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Golf (from the land of ignorance)
Old 07-17-2014, 08:35 AM   #1
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Golf (from the land of ignorance)

We currently live in an area where the golf courses are few and far between and golf is just not something most folks do. Including us. We are moving to Florida where of course you can walk out your front door in just about any neighborhood and golf. The community we are moving to has plentiful golf.

My questions are I am sure obvious if you live in a golf world, but, I am a nervous nelly about anything new and I don't want us to be those people that folks swear about, roll their eyes at, etc. if we are in the way, taking too long, or God forbid head to the wrong hole.

Do we call a local golf course and asked for a lesson with rentals? Or wait til we get where we are going and take a lesson at the course we would play on?

If we lose our golf ball do we just leave it and move on? Or do we at least try to find it?

If we hit the grass instead of the ball and a clump flies through the air do we retrieve it and put it back or let the groundskeeper repair it properly?

Is it obvious how to get to the next hole? Are they numbered?

How do we know if we are supposed to golf 9 holes or 18? Do you take breaks or keep going til your done?

What happens if you have to go to the bathroom?

Is their etiquette about what courses you can play at and is it rude to take tee times that regulars use if the person making the schedules give it to us? Or do they save those times for regulars and give everyone else what is available?

Are you supposed to use a golf cart? And do people really use bag boys or is that just professionals?

Who at a golf course do you tip?

Yes I have spent alot of time thinking about this and I really want to try it before we say we don't golf. We may love it or we may hate it. But my nervousness of the unknown will definitely keep me from trying it.
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:58 AM   #2
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All these questions and more get answered with an intro-course. Every club has them, so call and sign up

Usually you start with practice and basics using rental clubs. No large commitment or investment needed. Kind and patient pros help you with good advice.

If you never played you can also forget about going on the course proper for a while. You'll start with plenty of practice / driving range and putting range before you qualify to go out on the "main course"
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:03 AM   #3
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Do we call a local golf course and asked for a lesson with rentals? Or wait til we get where we are going and take a lesson at the course we would play on?
Either or... almost all courses have a resident pro who will teach lessons and they will rent clubs.

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If we lose our golf ball do we just leave it and move on? Or do we at least try to find it?
Rule 27 gives you five minutes to search for a ball.

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If we hit the grass instead of the ball and a clump flies through the air do we retrieve it and put it back or let the groundskeeper repair it properly?
You always repair your divot and smooth out the sand trap.

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Is it obvious how to get to the next hole? Are they numbered?
Yes, and courses usually have a map of the course on the score card.

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How do we know if we are supposed to golf 9 holes or 18? Do you take breaks or keep going til your done?
You play what you want, 9 or 18. the breaks happen after each nine. you do not usually take a break within the nine.

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What happens if you have to go to the bathroom?
Second tree on the left. Or wait until you finish the nine holes. some courses do have a restroom in the middle of nine.

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Is their etiquette about what courses you can play at and is it rude to take tee times that regulars use if the person making the schedules give it to us? Or do they save those times for regulars and give everyone else what is available?
You schedule the time you want. If you are new, I would stay away from the crowded time. Also, if you are new, let other groups play thru whenever you are holding them up.

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Are you supposed to use a golf cart? And do people really use bag boys or is that just professionals?
Course rules. some courses require carts during specific times to keep play moving.

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Who at a golf course do you tip?
Caddy's and club attendants that take care of your equiptment. If you bring your clubs and do not use a caddy you do not tip anyone.

Have fun, and read the rulebook.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:07 AM   #4
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Wow. I would suggest that you enroll in a 2-3 day golf school to begin with. They will teach you how to grip the club, the proper stance and alignment, swing, etc and you'll hit close to a thousand balls on the range over a few days. Most golf schools also will have sessions on chipping and putting and some time on the course as well.

There are a number of "customs" in the game that can be daunting to the newcomer in terms of where you should stand (or not) when other golfers are taking shots, protocol on the green, etc. I'm sure there are materials out there on the internet that can introduce you to these things, or they will also be covered in your course time at the golf school.

But in short. Technically, there are protocols for lost balls that depend on whether it is lost in a hazard or not and the type of hazard. There are internet videos on the rules of golf that cover this. However, for casual, non-tournament play, people often look for a few minutes and if they don't find the ball they drop another ball and continue play. The clump of grass you refer to is called a divot. In some part of the country you replace them (put them back and tamp them down with your foot) and in other parts of the country (like in Florida as I recall) you don't and they have a sand/seed mixture that you put on the hole. Most courses have pretty good signage as to where the next hole is. Whether you golf 9 or 18 is totally your choice. Usually, the only breaks are after 9 (also referred to as "at the turn"). Most courses have toilets and drinking water stations at different spots on the course. Check with the course on tee times but new players tend to be slow so you might feel less pressured by groups behind you if you play at a time of day when it is slow. Few courses have caddies these days (just upper end courses) - most players ride a cart or walk and either carry their bag or use a push or pull cart.

