Golfer’s Survival Guide (For Beginning Golfers)

Ready to start playing? This is the golfer’s survival guide for playing your first round at a golf course! My goal here is to make you feel comfortable and prepared “before” you walk out to the first hole.

I like to think of this page as “table of contents” for what Golfing Tips for Beginners is all about. I have included many links to other articles to help give you as much information as possible!

Below are my tips for everything you need to know about golfing for the first time

Equipment You Need

If you are a first-time golfer or a beginning golfer, you’re going to need some starting golf equipment for the course.

  • Golf Clubs: Complete golf set so you are able to make swings from anywhere on the course
  •  Golfing Accessories: This includes, tees, divot repair tools, towels and other necessary accessories. For specific examples,  I
  • Golf Balls: Obviously, you need golf balls. But did you know that playing with the right golf ball makes a difference in your game?

If you don’t plan on investing in golf equipment, most courses usually have rental sets that you can borrow for your round

Golf Accessories

Golf Rules

Golf can be a complicated game. There are a lot of rules and etiquette that need to be followed when out on the course.

Hitting out of the sand

I have simplified the rules to only the basics so you can understand how to play:

  1. Scoring rules: Every golfer must tally up how many strokes it takes them to go from the tee box to the hole. You are not allowed to have any redos or mulligans (USGA rules).
  2.  Tee Box: You are allowed to tee your golf ball up between the tee markers. Your golf ball cannot go past the markers or behind by more than two club lengths. (This is the only place you are allowed to use a golf tee.)
  3. Golf ball rules: You are not allowed to move or pick up your golf ball if you are not on the putting surface. You must play each shot where it lies.
  4. Playing order: Whoever is furthest away from the hole goes first
  5. Bunker Shots: Bunkers are considered hazards, and you are not allowed to ground your club while addressing the ball. You have to hover the club, in the air, and then swing down at the ball to get it out.
  6. Putting Rules: When on the putting green, you can lay down a ball maker behind your golf ball to pick up your golf ball to clean or re-position. Next, after everyone in the group is on the putting surface, make sure that the flagstick is pulled out of the hole. You are not allowed to step in your playing partner’s putting line so make sure to walk around their lines.
  7. Tee Box Order: Whoever had the lowest score on the previous hole has “honors” and will be the first to tee off.
  8. Lost Ball: If you lose your golf ball or hit into some water, you are allowed to drop a new ball.  Drop the ball two club lengths from the point where the ball crossed the hazard, no closer to the hole, and take a stroke penalty. (Usually marked with yellow or red lines)

How Long does a Round Take

An average round of golf for a foursome takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes for 9 holes and 4 hours and 30 minutes for 18 holes. Most courses use these times as a guideline to track your pace of play. If you are taking too long and are not catching up with the group in front of you, a ranger may tell you that you need to speed up your play.

How Much Does a Round of Golf Cost

The average cost of a round of golf costs $35 for 18 holes and a cart. This price does fluctuate either up and down based on the quality of the course.

What to do When you Show Up

When you show up to the course, make sure that you arrive 15-20 minutes early.

This gives you enough time to:

  • Check-in
  • Buy some food or drinks
  • Practice on the putting green
  • Hit balls at the driving range

This helps the course stay on schedule and enables you to get off at your tee time

Tee Off with Confidence

Now that you are on the first tee, there’s no need to be nervous I’d recommend checking out my 3 articles below to help feel more confident and ready to play!

Win your Long Drive

  1. 13 ways to hit more fairways off the tee
  2. Cure your slice forever
  3. Add power to your drives

Understanding the Scorecard

Understanding a golf scorecard is important. Scorecards are used to:

  • Play and compete in tournaments
  • Play in outings to win prizes
  • Compare scores with friends
  • Keep score on your progress

To learn how to take advantage of all the information on the scorecard, check out my article on understanding the scorecard

How to Use your Golf Clubs

Each one of your golf clubs has a specific loft that helps the golf ball get into the air. A lower degree loft is going to keep the golf ball lower while a higher degree is going to make it go higher.

Here are the standard degrees of each club in your bag:

Average Club Lofts in a Golf Set

Driver: 8-13 degrees
3 Wood: 14- 17 degrees
5 Wood:19-24 degrees
3 Iron: 19-24 degrees
4 Iron: 22-26 degrees
5 Iron: 27-30 degrees
6 Iron: 31- 36 degrees
7 Iron: 37-40 degrees
8 Iron: 40- 43 degrees
9 Iron: 43-47 degrees
Pitching Wedge: 47-52 degrees
Sand Wedge: 53- 58 degrees

Using this information, you can best select which club you should use based on your distance to the hole.

