All posts by Matt

What to Wear Golfing for the First Time Beginners Guide

It happened to me.

I was a member and played at my local small-town course which didn't really care too much about dress code. Jeans and T-shirts were the norm.

I went up to a big city as a newbie golfer and found all the famous championship courses I'd read about and planned on playing them one by one. I settled on the first one, which my cousin worked at, and made sure to put on my best golfing outfit, collared shirt and all.

'You can't play here wearing that, sorry' my cousin told me.

The shock ran through me like an earth tremor. How could I be turned away in my fancy new golfing outfit? 

This was the outfit

Not allowed on a golf course, who knew??

Apparently this wasn't appropriate

My cousin did tell me how I was supposed to dress and after seeing some of the more experienced golfers around, I realized the error of my ways. 

I immediately went out and bought the stuff I needed and was playing on that very same golf course the next day. A golf course Ernie Els and Vijay Singh regularly stopped at!

So to avoid similar embarrassment for you, I've put this little guide together so you never get turned away from a golf course dressed like a fool...


You can use a long sleeved or a short sleeved polo shirt but it must have a collar. 

My own Waddaplaya brand - brilliant quality and feel 

Depending on whether you live in a warm or cool climate, the material you use will affect how you feel on the course. In cooler areas, cotton is always great while in warmer and more humid areas, a synthetic material will let sweat evaporate and keep you dry and cool. 

I highly recommend Golf Sidekick designed and created WADDAPLAYA polo's HERE from our online store. All designed for maximum comfort with many designs, colors and patterns. 

Don't be like me and wear a thick cotton shirt in 100 degree weather and end up lying on the shower floor eating dried mango and drinking the shower water!

No-no's

  • No T-shirts or sports jerseys
  • No big banner advertising across the back or front
  • No foul language in massive letters 

2. Shorts or slacks

Depending on your preference, you can choose between shorts and slacks. Keep in mind, they need belt loops. No drawstring or soccer shorts.

You can also get shorts and slacks made specifically for hot weather or temperate weather like the shirts above.

For hot and humid conditions, I love Under Armour for slacks; Adidas for shorts.

For when I travel to cooler more temperate places, I like flat-front chinos and chino shorts.

The safest colors for your golfing pants and shorts are cream, beige, khaki, gray and tan. White and pink as well as very bright colors are something you graduate into as you move up the golf hierarchy and establish yourself as a flashy snappy dresser. 

Dont's

  • Don't wear white pants - reserved only for pretentious low handicappers
  • Don't wear three-quarter length shorts
  • Don't wear draw-string shorts - shorts with belt loops and a belt are the best

3. Golf Shoes

You get three kinds of golf shoes now. 

1. Steel spikes - used by the pros and won't be allowed on majority of standard courses for amateurs - AVOID
2. Soft spikes - Steel spikes are replaced with plastic and rubber ones to avoid tearing up greens - these are the most popular type of shoe
3. Spikeless - The sole of the shoe has lots of small rubber studs that are great for people who get stud pressure walking on spiked golf shoes. 

Spikeless golf shoes

Soft spike golf shoes

I played with soft spike golf shoes for 14 years but as someone who suffers from serious stud pressure playing any sport, I ditched them for spikeless as soon as spikeless became a 'thing'. Just 18 holes killed my feet in soft spikes - the soles are often very hard and only get softer as you spend more and more money on them.

Adidas and Skechers make some of the most comfortable spikeless golf shoes around. After 18 holes in massive heat, I'm usually sitting in the club house sipping my beer, feeling fantastic! The soles are softer as well as having ample padding in the heel and quarter sections - like wearing trainers.

While spikeless golf shoes are more comfortable, they look more casual and like sneakers so you won't look like your favorite pro (unless Freddie Couples or Ernie Els are your favorite). If you want to look like Jordan Spieth or Dustin Johnson, you'll need to get some soft spike golf shoes. 

No-no's

  • No trainers
  • No flip flops, thongs, sandals
  • Avoid steel spikes 

4. A belt and socks

Use your belt loops! Wear a belt. It can be whatever looks good but I prefer something stretchy and less formal than belts you wear at work. I like them to match my shorts or a color on the shoes. Something cheap too - like an elasticated braided belt.

When it comes to socks, you want to get white socks like these Nike ones that go up near your ankles. 


5. Extras

Hat or cap

If you're like me, getting a little thin on top or just don't want to get burnt, there are numerous options for headwear. Here are some hats you can use:

  • Baseball caps - the most commonly seen hat on Tour and most golf courses
  • Visors - Not as popular but great for not getting 'hat hair'. Not good for bald guys
  • Cowboy hats - Less common but you know he's a maverick
  • Bucket hatsA very common hat for all-round sun protection. Not bad looking with a narrow brim - this is my first choice of hat for sun protection
  • Wide brim hats - the mark of a beginner. While very effective in keeping sun off your cheeks, steer clear of these hats if you don't want to look like a newbie.

>>> Check out my guide on hats right here <<<

No-no's

  • No backward caps
  • No caps in the clubhouse or bar

Golf glove

These are optional but if you play long enough, you'll eventually use one. The key is to find the right size and remember something very important!

Right handed golfers wear gloves on the left hand and left handed golfers wear gloves on the right hand. You only ever wear one BUT if you want to look like a total beginner, you can wear two, one on the right and one on the left. But please don't!

There are many things to know about golf gloves but that's something for the future. For now, the best glove for you will be durable and cheap. No need to spend massive amounts on gloves just yet. 

Below are the Grip Boost Second Skin for hot humid weather (you'll need 3 to alternate with during the round) and the MG Dynagrip for temperate climates. Superb value for money!


That's a pretty good start to your golfing journey. Key things to remember when golfing for the first time are to have fun and not worry too much about what other people think. Cover your bases by knowing the rules and etiquette and dress in a way that makes you feel good. 

Once you do all that, you're ready to hit the course and make some new friends. Golfers seem elitist and snobby from a distance but you'll find once you're in our little "club", you're just another one of the boys.


Enjoy!

Five Rules of Golf Etiquette from Tee to Green

One of the scariest things about starting golf is knowing the etiquette. Breaking the etiquette rules can create a more explosive reaction from fellow players than breaking written rules of the game!

When I started playing golf 20 years ago, I broke every etiquette rule in the book. I learned quickly how to behave on the course after being lectured by more experienced golfers. You'll have a head start by reading this guide and like me, have etiquette breaches that bother you and others that don't.

1. Etiquette before the game

No golf bags in the clubhouse

Leave your bag outside the clubhouse or pro shop. I don't know why, but that's how it goes.

Respect peoples time

Be at the course 20-30 minutes before your tee time to pay, warm up and practice a few putts. If you're late or don't show, you put your playing partners in a stressed state and spoils the beginning of their round. You also won't be invited back if you don't show.

Don't cancel last minute. The only reason to cancel a golf game last minute is if you're dead. Otherwise, be there!

Introduce yourself with a handshake

If you're playing with strangers, walk up to the groups around the tee and ask what time they're playing. Once you find the group you're playing with, introduce yourself and shake everyone's hand. You can tell them if you're a new golfer - up to you. Make it a real mans hand shake and not a 'dead fish'. That's just not done.

Dress appropriately

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    Collared polo shirt
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    Knee-length shorts or full-length trousers with belt loops
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    Belt
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    Short ankle-height white socks
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    Soft spike golf shoes
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    Underwear, unless you prefer going commando

2. Etiquette for general play

Silence is golden!

Whenever someone is playing a shot near you, it's best to keep quiet and stand dead still. Similar to how we react to our women when they've got a problem with our behavior.

This includes the cell phone - on the golf course put it on total silence mode without vibration and leave it in the bag. If you have more important business than your golf game with buddies, you have your life priorities wrong!

One of the most common irritants is when someone undoes their golf glove Velcro on your back swing. Do this along with pulling and putting clubs in the bag between other guys shots.

Take your time BUT don't be slow

You should develop a pre-shout routine but since you probably take a lot more strokes than a lot of golfers, make your routine short. One or two practice swings and set up to the ball and hit. Efficient golfers always get an invite to play, whereas slow golfers lose friends quickly!

Regarding preparation before your shot, get things ready beforehand. While waiting for others to play, think about what club to hit - look at and gauge distance as you walk up to the ball. Pull the club out between other guys shots so when it's your turn you're ready to fire. Don't start the whole process only as it's your turn. 

You're going to miss a lot of greens and a lot of putts and hit some woolly and wild shots, and no one really cares if you do. We're all out there for fun and a chat with some boys anyway. But no amount of good personality can overcome a new golfer who stands in disbelief that he hit a bad shot, all the while holding up play. Keep moving, keep playing and remain positive and everyone will love you.

Don't lose your temper

There's no such thing as bad publicity they say. That's not true for golf courses. While Sergio likes to treat his shoes like a bad mule, you're not being paid millions for brand awareness of Taylormade. Word of your ill temper gets around a country club or golf club very quickly.

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    Don't throw a club. Ever. Throw the whole bag in the lake if you like but never a single club toss - you will not be invited back.
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    Don't swear and shout after every bad shot. One or two f-bombs are fine but one for every shot is too much. If you're having a bad day, start drinking.
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    Don't take divots out of the ground or green in anger - not classy at all.
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    Don't break clubs. Unless you break them all. Go all out or don't bother.
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    Don't kill the vibe. Everyone's out there for fun or to escape their awful wife so let's keep it fun for everyone.

Watch where you stand

When looking at the ball at address, movements or positions of other golfers can sneak into your peripheral vision and this distracts most golfers. There are some places you can always stand that won't offend anyone:


Picture courtesy of Golf Channel
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    Stand 90° to the chest of the golfer at least 2 yards away from his ball
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    Stand between 90° and 45° to the chest of the golfer at least 2 or 3 yards from the ball
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    You're not allowed to stand directly behind his ball. Also very off-putting standing directly in line with the ball and his target
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    Standing 45° over the golfers back shoulder is one of the worst places to stand. Very very distracting.
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    Standing behind the golfers back isn't advisable if it's too close because he'll be wondering if his club will hit you. If it's more than 5 yards, it's generally okay.

Respect the course and other players

Repair the course

Always always always repair your divots in the fairways and always repair pitch marks on the greens. This is general common sense that so many golfers ignore or are ignorant to. Repairing the divots and pitch marks immediately significantly speeds up the regrowth process. Those brown pitch marks and divots you see? Lazy bastards who couldn't be bothered. 

Interacting with your partners

In general, be quiet on others shots and congratulate them on their good shots with a 'good/great shot' comment. Don't give unsolicited swing/shot advice to other players as it's usually very unwelcome. If someone asks you what they're doing wrong, just say, 'looks good, maybe just relax and swing easy'. That's very generic and will usually stop them asking again. 

