hundreds of years. There are many rules of golf. Some rules are enforced mainly during regulation or professional play while others are standard rules that need to be learned and followed. When you become more familiar with golf and begin to play more seriously you may want to get a copy of the complete rules of golf. Some rules are a matter of courtesy while others are more play oriented. A breach in the rules results in penalty strokes added to your game. At some golf courses failing to follow the rules may result in you being asked to leave the course. Here are some of the most basic rules of play.
The game of golf has many rules. Because the game is played with so many others nearby, there is a need for golf etiquette as well. Following proper etiquette shows respect for the golf course as well as the other players and makes for a safe and pleasing experience on the links.
• Dress appropriately for the course. Don’t wear bathing suits or remove your shirt.
• Don’t be late. Always arrive in enough time for your party to get ready before their tee time.
• Stay with your party.
• Allow faster groups to “play through” by waiting one hole, letting them go ahead. This is far better than holding up the group behind.
• Be respectful of others. Don’t yell and don’t use obscenities while on the course.
• Take care when driving a golf cart. Drive only on designated areas and don’t speed.
• Don’t leave the golf cart parked in the way of other golfers.
• Be aware of where other seriouslygolf players are located. If you hit a shot near anyone else immediately yell “fore” as a warning.
• Be ready when your turn comes. Prepare for your shot by choosing the right club before it is your time to hit.
• Always allow the player furthest away to hit the ball first.
• Don’t stand too close to other players or park the golf cart too close to others.
• Never throw your clubs in anger.
• Don’t drink on the course. (Except water, of course).
• Don’t take too much time looking for a lost ball. Follow the five-minute limit and after that declare it lost and move on.
• Be respectful of nature and wildlife on the course. Never hit at any animals or birds and don’t chase them. If animals are in your way, gently move them away using a slow approach.
• Pick up any garbage you have and deposit it in a proper receptacle. Don’t leave any garbage on the course.
• Don’t talk when someone else is taking a stroke.
• Be honest about your score. Nobody likes to play with a liar.
• Repair any divots you take on your shot as best you can.
• When you are done playing a bunker rake your play area as well as your footprints so the next players have a clean sand trap.
• Leave the green as soon as everyone has completed the hole. If you want to talk, move away first, allowing the players behind you to continue play.
• Don’t get into long personal discussions on the course. This takes away from everyone’s concentration.
• On the green, never walk between someone’s ball and the hole.
• Don’t stand too close on the green and be mindful of your shadow. If it is in the field of play for anyone move away.
• When carrying your clubs, never leave the bag too close to the green. Instead, remove the club or clubs you need and park the bag further away.
• On the putting green, if your ball hits another ball it must be returned to its original position and you incur a two-stroke penalty.
• When playing on the green, remove the flagstick and place it on the ground away from the green until play is over.
The swing is the single most important item in the golf game and one of the hardest things to perfect. The swing combines balance, power and physics to form a consistent result. The key to the golf swing is practicing proper form until it comes as second nature to you.
Start with the grip. Holding the club uses both hands wrapped around the end of the club shaft. Each club has a rubber area, which is the grip area. This is where you should put your hands. Start by holding your left hand out (if you are right handed) palm up. Wrap your hand around the club placing it more in your fingers than in your palm. Your thumb should be facing straight down the shaft, facing the ground. Now take your right hand and place it below the left hand, wrapping it around the club also. The left and right hands can interlock by alternating the right pinkie with the left index finger. The bottom (right) hand should form a “v” off the thumb that points towards your ear. The proper grip allows for a solid swing and hit. The left hand should have a stronger grip on the club, using the right hand only for stability and direction. Grip pressure should not be too tight. The grip is the hardest thing to correct in your golf game. If you get the wrong grip it can be difficult to make a change to it. Consult a pro or golf instructor to show you the proper way to hold the golf club. Do not grip the club too tightly or too loosely.
Knowing how to stand will help you get the proper power, distance and aim at the ball. Stand with feet apart. Your legs should be no further apart than the width of your shoulders. Keep the back straight and flex the knees. You should be able to reach the ball comfortably with your club in this position. During the swing your weight will shift from one leg to the other. You need to maintain balance when swinging. The stance is different when using your putter. Keep your legs only slightly apart. Bend your knees slightly and act as though you’re about to sit down. Then, keep your putter under control. The swing of your putter is also different than the swing used with your other clubs.
Aim the clubface towards the direction you want the ball to go. Your toe line should be parallel to the target line. Don’t aim your feet at the target. The ball will always go the direction that the clubface is pointed. Practice at a driving range will help you learn your proper stance and aim. Most right-handed golfers tend to hit the ball to the right. This can be corrected through proper aim. When aiming at your target, always stand perpendicular to it. There are many different swing problems that occur when you aren’t properly lined up to the hole. Avoid overcompensating for a poor swing by changing the aim of the ball.
The golf swing requires you to twist your arms and body in order to get power and distance from the shot. Raise the club up over your right shoulder taking care to keep both elbows as straight as possible. The wrists should stay fixed as well. Bring the club up no higher than just past your shoulder. Golfers tend to attempt to bring the club up higher on the back swing thinking that they will have more power. What you get instead is less accuracy. The club has too much of a chance to change position the higher you life it. Think of your arms and body as winding on an imaginary axis. Keep your head down and your eyes on the ball during the entire swing. Bring the arms down and use your legs to push more power to the shot. The follow through is also important. The ball will go in the direction of the follow-through. It is essential to wear proper golf shoes in order to get the most from your golf swing. The feet must turn but not slip when swinging the club. You will get the most power when you use your feet and legs to push your body through the swing. Always take a practice swing before each shot on the golf course. Visualize the path of the ball and make sure that you are properly lined up and are using the correct club for the shot. Practice makes perfect. A good golf swing takes years to perfect. Beginners may do well to get golf lessons. An instructor can help you start off with the correct grip, stance and swing. Once you get into the habit of a particular way of swinging the club it is very hard to change. An instructor can evaluate your swing and give you pointers on how to improve it.
Each swing that you take in the game counts as one stroke. Each hole provides a specific number of strokes that are average for that hole. This is known as par. Golfers strive to meet par. If you generally tend to golf above par, you will have a handicap. The handicap is used when playing against other players of varying experience levels. Your handicap allows you to play more evenly against other players, even those who are better than you. Your handicap will change after every round of golf played since it is based on your golf score for each round of 18 holes of golf.
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