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How to Get into Golf

Learning to Play

Sometimes getting started can be the hardest part about learning anything new.  Before you book your first lesson it is a good idea to establish the following so that you can choose the right environment and the most appropriate venue in which to learn:

  • Do you want to play golf for social or business reasons, perhaps both?
  • Are you looking for basic instruction or would you rather go straight onto the course with your friends and work the rest out later?
  • Do you want to learn as part of a group of beginners and meet new people?
  • Do you want to get good fast?

Getting lessons from your local PGA professional can often be a great way to learn the basics. The more lessons you get and the more time you put into your practice can often have an impact on how quickly you develop as a player.

Learning in groups is a great way to meet other people who may be starting off like you, over 50% of Golf Clubs across Ireland run targeted recruitment and retention initiatives to encourage people of all ages to the game.  Programmes currently running can be found on the link below: To find a list of PGA professionals in your area click here

Get into Golf Clubs April


We have consulted with hundreds of people prior about their perceptions of the game prior to attending a taster session.   The majority had strong perceptions not only on what golf was like as a sport but also what the golf environment was like.  These things included:

  • “It is really boring”
  • “It requires a lot of time”
  • “It is way too difficult”
  • “It is for the elite, we wouldn’t be welcomed”
  • “There are so many rules”
  • “It is so expensive”

The Get into Golf initiative helps to showcase that these perceptions differ from reality in the majority of Golf Clubs. This is done in the following way:

For people with time constraints, the programme suggests:

  • Regular times– by having lessons and activities the same time and day each week meant participants could make it part of their weekly routine
  • Set playing times – playing for a period of time e.g 1.5 hours rather than setting out the number of holes to be played e.g playing 9 holes which for some beginners could take several hours
  • Playing shorter courses – allowing participants to play from 100m, 150m, start of the fairway or tee boxes depending on their ability meant they could get around the course a lot quicker and felt like they were achieving something
  • Playing 9 hole competitions  – for those who were ready to move on to competition and handicap but didn’t have time to play 18 holes

To showcase that Golf isn’t for the elite the programme recommends:

  • Taster Sessions – offering people in wider community a chance to attend a FREE taster session that delivers engaging and fun activities so that they can try golf out without having to commit to anything.
  • Giving general information – by outlining start and finish times, where to meet, what clothing to wear and equipment required on the posters it helped to tackle the anxieties of the “unknown”
  • Setting up Group sessions – the entire programme is about learning through a group environment that is safe and fun
  • Buddy system – introducing club members as buddies and having social activities in the Clubhouse means there are plenty of opportunities for participants to integrate with members and into the Club.  These buddies also help you to learn golf phrases, the basic rules and how to enjoy all the benefits of golf.


The cost of the eight week programme ranges from £/€40 – €80 depending on the part of the country you are in.  This is a great cost effective way to try out the sport and gives participants the opportunity to move into an introductory membership if they want to progress further.

All Golf Clubs running a CGI Get into Golf programme will have:

  • Introductory membership– Typically, depending on what part of the country you are doing the programme, introductory membership will range from £/€150-300.  It most clubs this membership will have certain restrictions, however it will most certainly meet the majority of your needs and allow you to get a taste for what Golf Club membership is like.
  • Club lending scheme – Most Golf Clubs have a lending scheme, which can be used by participants through the duration of the programme.

Who do I speak to in the Club?

As a new golfer, making the transition from the driving range to the golf course can be difficult but generally clubs offer support by providing mentors or ‘buddies’ to help you get settled.

A player’s initial experiences on the golf course can be daunting but with support and guidance from a current member you can enjoy the challenge, practice your new skills and learn about the course.

Joining a golf club can  be unnerving, especially if you have no prior links with the facility. Go along to sessions that the club has arranged for ‘new members’, these are usually fun, social occasions to make new members feel at ease and can link you with a ‘point of contact’ in the club. This person can help you with any queries/issues relating to the fundamentals of golf club membership, such as club rules, etiquette, competition formats and general procedures, and can be a great resource during your first year of membership

Personnel within a Golf Club

There are a lot of different phrases and terms used in golf, below is a simple guide to explain who is who around the club and what their roles cover. Responsibilities of certain roles may differ from club to club.

