Need help getting started in golf, to include selecting clubs & sundry equipment

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 24, 2011 2:17 PM GMT
    Finally decided to make an investment in playing golf, which I've never seriously done before, and now I need advice regarding clubs and other equipment. I just got the cart bag, but I still need shoes, balls, and tons more.

    I intend to have a shop fit my clubs, but it'll be intimidating to walk in with absolutely no prior knowledge. I'm trying to use Internet resources to read up, but so far it hasn't given me the confidence I need.

    Some questions: is it a good idea to get a relatively inexpensive set of clubs at first, until I've had some experience to know what I really want, especially as I develop my skills? Or will lower-quality clubs teach me bad habits?

    - Is buying a complete set best, or do you buy your clubs individually, for individual features you like, even across brands?

    - Should I just buy a driver or 2 first and take lessons on a driving range, and maybe a putter, before proceeding at all?

    - Is it better to get shoes with plastic spikes? I'm reading that those are acceptable everywhere, whereas metal is banned from some public courses, which is where I'll be playing at first.

    Any other tips & suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Oct 24, 2011 2:42 PM GMT
    Golf is a great game and one that a guy can play well into old age (after we can't play H20-polo or tennis much anymore). You'll need a good series of lessons, and you'll want a set of good clubs made for your height. You'll spend a good amount of time at the driving range and putting green - but your lessons will help you with your swing. Very important. Sometimes they'll shoot videos of you as you swing - so you they can help you correct mistakes. The pro at your club (even a good public club) will help you select a set of clubs, shoes, balls, etc. The staff will help you with questions about brands, prices, etc. Lots of time is needed to perfect your swing and your game. Once you're ready - they'll take you out on the course for nine or even eighteen holes. Then - you'll want to get out there two or three times a week.

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  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19136

    Oct 24, 2011 2:55 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said

    - Should I just buy a driver or 2 first and take lessons on a driving range, and maybe a putter, before proceeding at all?

    - Is it better to get shoes with plastic spikes? I'm reading that those are acceptable everywhere, whereas metal is banned from some public courses, which is where I'll be playing at first.

    Any other tips & suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif



    I would start with a driver and a putter, maybe one other club, and some lessons. Then spend a good amount of time at a driving range practicing hitting balls before you make any substantial investment in a set of clubs, the right shoes (which can be expensive), and other equipment. You can also rent a set of clubs at first before investing in your own. Golf can be a tricky sport and it's not always for everybody. Better to find out if it's truly something you will enjoy before diving in and buying equipment that may end of sitting in the garage.
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    Oct 24, 2011 3:51 PM GMT
    Thanks, guys, this is about what I was thinking. I'll try to pick a local golf shop that can get me started with a driver & putter for my dimensions. Think I'll need golf shoes right away, to learn a proper swing on the driving range? I'm guessing so.

    rigsby is an avid local golfer here (check his profile) and we've been to their home. So I'm hoping to ask him questions, too. But they're on a cruise right now, not back for about 3 weeks.

    I wouldn't impose myself on him as a novice on the links, though, despite his involvement with a gay & lesbian golf group. In fact, I know more lesbians who play golf here than gay men, and I already help annually in one of their charity tournaments we just had Saturday (Iron Ladies), another reason golf increasingly interests me.

    Maybe I can find a lesbian victim or 2 who can accompany me, once I'm ready to actually go out. I'm afraid guys wouldn't have the patience and just humiliate me, turning me off to the experience. Hell, one of them might even have some old clubs to lend me in my size, being I'm short for a man.
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    Oct 24, 2011 7:26 PM GMT
    Very important to get lessons from a golf instructor. So vital to develop your swing, before heading out to the driving range. Essential that your clubs fit you. Your instructor has so much to impart to you. Whether you buy a lot or a few things right at first, an instructor is your first priority, IMO. icon_cool.gif
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    Oct 24, 2011 7:43 PM GMT
    I would just buy inexpensive clubs (unless you have the money to waste). I use my dad's only hand-me-down knockoffs. I have a nice driver though which I think is kinda important.

    Buying a complete set is fine. You will want to learn how to use every type of club.

    I always advise someone to take lessons at an actual course. I took lessons at a driving range when I was younger then lessons at an actual course a year or so later. The first ones did nothing for me but I finally learned a lot in my other lessons. Since we went out and actually played golf towards the end.

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    Oct 24, 2011 7:46 PM GMT
    people here are pretty much spot on the money. Golf is something you'll either like or hate. Just like anything else that requires equipment, buying a top-notch set of clubs before you even start is maybe a bad idea. A decent set sized properly for your dimensions will work just fine for learning and if you pick it up and enjoy it then you get to have fun buying nice stuff. Its like in racing, you learn more technical skill driving a simple car like a Caterham 7 or a Miata than you will if you just jump right into a Ferrarri (you may also live longer and there's no buyer's remorse if it turns out you suck)
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    Oct 24, 2011 7:47 PM GMT
    1. Soft Spikes you can wear them everywhere..