I once told someone after being asked what he should do to take a break for 2 weeks, then give the game up completely. I don't recommend this for making friends.

Chat with everyone and don't be that weirdo who storms off in front of everyone or lags way in the back to avoid talking to people. I'm a single digit handicapper and have been for 15 years. I love all golfers especially newbies and high handicappers. We're all here to escape our miserable lives and wives so have some fun. If anyone is anti-fun, just never book a tee time with them again. Easy peasy. 

Be aware of other groups

Be aware of other groups of golfers

Don't hit if the people in front are reachable. If you hit it into people in front, apologize profusely. If they want to fight, roll up your sleeves and always pull an iron from the bag like a swashbuckler and swing it over your head like a mad man. I highly recommend the 7 iron. I never miss with a 7 iron.

If they want your membership number to report your behavior, give them a fake one.

I hit long bombs and am usually the designated driver assigned with hitting into the slow group in front of us. I've been asked my membership number (mainly by sour old women) countless times. I've never given them my actual number or name. I'm usually 'Steve' and my membership number is 3427.

Don't be like me. Be better. 

If you hit a ball that is flying to where there are people, shout 'fore!' at the top of your lungs. Shout quick and shout loud! If you hit someone, prepare for dirty looks. If you hit a woman, prepare for soap opera level drama.

Help other guys look for their balls

The most romantic moment two heterosexual men can have on a golf course is finding another mans golf ball in the rough. The deeper the rough the higher the bromantic feeling you will develop. This is scientific fact. 


3. Etiquette on the tee

Stand still and ssshhh

Find a place to stand as described above then be quiet until shots have been hit. A 'nice shot' comment is always welcome. Total silence is usually best for bad shots, but if you have some fun guys, a little ribbing or an 'ooooh' is OK. Judge it yourself. I won't be held responsible for your hospital fees. 

Respect 'honor' unless playing 'ready golf'

Usually the order of play is predicted by the lowest scorer on the previous hole. Playing first is called 'the honor'. TOP TIP: Only crack the pathetic "your honor, your honor" joke if you're a generally funny guy. Fake laughter always stings. 

Often though, guys play 'ready golf' which means if you're ready while the guy with the honor over you is fiddling around, hit before him to speed up play.

Wait until everyone has teed off

One of the rudest things you can do is leave the teeing area before everyone has hit and start walking up to your ball along the side of the hole. This is a surefire way of getting the guys in the group to gossip about you while you're playing! Unless the rest of the guys are jerks, stand and watch the other guys shots. 


4. Etiquette on the green

Don't stand on other players' lines

I don't really mind this because the greens are usually torn up from a lot of use anyway but I do mind on anything inside 6 feet. Try not to stand on other players lines - basically any piece of grass on a straight line between the golf ball and the hole. 

Don't stand on players putting lines

FIX YOUR PITCHMARKS!

Looking after the course keeps it in pristine condition and makes the green-keepers job much easier. Grass on greens heal much quicker when pitch marks are repaired within a couple of minutes than if left unattended. Unattended marks go brown and cause scarring which looks awful. 
Use a pitch mark repairer, pocket knife blade or tee peg. Just use something.

Fix these marks as soon as possible!

Mark your ball

Use a coin to mark your ball or something equally flat. If it's not on anyone's line, I use beer cans, the toe of my putter, a tee peg and sometimes. If your ball is in someones line of sight, best to use a coin. 

Mark your ball with something flat (Callaway Golf)

Watch your shadow

Be conscious of where your shadow is cast especially early mornings and late afternoons. Try not to have your shadow touch the golfers putting line. They'll usually say 'watch your shadow' so this isn't a punch-up worthy error. 

Hold the pin for others

When another guy is putting, if you're the closest to the pin on the green, hold the flag for other guys' lag putts after you've marked your ball. Inside of 20 feet, just pull the pin and set it down next to the green. 


5. Etiquette after the round

Shake hands with everyone

There's only been one guy in 20 years I haven't shaken hands with. Not only did he break every single etiquette guideline in the book, he didn't even bother shaking hands and went directly home. Always offer a handshake and a 'thanks, that was fun' or 'thank you, I really enjoyed that'. 

If it wasn't actually fun, shake hands and say thanks and add in an excuse to leave early so you don't have to stay for a drink.

Stay for a drink

It's often traditional to stay and have a drink with the guys you play with after the round. You can have a shower or not, but drinking will only occur after everyone's arrived. 

If you really had an awful time playing with some unpleasant people or you're too stingy to pay for drinks, here are some good excuses:

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    I've got a wedding to get to
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    It's my wife's birthday (even if you're single)
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    I need to watch my son's (insert seasonal sport) game. Even if you don't have a son.
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    Literally anything believable will work. It's all in the delivery. Don't let your voice quiver and look them directly in the eyes. 

No caps or hats on in the club house

This is an old tradition and might not be in effect everywhere you go. Best to take it off when entering the clubhouse or bar anyway otherwise you might get told to buy the whole bar a round of drinks!!!

Conclusion

There are a lot of things to remember. But it can really be broken down into some very simple things:

  1. Don't stand on peoples putting lines
  2. Keep quiet when others are hitting
  3. Look after the course 
  4. Dress properly
  5. Be the type of guy you would want to play with

    Most importantly, have fun! 

Basic Rules of Golf Explained for Beginners in Plain English

​Golfers love rules and some guys can be real sticklers for them. By that, I mean they ​have arguments and carry a pocket rule book to prove they're right over the tiniest of innocent infringements. That's a minority of guys but generally we all like to play by the book as best we can.

The official rule book is 100 pages long and a bit boring to sift through and know which are the most essential. So we've summarized the most important ones to ensure you don't commit any mortal sins on the course. You may even get invited back to play again!

​Note that we're covering the rules for strokeplay here. That means you count all your shots and must put the ball in the hole to complete the hole.

Rules: Equipment


Clubs and balls

  • Clubs: You can carry a maximum of 14 clubs. If you have a 15th, leave it in the car to avoid complications. The 14 clubs can be a combination of anything you like.
  • Ball: You must finish a hole with the ball you started it with. You can change a ball between holes but not during a hole. However, if you lose a ball during a hole, you can use any other ball as the new ball in play.

Rules: Tee box/teeing ground

  • You must tee the ball up behind the line created by the tee markers. You can tee it up anywhere between the two markers and you can tee it as far back a​s the length of two drivers. So if your driver is 45 inches, you can tee up to 90 inches behind the imaginary line. Never in front of the tee markers.
  • If the ball falls off the tee before you swing at it, it doesn't count as a shot. Just put it back on the tee and roll your eyes at the lame joke someone will crack when they say 'one'. Hilarious. 
  • If you swing at the ball and miss it completely, that counts as one shot. If it falls off the tee from the wind you generate, you must play it from that position without putting it back on the tee - that was your first shot.
  • Order of play on the tee is determined by the score from the previous hole. The lowest scorer hits first and in order of lowest to highest score until everyone has hit. The exception to this is if your friends play 'ready golf'. This is where whoever is ready, hits the ball regardless of their distance to the pin.

Rules: During play of a hole

  • You must play the ball as it lies. You're not allowed to kick it or move it to a better spot and neither is your long-toed caddie!
  • ​You can't make the lie better so be sure not to press your club down very hard behind the ball to try flatten the ground. Also ​don't press behind the ball with your foot to make it easier to hit the ball! This rule is broken by a lot of people!
  • No breaking or bending branches to allow you to swing easier at the ball.
  • When you're in a bunker always remember to not ground the club in the sand behind or in front of the ball. Also no raking before your shot or using your fingers in the sand to test the consistency. The rules in 2019 now allow you to remove impediments like leaves and stones from the bunker. Also, if the club incidentally touches the sand, like while you're walking to your ball there is no penalty anymore. Just don't test the sand with your club! NO TOUCHING THE SAND ON PRACTICE SWINGS!
  • In a water hazard (now known as penalty area - 2019), sometimes there is no water and you can play out of it. If your ball is inside the red or yellow lines of a hazard, remember the same rules in the bunker apply in the water hazard. No grounding the club, no touching the grass on the back swing, no fingers or hands to move anything like leaves or stones. 
  • You can't place anything in front of your ball for aiming or have someone stand in front of you to aim at them. You can however, use leaves and stones and grass that were already there to line your club up to for alignment!
  • You can pick up sticks, stones, leaves, rocks, boulders, feathers, dead grass, pine needles that are around your ball but make sure not to move your ball because then that's a penalty. Use your hands to move the impediments because dragging your feet and kicking and changing the surface is not allowed.

Practice shots

  • You can take a practice swing at fresh air but you can't actually hit a ball before your shot. You can hit an acorn on the ground or a stone if you like but no golf balls.

Order of play

  • The player furthest from the hole is supposed to play first. This is a good rule to follow initially in a new group of players. Someone will tell you that they play 'ready golf' which means whoever is ready can play without too much concern for order of play. If you do play 'ready golf', make sure you don't play while someone who is further from the hole is playing.

Hitting the ball

  • You need to hit the ball with one strike. Scooping is not allowed. Pushing the ball with extended contact like a hockey puck is not allowed.
  • Only hit a ball that is standing still. Don't hit moving balls unless it's in the water. It gets very complicated counting shots and penalties. Just don't do it!
  • Identify your ball before you play it - if you hit any other ball but yours, you will get a 2 stroke penalty. 
  • An intentional double-hit is not going to be penalized from 2019 onwards but an intentional one will be.

Rules: On the greens

​If any part of the ball is touching the green, it means you're on the green and can put a marker behind the ball and pick it up to clean. Well done!


Putting & touching the green

  • You can move away stones, sand, gravel, leaves and other loose impediments on your line. You can from January 2019 onward, fix the putting line whether that's a ball mark, spike mark, and pretty much prepare your line to be as perfect as you like. Without delaying play of course.
  • Don't scrape or rub the surface of the green with your hand or club to feel grain or texture of the green. You can't test the surface that way.

Try use a small coin to mark your ball on the green http://cmp.callawaygolf.com/

  • Sometimes golfers will ask you to move your marker left or right of where it is because it interferes with their line. Place the heel of the putter head next to the marker and move the marker to the toe of the putter. Remember to replace the marker to the original position before you play!
  • Always ​replace the ball as close to the identical position it was in before you marked it. Another rule a lot of golfers break when they move the ball an inch or so closer to the hole! Get caught doing this, and you'll have no friends on the course!
  • If your putt stops just on the edge of the hole, you can wait 10 seconds to see if it goes in. If it takes longer than 10 seconds to drop in, you count that drop into the hole as a shot.

The flag stick

  • ​If your ball hits the pin when you're off the green, that's no problem as long as no one is touching the flag at the time.
  • From January 2019, you can putt with the flag in and leave it in. There is no longer a penalty stroke for leaving the flag in while on the green. A real time saver!

