Golf: Skills, Rules & Strategies

Instructor: Sarah Bryant

Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an active Registered Nurse license. She teaches in hospitals, clinics and the classroom.

Golf is played for sport and for leisure and is a game for all ages. This lesson will break down skill sets, progression of those skills, techniques, conditioning programs, rules involved, safety concerns, strategies used and equipment needed.

Golf Breakdown

Golfing is an activity one can play for pleasure or for sport. Let's start out with the basic breakdown of the rules and equipment needed for this activity. You begin by teeing off to get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. You have the option of match play or stroke play. Match play is when each hole is a separate contest, and stroke play is where the winner has the lowest total score. You can only carry 14 clubs, and when at a hole, the player whose ball is furthest from the hole goes first. You must play your ball as it lies, meaning you can remove artificial objects out of the way, and you can move loose items including leaves and debris, except in a hazard area.

Next, for the equipment, the types of clubs used in golf are as follows: woods, irons, hybrids, wedges, and putters.

  • Woods: Used to send the golf ball the furthest.
  • Irons: Used when the ball is within 200 yards of the green.
  • Hybrids: More forgiving than iron or wood and used to combine both of their features.
  • Wedges: Used to send a ball up into the air, soaring onto the putting area.
  • Putters: Used when you need to roll your ball around the green and into the hole.

Some necessary equipment for golfers

Other equipment

  • Golf balls
  • Tees
  • Golf bag
  • Score card
  • Spiked Shoes
  • Gloves

Necessary Skills

The skills incorporated with golfing are complex and thought-provoking. This is a game that not only uses the physical skills of a practitioner, but it's a huge mental game as well. The skills involved for golfing range from grip, stance, and swing, to strategies.

  • Grip: Interlocking, hammer, overlapping
  • Stance: Your posture in golfing
  • Swing: Drive shot, iron shot, pitch shot, chip shot, putt
  • Strategies: Tee box, short game/chipping

Grip is where it begins with the skills needed for golf; the correct grip is what allows someone to develop a solid swing. The grip will translate into feeling consistency and fluidity within the swing to follow.

Stance is next, and it's what will turn that swing into playing a slight slice or slight hook. A slice refers to curving the ball in the direction of the player's dominant hand; a hook refers to curving the ball in the direction opposite the player's dominant hand. To incorporate a good stance, start with feet shoulder-width apart, a slight bend in the knees, hips raised and your left shoulder angled above the right. Swing will follow after you have the grip and stance down pat.

Grip, stance and swing

There are a lot of different swings, so let's begin with the drive shot. It allows the ball to be put onto the fairway and lead up to the green, which sets up your entire game. The iron shot is next, and it allows you to approach the green from all over the golf course. Moving forward, the pitch shot is where a partial shot is used to get the ball to the green. This is used for the situations when the iron shot is too forceful or you're too close to effectively use that option. If your approach shot does not land on the green, you will use a wedge to chip the ball onto the green. This is known to be a difficult swing because it takes a lot of judgment to read sloping and determine the speed needed. Last is the putt, where you take the ball from the green into the hole. If you're an expert putter, you have the advantage of significantly lowering your score by using fewer strokes to get your ball in the hole. There is a need for controlled movements to master this area of the game. Let's head into the strategies of the game.

Golf Strategies

The first strategy is the tee box, where you will decide where to hit the ball off of the tee. To have a good set-up for the game, you'll want to have a slight slice or hook to use the fairway appropriately. You will also need to consider the force of the wind and the location of the hole, and how the layout appears to get to the green or hole. If the wind is strong from one direction, you'll want the tee on the opposite side to use the wind to help you.

The next strategy is called the short game. Short game consists mostly of chipping and putting. You will learn this strategy from experience and getting your own feel for the game.

Safety, Etiquette & Conditioning

  • Quiet
  • Space: Give the shooter 10 feet of space
  • Respect
  • Be Alert
  • Stretch
  • Pacing: Maintain a pace throughout the game
  • Shadows: Be sure your shadow isn't hindering another player's move
  • Fore: This is said when a ball is headed toward someone/a group

Be safe and look for carts and golfers
golf safety

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