    2. Cavity back irons..they are the most "forgiving"

    3. Take a few lessons and spend lots of time on the range before you hit the course.. You should not have to pay more than $50.00 per lesson.. You want to get to the point where you can at least make consistent contact with the ball and advance it down the course before going out and playing a full round..

    Golf is a great game....
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    Oct 24, 2011 8:59 PM GMT
    Good, good good! And thanks! You guys are all very consistent in your advice. And frankly, it does rather track with what I was already beginning to believe. I am not one for dumping a fortune into something I may be unable to do, or ultimately enjoy. As a result I seldom buy things that end up unused in closets or in yard sales -- I generally get my money's worth and full enjoyment.

    I did actually once go out onto a golf course, at age 15 at my parents' country club, where I was the tennis champion for my age group. I rented some clubs from the pro shop and went out with schoolmates. Big mistake.

    I couldn't loft the ball, doing miserably. And then a group of pushy older men insisted on playing through, insulting us for not being properly dressed in their view. Now I knew about clothing etiquette, still in the days (1964) when I had to wear pure white on the tennis court, and I felt we were well within allowances for golf.

    "That may be true in your opinion, gentlemen," I replied to them. "But if you ever point at me with your golf club again I'll have you reported to the Course Superintendent for an even worse breach of behavior." I was an arrogant holy terror in those days, even at 15, and you should have seen their shock.

    But it left me with a bad taste regarding golf, and I never attempted it again. Not even when I was assigned to Fort Gordon, Georgia, at Augusta (yes, THAT Augusta) in 1973, and we Army officers were granted limited club privileges, bypassing the usual screening process by virtue of our commissions. Many of my fellow officers took advantage, but I did not.

    Well now I want to relook this, a nice sedentary pursuit for an old guy, who lives where golf is possible 365 days a year. My next job will be to train my partner to be a caddy. LOL!
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    Oct 24, 2011 9:14 PM GMT
    Well, you are already white, so that helps.

    It also helps if you are rich and have an air of entitlement about you.

    :-P
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    Oct 24, 2011 9:32 PM GMT
    BAMF saidWell, you are already white, so that helps.

    It also helps if you are rich and have an air of entitlement about you.

    :-P

    Last time I was on a golf course, helping with a charity tournament, I saw many people of color here in Florida. So I don't know what you mean.

    I am not rich (though my parents had some money, which I do not today), nor do I have entitlement. Everything I have I earned by hard work. You try being a US Army soldier for 25 years and see how much entitlement you get.

    What I believe I do have is what the US Army called "leadership" and the ability to naturally be in charge. I didn't get repeatedly promoted, from Buck Private to Colonel, by mistake, until my health finally caved and ended my career.

    I admittedly underutilized my abilities, at least in terms of acquiring wealth, because that part barely interested me. I had more fun playing soldier, than becoming mega-rich. Perhaps a serious misstep.

    The air I have about me is being in-charge & directive, and making my own decisions. But I expect nothing to be handed to me that I didn't earn for myself. I'm entitled to only what I make. You might want to study that distinction.
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    Oct 25, 2011 10:10 AM GMT
    Bob:

    Your timing sucks...deciding to talk about golf while I'm away.(LOL) Anyway, you have found me in Merry olde England, with gorgeous sunshiny weather.

    Start off with a golf pro...I recommend TonyValentine 954-254-9997. He was the director of Golf at the Woodlands private golf course, and may or may not still be, since they've recently changed hands. He'll give you guidance on what to buy, including shoes, balls and clubs. Go to him literally empty handed and let him start you from scratch. He was a touring pro on the PGA for several years and has now operated golf courses and schools for many years. Lessons first, lots of practice, some playing lessons |(where your pro takes you out to play on the golf course, then practice on the golf course...and then go out with a group. You'll still be nervous...everyone is when they first play with new folks, but less so than if you go straight out to play now.

    Go get started with the lessons and we'll chat when I get back.

    Chad
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    Oct 25, 2011 1:09 PM GMT
    rigsby saidBob:

    Your timing sucks...deciding to talk about golf while I'm away.(LOL) Anyway, you have found me in Merry olde England, with gorgeous sunshiny weather.

    Start off with a golf pro...I recommend Tony Valentine 954-254-9997. He was the director of Golf at the Woodlands private golf course...

    Go get started with the lessons and we'll chat when I get back.

