How not to completely embarrass myself – golf edition
May 5, 2014 9:24 AM   Subscribe

I need to start participating in 2 annual golf events at work (believe these are best ball style). Save mini-putt, I have no golf experience. I need advice on a) equipment and b) developing enough skill to not totally embarrass myself. I have 2-3 months to prepare for the first event. Location: Toronto.

Equipment – I am leaning heavily towards buying a used set of clubs off of Craigslist / Kijiji. At a minimum what clubs should this set include? What would be overkill? Are there brands to avoid, or a minimum I should expect to spend? I’m hoping to stay under $200 for clubs and bag. I don’t own any clothes that I think would be appropriate to golf in, so I was contemplating spending maybe $200 for shoes and an outfit . Do I need a ‘golf’ shirt and pants with fancy performance features? Or would it make sense to get a golf style shirt from Gap or similar, and just get the pants? Do you know of reasonable priced online golf clothing retailers?

Lessons – I live close to a city course (which I believe offers lessons, but I haven’t yet been able to talk to someone there), and within easy driving distance of a big box golf store which offers lessons taught by Pros at approx. $30 / half hour lesson. My plan at this point is to invest in 3-5 lessons at the store and maybe one or two at the course.

How does this sound?
posted by walkinginsunshine to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you're playing best ball, just get a putter. Let the others in your foursome drive, and then you just go ahead and putt. You can call the club and ask if they have loaners (talk to someone in the pro-shop)

You can get by with a polo and nice shorts. Golf clothes look stupid anyway. You may want a hat or visor.

Best ball is just for fun, and no one will fault you for not being a golfer. This will let you participate without having to invest in a shit-ton of expensive equipment. You'll need spikes (shoes). Do you have a friend who golfs that you could borrow the shoes from? I found a pair of really nice shoes at Marshalls, but the big box stores may have some on clearance.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:37 AM on May 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sporting Life has some shoes for $49.99.

That's pretty good.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:57 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just started golf. Clothes marketed as "golf clothes" are expensive compared to department-store brand shorts/khakis and polo shirts.

I bought a "started club" set from a big box store for about $150. It included clubs and bag - not high-end stuff but sufficient for a starting player.

As for lessons - does Canada have an adult/continuing education system like in the United States? I took 4 golf lessons over 4 weeks through our local community college and it was a cheap and helpful group environment.

Another idea is to arrange group lessons for a group of your coworkers - you can often get a good discount per person and IMO a group environment is good for beginners.
posted by muddgirl at 10:00 AM on May 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I golf very occasionally. Couple times a year. I own no golf specific gear except for a glove. You can golf in any nice pair of shorts and shirt that gives you some freedom of movement. Shoes with grip will be useful, but I've broken 100 and never worn 'golf shoes'. Every golf course will rent you clubs, but you may want to book them ahead of time, as there will probably be other people like you at this tournament.

Absolutely take a couple lessons. I don't think where reeaaaalllly matters, but a few lessons is going to remove frustration and hopefully prevent bad habits.

If you're playing best-ball, then total hooray-town. There should be almost no pressure in this scenario to do anything other than have a great time. Also should afford you the opportunity to really crank some drives with no consequences.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 10:11 AM on May 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

You don't need fancy clothes. Any comfortable polo shirt and khakis are fine. You might need to wear pants instead of shorts for the work events. Have a hat or visor. I don't think you need golf shoes at this point either. Your money is better spent on more lessons, driving range sessions and balls.

I wouldn't rent clubs unless you are ONLY going to do the two work events. If you are investing in lessons and practice sessions you should have consistent clubs. Maybe rent for the first lesson and ask the pro to give you advice on what to buy.

Best ball is obviously the best scenario for you. But I think it'd be a little weird not to at least try every shot. Don't chicken out of driving. But that doesn't mean you have to drive with a driver. It wouldn't be surprising at all that you get better results with a 9 iron than with your driver.
posted by mullacc at 10:20 AM on May 5, 2014

oh, and I'd recommend one of these super light "sunday bags" instead of anything more substantial/heavy.
posted by mullacc at 10:31 AM on May 5, 2014

[I haven't golfed in a while, but I used to. Love it, but I'm terrible.]

Craigslist / Kijiji is fine for clubs; generally a set includes irons 3-9, pitching wedge, sand wedge, lob wedge, putter, Driver, 3 wood, 5 wood. If it doesn't have a driver, but has an extra wedge, that is probably fine. Make sure all of these are included before getting the clubs, otherwise it's not really a full set. I have a driving iron in my set, which works pretty well because to me swinging the irons is much more natural than the woods. Nothing goes very far, but that's my golf game.

For a couple times a year, good athletic sneakers are probably okay; otherwise, cheap golf shoes will work. You can find them pretty inexpensively, and on the plus side, they'll last forever!!

Have fun!!
posted by China Grover at 11:19 AM on May 5, 2014

As for practicing, maybe it's a west coast thing but I've golfed with friends in everything from comfortable jeans to fairly nice pants and shirts wise from teeshirts to Hawaiian shirts to nice golfing shirts. So don't worry about that for now at least assuming its a city course with no dress code.

Also when you're not great, you really don't need a full set of clubs, people will have different selections but I've gone through courses with nothing but a 3 iron a 7 iron a wedge and a putter. Particularly if you're looking to to deal with woods you can have a fine game with just those.
posted by Carillon at 11:32 AM on May 5, 2014

To follow up on mullacc's point. I've only EVER driven with a nine iron. I have great accuracy, even if I don't get very far.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:53 AM on May 5, 2014

For practice driving go to a driving range. They have clubs so you can see what you are comfortable with before you commit to buying a set. You can hit about five rounds worth of drives, which would normally total about fifteen hours, in about a half hour.
posted by vapidave at 12:42 PM on May 5, 2014

Most of the commenters upthread are focusing on equipment/skills. I'll just mention that there is a lot of etiquette and tradition around golf, and that is probably the most important thing to get right if you want to get along with your golf partners. No one cares if you shank the ball or way over putt - it doesn't affect them. But hitting when there are golfers down range or walking on someones line or talking when they are trying to hit - that will piss them off. Here are a couple of links to get you started:

USGA's Golf Etiquette 101

Arnold Palmer's 10 Rules for Good Golf Etiquette

Some of these are not going to make sense until you've actually played a round of golf. You might consider finishing off your lessons with a "playing lesson" - this is a lesson where you actually play a round, or partial round.

Re: clothes, N'thing the advice about just wearing a generic polo shirt and khakis. Don't wear pants with cuffs (they will end up collecting dirt/grass when you take a full swing).

Re: shoes. The reason people are talking about golf shoes if because they come with spikes to keep your feet from sliding/rotating during the swing. Athletic shoes, mentioned by a couple of people, will work when everything is dry (e.g. dry climate and/or afternoon tee time) or if you just plan to putt.

As everyone else is saying, you will almost certainly be playing best ball or scramble format. The terms are used interchangeably, but are really two different things. For a work outing, where there are a lot of different skill levels, you'll likely be playing four man scramble, which is what I think all of the other commenters mean when they are saying "best ball." This really takes the pressure off of you as a beginner (hence Ruthless_Bunny's comment about "just get a putter").

Good luck and have fun!
posted by kovacs at 7:39 PM on May 5, 2014

The lessons are going to be a far better investment than clubs. CostCo, etc, have good deals on club sets. Used is a great way to go. If you actually want to play you'll want a putter, trouble wedge, pitching wedge, 7-iron, 3 wood and driver at a minimum.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:25 AM on May 6, 2014

« Older Is your child's allowance dependent on chores?   |   Help me figure out how to maximize my iron uptake Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.