Rules: Talking to other players


Giving and asking for advice

  • You can only ask your caddy for advice on how to play the hole. This means you can't ask another player which club he hit, or how you should putt the ball or which club you should use etc. For social rounds, this doesn't really apply and is probably the most broken rule in golf so gauge who you're playing with and listen to them speak to each other before engaging in breaking this rule.
  • You CANNOT have your caddie line you up before the shot. They can give you advice where to hit the ball and advise you on the line of the putt but when it's time to hit, you have to aim and set up by yourself. You can't have the caddie stand behind you to tell you that you're lined up okay.
  • Anyone can hold the flag for anyone else. You can also ask for information that is public knowledge like where the water hazards are and distances on the sprinklers your friend is standing next to.
  • You can't give advice to anyone who is not your partner in a competition even if they ask; no matter how much you love them.
  • If you play in betterball competitions, you ​and your partner can advise each other.

Ball moves by accident or by God

  • If you move the ball while searching for it, there is no penalty. You have 3 minutes to find the ball, otherwise you have to drop or go back and rehit the shot with a penalty stroke added.
  • If someone else or an animal moves your ball, there's no penalty. You must replace it then carry on as usual.
  • If water or wind moves your ball, you play it from the new position! Don't put it back! NO PENALTY.

Rules: Dropping & marking balls not on the green


Penalty drops

  • When you drop a ball, stand up straight and drop the ball from KNEE HEIGHT. . The ball musn't touch your body or equipment in the act of dropping the ball.
  • If your ball rolls into the hazard after a drop, make sure you retrieve it and drop it again. You must take full relief from obstacles or trouble so your stance mustn't be hindered by the thing you're dropping away from. If after 2 drops, the ball still rolls into the hazard or area you dropped from, place the ball on the spot it landed on when you dropped it last.
  • Make sure you watch where the ball crosses the water hazard and drop at that point or behind that point in line with the flag as far back as you like. There's nothing that grinds golfers more than a guy who cheats with his drops!

Free drops

  • ​You may drop away from temporary water that breaks the surface of the ground and is not marked as a hazard. No penalty.
  • You may drop ​away from areas marked GIR - Ground Under Repair. No penalty.
  • You're allowed to drop ​away from burrowing animal holes. No penalty.
  • ​If you land on the wrong putting green, you must drop it off the green 1 club length from the edge and play from there. No penalty.

How to drop a ball

  • When you drop a ball, you must drop it from knee height. I have no idea why they made it so complicated and awkward - right now try dropping a ball from knee height. Don't you feel like a fool?.
  • If your ball rolls into the hazard after a drop, make sure you retrieve it and drop it again. You must take full relief from obstacles or trouble so your stance mustn't be hindered by the thing you're dropping away from. If after 2 drops, the ball still rolls into the hazard or area you dropped from, place the ball on the spot it landed on when you dropped it last.
  • Make sure you watch where the ball crosses the water hazard and drop at that point or behind that point in line with the flag as far back as you like. There's nothing that grinds golfers more than a guy who cheats with his drops!

Marking a ball not on the green

  • ​If another ball is in your way or interfering with your swing, you can ask the guy playing it to mark and lift it.
  • If someone asks you to mark and lift the ball not on a green, mark it with a coin or a tee peg and pick the ball up. You're not allowed to clean it so just hold it and replace when he's done. 
  • If you can't see if the ball you've found is yours, you can mark it and lift it to identify it then put it back in the original positon and play on.

Rules: Obstructions

  • Man-made objects not part of the earth such as bottles, cans, rakes, stakes etc., are movable obstructions. Sprinkler heads, shelters, cart paths, etc., are immovable obstructions.
  • You can move the immovable obstructions but make sure your ball doesn't move!
  • If an immovable obstruction is hindering your stand or swing, you can mark the ball, pick it up and drop it away so your swing is unimpeded at the nearest point of full relief. There is no penalty unless a rule of the specific golf courses forbids it.

Rules: Ball in the water, lost, out of bounds or unplayable


Water hazards

  • Water hazard (now known as penalty areas) are defined by yellow stakes or painted lines. Lateral water hazards are identified by red stakes or painted lines.
  • You can play the ball inside the hazard if you like or you can:
         1. Drop a ball where you played the last shot and add one additional penalty                 shot.
         2. Drop a ball in line with the hole and the place you crossed the hazard and go           as far back as you like.
         3. If it's a lateral (red staked) hazard you can drop within 2 club lengths of                    where your ball crossed the line of the hazard.
  • In a water hazard, sometimes there is no water and you can play out of it. If your ball is inside the red or yellow lines of a hazard, remember the same rules in the bunker apply in the water hazard. No grounding the club behind the ball. 

Lost & out of bounds

  • ​If you hit a shot and think your ball might be lost in some bushes or similar problem area, or you suspect it could be out of bounds, you can hit a ball from the same position and call it "provisional". Then you can go look for the original ball and if you find it, you can play it and pick up the provisional ​with no penalty or you can deem the original unplayable and play the provisional ball with a one stroke penalty. You can also deem the ball lost at any stage and just play the provisional with a one stroke penalty.
  • You must tell the people you're playing with 'this is a provisional ball'. 
  • Definition of lost ball: you can't find it in under 3 minutes or you declare the ball lost. You can also declare a ball lost while you're standing where you hit the bad shot from. Then the next ball you put down in the same spot is the ball in play and you add one penalty stroke.
  • ​Definition of out of bounds: When the entire ball lies outside the white line or stake line signifying the out of bounds border.

Unplayable

  • If you see your ball and you think you can't play it because it's under a bush or stuck in a tree, you can deem it unplayable, take a penalty shot and:
      1. Drop a ball on the line that runs from the hole to where your ball was lying.              You can drop as far back as you want on that line.
       2. Hit a shot from the same place you hit the last shot.
       3. Measure 2 club lengths from where the ball is lying and drop it there.

You can take a look at the full rules of golf here and here.

Golf Terminology for Beginners

​Wanna know how to sound like a fool on the golf course?

​I'll tell you. Don't read this guide. Then you'll be lost. Read this guide and you'll be speaking like a golfer in no time. 

​Through my 20 years on golf courses, I've whittled all the terms down to only the ​ones you actually hear and use on the course or see in magazines. The other stuff you read online is full of bloat that no one ever says. 

A

 

Ace: Hit the ball into the hole in one shot from the tee. Alternative: Hole-in-one

Address: To stand ready to hit a shot with the clubhead behind the ball.

Aim: ​The direction you are trying to hit the ball.

Albatross: When you hit the ball into the hole in 3 shots under par. This would be a hole in one on a par 4 or a 2 on a par 5.  Alternative: Double eagle

Alignment: The relationship of the feet, shoulders and club face to the target.

All square: A tie in matchplay. Both golfers won the same number of holes.

Approach shot: A shot you hit (not off the tee) that lands on the green. Usually fro the fairway, fairway bunkers or rough after your drive.

Apron: The usually less than a yard wide grass around the edge of the green, separating the fairway and the green surface. Alternative: Fringe

Attend to pin: Hold the flag/pin/flag-stick while the other player putts and remove it as the ball leaves the putter face.

Away: The golfer who is next to play. “You’re away” is a way to use this term usually when no one is hitting but should be. 

 

 

B

 

Back nine: Holes 10-18 on an 18 hole course. The opposite and complement to the front nine.

Backspin: When you hit a ball, the grooves create a spin on the ball that rotates backward and is responsible for stopping the ball on the green or fairway and often can roll backwards. Alternatives: zip, rip, bite

Back-swing: Initiation of the swing by take the club from behind the ball to behind your head. Opposite and complement to the follow-through or down-swing.

Ball-marker: Usually a coin or small plastic disk with a tiny spike to mark the position of the ball on the green so your ball doesn’t interfere with another players putt.

Birdie: When you make a score one under the par of the hole.
2 on a par 3
3 on a par 4
4 on a par 5

Bite: Same as backspin. Can be used as an instruction to the ball. “Bite!” “get down” “sit down” “Stooooop”

Blade: A kind of golf iron that has the weight in the back of the club behind the sweet spot evenly weighted from heel to toe. Opposite of a cavity back. Best to avoid these as a beginner because they’re very hard to hit.

To blade:
To hit a golf ball off the leading edge producing a low ball flight without any control or spin. “I bladed it right over the green!Alternative: thinned it, skulled it, hit it in the teeth

Blind shot: A type of shot where you can’t see the landing area from the tee or you can’t see the green from where you’re approaching from.

Block: A golf shot that goes very far right without much shape, just goes directly right off the club face. “He blocked it way right”

Bogey: A score one more than par on a hole.
4 on a par 3
5 on a par 4
6 on a par 5

Bounce: The angle measured from the front edge of a club’s sole to the point that rests on the ground when addressing the ball. This stops a sand wedge digging into sand or getting tangled in the long grass

Break or borrow: The movement of a golf ball on the green away from a straight line. Main reasons for the ball deviating on the greens are slopes on the green and grain of the grass. It takes a lot of practice to master reading greens.

Bump and run: A pitch or chip shot that is played lower with the aim to bump the ball into the air and let it run or roll for most of the journey to the hole. It can be performed from the fairway or green-side.

Bunker: An hollow filled with sand. They can be green-side bunkers, fairway bunkers or waste bunkers. You’re not allowed to ground your club in green-side and fairway bunkers but in waste bunkers, grounding your club is allowed. One of the least favorite places to be for some people but with modern clubs, it’s easy to beginners to escape! Alternative: sand, the beach. Avoid: sand trap – no one calls it that.

 

 

C

 

Caddy/Caddie: People you can pay at a golf club to carry your bag of clubs and give you advice on distances, clubs to hit, best options, break on the greens.

Carry: The distance the ball flies before hitting the ground. You can use this with caddies by asking: “How much is the carry over the water?” or when lying to someone “I carried my 8 iron 240 yards!”

Cart: A car-like buggy you sit on and drive around the golf course. Some golf courses make it mandatory to ride a cart. They run on electricity or fuel. You strap your golf bag to it and most come with a cooler box for keeping the beers nice and chille for those disaster rounds.

Cart: A two, or three, and sometimes four wheeled cart you can manually push or pull with your golf bag on.

Casual water: Usually temporary water that has accumulated outside of demarcated hazards. Often found after a heavy downpour or leaky pipes, you’re allowed to drop the ball away from areas where water is breaching the surface of the ground that is not marked as a an actual hazard with yellow or red stakes.

Cavity back: Golf irons where the weight of the material is positioned around the outside of the club head to improve forgiveness. These are the best possible clubs for a beginner.

Center of Gravity: Nobody knows but it’s a great way to sell golf clubs by confusing the hell out of the public.