Hole Distance Markers

Most golf courses use a color-coordinated system to show you how far away you are from the green. They are located either on the cart paths (circles) or out in the fairway (stakes). Some golf courses post distances on sprinkler heads out in the fairway which can make things easier

  • Blue Marker– Means you are 200 yards away from the green
  • White Marker- Means you are 150 yards away from the green
  • Red Marker– Means you are 100 yards away from the green

Using this information, you can walk off how far away you are from one of these markers to get an approximated distance to the green. (One step is equal to 1 yard)

Best Rangefinders

How Far does Each Club Go

I have made a very rough outline of how far most adult beginners hit each club that you can use as a reference when trying to find your club distances (all in yards)

Average Club Distances for both Men and Women

Driver: Men 180-200 yardsWomen150 -175yards
3 Wood: Men 170-190 yardsWomen135-160 yards
5 Wood: Men 160-180 yardsWomen125-140  yards
3 Iron: Men 150-170 yardsWomen120-140 yards
4 Iron: Men 140-165 yardsWomen110-135 yards
5 Iron: Men135-155 yardsWomen100-120 yards
6 Iron: Men 130-150 yardsWomen90-110 yards
7 Iron: Men 125-145 yardsWomen80-95 yards
8 Iron: Men 115-130 yardsWomen75-85 yards
9 Iron: Men 100-125 yardsWomen55-75 yards
Pitching Wedge: Men 50-100 yardsWomen45-65 yards
Sand Wedge: Men 45-80 yardsWomen35-55 yards

Again, these above examples are mere assumptions based on what I have seen from many of my students. You can also alter and modify your golf set by adding additional sand wedges and hybrids to close out any distance gaps between your clubs. (You’re allowed to have 14 clubs in your bag, including a putter)

Full Swing

inside swing

  • To learn the fundamentals of the swing and how to achieve consistent contact, read my in-depth article here on the full golf swing!

Short Game Tips to Avoid Looking Dumb

My goal is to make you feel more comfortable and confident “before” going out on the course. Since most of your golf round is going to be spent on the green, it’s critical to learn the fundamentals of the short game. I have some great articles that you should read on how to dial in your short game:

Take the club back halfway

  1.  Chipping Secrets (No more chunked or thin shots) 
  2. Golf shots that you need to learn how to hit

Remember, our primary goal is to hit the golf ball using high percentage shots, to as close to the hole as possible.

Putting Secrets

Drive for show, putt for dough Putting makes or breaks a good round from a bad round. To become a good putter, you need to learn the necessary fundamentals of the putting stroke.

Marking Your Golf Ball

Signing Up for Leagues or Outings

Once you start practicing and developing, I guarantee that you are going to start becoming obsessed with golf

Some of the best ways to keep fine-tuning your skills are to sign up for golf leagues and outings. Golf leagues allow you to play once a week either competitively or if you’re just looking for fun. Golf outings let you play with others in fun, scoring formats where you have the possibility of winning prizes. Whether you are just starting out or you have been playing for years, joining golf leagues or outings will help keep your interest in the game. If either of these options interest you, you can check out my information in my articles below:

What to Expect Joining a Golf League

Taking Golf Lessons

Alright, so if you are still struggling out on the course or you are nervous before your first round, and this website hasn’t helped, It’s time to try taking some golf lessons. You can choose to take golf lessons individually or in a group setting. Instructors focus in on the areas of your game that you want to improve and give you drills and techniques to feel more comfortable in your game.

101 More Tips to Get Better

My last advice for newbies is to take a look at my article called 101 tips to lower your score.

I spent a few days compiling everything that came to my mind on simple tips that you can use to lower your score. I guarantee that you can find something in that article that you can take to the course that will help your game!


I know this is a lot of information thrown at you, especially if you have never golfed before. My goal for this article is to give you as much information as possible so that you can take some of my advice, out on the course. As you probably noticed, I do have a lot of links listed above to other articles that I have written. I highly recommend that you check some of them out so you can become more knowledgeable and well-rounded for when you start playing.

Thanks for reading and I know that after reading this article, you are now prepared for your first round of Golf!

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