My Dad Taught Me How to Play Golf

Golf is a sport that is very difficult on beginners, as when you first start playing you usually find all the trouble.  At first you will probably miss the ball when you are swinging at it and you are not allowed to count that as a practice stroke.  When you are able to make contact with the ball, you probably won’t hit it very far or straight.  Golf relies on the integrity of individuals to show courtesy and consideration for other players and you should abide by all the rules.  There are a lot of rules to learn and my dad made sure to teach me golf etiquette, like not throwing my clubs after hitting a bad shot, always emphasizing good sportsmanship, which is one of the two cardinal rules for being on the golf course, as nobody wants to play with an obnoxious person.  The other big rule is being quiet while another player is taking their shot, so that you don’t distract them.  Golf is a game that is made for talking, but you shouldn’t be distracting others when they are trying to concentrate.

Every golfer should always know which brand (Titleist, MaxFLI, Top Flight, Callaway, Nike, etc.) and the number of ball that they are using to avoid confusion, so that they never hit another person’s ball.   You can’t just hit your ball and expect others to find it for you, so you must try to follow it while it is in the air and pick out some type of landmark, like a tree or something, so you will be able to find it.  You should always be ready when it is your turn to hit the ball, otherwise you will be holding up everyone else.  The person that is furthest away from the hole is said to have the honor of going next.  It takes a long time to play a round of golf, so the group that you are in needs to keep up with the golfers ahead of you, or else the group behind you will get annoyed.  If you hit your ball in the bunker or sand trap, you should rake it for the next players, so it is smooth for them.  If you take a divot out of the turf, you should always try to replace it.  When you get on the putting green, watch where you step, as you don’t want to be trampling over somebody else’s line.  If you get to the flagstick first, the polite thing is to ask the other players if they would like you to take it out, or would they rather have you tend it for them.  Never lay your golf bag on the green and always try to keep motorized or pull-carts away from the greens and off the teeing ground.

There are so many things to learn in golf that it can be overwhelming, you need to know what club to use for certain shots and there is also a lot of terminology that you should try to pick up.  There is a front nine and a back nine and you also need to know what a birdie, par and bogey are.  You should know what a slice and a hook are, which is when your shot that curves strongly to the left or to the right, and some people may call this a banana.  The putting green is not perfectly level, so your ball is going to curve due to slope and/or the grain (way the grass is cut) on the green and you will need to learn how it is going to break after you putt it.

Some terms that the beginner golfer probably won’t need to learn are what an Eagle is, as this is one stroke less than a birdie and then there is the Albatross which is said to be a very rare bird being 3 under par, and finally the Condor, which is a hole in one on a par 5 hole.  When you first learn how to play golf you will be more familiar with the double bogey, the triple bogey and the quadruple bogey and when it is time to pick up your ball and move on to the next hole.  Most golfers start off as duffers, having minimal skills and not being able to hit many good shots.  There is a legend about Sam Snead and Ted Williams arguing over which sport was harder to play golf or baseball.  Ted said it was baseball because you have to hit a moving target, but Sam remarked that in baseball when you hit a foul ball, you get a new pitch, but in golf, you have to play your foul balls.

I don’t know how my father had the patients to bring me out on the golf course with him when I was a kid and I always think that he must have been some kind of a saint for doing that.  I was a horrible golfer at the age of seven, but over time I picked things up and I improved.  I truly appreciate being able to play golf and I owe all the fun that I got out of this sport to my dad.  He taught me how to grip the club and that I should always keep my head down, as if I looked up while I was swinging the club, the only thing I would see is a bad shot.  My dad was a great father and I have so many memories of going out to the driving range with him to whack balls around, which was a lot of fun.

Written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser #85, where she asks us, “What is the most precious memory of your dad?”

12 thoughts on “My Dad Taught Me How to Play Golf

  1. What a lovely tribute to your dad Jim. I didn’t know much about golf except random terms but after reading your post I have realized how technical this game is. Thanks for sharing your lovely memories of your dad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nice post, loved reading this. must have been hard to keep track of all the things in your early days. here golf is believed to be an expensive sport, and isn’t popular. last year one of our women golfers named Aditi Ashok did wonders at the Olympics, and almost won a medal, securing the 4th spot in the end. she definitely helped popularize the sport here.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.