Chip: A short shot from near the green that usually lands on the green and rolls up to the pin.

Choke down: Gripping the club a little further down the grip than a normal shot to get more accuracy but shorter distance. Essential when chipping to get more feel. Alternative: grip down

Closed club face: When you hit a shot but the club face points to the left as a right hander or right as a left hander.

Club: Drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters. Every piece of equipment meant to hit the ball. Avoid calling them sticks or bats otherwise you run the risk of sounding like a total newbie!

Club head: The heavy piece at the end of the golf club you use to hit the ball.

Club-face: The area on the club head that meets the ball at impact.

Clubhouse: Where the facilities are housed at a golf course. Usually you’ll find locker rooms, restaurants, a pro shop, bars and the managers office to complain about the standard of the bunkers. After the round, it’s best to stick around and have a drink in the bar with your group.

Compression: The unit of measure to tell you how hard a golf ball is. Lower compression is softer, higher compression is harder. There has been a marked trend in manufacturers producing lower compression (softer) golf balls for high handicappers and slower swingers.

Course: A place to play golf is called a golf club or golf course, either with 9 or 18 holes.

Cross-handed (putting grip): Usually right handed players have right hand below left hand. Some golfers such as Jordan Spieth putt with the left hand below the right. There is no ‘correct’ grip for putting, whatever works for you.

Cut: A shot that moves from left to right (for right handers) often intentionally. “I cut that ball in perfectly” or “I hit a nice 5 yard cut on that one”. Alternative: Fade

 

 

D

 

Decelerate: Decreasing the club head speed near impact. Usually from lack of confidence and happen very often on chips. Practice chips and accelrate the club head through the ball. 99% of golf shots won’t be successful by decelerating through impact.

Dimples: Indents in the surface of a golf ball to produce drag which keeps the ball in the air. They actually make it possible to hit the ball much further and straighter than a ball without dimples.

Divot: The slice of grass that gets taken out of the ground on golf shots. There are a minority of golf courses that prefer players not to replace their divots but most courses will have a remedy for us golfers destroying their pristine fairways. Depending on the type of grass, you may be required to replace the divot back to its original position or fill the hole with sand.

Distance markers: Stakes on the side of the fairway or plates embedded in the fairway marking 100, 150, 200 and sometimes 250 yard marks from the green.

Dogleg: A type of golf hole which starts off straight but then the fairway turns left or right toward the green.

Double bogey: Making a score of 2 over the par of the hole
5 on a par 3
6 on a par 4
7 on a par 5

Downswing: Moving the club from the top of the swing toward the ball for impact.

Draw: A shot shape where the ball goes right to left with more top spin than a fade. The opposite of a fade.

Drive: The first shot from the tee box.

Duck-hook: A shot that moves right to left very quickly and very low.

Duff: A horrible shot. Typically, this is a shot where very little or no contact is made between the club-face and golf-ball. Also known as Dub, Flub or Shank.

 

 

E

 

Eagle: A score on a hole 2 under the par
1 on a par 3
2 on a par 4
3 on a par 5

Even: Your score being equal to par for the round so far – “I’m even for the round today”. Alternative: level, level-par

 

 

F

 

Fade: Ball flight that goes left to right for a right hander. It’s usually controlled and not as extreme as a slice. The fade is very controllable and is what Dustin Johnson hits as well as what Jack Nicklaus enjoyed playing with.

Fairway: The shorter grass outside of the tee box and the green. Fairways are cut short to allow for roll and a nicer lie to hit from.

Fat shot: Hitting the earth before the ball. This usually results in a shot that goes much less distance and a bruised ego. Alternative: chunk, chilli-dip, hit the big ball before the small ball.

Flag-stick: A metal alloy pole with a flag on top placed inside the hole to show you where the hole is. Sometimes different color flags can mean different positions of the hole – front, middle or back. Alternative: pin, flag

Flop shot: Very high shot played with open stance and club face, generally for more advanced players with specialized equipment for the task. Not useful for beginners to play this shot.

Follow-through: The part of the swing that ends the swing sequence.

Fore: Shout this as loud as you can when you hit a ball toward other players to warn them to take cover. If you hear it, duck!

Forgiveness: A golf club is forgiving when it hits straighter and longer shots even on mishits. Super Game Improvement clubs make hitting the ball MUCH easier. Drivers, fairway woods, irons and wedges can all be forgiving. This is the most important aspect of golf clubs for beginners.

Four-ball: Check out the format and gambling games here

Freshy: A shot where you swing at the ball and totally miss it. “I hit a freshy!” Don’t worry this happens often for new players! But you have to count it as one shot! Alternative: whiff ‘I whiffed it!’

Fringe: Same as apron

Front nine: Hole number 1 to 9

 

 

G

 

Gimme: Short putts that your partners don’t think you will miss. They’ll ‘give’ you the putt and you can pick up the ball and count that as one stroke. They’re not actually allowed in strokeplay competitions but are fine for matchplay and friendly games with your friends. As a beginner, expect the gimmes to be a bit shorter than other players who might get gimmes of up to 3 feet.

Grain: The direction the grass grows – it affects the putting surface and reduce or increase the amount of break in the putts. Different climates use different grasses on the greens. Grainier grass is used on greens in hotter harsher humid climates while less grainy and fine grass is used in temperate and cool climates. Bermuda is a common grainy grass.

Green: The shortest grass on the course, well manicured to a smooth surface for putting. Alternative: the dancefloor

Green Fee: The amount you pay for a round of golf

Green in regulation (GIR): When your ball is on the surface of the green in 2 shots under the par number. Landing on every green in regulation and taking two putts on each green, you would shoot level-par.
GIR means you land on the green in:
1 shot on a par 3
2 shots on a par 4
3 shots on a par 5

Grounding the club: Letting your club head touch the surface of the ground. In water hazards and bunkers, it’s against the rules to let the club touch the ground. Everywhere else is fine.

Ground under repair (GUR): An area the golf course will demarcate as being under repair. You should take a free drop out of the area.

Groove: The deep lines cut into the club face to generate spin.

Good-good, give-give: Offering a gimme in exchange for one for yourself. If you and your opponent both have 4 footers left to half the hole, you or him may ask ‘give give?’ or ‘good good?’. To refuse or accept is up to the one being offered.

 

 

H

 

Hacker: Golfers with low skill levels. Not necessarily negative as long as you have a nice personality!

Half: If you play matchplay against someone, you ‘half’ a hole if you make the same score on it.

Handicap: You can be assigned a number based on your scores. If you play 27 over the par of the course which equals 99 strokes on a par 72 course, you might have a handicap of 24 or so. It’s calculated on your ability to improve. Handicaps level the playing field so you can compete with low handicap and mid handicap players. If your handicap is 24 and you score 90, at the end of the round, you subtract 24 from 90 and your NET SCORE is 66. That’s excellent. If your net score is below 72, you have played better than your handicap. If someone playing off a 5 handicap scores 78 and subtracts 5 from that, he gets 73. You essentially beat him by 7 shots relative to handicap!

Hazard: Bunkers and permanent water. Water hazards are clearly marked with yellow or red stakes. You need to follow some basic rules for playing out of hazards.

Heel: At address, the part of the club head closest to you, where the shaft enters the club head.

Hole: A circle cut out of the earth on the green with a diameter of 4.25 inches (108 mm). Alternative: cup, jar, can

Hole in one: Same as Ace

Honor: The player with the lowest score from the previous hole tees of first. Player 1: “Who’s to play?”  Player 2: “It’s your honor“. Often people think they’re funny and say “Your honor, your honor” which gets an obligatory laugh but please AVOID saying this unless you really are a joker and it suits your personality.

Hook: A shot that moves sharply to the left for a right hander. Usually uncontrolled and unpredictable. They roll very far and get players into a lot of trouble!

Hosel: The attachment part of the shaft and the clubhead.

Hybrid: Long irons with a piece of metal on the back to make them easier to hit. The added forgiveness means a lot of people are switching long irons for hybrids.

 

 

I

 

Interlocking grip: Holding a club with the left index finger interlocking on the right hand between the ring and pinky finger.

Iron: Golf clubs numbered from 3 to 9.

 

 

K

 

Knock-down: A shot hit very low to be unaffected by the wind

 

 

L

 

Lag putt: A long putt longer than 20 or so feet

Lay up: Hitting the ball short of a hazard or trouble on the course when it’s possible to try hit it on the green in one shot. This is a good tactic if you are not confident you can clear the hazard.

Lie: How the ball is position on the grass or sand or wherever it is on the course. Tight lie would be on hard surfaces. Fluffy lie would be on fluffy grass. Buried lie means it is deep in the grass or sand.

Lifting your head: When you prematurely look up to see where the ball is going – often results in poor shots especially topping the ball. Also results in putts missing on the right hand side.

Line: The route the ball is probably going to take to the hole on the greens. Be careful not to stand on the ‘line’ someone might be aiming for on the greens – major faux pas!

Links: Golf courses made on sand dunes and near the ocean. Sometimes refers to any golf course for fun. “Let’s hit the links”.

Loft: The angle between the shaft and the club face.

 

 

M

 

Match play: Where golfers or teams play against other golfers or teams hole-by-hole. You play against another player and if you make a 4 and he makes a 5, you win the hole. The aim is to win the majority of the 18 holes. There is no count of all the strokes at the end. You count strokes only on each hole to see who wins it.

Member’s bounce: When you hit a bad shot and somehow the ball finds a way into a good position. You’ll hear this one a lot.

Misread: When you hit the ball where you think it will curve into the hole but doesn’t perform close to what you thought.

Mulligan: A rehit. So you cancel the terrible shot you just hit and play another ball and count that shot and forget the previous bad one. It’s not allowed in the rules but often happens. Bill Clinton apparently loves mulligans.

 

 

O

 

Open face: When the club face is pointed to the right for right handers. Often produces fades and slices.

Out-of-bounds: An area marked by the golf course management where your ball is considered out of play. The area is usually marked with white stakes. If you hit it there, you will need to rehit the shot and add another shot on top of that. So let’s say you hit a driver out of bounds. That’s 1. Then place the ball on the tee again and that’s 2. Then you add another for the rehit which makes it 3 strokes so far.

Overlapping grip: Same as Vardon grip

 

 

P

 

Pace: Speed of the putt to reach the hole. When putting, focus on the break and getting the pace right.

Par: The score when you meet the suggested amount of strokes to complete the hole in based on the length.

PGA: Any Professional Golfers’ Association – each country has their own PGA.

Pin: Same as flag stick.

Pin-high: When you hit the ball left or right of the green in line with the hole. ‘Your ball is pin-high to the right’

Pitch: A shot under 60 yards or so with a sand, pitching or lob wedge.

