Starting Guide


Tips for playing golf for the first time

Sometimes getting started with golf can be overwhelming to the first time golfer and sometimes even more overwhelming to the first time female golfer. The following tips are intended to help you get started playing a sport which you can enjoy for your whole life.


Find a coach

Find a coach you like and understand that not all teachers and students are a good match. Try a lesson with one of our golf professionals and see if you hit it off. Once you do, it’s time to try a group course lesson. Russley offers lots of these options.


Group lesson on the course

Join a beginning group to learn to play on the course after you have taken a couple of regular lessons on the driving range. Also learn the course as you are out on it. Check out the scorecard and compare the numbers and tees on the scorecard to the tee where you are standing. The forward most tee's (usually coloured Red and Yellow) is sometimes known as the “women’s tee” which is incorrect. Junior golfers use those forward tees as well as new golfers and older golfers.


Understand the rules

The game of golf has the same set of official rules regardless of the set of tees that are used. Stand on the tee and ask your coach to explain the tee marker and where you would tee up your ball. Drive to a Par 3 hole which is a shorter hole and then to a Par 5 which is a longer hole. Par means scoring even. The golfer has taken as many strokes as the hole’s Par number. In theory, pars are achieved by two putts, with the remaining shots being used to reach the green. Some holes on the golf course are harder because of hazards like lakes, long grasses, and sand bunkers. So those holes that have hazards are rated as more difficult on the scorecard. Check out a bunker, walk in it and then rake your footprints out. Stop at a green and walk on it and feel the grass. Find a ball mark left by a thoughtless golfer and fix it properly. With your new knowledge watching the golf tournaments on TV will be much more interesting.


Three basic golf swing terms

The best golfers make their swing look effortless. The economy of motion and smooth arc that great golfers put on display are a result of all the training and effort they put into perfecting their swing. However, sometimes even the best golfers have to go back to the drawing board and re-learn those initial golf swing basics all over again. You will be learning three basic golf swing terms… Grip, Stance, and Alignment. You will be hearing these terms often in your lessons. Your coach should help you find your best personal and most effective grip. Next will be your stance (how your body is positioned from the angle of your feet, your hips, and your shoulder, including where your weight is (front foot or back foot or in the middle). Finally, alignment is your shoulder and hips position so you can make a great swing.


Golf clubs

Ask your coach to show you why different clubs have different clubheads and even different shaft lengths. Fitting clubs to your body type is an important first step. Most clubs come with a standard length shaft, but if you are more than 6 feet 6 inches tall or shorter than 5 feet tall, look for clubs with shafts at least an inch longer or shorter than standard. Most standard women’s clubs are about an inch shorter than men’s and are generally lighter in weight. Golfers are allowed to have fourteen clubs in their bag including the putter. Most golfers will not use them all. You can begin playing golf with just a few clubs. But you will always want a putter. Ask your coach to show you their swing using different clubs. It is not likely you will be able to hit as far as your coach, but it is good to know what good swings look like with different clubs.


Resources to improve your golf skills

After you have had a few personal lessons you will be wanting to improve your skills. Watch the teaching videos on the internet. Just put a problem into google, e.g. hitting out of sand bunkers. There will be many lessons and not all the same. Check out websites recommended by your coach. Watch the putting lessons. Every new golfer can be a “star” on the green. The thing is, you can have a lot of fun learning how to get better – no matter how well you play.


Meeting other women golfers

If you do not have your own friends to play golf with there are many places to meet other women golfers. Joining the Russley Golf Club would be a good starting point as we have the highest women's golf membership in Canterbury. Talk to your coach about membership options, and also check out the "She Loves Golf" programme.


Golf lessons

  • Lessons for Beginners are Essential – simply put, golf is not intuitive. Everyone has to learn how to swing a golf club. No one, not even the best pros, has simply picked up a club and known what to do with it.
  • Lessons are the Best Way to Improve Your Game – lessons can help knock the rust off your skills or pinpoint why your game has become worse. They are a direct way to improve your game. Your professional can also advise you about your gear, which could save you money!