Give it a try. It is a great. and frustratingly difficult, game. The pros make it look so easy. I know many gifted athletes who think their gifts will translate to golf and oftentimes do not. One exception seems to be hockey players - they seem to pick it up well - I guess that it is similar hand eye coordination and if you can hit a moving puck with a hockey stick then hitting a stationary golf ball is a piece of cake.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:08 AM   #5
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I used to golf a bit, but gave it up. Here are my recommendations. Of course, the Ďrealí golfers might think otherwiseÖ

Quote:
Do we call a local golf course and asked for a lesson with rentals? Or wait til we get where we are going and take a lesson at the course we would play on?
Either way, or both. You will never be good enough to play without plenty of lessons. Go to driving ranges too. Anytime you have a club in your hands will help.

Quote:
If we lose our golf ball do we just leave it and move on? Or do we at least try to find it?
It depends. Have plenty of balls so you do not run out. There may be someone behind you and you have to continue to move on. There is plenty of water in FL, and sometimes an alligator on the course. Unless you can see it readily, itís better to just move on. There are snakes in FL too.

Quote:
If we hit the grass instead of the ball and a clump flies through the air do we retrieve it and put it back or let the groundskeeper repair it properly?
You should repair the divots. Not everyone does. You will be more concerned with topping the ball and seeing it roll 50í.

Quote:
Is it obvious how to get to the next hole? Are they numbered?
Yes, it will be obvious, but you should know how to get back to the clubhouse if you run out of balls because you lost too many.

Quote:
How do we know if we are supposed to golf 9 holes or 18? Do you take breaks or keep going till youíre done?
If you run out of balls, itís time to go back and try it another day. You can take a break anytime, but you lose your position. Play 9 or 18, itís your call.

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What happens if you have to go to the bathroom?
There are generally a port-a-pottys, or when you lose a ball and are looking for it in the woods you can decideÖ

Quote:
Is their etiquette about what courses you can play at and is it rude to take tee times that regulars use if the person making the schedules give it to us? Or do they save those times for regulars and give everyone else what is available?
Itís first come, first serve. The golf course will handle any regulars.

Quote:
Are you supposed to use a golf cart? And do people really use bag boys or is that just professionals?
Some places require carts, it keeps the game moving. Anyone can use a caddy, or bag boy. Itís how many people pay for college. A cart is nice to hold your cooler and be able to get to your ball faster.

Quote:
Who at a golf course do you tip?
Just the caddy. And more importantly, the girls that serve drinks on the course.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:10 AM   #6
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Thank you so much folks for taking the time to answer.

I lol'ed at the qualify to play on the main course. I guess I was picturing us fumbling around and people lining up behind us boo'ing. It makes sense they would have do lots of prep work. I just never thought of that.

So courses come with rulebooks? Phew.

I would rather think of a 100 what if's and be as prepared as I can be
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:13 AM   #7
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"Golf: The most cheerful thing to come out of Scotland since the theory of infant damnation." Mr. Dooley.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:13 AM   #8
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Another source to look at - videos on the rules of golf.

Rules of Golf - Main Menu
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:14 AM   #9
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OMG they serve drinks on the course? YAY.......

We may give it a go here in NY before we head down so we at least can sound somewhat educated when we call the course in Fl.....

Snakes, alligators on the courses. Yikes....It sure will be a whole new way of living
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:17 AM   #10
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I have to admit that the number and quality of posts in the 40 minutes since the OP is impressive. Obviously lots of golf fans that are not out on the course right now. I would usually be teeing off in 15 minutes, but we are hosting a dinner tonight so I'm not playing today.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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I have to admit that the number and quality of posts in the 40 minutes since the OP is impressive. Obviously lots of golf fans that are not out on the course right now. I would usually be teeing off in 15 minutes, but we are hosting a dinner tonight so I'm not playing today.
So I take it if you love golf, it is addicting and you do it often?
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:25 AM   #12
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Don't be intimidated. Golf is meant to be fun and you don't need a PhD to enjoy it. Common courtesy will cover most situations. Just get started with some lessons. Your instructor will teach you the basics and you can gradually improve your knowledge and technique. Rent clubs until you get a feel for the game and decide whether it is for you. Buy a bucket of used balls at Walmart because you will lose more than you think (especially on courses with water hazards)!
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:26 AM   #13
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Ah good - something I, as a 1/2 year La Quinta California resident (PGA West, Golf capital of the world, over 30 courses within a 5 mile radius) can speak to.

Current thinking leans toward a natural, organic swing in play - to that end NO lessons are advised - let YOUR body determine how you swing.

Golf has much in common with religion and Easter - it is common to hear prayers and explosive cries to various Gods on the course. Golf balls are hidden and found much as Easter eggs are - you can play as either a finder or a hider - but NEVER as both. poor form. If playing as a finder run and snatch up any balls you can find, reveling in the shouts of encouragement you hear. As a hider, feel free to whack as many balls as you can from the tee, again, reveling in the calls from the crowd that gathers behind you.

Clumps of grass are properly let lie - aerates the soil and adds a degree of difficulty to the putting greens.

Holes are numbered - you may play either the even or the odd numbered course.

If playing 18 holes one is to start with the even number course, then finish with the odds.

9 or 18 holes is decided by coin toss, heads are even, tails odd.