Pitch mark: Marks on the greens from where the ball lands. It’s always best to fix these little plug marks with a tool designed for that.

Play through: When you have a faster moving group behind you, you should let them ‘play through’ which means you stop playing and let them play their shots past you and let them move to the next hole.

Plugged lie: Where the ball is stuck in the earth.

Plus handicap: A handicap better than zero – professional level.

Preferred lies: A Local rule that lets you pick up, clean and move the ball in the fairway when it’s been raining or the fairways are in bad condition.

Pre-shot routine: The practice swings and movements golfers make before they’re about to hit.  Try to create one for yourself to make a repeatable routine to get comfortable but make it efficient. Don’t make a 30 second routine because no one will want to play with you.

Pro (Professional): Tour or teaching pros playing or teaching golf for a living.

Pro shop: Professional golfer-run golf shop at a golf club to buy and fit equipment and also get lessons.

Pull: For a right hander, the ball flies unintended moderately to the left, sometimes resulting in trouble. Not as dramatic as a hook.

Punch shot: A shot kept low and under the tree branches usually to escape trouble.

Push: A shot trajectory that flies to the right for a right hander. It’s usually unintended and is less severe than a slice.

Putt: Playing the ball along the ground on the greens with a putter.

Putting green: A green close to the clubhouse or first tee to practice putting on before the game. Can also be used for general practice to groove your putting stroke and build confidence.

Putter: Flat faced club to roll the ball on the green with. Alternative: flat-stick

 

 

R

 

R&A (Royal & Ancient): Association that governs golf rules outside of the USA.

The Range: The driving range where you can hit golf balls

Rangefinder: A laser device to measure distances to and from things on the course. Usually to find the distance to carry hazards or distance to the pin. There are numerous budget rangefinders for beginners to start using to really improve fast.

Rough: The longer and more difficult to hit out of grass running next tot he fairways.

Round of Golf: 18 holes on a golf course. “I played a round at Bethpage Black”

 

 

S

 

Sandbagger: A golfer who manipulates his handicap to be higher than his skill level suggests. Guys do this to win more prizes in competitions. You might see a guy playing off a 9 handicap but shoots 75 or 76 very often on competition days but 84 or 85 during social games. Often are not popular with other competitors. In golf, it truly is ‘you’re only cheating yourself’.

Sand save: When you hit 1 bunker shot to get out the green side bunker and 1 putt to get it in the hole. These REALLY impress people.

Sand wedge: A golf club made for getting out of bunkers but also used within 100 yards for chips and pitches and full swings. Beginners should find a sand wedge that is great for bunker play.

Scramble: Chip and putt to make par after missing the green

Scratch golfer: Golfer with handicap of ZERO. Usually scores between 69 and 74.

Shank: A shot when you hit the ball with the hosel of the club sending it screaming to the right at an almost 90° angle. You can contract this shot almost like a virus. Tin Cup suffered from The Shanks also known as El Hosel before his US Open debut. The cause is unknown but can often show up after women troubles.

Short game: All the shots around and on the green like putting, chipping, pitching and bunker shots.

Slice: A shot shape that moves severely from left to right. Often the trouble shot of beginners and high handicappers.

Snowman: Soring 8 on a hole. The 8 looks like a snowman.

Sole: The bottom or underside of a golf club.

Speed: How fast the ball will travel to the hole so you can adjust your stroke. Faster greens produce more break because the ball must be hit slower and slower greens show less break because you need to hit it harder.

Stimpmeter: A device used to measure the speed of greens.

Sweet-spot: The area on the club face near the center where the most distance will be produced on your shots. Forgiving golf clubs have very big sweet spots and should be the first choice for any beginner or high handicapper to reduce big errors.  Alternative: hit it in the screws, hit it in the panty.

 

 

T

 

Tap-in: A very short putt that just needs a tap. Usually less than a foot.

Tee: The peg you stick into the ground and place your ball on to to hit a driver or tee shot.

Teeing ground: The area where you hit drives from. It’s suggested that beginners should play off the front-most tees for men at any given course. This makes the game easier to learn. There are usually 3 or 4 sets of tees at any given course. On the tee, you’ll find tee markers made of metal, plastic or wood and that line created by the 2 tee markers is the imaginary line from where the hole starts.

Thin shot: A shot where you hit the ball with the leading edge of the club that makes it fly long and low. Often they say ‘thin to win’ – this means at least a thin shot from the fairway can reach the green as the opposite ‘fat’ shot means you’ll be very short of the green.

Through the green: The entire area of the golf course, except for the teeing ground of the hole being played, the green of the hole being played and all hazards on the course.

Tips: The championship tees on a golf course. We say “playing the course from the tips”

Toe: The end of the club face furthest from the hosel.

Topped: A shot where you hit the top of the ball with the sole of the club resulting in the ball either popping straight up or rolling a few yards in front of you.
A COMMON BEGINNER ERROR especially when trying to hit the ball to hard.

Triple bogey: A score three strokes over the par number
6 on a par 3
7 on a par 4
8 on a par 5

The Turn: Moving from the 9th hole to the 10th hole. You turn back to the clubhouse from the 10th to the 18th hole.

 

 

U

 

Unplayable: When you can’t play a shot you can declare the ball unplayable and take a penalty drop.

Up and down: When you get the ball in the hole in two shots from around the green. 1 chip and 1 putt.

USGA: The governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico. Together with The R&A, the USGA produces and interprets the Rules of Golf.

 

 

V

 

Vardon grip: A grip where for right hnded playes, you overlap your right pinky onto your left index and middle fingers.

 

 

W

 

Waggle: A movement of the club behind the ball at address as a player gets more comfortable before hitting his shot.

Wedge: Irons with high lofts to go shorter distances and are used for the short game.

Wood:  Golf clubs made with round big heads. They go furthest and are the most well-known especially the driver. Fairway woods are very easy to hit for beginners and most beginner bags should have at least 2 fairway woods.

Worm burner: A shot hit very low to the ground and travelling fast. Alternative: Mole raper, daisy cutter

 

 

Y

 

Yips: Twitchy movements during a putt because of anxiety leading to a lot of missed short putts. Bernhard Langer is famous for getting the yips and playing with strange putting grips.

 

Best Sand Wedge for Bunkers

Bunker - noun. a reinforced underground shelter, typically for use in wartime.

Sometimes it feels like a war with ourselves playing out of the piles of sand they rake nicely and nicely name, "bunkers".

But don't be disheartened, even the pros screw it up every now and then. With the right club and technique, the sand will look more like a zen garden to you than the trenches of war. Check out my guide to getting out of bunkers.

The good news is there's a formula for picking the best sand wedge for bunkers. And if you still have trouble even after using that formula, there are fool-proof, fail-safe sand wedges designed exclusively for the sand like the Cleveland Smart Sole or Tour Edge 1Out Plus. And if you're a more advanced player, check out my guide here on wedges.

There's a ball in this photo somewhere, can you see it?

Short list of best sand wedges for bunkers

  1. Cleveland Smart Sole 3  (best sand wedge for bunkers and around the greens)
  2. Callaway SureOut (best sand wedge for fluffy and normal bunkers)
  3. Tour Edge 1Out Plus (best sand wedge for all bunkers)
  4. Ray Cook Shot Saver Alien (best budget and casual golfer sand wedge

The ideal sand wedge specifications for bunkers

Loft angle and bounce angle made simple

  • ​56 or 58 degrees loft​​​
  • ​Thick wide sole with minimum 10 degrees bounce

Most manufacturers will state the loft and bounce angle for their wedges. Thick sole and high bounce are the key factors in hitting good bunker shots. 

​​Why bounce?

​​I covered golf bounce here in our high handicap wedge article. Basically, in combination with a big thick sole, the sand wedge BOUNCES off the sand instead of digging in and leaving the ball a few feet in front of you.

The reason we can't get out of bunkers is lack of follow-through and the club digging into the sand. Higher-bounce clubs produce shots where the ball pops out on a pillow of sand floating out of the bunker. 

From war time to zen time

With the right club (and technique), you won't have any fear of the sand anymore. You'll get out of the bunkers in one shot and slash strokes off your game. In fact, you'll look forward to impressing your buddies with all the sand saves you'll be racking up.

So now that you're all zen-like, let's earth and get grounded with some suggestions. Please note that these clubs are specialty bunker wedges and might not perform very well from longer distances on full swings.


​Looks

​Playability in bunkers

​Playability out of bunkers

​Top stroke saver ​around the greens

The Smart Sole S Wedge gets you out of the bunker and onto the green effortlessly. Despite the weird looks of the club, at address it looks like any other wedge. There is a massive difference between this one traditional wedges though.

The Smart Sole makes bunkers fun. You read right, fun. Fried egg lies, plugged lies, wet sand, dry sand, fluffy sand, good swing bad swing the ball will get out.

And you can do all of it with a square face - no need to open it up and manipulate the club. It does all the work for you.

​My experience 

I bought a Smart Sole S Wedge for a friend of mine. He was off a 14 handicap and a massive equipment snob. He would never play with a club like this but he couldn't get out of bunkers so I bought this as a joke. We laughed and he told me to f*** off but put it in his bag anyway. On the 4th hole and he's in the bunker, shaking like a dog passing a peach pip. I throw this wedge at him and he swings his usual scaredy cat bunker swing...

He hit it to 5 feet, made the par putt and hasn't stopped getting up and down from the bunkers since. He's also started using it around the greens. He now plays off a 10 handicap and hasn't changed anything else in his bag except including this club.

Pros
  • ​Makes bunker play actually fun
  • ​Point-and-shoot with a square face and get out alive
  • ​Can be used with full swings
  • ​Eliminates hitting it fat 
  • ​Playable from ​most lies on the course
Cons
  • 50/50 on ​hard ground
  • ​Not for people who want to manipulate the club

​Looks

​Playability in bunkers

​Playability out of bunkers

Good for normal and fluffy sand

Callaway put a nice thick sole on the Sure Out like most of the specialist sand wedges, but they've also put grooves over the whole club face! Regardless of where you hit it on the face, it's going to have some zip on it.

Out of sand, the Sure Out does what it says - gets out! The best part is you don't need to open the face like Phil Mickelson - it's best to hit bunker shots with the face square. No more worrying about hitting it in the teeth and killing someone. 

Pros
  • ​Perfect for bunkers with fluffy soft sand and wet sand 
  • ​Ideal for high handicappers and beginners
  • ​Specifically designed for bunkers
  • ​Can be used for short pitch and chip shots especially from rough
Cons
  • ​Not well-suited to full swings
  • Difficult from firm sand and tight lies

​Looks

​Playability in bunkers

​Playability out of bunkers

​Specialist club from the stroke saving experts

A 56° sand wedge with 11 degrees of bounce makes this a perfect option for getting out of the sand and the 1Out Plus was born for this. 

