Where Can I Practise Golf?
So, you’ve gathered the kit – the clubs, balls, tee and all – you need for a good game of golf. Now, where should you play? While golf for beginners may initially entail playing at home, you won’t exactly be able to get the full experience there.
Of course, all of today’s most successful golfers had to start somewhere. However, your golfing journey could take you to any number of sumptuous golf courses scattered around the UK and overseas. The trick is to know where you should practise.
Home or a Field?
Naturally, you might need to invest in a little extra equipment, like a golf mat to strike balls off and a golf net to strike them into if you want to practise indoors without accidentally smashing a light or window. However, one potential advantage of practising at home is having a mirror in front of you.
This would allow you to study your swing to make sure you’re getting the technique just right. You could even, on occasion, switch on the TV to see golfing pros in action and carefully study their technique.
Alternatively, you could head out to a field. One where the grass isn’t overly short or long could replicate a golf course fairway, while a field with especially short grass might be a great place for you to hone your chipping.
A driving range might well be the place you start your golfing journey outside your home, given that they really are very relaxed and straightforward places to play golf; you just turn up and either use your own clubs or hire or borrow some from the driving range itself.
Driving ranges can also accommodate you as you become more experienced and confident with your golfing. Indeed, they’re ideal places to try out what you’ve learned. They are usually enclosed by netting or some other kind of buffer zone, thereby allowing you to be a little wilder about how you hit the ball. Still, don’t assume that just because you can, you actually should...
If you genuinely want to refine your playing style, you would be better off treating the range like a more ‘exclusive’ golf course. You can just take comfort that, if something goes wrong, there’s still a safety net – perhaps even literally.
Par-3 and Pitch and Putt Courses
Traditionally, a golf course has 18 holes, but getting through all of those can feel daunting for the inexperienced golfer. For this reason, you might end up mulling a switch to a shorter, nine-hole course – although many courses like this have been turned into full-flavour 18-hole courses over the years.
Fortunately, golfers at the beginner and intermediate levels haven't been entirely left behind, as they can still make use of par-3 courses. These short courses require players to take three shots for each hole. Shorter still are pitch and putt courses, built for a scaled-down version of golf for beginners.
Bear in mind, however, that if you are a genuine novice, even a pitch and putt course is likely to be challenging. So, you might want to try the more relaxing environment of home golfing or a local driving range before investigating the pitch and putt or par-3 courses near you.
Just like Ronseal, a pay-as-you-play golf course does what it says on the tin. As you arrive at the course, you just pay a charge to play there. These courses typically don’t impose any membership or joining fees, and are often limited to nine holes – sometimes short ones at that.
No, not the type of golf clubs you actually swing on the course. Neither is this a reference to chocolate biscuits. Once you’re regularly golfing, you might want to join a sports organisation known as a golf club, which actually used to be the traditional way of taking up the sport.
Reflecting how long they’ve been around, golf clubs now come in various forms. Some are run by a proprietor or company, and others by local authorities. Private members’ clubs, meanwhile, are owned by their own members.
However, most clubs across the spectrum will let you either become a new member or simply pay a fee for each game you play. Not all clubs are entirely beginner-friendly, but many of them that aren’t are probably too exclusive to permit entry to novices anyway.
Whether you are looking for something high-end or a course better-suited to golf for beginners, your search doesn’t have to take too long. Overall, there are more than 2,500 golf courses around the UK, so the course you need might be just a few miles away.