Taking up golf can be intimidating, but it also comes with plenty of perks. From opening up networking opportunities to improving your physical health, golf can be a game changer. One of the biggest challenges for aspiring female golfers, however, is getting out on the course for the first time, especially because most courses tend to be male-dominated. Just 25 percent of American golfers are women, according to the National Golf Foundation. But don’t let that stop you, let’s grow the game together!

Women Golfing

There are plenty of female golfers out there who will tell you that they’re glad they faced their fear and played their first round. Here’s some advice on how to prepare and what you can expect so you’re comfortable the first time you tee it up!

Get Comfortable at the Driving Range

While it’s important to do your research on golf etiquette and equipment and rules, the best thing you can do to prepare for your first round is visit the driving range.

Each driving range is a little different, but there are a few universal rules you should follow. First and foremost, pay attention to the people around you. Don’t get too close to them! Not only can it be a distraction but it can be dangerous too. Unless it’s Friday night at Topgolf, it’s also polite to stay off your phone and keep on the quieter side. Finally, while this may sound obvious, don’t walk into areas where you’re at risk of being hit by flying golf balls. As a new golfer, you’re likely to hit some short ones but resist the temptation to chase them down for do-overs.

student and teachers

Warm-up and get the blood flowing before you hit your first ball. Stretch, take a few practice swings, and then start working your way through your clubs. Start by swinging your pitching and sand wedges. In other words, you are swinging your clubs with the most loft and shortest distance first, and working your way up. Once you have a good rhythm going, start swinging your irons, and finally your driver.

One last thing to keep in mind: if you’re hitting from grass, it’s important to fix your divots by filling them with sand. Pro tip: it’s also best to hit in an orderly pattern. Typically start in the front of your range station and work your way back in a straight line so that you’re creating one long divot rather than lots of smaller, random ones.

Once you’re making consistent contact with the ball at the driving range, you’re ready to play your first round!

Schedule a Tee Time

At most golf courses, you’ll need to book your tee time at least a day in advance. With tee times in the 18Birdies app, it’s as easy as clicking a button! If you’re nervous for your first round, opt to play at an executive course or at one that will allow you to play just nine holes. This is a great way to get your feet wet and settle those nerves! Scheduling a tee time for later in the day can also help take the edge off as courses tend to be less crowded in the afternoon.

tee time list

When you arrive at the course, depending on where you’re playing, you might be greeted in the parking lot by someone who’ll take your golf bag to your cart. It’s a good idea to bring a little cash just in case you need to tip them or other course staff. Then you’ll check in and pay for your round at the pro shop.

Be sure to arrive at the course at least 30 minutes before your tee time. Not only is it important to be on time, but arriving early will also give you a few minutes to warm up on the putting green and at the driving range.

At the First Tee

When it comes to the first hole, unless you’re playing in a tournament, there’s no hard-and-fast rule about who goes first. Typically, whoever is ready will start the round. After all, keeping up with pace of play is an important aspect of the game. After that, the player with the lowest score on the previous hole will usually tee off first.

Make sure you’re always ready when it’s your turn to hit. This means knowing which club you want to use before you’re up. The 18Birdies app is great for beginners. The app will let you know where you are on the course and which club you should use. 

Welcome to Your Game

As a new golfer, you’ll definitely want to play the forward tee. You can place your ball anywhere between or behind the tee markers. Tee placement is an art in itself, and you’ll find what works best for you as you gain experience.

When it’s your turn to take your first tee shot, be sure to control your breathing and envision a positive outcome. Even professional golfers say those techniques contribute to success off the tee!

Be sure to pay attention while everyone hits their tee shots, especially if you’re playing with other new golfers. As we already noted, keeping pace is important and looking for lost balls can slow you down and stress you out. If you can’t find your ball, or if you’re struggling on a hole, there’s no shame in taking a pickup. As we noted in the first Beginner Golf article, everyone uses a mulligan (or two) during a round!

When it comes to your first golf outing, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone was a beginner once and even experienced golfers have tough days on the course. The most important thing is that you made it through your first round and had fun doing it!