That big fat sole you see in the picture slaps the sand hard and bounces off to pop the ball out onto the green in one. You just set up to the ball with a square club face and swing at it. Additionally, the thick sole glides through long rough and pops the ball out with ease. No tangling.

Tour Edge is famous for their stroke-saving clubs especially fairway woods. This wedge is another stroke-saving weapon to add to the arsenal.

Pros
  • ​Simple setup square to the ball and get out in one shot
  • ​Heavy head powers through sand
  • ​Rounded heavy sole smashed through long grass without tangling
  • ​Very good price
Cons
  • ​Shiny chrome sole will scar easily
  • Not well suited to fuller shots

​Looks

​Playability in bunkers

​Playability out of bunkers

Best budget sand-save machine

​If you're a casual, beginner or part-time golfer and ​are tired of leaving the ball in the bunker, ​The Ray Cook Alien is perfect for you. Low investment and maximum return. 56° loft with large sole and bounce.

A bit thick heavy sole provides ample weight and force to get the club though the sand and splashing the ball out onto the green. It can be used on fuller swings but be prepared to practice to get it right. None of these wedge are total miracle machines.

Calling something an Alien is hurtful and I had my fair share of being called that while living in Asia. But this club does look weird and with the rounded leading edge can be trick to line up. Use the painted bottom groove for better alignment.

Pros
  • ​Easy to get the ball out of the bunker and onto the green
  • ​Excellent from deep bunkers
  • ​Very low price
  • ​Good sand wedge for beginners, casual and part-time golfers
Cons
  • ​Quite a heavy clubhead might not be to everyone's tastes
  • ​Funny looking club people will ask questions about or make jokes about

Important information about these types of wedges

​The wedges outlined in this guide are unique and some things need to be remembered to gain full value from them without disappointment:

  • ​While they give you an edge, they aren't miracle clubs and ​practice is key
  • ​Opening the face can lead to some booming line drives if you hit it thin.
  • ​Priority has been given to BUNKER SHOTS with these wedges. Some are one-trick ponies. Can you dig that?

Shocking: Even ​the worlds best can screw it up

​Watch Rory McIlroy take 6 shots to get out a bunker. Someone get him a Smart Sole.

Best Taylormade Irons for High Handicap Golfers

With their constant release of new golf clubs, it's easy to get yourself a nice deal on some very forgiving irons to bring that handicap down to the low teens. Wouldn't that be nice going back to your teens? 

Along with Callaway, Taylormade are one of the most popular choices for forgiving irons. They've got the brand name of Adidas behind them and the reputation of pros like Sergio and Dustin Johnson on their side. Let's have a look at the irons aimed at you so here are the best Taylormade irons for high handicap golfers.

TaylorMade Golf Pre-Owned

​What makes Taylormade irons so forgiving?

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    ​Big sweet spot
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    ​Perimeter weighted cavity back clubheads
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    State of the art materials
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    Wide sole to stop digging into the turf
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    Offset club head design for square impact
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    ​Feedback from off-center hits feels like a good shot

Most Forgiving Taylormade Irons


For straighter shots and more distance

​When you mishit the Taylormade 2017 M2, you don't know it. The ball still travels to where you want it and hardly loses any distance. Those screw-ups that ​turn your round into a catastrophe have no chance!

​Just crushes the golf ball. So many guys are saying they've added half a club or even a club to their distance. That's probably due to the very solid wide sole and hefty bit of metal in the back of the club. 

The hybrids are there to replace the long irons and make life for you the high handicapper much easier. Long irons are the most difficult especially for slower swingers.

Hi-tech muscle for distance and ultra-forgiveness

Taylormade cut Speed slots into the face of the irons to maximize ball speed on mishits. There's also a hollow pocket behind the club face to make the iron react like a wood when hitting a golf ball. The face is thin and rebounds to produce much longer shots than normal irons.

You would think the Face Slots and hollow pocket might make the club sound like a tin can driver. but Taylormade put the Geocoustic system in the back to make them sound more like traditional irons. Add in the painted bottom groove and the face slots cut out and you have a very easy iron to aim.

Pros
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    Extremely forgiving and easy to launch irons with large sweet spot
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    Hybrids make longer approaches a breeze
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    Some distance gains, up to one club extra for slower swing speeds
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    ​Very solid feel when holding the clubs 
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    ​Slots on the face for even more forgiveness and easy ​aiming
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    Nicer sound than 2016 model
Cons
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    ​Not much feel for feedback at impact for poor shots
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    Designed only for forgiveness and distance, not for ​finesse which shouldn't be a problem for high handicappers

Old model that works and looks good - like Cindy Crawford

Taylormade made the M2 the ultimate Super Game Improvement irons. They’ve got the hollow Speed Pocket behind the face to allow the face to flex and give you more distance anywhere you hit it on the face - the iron reacts like a fairway wood when striking the ball!

The sweet spot extends almost the entire groove area and since the club head is one of the biggest around, that's a lot of sweet spot.

It's the iron set the high handicap golfer has been dreaming of. They increase shot height and hit it a looong way. The short irons get up quickly and mid irons are so forgiving, you'll think they're wedges. With their thick sole and large club face, they ensure a good result every time.

Tons of forgiveness and you don't even need to go to confession

Balls launch high off the face and the wide soles help to get under the ball especially in deep rough to get it out high and handsome. The heavy perimeter weighting means you can swing it and trust the club to do the work for you. Looking down at the club behind the ball, you're filled with confidence as it 

Taylormade designed the M2 iron set with forgiveness in mind. They're extremely accurate irons and with the offset hosel, cavity back design, they tick all our boxes for the most forgiving Taylormade irons especially for the price.

Pros
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    ​Very very big sweet spot
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    Creates high launching bombs that fly for miles
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    ​Mishit shots travel longer than you would expect from other clubs
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    ​Imposing size of club head over the ball - looks strong
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    Very macho color scheme
Cons
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    ​Loud at impact
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    ​Distance irons not for soft delicate ​men
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    Bulky look

​Good for ​​slow swings or those playing with really old clubs

These cavity back Taylormade Aeroburner HL irons look much more traditional than the newer M2s and are a little older but play and feel excellent. Because they're older, the price is quite good and will suit high handicappers or casual players who want to upgrade to a more modern set without blowing the college tuition.

Aeroburner HL irons will give you a big distance boost if you're tired of playing your 10 year old set of clubs. You'll see a distance boost and with that, a massive forgiveness enhancement. They make golf more fun and make you want to get out there as soon as possible.

Forgiveness comes in big packages

Hitting long irons with these clubs is so easy, it feels like cheating. The club face is BIG for a juicy sweet spot. The top line of the club at address is BIG. The cavity in the back is BIG for more forgiveness. The sole is BIG to get through the turf. Even the short irons heads are BIG so you hit more greens!

All of this BIG is what makes you hit it further, straighter and with more confidence.

Pros
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    ​Very straight hitter - just wants to go straight
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    Mishits still get you very close to your target - good strikes feel like butter in your hands
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    Very big heads and thick top line give extra confidence
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    ​Head size stays large throughout set
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    Very deep cavity back for total forgiveness
Cons
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    ​Not as effective in counteracting slices
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    Short irons club head look very big

​Are Taylormades for you?

​It's clear from the information above, Taylormade have focused on making distance irons that go far even on mishits. They've focused on the mid to high handicap golfer ​by making the clubs as forgiving as possible and forgiveness is the main priority for high handicappers.

​So if you're after distance with your forgiveness, try ​Taylormade out or go get a fitting and order yourself the irons you like the feeling and look of after your fitting.

It's always best to get fit by a professional and be sure of what you want as ​a set of irons is an expensive affair and finding the right irons can mean five to ten years of joy and elation on the golf course. Nothing feels better than hitting good shots that impress your playing partners and and show you that you're making progress. Good luck and report back on your progress!

Best Golf Glove for Hot Humid Weather

After endless hot rounds in the tropical South East Asian sun, I've finally found the best golf gloves for hot weather. Not only the best gloves, but also the best techniques to make them last all year long.

And if you keep reading, you'll find out just how I save myself shots on the golf course but also tons of money by playing the right gloves and looking after them the right way.

Playing a lot of golf in the tropics in Asia, I've come to appreciate how a good glove can save a ton of strokes throughout a sweltering round. Luckily you can learn from my trial and error in finding the best golf gloves for hot humid weather. I hope it helps...

Time to get a grip!

 The total solution to your sweaty hands

  • TOP TIP: Have two or three gloves in your bag. Constantly rotate using each one throughout the round to make them last for a very long time
  • Don't wear the gloves between shots to make them last even longer!
  • Use gloves designed for wet weather, because sweat is...wet.
  • Use a spray like the GripBoost Grip Enhancing Spray

This works for me and I guarantee it'll work for you. The best and weirdest thing I've tried and works wonders is using a golf glove for wet weather! Think about it though, a glove designed for the wet while your hands are getting wet from sweat makes sense.

Here are the gloves I've used and found to be the best and longest lasting in the oppressive heat of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.


The Best Gloves for Hot Humid Weather

  1. Footjoy Weathersof (the most popular glove in the world)
  2. Footjoy RainGrip (gets better the wetter it gets)
  3. Grip Boost Second Skin (best budget glove with cabretta leather)
  4. Hirzl Trust Control (longest lasting glove on the market)
  5. Bionic AquaGrip (most ergonomic glove)

#1 FootJoy glove still going after 25 years

FootJoy tell us 20% of golfers use the strangely misspelled WeatherSof golf glove. It's made with leather patches on the thumb and the meaty part of your palm while the rest of the glove is a highly durable synthetic material.

These are the number one choice just because they're so durable. I'll usually put 3 of these in the bag, and they last a full season playing once a week. They show only mild signs of wear after a few rounds and if you rotate them throughout the round, last a crazy long time. 

Rain or shine: The glove works for both liquids, rainwater and sweat. It absorbs liquids better than the majority of gloves on the market and in Thailand's heat and rain, these are my first choice.

Pros
  • Superior grip in rain and sweltering heat
  • Excellent ​value for money pricing
  • ​Very flexible with PowerNet mesh on knuckles
  • Stays comfortable without that crusty stiff feeling
Cons
  • Playing more than once a week they can be less durable
  • ​Only available in white

Works better when it's wetter

​Yeah, rain golf gloves are great for hot humid weather with all that sweat dripping out of every pore. The technologies used in rain gloves transfer nicely into hot weather play too.

The RainGrip uses Autosuede on the palm and ​index fingers for supreme grip while on the back of the glove FootJoy have put a QuikDry synthetic material for huge breathability. Fibers on the Autosuede get initiated to stand up when the glove gets wet, actually improving grip on the club.

