Golf is a gear-heavy sport, but you start out with the inexpensive golf equipment and add items or upgrade as your commitment grows and your game improves. You can buy new or check Craigslist or Ebay for opportunities to purchase second-hand gear to use on the golf course. Lots of people move on to better golf equipment or decide that the sport is not for them. These tips will get you equipped for your first time on the golf course.
Beginners’ clubs: Check out the discount sporting goods stores, rather than pro shops or golf-only stores. A set of beginner clubs, including the bag, putter, driver, various woods and drivers and sand wedge can be had for as little as $120- $150. Choose a brick and mortar store where you can ask questions and get reasonably intelligent answers!
Golf glove: Protects your forward hand from blisters and helps you grip the club better. More advanced golfers take them off for putting.
Tees and balls: There are white, light pink, dark pink, yellow, green, purple and orange balls. The bright green and orange are the easiest to locate on the golf course. Taller tees may help you get more lift from your ball.
Ball markers: These are small plastic or metal circles you place on the green to mark your spot when you need to get your ball out of another player’s way. Some people simply use coins. Certain players favor magnetic disks that attaches to a clip on a visor or hat.
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Golf cart: Few people carry their clubs anymore. It’s an unnecessary stress on your back and shoulders and tires you out. An inexpensive golf cart is a plus, but you can rent a very basic one for a few dollars when you play and sometimes included in the fee. Or consider a three-wheeled cart that holds your water bottle, score card, tees and balls for easy reaching and allows you to walk the course.
Golf attire: Most public and private courses have rules—typically, no jeans or t-shirts, too-short shorts or skirts. Many courses now allow collarless shirts but not tank tops. Your best bet is to call and find out dress code restrictions ahead of time.
Shoes: No need to buy expensive cleats: You can start out wearing sneakers or off-road walking shoes (waterproof preferred for rainy days or wet grass). But if you’re taken with the game, golf shoes can give you more secure footing on hilly shots and sand traps. Shop for them at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest size, and bring the socks you plan to wear on the course.
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Hats: Most women wear a visor or baseball-type cap to keeps the sun off their face.
Towel: Carrying two golf towels—one for cleaning off dirty balls and clubs, and another for wiping the sweat off your face—is recommended. Any small hand towel will do, but golf towels have grommets in them so you can clip them to your bag.
Additional gear: A golf umbrella, windbreaker, rain gear, layered clothing during colder weather, water bottle, stroke counter. All golfers are supposed to carry a divot repair tool to correct depression on the green made by lofted balls.
Etiquette: Learning the rules and moving properly around the golf course is a big part of playing the game. If you sign up for a beginner’s league, you will receive a booklet or some paperwork about course management and fair play. But it never hurts to brush up on it. If you play too slowly and you’re on a busy course, a course manager may ride out and let you know you have to speed up. And rude or childish behavior (i.e yelling, throwing clubs, annoying other people, smoking or inappropriate dress) can get you removed from the premises. But who does that, right? A good primer on golf etiquette is the USGA’s Golf Ettiquete 101.