THE FIRST TEE
Where it all begins!
Whether you’re just with your buddies, or in front of a packed clubhouse all watching you tee off as they enjoy their lunch – every golfer has first tee nerves. Remember a couple of big deep breaths and look around at the beautiful surroundings, certainly beats being in the office or mowing the lawns! Hopefully your first shot of the day sails down the middle…
Apart from trying to hit one long and straight there are a couple of things to remember:
- Mark your ball so that you can identify it –best to do this with a vivid with a black dot or your initials
- Check that you have no more than 14 clubs in your bag
- If golfers seem obsessive about where people are standing, it's because they don't want anyone to get hurt. A good rule of thumb is to stand to the side and slightly behind the ball several yards away.
- If all golfers hit at the same time, it would be mass confusion, so knowing when to go is important. Traditionally, the person who had the best score on the previous hole has "the honour" and tees off first. From there, the general rule is the person furthest from the hole hits next. And remember to stay quiet when someone’s playing.
- The club will be delighted you’re here, but less so if you maim or injure someone, so learn to yell "Fore!" if you need to. Chances are you'll need to say this quite often when starting out. Shouting "Fore!" is merely a way of saying, "Watch out!" and it is used when golfers hit shots astray that might possibly come close to another person on the golf course.
- Have multiple balls ready. You will probably lose a few balls in your first round. The Rules of Golf allow 5 minutes to search for your ball, but unless you are waiting for the group in front of you, don’t take this long. Take a look in the general area of where your ball went. If you don’t see it within 30 seconds, take a one stroke penalty and drop another ball where you thought it landed and keep on going.
- Golfers are understanding of first time golfers and will help you along, you can help too by not holding them up too long as you learn. One way to maintain a decent pace is to limit yourself to a certain number of strokes per hole. It’s ok to pick your ball up, most people do this when they are at a triple bogey, that’s 3 over par