Bathroom locations are marked with wee flags - that's why they are called wee flags. duh.

Etiquette demands that if playing as a finder (see above), one must arrive before any other players. Conceal yourself until play has begun and burst from the bushes to grab any balls struck. Oh the happy shouts you will hear!

Golf carts are for professionals only. Ford 1/2 ton pickups are much handier for beginners - your whole group can ride in back! Bag boys are just silly. Leave them in their natural habitat in the grocery store.

If you see me at the course (checked jodhpurs, Nehru jacket in puce) tips are gladly accepted.

Edit: SO points out, properly, that tea time is 4. promptly at 4.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:30 AM   #14
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Going myself today... I have never played in Florida but I get this feeling that in some retired areas there are people playing on every hole. That really forces you to think through all those questions you want answered, otherwise impatient old farts may feel confident in their umbrella liability coverage and launch shots over your head to "send a message". If you play where I do, the courses rarely have many people on them. That is a great place to start playing as you don't feel the pressure of doing everything right, when you are still trying to just hit the ball. Though I play 3-4 times a week, I would give up the game if I had to have tee times, and wait hole to hole or shot to shot.


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Old 07-17-2014, 09:59 AM   #15
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Going myself today... I have never played in Florida but I get this feeling that in some retired areas there are people playing on every hole. That really forces you to think through all those questions you want answered, otherwise impatient old farts may feel confident in their umbrella liability coverage and launch shots over your head to "send a message". If you play where I do, the courses rarely have many people on them. That is a great place to start playing as you don't feel the pressure of doing everything right, when you are still trying to just hit the ball. Though I play 3-4 times a week, I would give up the game if I had to have tee times, and wait hole to hole or shot to shot.


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My parents retired to FL lived in a golfing community. The developers got too successful, built too many courses. Where parents lived in the '80s-90s you had to live in the development to be able to join the privite country club. By 2000, it was a public course.

To the OP: gators and snakes are not exclusive to golf courses, there all over. Enjoy the sport, lots of fun, DM DF played well into their 80s.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:59 AM   #16
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Golf carts are for professionals only. Ford 1/2 ton pickups are much handier for beginners - your whole group can ride in back! Bag boys are just silly. Leave them in their natural habitat in the grocery store.
If you saw where we live, so true
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:01 AM   #17
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Going myself today... I have never played in Florida but I get this feeling that in some retired areas there are people playing on every hole. That really forces you to think through all those questions you want answered, otherwise impatient old farts may feel confident in their umbrella liability coverage and launch shots over your head to "send a message". If you play where I do, the courses rarely have many people on them. That is a great place to start playing as you don't feel the pressure of doing everything right, when you are still trying to just hit the ball. Though I play 3-4 times a week, I would give up the game if I had to have tee times, and wait hole to hole or shot to shot.


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And as a newbie I do not want to offend the folks who have earned their golf course "rights" for sure. I want to be courteous and keep it light hearted at the same time
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:01 AM   #18
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My parents retired to FL lived in a golfing community. The developers got too successful, built too many courses. Where parents lived in the '80s-90s you had to live in the development to be able to join the privite country club. By 2000, it was a public course.

To the OP: gators and snakes are not exclusive to golf courses, there all over. Enjoy the sport, lots of fun, DM DF played well into their 80s.
Thank you.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:11 AM   #19
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So I take it if you love golf, it is addicting and you do it often?
While I have played on and off since I was a young adult, it has become hobby #1 since I retired (along with posting on early-retirement.org).

That said, I only play 2-3 times a week, which is not much compared to the true addicts. I usually play 18 on Tuesday mornings with some friends on my home course, 18 on Thursdays with a group of retired guys at different courses within 1-1 1/2 hours of home and a 9 hole mixed scramble with DW on Sunday afternoons.

BTW, scrambles are a good way to learn in my view. In a scramble, each person hits a tee shot and then you select the best tee shot and hit your second shot from that spot and repeat until the ball is holed out. There is less pressure to make every shot great because you're playing as a team and you can learn from more experienced players. Many courses have scrambles a few times a week. For example, DW's ladies night is a scramble which she enjoys as she gets to play with some good and more experienced women golfers.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:19 AM   #20
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And as a newbie I do not want to offend the folks who have earned their golf course "rights" for sure. I want to be courteous and keep it light hearted at the same time

Well sometimes the "old farts" don't realize that unless they tolerate and welcome new bees such as yourself, there won't be a golf course for them to play on either.... Besides all the other questions you asked you will learn soon enough... I will suggest a few other things for you to consider that may improve your enjoyment of the game while starting out. 1) lessons and driving range time 2) while starting out find some courses that are open layouts with less woods to lose balls in. 3) find times in the day where course traffic is lower so you can "do your own thing" and just occasionally wave a group through. Where I play, the old farts and their illegal 5 man groups play early. I go in the afternoon and face little traffic. 4) Don't take the game seriously. One day you will finally think you got the hang of it, and then the next day, you play like you never have swung a golf club before. 5) If there are any par 3 courses you may want to try them out as the distance from tee to green will not be daunting. Even 2 dribbles will get you close to the green, provided no water is in the way!


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