I’ve been playing golf for several years. I started by taking lessons at a driving range and then played a lot of nine-hole courses. At first I was terrible, but then I decided to get better. So I went back to the driving range and took more lessons, which were actually pretty good.
I’ve now played at a few different clubhouses and learned some new techniques. But I still suck. So let me tell you what you need to get started:
1) A set of clubs: If you don’t have one yet, go buy one from the pro shop. The pros will fix your shots but they won’t help you with the fundamentals like stance and grip, so don’t worry about that at all. (And it’s not as expensive as it sounds: You can usually find good clubs for less than $100.)
2) A towel: You’re going to sweat when you play, so have a towel nearby just in case your shirt gets wet.
3) A ball marker: If you go back to the pro shop and ask for help hitting balls from the previous hole, they’ll probably suggest teeing off from where you are rather than next hole. This is okay because there is no penalty for this kind of mistake,
I’ve been playing golf for about a year now. I’m not very good at it and I don’t know why. Since I am not good at golf, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog about how to become better at golf.
I play on a course that has targets on the green. I can hit the targets with my club, but hitting them is not very hard. Hitting them with a driver is harder than hitting them with a 5 iron. But hitting them with the 5 iron is harder than hitting them with my 4 iron. And so on all the way down the range of clubs. So it’s pretty easy to hit most of the targets if you try hard enough, and not very hard even when you’re really trying hard.
I have never made it to any tournaments because none of my holes in one have been as close as they needed to be for me to win (a hole-in-one requires that the ball go in on each side of a cup). And because I don’t really like golf and might have quit if I felt like I was getting better, but didn’t feel like I was actually getting better.
It is possible to watch a golf tournament and not notice that the players are using a special club for each shot. It’s just that their swings look so different from one another that you would have to go looking for them.
In fact, golfers use a set of clubs called irons, as well as drivers and woods, for all shots but the putt. So if you want to learn to play golf, you need to know your irons.
There are essentially two types of golfer: those who find it easy and fun to hit the ball straight, and those who find it hard and frustrating. There is no mystery about why the second group would be frustrated at hitting the ball straight; they know they can improve their game by learning how to hit the ball with more spin or more loft. The mystery is why the first group wouldn’t be frustrated by such difficulties.
If you want to get started in golf, there are lots of books and websites that tell you how; I don’t think it’s worth going into here. But if you want to go further, you need a game plan. This is what people who want to write books about golf need:
The general advice is that when hiring an instructor, it’s important to get someone who has had experience playing the same level of golf as you. That’s because there are a lot of players who are very good but who have been playing on a very different level than you have, and they might be teaching the wrong things. A good instructor is not just someone who knows how to teach people how to play better; they can also teach people how to play better in general.
Good instructors also know how to teach people less well-off than themselves to play. They know the right questions to ask, and what is the best way for them to convey the answer so that their student is actually learning something useful. For example, if you know that your instructor has played five times as many rounds as you have (which means he has seen a lot more golf courses) he might give more help with the technical aspects of your swing than you think he should.
What you need to know about golf is probably in this book. But if you don’t have time to read it all, what you need to know is that the most important thing is to have fun.
The second most important thing is that you should always be polite to people, especially the other players. And the third thing is that when you are playing a round of golf, it’s not like a game of chess: there are no rules.
“Big Shot” is a Chinese restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Their specialty is dumplings, but the one that has most caught my imagination is the wonton soup. It’s a quick, filling and delicious dish.
The wontons are made with shrimp. And they’re not square, but round. And they’re not flat on top, but round again and standing upright. They look like big, fat balls of aluminum foil. They’re fried in oil and tossed with chopped scallions and sesame seeds, then placed in a bowl of hot broth. The result is both solid and soft at the same time—jiggly like a puddle of molten marshmallow, yet sturdy enough to hold together when you pick it up.
It’s an easy dish for servers at Chinese restaurants to mess up—add too much salt or pepper, or use the wrong oil for frying. Most of those problems can be fixed by taking one more second than usual to get everything right—adding just a little more oil now means less later on—but there’s no way to avoid problems entirely.”