People you will see around the club

  • Secretary/Manager– Normally a paid member of staff who is responsible for the day to day running of the golf club. If you have any general queries, then this person is always a good starting point.
  • Captain- is the lead officer of the club for one year. He/she has a key role in building and maintaining relationships with all club members and ensuring golf is vibrant within the club. He/she ensures all members are treated fairly and equally and is key to creating a friendly, relaxed and enjoyable culture within the club. He/she is the Chairman of the Committee and the AGM and at all times he/she acts in the best interest of the club and its members.
  • The President/Lady President in all clubs is an honorary position who offers support to the Management Council and Committees. The President is usually a long-standing member of the Club who has served as Captain/Lady Captain and who has sat on many sub committees within the club structure.
  • PGA professional/s – Usually runs the golf shop and delivers coaching. They may also represent the club in competitions and offer golfing advice to members on rules and competitions etc.
  • Committee/Management board– Dependent upon club structure, there may be a committee or board, with sub committees to look after different areas of club life, such as membership, competitions and forward planning.
  • Greens staff- Responsible for the upkeep of the course, they normally work during the early part of the day to avoid the busy playing times.
  • Ranger/Marshall- Some clubs have a ranger to go out on the course and help golfers if they have any questions or need assistance. They also monitor the speed of play and conduct.
  • Junior Organiser/s- Coordinator for the junior section who arranges coaching and competitive activities for juniors (member and non-members).

Golf Terms

There are a lot of different phrases and terms used in golf.  Below is a simple guide to phrases/terms you may hear on the Golf Course.

  • The Tee box- is the starting point on each hole of a golf course and the area covered by the space in-between two tee markers. Players must tee the ball between or may tee up no more than two club lengths behind the tee markers – but never in front.
  • Fairways- Closely mown grass areas that go from in front of the teeing area and up to the green. Semi rough and then deeper rough normally surround the fairway. The rough is grass cut longer than the fairway and is intended to challenge players that miss the fairway.
  • Rough- grass grown longer than that on the fairway.
  • Hazards- Occur as the golf courses are made up of many different features, trees, length of grass, bunkers, water and bushes. If you hit your ball straight, it is rare to encounter hazards but if you go off line they come into play. They break up the landscape but also challenge golfers manage their way around the course.
  • Bunkers- A hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf or soil has been removed with sand or the like.
  • The Green- This is where the hole/flag/pin position is situated. They are well maintained areas of grass that are mown very low so that they are a smooth surface for putting on. They vary in size and shape and have different levels of slope. The hole location on a green is moved by the greens staff on a regular basis. This is the area where you use a putter from your set of clubs.
  • Water hazards- Any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage, ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of similar nature on the course. These hazards are marked by colored stakes
  • Lateral water hazard- A water hazard or part of a water hazard so situated that it is not possible, or is deemed by the committee to be impracticable, to drop the ball behind the water hazard in accordance with the rules. These hazards are marked by colored stakes

Rules & Etiquette

There are many rules of the game but the basic principle is simple: play the ball as it lies and play the course as you find it.
The Rules of Golf have developed over more than 250 years and are written and revised by the game’s governing bodies, The R&A and the United States Golf Association.

Etiquette is the manner in which the game of golf should be played and if followed, all players will gain maximum enjoyment from the game. It is a mixture of common sense and courtesy and means showing consideration to other golfers and for the course. For example, golfers should take care not to distract fellow players by making a noise or moving while they take their shot. They should also look after the course by, for example, raking bunkers, replacing divots and repairing pitch-marks on the green.

You can find full details of the rules, etiquette and amateur status at R&A. This includes a quick guide to the most commonly used rules and a rules quiz.

**** Rules and Etiquette Guide Coming Soon  ****