How Golf is Played: A Beginner’s Guide

By Ben Jarratt •  Updated: 07/14/23 •  8 min read

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Golf, also known as the “sport of kings,” is played by more than 100 million people worldwide. It’s a game that can be enjoyed by anyone who has patience and determination. Golf is a few sports where you get to use your ball, which means there are no rules about how much force or strokes it takes to hit it across the course. There are only two ways to play golf: with someone else in competition or alone for practice, but either way, it’s essential to know the rules, so you don’t break them!  Learn more from Twin Golfer where we answer all of your questions about golf.

A Game Of Skill

Golf is a game of skill. Unlike many other sporting competitions, it’s not all about how far you can hit the ball. Instead, players are judged on their ability to navigate a course using as few strokes as possible while completing at least 18 holes with no more than three lost balls and 12 putts.

Golf Courses – The Course Of A Game

If you want to play golf, your first step is finding out which kind, of course, best suits your needs. There are various courses suited for different levels of experience and skill level in large metropolitan areas or less populated regions where there might be just one public course available within driving distance.
Since each hole takes between 30-60 seconds (depending on how fast your group plays), playing an entire round of golf usually takes anywhere from five hours to eight and a half hours.
The course of the game is laid out in 18 holes, each with its tee box for starting play. The hole itself consists of an open expanse of the fairway (a flat section at the start) surrounded by rough grasses that you need to navigate through without hitting any trees or other obstacles like sand traps or water hazards. A green contains bunkers along the edge and various trap locations depending on how far from the green it is located – these are designed to challenge your golf skills so you can’t score too quickly!

Golf Clubs

Golfers use clubs that are designed for different shots and distances. A driver is usually the longest club with a long shaft and has a large head at one end. It can be used to drive the ball from tee box to fairway or get it out of challenging areas in general, but you need to have exceptional skill on how far you hit it as the best drivers will send your round flying off into nothingness!
The next set of clubs are known as irons. These come in many different shapes – some look like an L-shape while others resemble something closer to a U shape. They all share that there’s no lofting action, which means these aren’t good for hitting golf balls higher up than about waist height. Putters are the last type of club and are used for getting the ball into a hole.
On each golfer’s bag, you will also find sand wedges, which are used for shots from reasonably close range and can be very useful in getting out of bunkers or just clearing away some tricky bits on your way to the green. Finally, the pitching wedge has plenty of loft at around 50 degrees to hit higher up than most other clubs, but its primary use is as an approach club when trying to play more delicate shots near the green.

Wind Speed and Direction

A golfer must take into account wind speed and direction when playing a shot. The wind movement will help determine which club to use and how hard you should swing it, while the speed can also affect your decisions on where to aim or how far back to take a stance behind the ball.

Putting Greens

Holes in one are rare enough but even more so when they happen because of an unfortunate bounce rather than a perfect drive from tee-to-green. As such, most courses have greens made up with three levels for putting – sometimes called ‘the snake.’ A good player’s ability is measured not just by their accuracy off the tee but by how well they putt it as well, and getting this right is every bit as important as making accurate drives down each fairway.

Golf courses have sand traps, water hazards, trees, hills, bunkers, and other obstacles that can make it hard to play well. The rules of golf state that you can’t move any loose impediments (such as leaves, dirt, or small stones) to improve your lie or position.  You can also learn about calculating a golf handicap.


A bunker is a sand trap, and the general idea behind playing from one is not to hit it at all. If you do, you’ll be faced with an awkward stance, and if this happens in more than one place on the course – such as around a water hole – then this could lead to some tricky shots where placement is key over length. The ball will always roll out faster when coming from deeper down in the sand, so getting it back into play quickly may take some skillful putting too!

Water Hazards

A water hazard on a golf course is an area of the course with water in it, sometimes deep and wide. The general idea is to try not to hit the ball into these areas, of course, but if you do, then a penalty stroke may be applied as well as having just one shot at getting back on track with your golfing game.
The only real exception to this rule are streams that flow along the course, which are classified as ground under repair – so anything crossing over them should count towards your next shot!


Almost every golfer will have had an embarrassing moment where they’ve lost their ball when hitting near some trees, so there are lots of rules about how close you can get without breaking any laws or being penalized.

How Do You Grip The Club?

The best way to grip a golf club is to place your thumb and index finger on the top of the club, as close to the shaft as possible. Your other fingers should be placed around this grip, with your ring finger being closest to you and then the little one furthest away from you.
First off – make sure that when holding a golf club in any way,
you always have three fingers under it! This is because if not, there’s an increased chance of dropping or mishandling it, which can lead to an unfortunate penalty stroke for missing out on too many shots.

How To Improve Swing Technique?

One way to improve your swing technique is to practice hitting balls in a sand bunker.
A lot of the time, golfers will hit it so high, and it ends up going into rough, or they’ll end up gouging out of that bunker because they didn’t get enough loft on the ball.
Practicing your swing technique in this way is an excellent idea if you want an easy way to improve – also, try practicing with downward shots for added difficulty!

What’s Some Good Advice For Playing Well?

The advice I have for playing well is to make sure you loosen your grip when you’re getting ready to take the club back and then tighten it again just before impact. That can be difficult but once mastered helps lower scores drastically by making all aspects of hitting the ball more accurate.

How To Hit A Straight Shot With Power?

The key to hitting a straight shot with power is to make sure that you’re swinging back on the same plane and in-line. If your club goes up, it will come down someplace not as powerful – so keep your swing level! It’s also essential when winding back to ensure that you have left enough room for yourself because power comes from body rotation and distance traveled by hand. Stay low throughout the motion of winding back, using the lower half of your body (your hips) instead of just moving one arm at a time. Get used to releasing tension through contact before striking balls repetitively. This ensures proper release and follow-through, which generates the maximum velocity needed for a strong shot with power.


Golf is a beautiful game of skill and patience. The game is about the fun and social aspect of playing, not how many times you can hit a ball.
The rules are simple to follow but hard to master. The player with the fewest strokes – meaning they have been able to get their balls into the hole in fewer shots than anyone else – wins! Golfers play against each other on golf courses that feature 18 holes of varying lengths. Each hole has a teeing ground where players stand before taking their shot from tee-boxes located up alongside it, a fairway which stretches out in front of them lined by trees or roughs (a type of tall grass), hazards such as ponds or lakes, bunkers filled with sand traps all of these make for a more exciting round of golf. So grab your clubs and get out there!