Once you’ve put in your time at the range and practiced your short game, it won’t be long until your first golf outing!
Though participating in a golf tournament may sound intimidating – especially for new female golfers, as “golf club” can sometimes feel like it’s synonymous with “boy’s club” – it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few simple tips to help you prepare.
Know What You’re Getting Yourself IntoOne way to help ensure that your first golf outing goes smoothly is to study up on the competition format in advance. You’ll feel much more confident if you know what to expect. Though there are plenty of different types of golf tournaments – from Bingo Bango Bongo to Lone Ranger, and everything in between – you’re most likely to encounter Best Ball and Scramble competitions when you’re starting out.
In Best Ball tournaments, each team member plays the hole, but only the lowest score on the team counts. Variations on Best Ball include high-low, where the lowest and highest scores on the hole are added together, and low-low, where the two lowest scores on the team are combined to create the team’s score for each hole.
In Scramble tournaments, each team member takes a tee shot. After that, the team chooses the best lie, and they all hit their next shot from within a club’s length of that spot. They continue this process until a player makes it in the hole. That player’s score becomes the team’s score for the hole. Sometimes, tournaments will adopt a modified Scramble format where teams are required to play from each team member’s tee shot at least twice.
Dress the PartBe sure to check the weather in advance of the event. Bring sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen if it’s going to be a clear day. Similarly, be prepared for inclement weather with an umbrella or a jacket. Feeling comfortable can improve your game.
Though most driving ranges and even municipal courses don’t enforce a dress code, you should opt for more traditional golf attire during your first outing. Go with a collared shirt or dress, or a turtleneck if it’s chilly. If you haven’t purchased a pair of golf shoes yet, don’t worry. As long as you’re not playing at a very strict course, sneakers should be fine.
Also, make sure to put a few bucks in your pocket before you head to the course. Though food and drinks might be included with your registration fee, you’ll likely encounter a few situations where it’s appropriate to tip.
Being prepared and looking the part will help boost your confidence, and it will show your team members that you’re there to play, even if you’re not the most experienced golfer.
Be Up Front About Your Skill LevelSpeaking of which, you should be candid with your teammates about your skill level. Of course, it’s possible that you’ll encounter someone who’s frustrated by your lack of experience, but don’t forget that they were a beginner once too. For the most part, your fellow golfers will respect your honesty. Being upfront about your skills will also allow them to set realistic expectations for the round.
If you’re up for it, you can tell your teammates that you’re open to advice. Chances are, they’ll be happy to give you some pointers during the round. Keep in mind that you don’t have to take advice from more experienced golfers, especially if you didn’t ask for it. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for some space if they’re bothering you.
Keep Up with the PaceWhen it comes to playing your first outing, pace may be one of the things you’re most worried about. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to play quickly, it’ll only mess with your game. At the same time, however, do your best to keep up with your group.
If your ball gets lost, spend fewer than five minutes looking for it. And, don’t be afraid to pick up your ball if you’re struggling on a hole. Just make it clear to your teammates that you’ve chosen to call it early. They’ll appreciate that you’re trying to stick to the pace.
At most tournaments, the tee you use is determined by your handicap. Don’t feel bad even if you’re the only member of your team using the forward tee, everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone is at a different place in their golf game.
It doesn't matter if it is your first golf outing or your hundredth if you keep up with pace of play nobody will mind how experienced you are on the golf course!
Be CourteousJust like if you’re playing a regular round of golf, it’s important to display common golf course courtesy. These behaviors may already be second nature for you.
Your teammates know that hooks happen, but if it looks like your ball may be heading toward another hole, be sure to yell “Fore!” Always fix your divots, repair your ball marks and rake the traps. These gestures will go a long way to endear you to other golfers.
Have FunWhile all the aforementioned tips are important, this one is key. The whole point of joining a golf outing is to have fun. Most golfers would prefer to round out their foursome with a positive player who has a good sense of humor and mediocre golf skills than a talented golfer with a bad attitude.
If you have fun, you’re also more likely to get back out there. The more outings you play, the more you’ll improve!