    Chad

    Sorry about the poor timing, Chad. I did remember you guys were leaving on a wonderful sightseeing trip and ocean cruise. But your departure date coincided with Carol Moran (New Moon in Wilton Manors) holding the annual Iron Ladies golf tournament.

    C*** and I weren't helpers this year because of a conflict with another charity event that morning, but Carol still invited us to the outdoor picnic in the afternoon, almost the only men in a sea of lesbians. In appreciation I bid heavily on silent auction items, how I got a new Callaway cart bag before I even have any clubs for it.

    But it seemed a nice one, a man's model, with a gazillion pockets & features that oughta be adequate to get me started. And my bid won at half the retail cost, plus a good price or not it was donated with the money going to the Iron Ladies, which was my goal. Now I have the incentive I need to finally get serious about taking up golf.

    So hopefully Tony won't be unhappy if I have a bag already. But lessons may be out until the first week in December, when I finish my radiation treatment and have my operation, with the bike ride to Key West also happening then. I had thought maybe I should fill that bag right away and be ready to start in about 6 weeks, but the consensus from you & others here is to let the experts guide me at every step, with lessons first.

    BTW I may have met Tony before when Woodlands CC hosted a charity golf tournament & dinner for Broward House a few years ago. I'll give him a call in a little while, to see if his calendar will be open when I'm ready. Thanks again, and enjoy your vacation! Bob
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    Oct 25, 2011 2:04 PM GMT
    Update: Well that was fast! I just got off the phone with Tony Valentine, and he thinks I can start my lessons right away, like next Monday, Halloween (I wonder if I should dress accordingly?). He's no longer at Woodlands CC, BTW.

    At first he'll be analyzing me, using clubs they have at the driving range. And since he says it won't be too demanding, and I can have hours that don't interfere with my radiation treatments, I could see no reason to delay beginning. He didn't even think my Key West trip is an obstacle, nor my upcoming surgery, since lessons aren't every day.

    And as Chad & others said, he wants me to buy nothing, not even shoes at first. My only cost will be the lessons, @ $80 USD an hour. Later when I start practicing more often on my own, which will wait until December, I'll then begin getting my own clubs, shoes, etc.

    This seems to be developing along the lines you guys suggested, and I'll keep you informed. icon_biggrin.gif
  • dallasdrew

    Posts: 2

    Jun 26, 2013 4:45 AM GMT
    How are your lessons coming along? I'm a PGA Golf Professional so if you need anymore advice, let us know. Between all of us, we can figure something out.

    take care

    Drew
  • jock_n_ca

    Posts: 148

    Jun 26, 2013 4:53 AM GMT
    Like anything there is a wide range of options available when it comes to clubs. Generally you purchase your irons as a set and then your woods on an individual basis. For your irons I'd suggest looking for "game improvement" irons. These will be the most forgiving and have the largest sweet spot. For woods you can get a great price on last year's models w/o having to layout a ton of money. By all means you should try these clubs at an outdoor range facility prior to purchasing. There are alot of indoor nets you can hit into but it ain't the same and you won't get much feedback in terms of distance and ball flight. Good luck. It's a great game but incredibly maddening...
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    Aug 21, 2013 11:30 PM GMT
    jock_n_ca saidLike anything there is a wide range of options available when it comes to clubs. Generally you purchase your irons as a set and then your woods on an individual basis. For your irons I'd suggest looking for "game improvement" irons. These will be the most forgiving and have the largest sweet spot. For woods you can get a great price on last year's models w/o having to layout a ton of money. By all means you should try these clubs at an outdoor range facility prior to purchasing. There are alot of indoor nets you can hit into but it ain't the same and you won't get much feedback in terms of distance and ball flight. Good luck. It's a great game but incredibly maddening...

    Thanks! This is an older thread I just saw, and so I already have my clubs and have been playing, including in rigsby's scrambles. One is coming up 28 Sep 2013. See thread:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/3392765/

    I did exactly as everyone here advised. I bought nothing at first, used my instructor's borrowed clubs while he evaluated me. I told him of my disabilities, explained that my goal was recreational & social playing at my age, said I'd understand if I was judged too limited to play the game at all.

    He thought I might have a shot at playing, and bought my clubs for me, at a fantastic low price (he has insider connections), and he personally fitted them to me. They're inexpensive but lovely, suitable for my low level of play. I could never have done that on my own, a novice just walking into a golf store. rigsby's advice was spot-on, and having recommended this guy who's his own instructor I felt I could trust him.

    I go weekly to an outdoor driving range for about 90 minutes, and get almost as much pleasure from that as playing on a golf course. No nets, and no mats, we drive off real grass.

    You're right. I never guessed how much I would love golf. And at my age! I'm definitely hooked. icon_biggrin.gif