​In the tropics, I use these gloves when it's rainy season. It's convenient to have gloves that work well when it's super hot with rain coming on the same day.

Pros
  • ​Grip gets better when glove gets wet
  • Light and easy to get on and off when it's sticky
  • ​Best for very hot humid conditions
  • Stays comfortable without that crusty stiff feeling
  • Includes right and left hand glove for when it's very wet and sticky
Cons
  • ​Don't use the tee holder on the glove - useless
  • ​Tears easily if used too often

​Comfort on a budget

Cabretta leather palm and thumb paired with a super breathable back of the hand make this an extremely comfortable glove. It genuinely feels like a second skin. These are great gloves if you hate wearing gloves because they make your hands hot and swollen.

I don't get to use them often and only when my American friends bring some back for me. Even though they feel like they're not even there, I do take gloves off for putting. Anyone who plays in hot humid weather knows what a pain it is to take a glove off and I often end up using my teeth to pull them off. Not with these. The Grip Boost Second Skins come off very easily.

Another big draw for these gloves is I've never got a blister from using them out of the box. I usually get blisters from Srixon gloves and other all-weather gloves on the padding of my thumb but not with the Grip Boost.

Pros
  • ​True second-skin feeling - very comfortable
  • ​Very slick clean lines in white color
  • ​Great for ​average size hands
  • ​No usual new-glove blisters
Cons
  • ​Velcro sometimes attaches to backing mesh - quite annoying
  • ​Mesh can be prone to tearing

​Grippiest in wet weather and durable as hell

​Hirzl are famous for cycling gloves ​but are creating amazing golf gloves and now sponsor the ​Ladies European golf Tour. And they're amazing quality. The palm is made of KANGAROO leather - yes that Australian animal - which is more durable and flexible than Cabretta leather, which is used on the back of the glove.

What I find with these gloves is they get some oils and warmth from your hand and get ​VERY flexible and comfortable. The kangaroo leather is tanned a certain way to make these gloves the grippiest on the market for ​wet or dry conditions. It's something you have to try to believe - they're like Velcro to the golf club grip.

They're super thin and yet so durable. I still own the same one I got 2 years ago and it's always in my bag for those really sweaty days. And get this, I just chuck it into the washing machine to freshen it up.

If you're a greenie who prefers killing lambs for their Cabretta and think killing a kangaroo is somehow worse, then you probably need counselling anyway.

Pros
  • ​EXTREMELY grippy whether dry or wet
  • ​You can leave this one on between shots - 100% sweat-free palm
  • ​Last for a very very very long time - years
  • ​Kangaroo leather - ​As thin as, but more flexible and durable than Cabretta
  • ​Swiss quality product
Cons
  • Black palm ​takes time to get used to
  • ​Expensive but won't need replacing for a long time

​Super durability and dryness for excellent grip

In the wet, or sweat, the Bionic AquaGrip golf glove's suede microfibers ​get stickier as they get wetter. This makes it one of my favorite gloves for golf in hot humid weather. You can use this glove whether it's rainy season or dry and sweaty season without any need to replace it. It lasts for a really long time.

​Bionic have made a golf glove with Lycra-material areas that flex and move with your hand for more comfort and flexibility. They've pre-rotated the fingers so when you close your hand, the material is already in place instead of that constant friction.

​More padding to vulnerable areas ​make the glove last much longer. What's more impressive is the way the padding system evens out your hand for a lighter but more stable grip. I noticed that when I played with these gloves, I felt more stable with my driver which I hit all over the show normally. Simply a superb glove

Pros
  • ​Get better as they get wetter - tackier and grippier
  • ​Shows improvement in ​golfer with arthritis
  • ​Very durable - expect them to last a year
  • ​Padding system actually makes your grip lighter and ​more stable
Cons
  • ​A little pricey
  • Black gloves aren't for everyone
  • Loses a bit of flexibility when wet

​Bonus Boost: Antiperspirant for your golf game

​Here's a little bonus for you golfing nutcases. A cheap little product that you can store next to your sun cream. It adds some extra grip to your grips and hands without being overly tacky and sticky like glue. 

Conclusion

Once you play enough golf, you'll play through hundreds of gloves. The gloves I outlined in the guide above are simply the best I've used after playing tons of golf in South East Asia where the heat is often debilitating and by the 15th hole, you've sweated out 3 kidneys.

Try a few, try one, up to you, but get yourself 2 or even better 3 gloves to alternate between shots to make them last you entire seasons.

Related posts of interest

Best Putter for Slow Greens

Some of us play on bikini waxed greens . And some of us play on slow bumpy greens every week. Since moving to South East Asia I have played mainly on slower greens. Bermuda greens can really be a nightmare and I've learned a lot over the last 3 years.

I always played a blade putter, quite lightweight, on the fast bent grass greens of South Africa. The blade works well if the stimp reading is 9 or more on the greens. That rarely happens out here though and a lot of the time, it's well below 9.

On slower greens, I've discovered that lighter putters require more HIT and less stroke. That caused me to move toward heavier, mallet style putters with some success. 

Putts on slower greens need a little more 'hit' to get the ball to the hole with a blade. With a heavier mallet or Thor's hammer style putter head, you can make a shorter stroke and get more consistent results.

For slower greens, go heavier on the putter

For faster greens, I say lighter putters. For slower greens, I say heavier putters. 

There is a lot of arguments about this and no one can come up with a clear answer. The problem we have when we look at pro's is they are playing putters given to them by sponsors. They have no real choice in the matter so if someone is using a Taylormade Spider on the tour, and they're sponsored by Taylormade, there are few other options and they're playing on greens that roll like glass.

For us mere mortals, I just cannot see how a lighter putter benefits us. It creates a longer stroke, creating more ability to make an error. Heavier putters will make a shorter stroke for more consistent results overall especially on short putts.


The Best Putters for Slow Greens

  1. Cleveland Huntington Beach SOFT #11 Putter (Best feel from milled steel face)
  2. Odyssey Stroke Lab Double Wide (Best blade style putter for slow greens)
  3. Odyssey EXO Rossie (Best looking putter for slow greens)
  4. Macgregor Mactec 04 (best budget options)

How to putt on slow greens

Remember these three things when you're playing on slow greens:

  1. It's not your fault  - When you play on slow bumpy greens, you're going to miss some putts to start with but don't blame yourself too much. The ball can hop all over and depending on the grain of the grass it can affect the amount of break and whether the ball bounces around or not. Just realize that it's not going to all go your way and so...
  2. Putt for less break and hit it harder - Under-reading your putts is a good idea on slow greens since they break less. Hit the putt firmer on your line and trust the stroke. The harder 'hit' will make the ball move faster, removing a lot of the break you think is there.
  3. Hit short putts firm, don't baby them in - This one takes a major leap of faith and confidence in yourself. On putts inside 5 feet, pick your line, usually inside the hole and hit it firm so it slams the back of the cup. You might miss one out of ten and it will be a disaster with 6 foot back again, but you'll make 9 out of 10 and walk off with a lot more pars.

Best Putters for Slow Greens Reviews


This is my putter of choice at the moment. I do prefer a center shafted model which you can find here.

What drew me to this putter was not only the price, but the blue grip is slightly thicker and more built up than the standard thin grip, but mainly concentrated in the rear of the grip. It's much more comfortable than the slim grips and much more controllable than the pool noodle fat grips, which I am not fond of.

The weight of the clubhead is sufficient so that when you stroke the ball with the same length stroke as a blade putter, the ball travels an extra few feet. The face is milled steel and the milling is deep enough to force an impact on the ball that stops bouncing and sliding, rather promoting rolling.

But what the best part of this putter is, is the alignment aid. There is assistants on the back with the cut out piece which contrasts perfectly with the grass and with the straight edge, almost square shape, helps to align the eyes and mind and putter to the exact line. 

Short putts are an absolute dream with this because it feels as if it's too big to fail. of course that's not true, but the FEELING of confidence from a putter that suits your eye is massive. This is a winner in my book.

Pros
  • Multiple ways to align the clubface
  • Balanced weight with solid sweet spot for pure rolls
  • Crisp sound at contact
  • Lofts of the clubs printed on the bottom so you can buy the right wedges and hybrids!
Cons
  • Requires a more straight and through stroke with less arc
  • Takes a while to find the exact sweet spot

The Stroke Lab black series feature a shaft with a graphite upper section and a steel lower section. Odyssey counter balanced the putter by adding weight near the grip and in the head. This is supposed to increase feel in a heavier putter. 

The double wide is mainly in this list because it appeals to the blade fans. I am a blade fan but on slower greens, the closest I have found to a blade is this square-shaped double wide, with an extended back piece for alignment. 

Hinge insert in the face creates a firmer feeling at impact instead of the typical marshmallow feel of inserts. This is a big factor if you prefer a firmer hit off the putter to gauge your strike to be able to adjust for where the sweet spot is.

It's a very simple putter but with the extra weight, it can make a transition from a traditional blade very easy or toward a blade putter from a bigger mallet. 

Odyssey gave made a special effort with the weighting in the clubhead to allow for some toe hang, so that blade users, or people with an arc in their stroke can use it out the box.

Pros
  • Black and white extended back alignment make it easy to line up
  • Insert promotes a firmer feel similar to a steel face putter
  • Counter balanced to bring more feel to a heavier putter
  • 18 different heads and 3 different length
Cons
  • Pricey

Alignment is easy witht he heavy contrasting red on black, but on top of the red alignment aid, is a white line too. With alignment being of total importance to get  a ball started on line, this putter gets it done best.

The face is balanced so if you have a piston-style stroke, you're going to find a lot of forgiveness and with the White Hinge face, the ball rolls end over end very quickly, in a way previous inserts have not by imparting more top spin on the ball.

But what attracted a lot of people to the Rossie in all it's iterations is that it's always been a COMPACT mallet instead of one of a massive one. The compact design makes you feel like you're hitting a blade but with the weight and heft of a mallet. 

Pros
  • Compact head and attractive red, black and white alignment aids
  • More of a medium weight so it's not like swinging a sledge hammer 
  • Insert produces far less back spin
  • Feel off the face is soft on both premium as well as lower-end golf balls
  • Sexy head cover
Cons
  • Suited more to straight back and through strokes

Conclusion

I hope the mini-guide and reviews above helped you find a decent putter for slow greens. I've gamed Cleveland putters numerous times and when I played off a scratch handicap, I was playing with a Cleveland. I highly recommend them.

Best Putter for Fast Greens

Fast greens are scary. One and two footers look like 10 footers when you're low on confidence. You start seeing 6 inches of break on a 1 foot putt! Lag putts turn into guaranteed three putts in your head as you walk up to the green. No more my guy, no more

What speed is fast?

