This content is designed to prepare you to walk onto any golf course feeling comfortable and confident
Preparing for the Course
Book a tee time: Most courses schedule tee times via phone or online. There are four players per tee time, so if you do not have three others to join the course will often pair you with others to make a full foursome.
Dress appropriately: Almost all golf courses have dress codes requiring a collared shirt tucked into khaki shorts or pants. Driving ranges, top golf, and/or miniature golf do not. Golf shoes are not required but are helpful to give you traction.
Be on time: Plan to arrive at least 20 minutes early to check-in and pay at the pro shop, but leave more time if you would like to warm up - many courses have driving ranges and practice putting greens.
On Course Play
Keep up with pace of play: Always be prepared to play your ball when it is your turn, which is when your ball is furthest from the hole. A foursome is expected to complete 9 holes in two hours, and 18 holes in four hours.
Use gimmes and mulligans wisely: When a ball is within 2-3 ft of the hole and someone is expected to make the shot, this is called a gimme - and the golfer may pick up their ball if they’re playing partners offer a gimme. This helps keep up pace of pay. Mulligans are do-overs and are acceptable if playing partners offer, but can also slow down play when overused. It is common is to allow one mulligan per nine holes.
Try to avoid distracting playing partners: Many golfers are easily distracted so do not stand too close to someone swinging or make noise during their swing. When on the green, avoid walking in others' line (space directly between the ball and the hole) because footprints can impact the roll of the ball.
Par is the number of strokes a very good golfer is expected to take to get their ball in the hole, and almost all courses are made up of a combination of par 3s, 4s, and 5s.
Finishing a hole in one stroke under par (scoring a three on a par four hole) is a birdie and one stroke over par is a bogey. Two under is an eagle and two over is a double bogey. Three under is an albatross and three over is a triple bogey.
Penalty areas (ponds, creeks, brush, etc.) are marked by red stakes or lines, and out of bounds is marked by white stakes. If you hit the ball in these areas and cannot play it, drop another ball near the boundary line and add one stroke to your score. Do the same if you lose a ball - spend no more than 3-5 minutes looking for a ball before dropping one nearest to where you think it was lost.