06 June 2007

Beginner Golf

Was in the SPUG forum where there was a thread on golf. I offered some tips for beginners and I thought it would be useful for readers here who are beginners.

Anyway, the post was written off the cuff and as such may have some inaccuracies. Nevertheless, I still think it is fairly accurate and as best as I know.


If you want to get up to speed in the fastest possible time, you need to hit the green fast. However, in order to do that, you need to get at least a Proficiency Certificate (PC) or a handicap of 24 or lower.

I think 10 lessons is a good number. However, if you wanna get the most out of it, here's where I recommend:

1) Stretch out your lessons. Get in 2 driving range sessions of your own in between each lesson. e.g. Mon and Wed and if your lesson is every Friday. If, like many for work reasons, you are not able to commit to such a hectic schedule or if you are not in a hurry to get up to speed, book your lessons further apart. It is a real waste of money if you have to use your lesson time to do your own range practice.

Another thing you can do is arrive 1 hour earlier than your scheduled lesson. Drive a bucket of balls or two. That would get you suitably warmed up before your lesson as well. After your lesson, drive another bucket to go through what you have learned.

2) Next, is to get your PC which is relatively easy. You should be familiar with etiquette by now. Dress appropriately for the test and that include golf shoes. Give a good impression and all the more easier to pass.

3) First time on the green is like a virgin. It is going to get messy. You will realised that the fairways is nothing like the range. The ball doesn't sit nicely on top of the grass and more often than not, neither are you standing on perfectly level ground. Also, unlike range where you have 100 balls to get that one stroke right, you get only that one chance to get the ball out.

Don't worry if your score end up a big number, you lost count. We all did.

4) Stupid things are bound to happen. Air balls. Clubs fly further than the ball. Clubs fly into water. Balls end up behind you instead of ahead, etc. Don't worry about it. We have all done it. Sure your friends will be laughing at you. That's only because they are forwarding the favour. Next time, you will have your own newbies to laugh at. Fret not.

5) Submit your score cards whenever you play. Don't worry if you lost count. Do your best. Otherwise, just put down the hole as a 10*.

* By right, you are not supposed to do that as you have a duty to report an accurate score. But what you going to do if you really lost count? Anyway, if you can play a hole of more than 10, your total score would probably be screwed and invalid for handicap calculation anyway. See point 6.

6) Score card will only be valid for handicap calculation if it is under 35 handicap i.e 107. Submit 10 (18 holes or 20 9-holes game) of the sub-107 score and you should be eligible for your handicap test.

7) Don't be nervous during the test. You don't have to play exceptionally well to pass. Club captains or management committee members or club pros will play a courtesy round with you and will be observing your etiquette, your knowledge of the rules as well as your knowledge of scoring. Where to apply what penalty etc. As long as you don't play a super disastrous round that would remind them of Mr Bean. You should be ok.

8) There are only 2 outcomes to the test. Either you fail or you pass. If you pass, they will normally start you off with a handicap of 24. Some people are known to start off lower but those are usually refresher candidates i.e. they haven't been playing for a while and their handicap lapsed.

For some clubs like Warren Golf & Country Club, they have a in-between status. It is for those who didn't play too badly but not good enough to get a 24 handicap. These folks will get a handicap of 25. The significance of the 25 handicapper is that they are not allowed to play during prime time i.e. weekends (like a PC holder) but they no longer need to take another handicap test. All they need to do is to start submitting cards for the games that they play and as they improve, their handicap will be adjusted to 24 and below subsequently.

9) You need to actively submit your cards in order to maintain your handicap. Otherwise, usually after 1 year of inactivity, your handicap will lapse and you may have to retake the handicap test. See point 8 with respect to refresher candidates.

10) In most cases in Singapore, White tees are for men with handicaps more than 18. Blue tees are for men of handicap 18 and under. In Ch1na. Blue tees are for men 65 years old and below. White tees are for the older folks and women who beat you in arm wrestling.

Image Credit:

- Voxeros

1. nadnut left...
Wednesday, 6 June 2007 10:21 pm ::
i played minigolf once and got thrashed like mad. sad sia.

2. hitomi left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 10:39 am
I gotta find time for golf lessons. din manage to go for PC test that time. :-(

3. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 1:08 pm :: 
nadnut: Nairmind. Come back I give you tuition on putting.

hitomi: If you can find a kaki, then easier to find time.

4. nadnut left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 1:12 pm ::
im beyond hope.

5. ihawk98 left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 3:22 pm
No need PC or handicap 24 to play in some countries leh.

6. hitomi left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 5:23 pm
kelawar says he interested but i think he needs to find his clubs first. i need to custom make a putter. my set too short. any recommendations?

7. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 6:16 pm :: 
nadnut: I doubt it. My methods of teaching putting has been proven. A lot of my friends can vouch for it. Don't give up hope yet.

ihawk98: Well, since most readers are in Singapore. I speak from a Singaporean context. Even places in Malaysia and our neighbouring Indon islands need a valid handicap but it is more of a "by right vs by left" situation.

hitomi: Don't waste your money on custom made clubs. Your level is not high enough to reap the benefits that custom made clubs have to offer. Save your money. I would recommend Odyssey mallets for you. Rossie II has always been a favourite of mine. I still using it today. Serving me faithfully since 1996. You should however, keep a lookout for a longer shaft like 36" or 37". Most are 34" to 35". I can keep a lookout for you when I go US in July. Interested?

8. hitomi left...
Thursday, 7 June 2007 11:08 pm
My Mizuno clubs came in a set mah.. will it be too much of a trouble for u? s'pore cannot get a suitable one? i scared u bring all the way back the length not right again... the one i have gave me backaches cos i had to bend down so much. my instructor said it's the wrong length.

9. JayWalk left...
Friday, 8 June 2007 9:19 am :: 
hitomi: Tell you what. Why do you go back and check your putter. Measure from heel to end of the handle, then tell me how long is it. What putter you using by the way. Assuming you bought the complete set, Mizuno what model?

If have time when I come back next, I organise a driving range outing for us. Free tuition! :)

10. hitomi left...
Friday, 8 June 2007 2:55 pm
ok, will go back and check. thanks in advance! warning: i beri chialak one hor, long time since i last touched my clubs. :-P

11. JayWalk left...
Friday, 8 June 2007 4:14 pm :: 
hitomi: Don't worry about being jialat. I have seen them all and I was one myself too. I am teaching 4 people right now even as we speak.

12. hitomi left...
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 9:41 am
i mms u pic of my putter - did u receive? it's mizuno opti. forgot to measure length tho'. :-P

13. JayWalk left...
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 4:57 pm :: 
hitomi: No. I switched off MMS feature since I hardly use it and I get more spam than actual MMS messages from friends.

Email me instead, please.

14. hitomi left...
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 5:54 pm
ok lor...

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