Usually we consider a green to be fast if the stimpmeter reading is 10 or more. 

best putter for fast greens

Use light or heavy putters on faster greens

Personally I prefer lighter putters but it makes no difference on fast greens as you can tel my what people use on the pro tour. Yes they are pro's but some are using blades, and some are using massive sledgehammers on the same greens.

Heavier putters work well on fast greens because you only need a short back stroke to get the ball moving. But the lighter putter also works because it just feels more nimble in your hands like a magic wand. 

The choice is yours really but here are putters I believe work on fast greens.

How to Putt on Fast Greens

Fast greens are intimidating but there are some hints and tricks to remember when putting on slick surfaces. Here's a quick guide: 

  1. Add more break to what you can see. In other words, never under-read the greens, always add another couple of inches of break.
  2. Always try have an uphill putt. If you're chipping, try chip it to a place below the hole. If you know the greens on the course, aim to be below the hole even if you're further from the pin. Downhill putts on fast greens are even quicker and produce even more break!
  3. Hit downhill putts off the toe of the putter - I grew up playing on greens 12 or 13 on the stimp all week. When I had a downhiller, I just took the same stroke and hit it off the dead weight of the toe. Works like a charm.
  4. On short putts, DO NOT LIFT YOUR HEAD. You should never actually see a short putt go in the hole with your eyes. You should only ever HEAR them. Just trust your line, jam it and listen for the rattle of the ball in the bottom of the cup. I promise you will make more putts.
  5. On short putts, take less break and hit it firmer. This goes hand in hand with number 4, because if you hit it firm and miss a 3 footer, you can have a 6 footer back. Keep your head down, trust the line and try slam the ball into the back edge of the hole. You don't want to baby short putts into the hole on fast greens.

The Best Putters for Fast Greens

  1. PING Sigma 2 Kushin C (Best for inside 10 feet)
  2. Odyssey White Hot Pro 2 (Best budget option)
  3. Scotty Cameron Newport 2 (Sleeper pick)
  4. EVNROLL ER1.2 Tour Blade (Simply the best putter brand)
  5. Taylormade Spider X (Mallet style for all green speeds)

​Distance control and ​short putt mastery

The Sigma 2 Kushin C is one of the best blade putters for straight back and through strokes. It has a center shaft which is not for everyone, but the center shaft makes it really easy to line up your putts and get your eyes over the ball and more importantly, easier to hit the sweet spot.

An interesting concept PING have used on this putter is the adjustable length. You can adjust the length to be anything between 33 and 36 inches. 

The insert used in the new ping putters has the appearance of a milled steel face putter and reacts in a similar way but with a softer feel. The design is meant to get the ball rolling quicker. This is particularly evident on putts inside 10 feet. It's a putt-making boss.

PING have long been excellent putter and driver builders and this is no exception in the long line up. There are many options and variants in the Sigma 2 range to suit your eye.

Pros
  • Potent inside 10 and 5 feet
  • Insert provides sufficient feedback to gauge strikes to adapt to
  • Center shaft makes it easy to align your eyes, mind and putter face
  • Good for straight back and through strokes
  • Ajustable length
Cons
  • Not suitable for more arced strokes - you want a heel shafted putter
  • Not as good from 20 feet 

Best budget putter

The insert in this range of Odyssey putters are very popular and for the price they are going at now, it's like stealing. The feeling off the insert is soft and consistent with  forgiveness on off center hits you just won't find on steel faced putters.

There are multiple models and head designs in this range and while they may be 3 or so years old, there is nothing wrong with owning one of these. 

Any Odyssey is a good purchase and the black color of these putters gives a different depth perception and contrast on the greens to help align your ball. If you like a traditional blade, the #1 an #3 models will suit you but if you prefer a mallet, there are 3 options in this rang too.

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • One of the most popular inserts in pro golf
  • Black and white colors excellent for alignment
  • Insert works well for soft and hard golf balls
Cons
  • Black color fades off the bottom
  • Can feel a little bit 'soft' when you strik the ball

The original

Scotty Cameron needs no introduction. This is the brand Tiger has relied on for years. It's simply superb. With EVNROLL and Bettinardi in the market now, there are some competitors but Scotty remains the leader in premium putters.

I have putted a lot of Scotty's in my life but was never really convinced by them until I tried this Newport 2 model. It's equally on the same level as the EVNROLL putter lower on this page. 

The craftsmanship, feel, look and consistent roll of the Scotty is what makes it so good. 


The best putter I have ever held

In this video on my Youtube channel, I used this very putter. I've tried out a lot of EVNROLL putters and when I do move away from Cleveland putters, and feel it is warranted, EVNROLL will be my first choice.

The ER1.2 I used made it so easy to get the pace right on the very fast greens at Horizon Hills golf course. All I could think was "this is sex in your hands".

What EVNROLL get so right with all their putters is the look. It looks so professional and so crisp. The satin look is calming and the sharp clean lines of the putter make it feel sturdy and ready to deal one-putts. You feel like a boss just standing over the ball. Thats 80% of the battle won.

When you do take the putter back, it feels sinful. It actually feels like the putter has cheats enabled. You take it back and it stays where you want it and when you stroke the ball on the follow through, your instincts immediately know how much power to give it. 

I have never felt putters as good as this. I know it all sounds over the top, but this is the best putter brand out there right now.

Pros
  • Clubheads are perfect in dimensions and coloring
  • Easy to instinctively feel the power needed on any given distance
  • High-launching and glides through the turf
  • Perfect for fast and slow greens - they are perfect
Cons
  • They are very expensive
  • Nothing else

The top of the putter has a new alignment aid which was missing in the initial models of the Spider. It was solid on top with a dark line running down the center. These new Spider X models have a white 'Y' shape on the top of the club with a black line running through it. 

With the weights on the outside, you can control the balance. of the putter to suit your stroke. The insert has been improved with 45° grooves for a better roll as well as a improved sound.

A more compact head makes this putter more accessible to a wider range of golfers. The prior generations had much larger, bulkier heads which swayed a lot in the back stroke. With a bit of nipping and tucking, Taylormade has produced a putter that remains stable on the take away and suits both a straight back and through stroke as well as a slightly arced stroke. 

Pros
  • Clubheads are perfect in dimensions and coloring
  • Easy to instinctively feel the power needed on any given distance
  • High-launching and glides through the turf
  • Perfect for fast and slow greens - they are perfect
Cons
  • They are very expensive
  • Nothing else

Conclusion

I hope this guide helped you to find a putter to cure your woes. I played on fast Bent grass greens for a long period and found the best putters were easily the heavier mallets and I drained a ton of putts with them. Short putts on fast greens with a mallet putter is like taking candy from a baby.

Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers

Wouldn't it be nice to know you'll hit it close inside 100 yards and give yourself a make-able putt? How nice would it be to know you'll stiff every chip and bunker shot?

With wedge play, and as someone who's had up to five wedges in my bag, I can tell you with certainty, the right bow to shoot the arrows certainly makes life easier for the Indian. 

With quality wedges like the Cleveland RTX-3, the ball spins more, strikes are consistent and weighting in the club has been put in the right place to maximize results.  

Good wedges save shots, scores and golfing careers

With this guide, I want to show you the best wedges for mid handicappers to get you closer to breaking 80.

So in this guide, I've indicated which wedges are best for each type of golfer to help with the issues you might face. I believe these are the best golf wedges on the market at the moment for bunkers, approaches, chipping and pitching combined.

   Top Wedges for 2018
  1. Cleveland RTX-3 Cavity Back Wedge (best for majority of golfers)
  2. Taylormade Milled Grind Wedge (best Tour level wedge for mid handicappers)
  3. Tour Edge Exotics CB Pro S Wedge (best sleeper wedge)
  4. Cleveland Smart Sole 3 Wedge (best for bunkers and green side chipping)
  5. Tour Edge Triple Grind Sole Wedge  (best budget wedge)

The Best Wedges for Mid Handicappers


Best wedge on the market for majority of golfers

The wedge for 84% of golfers

Cleveland is the foremost name in golf wedges and the new RTX-3 is another fantastic wedge for the mid handicapper. Since most of us (84%) use cavity back irons, it makes sense to extend the set with cavity back wedges for feel and consistency and the RTX-3 cavity back irons fit nicely into you set.

Hacking out the back of the wedge means they can put that weight around the outer rear edge for more perimeter weighting to add more forgiveness. So when I hit this wedge, I noticed even on mishits, it retained distance and direction far more than my current Mizunos. But there's something important to know to make sure you don't misunderstand the specifications...

Many reasons to love this wedge

What I really love about the two dot 56 degree wedge is the 11° of bounce which is ideal for getting that ball out of the sand and hitting solid approach shots. Two dots? Yes, Cleveland has a dot system on the wedges:

•  One dot means a ground down sole for lower bounce of only 8°
•• Two dots means the sole is mildly ground down for a bounce of 11°
••• Three dots means the sole isn't ground down and you have full bounce of 14°

The choice is yours. If you play a soft wet course, hit the ball fat a lot with wedges or leave the ball in the bunker a lot, get the 3 dot. If you're a decent enough wedge player, get a two dot and if you're playing on very tight lies and firm fairways and bunkers, a single dot will do well for you.

A rougher face and deeper grooves mean you're going to be ripping up the greens more often and more consistently thanks to the extra spin these puppies get on the ball.

Pros
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    ​Cavity back for better shots even on mishits
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    ​Roughened up face with sharp grooves for spin
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    Multiple bounce options to dial in the performance based on your preferences
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    ​Fits in perfectly to your cavity back iron set
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    Sweet spot closer to the center of club face than other wedges - moved center of gravity away from the hosel
Cons
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    Reduced shot shaping as this is a Game Improvement wedge

Best for low to mid handicappers

Taylormade need to make special wedges because their Tour players need them to complete the iron set they sign up to play with, so there is a lot of work that goes into making them. And when you have Dustin Johnson on your staff, it's important to get these Taylormade Milled Grind right.

They've even gone as far as to offer three different bounce options like the Clevelands above. There are LB, SB and HB options: Low, Standard and High Bounce. I like the High Bounce for most golfers. Low bounce wedges are really for skilled players or guys playing off firm ground most of the season. High Bounce wedges will hit the ground or sand and bounce off, propelling the ball high and with a lot of spin. The LB & SB tend to dig into the ground and produce inconsistent results unless you're super grooved.

One of the sexiest ​wedges on the market

The heel grind and the red dot in line with the hosel as well as the minimalist sole of the club really sets the Milled Grind wedge off as a looker. Always a sucker for classic looking wedges, these appeal to me. The newly designed grooves suck the ball in and spit it out full of spin. 

Like all sexy things we love, this club can be less forgiving. That is why I recommend it for low to mid handicappers especially the high bounce option. If you do want to try them out and you're unsure of which bounce to try, get the HB first and if that really isn't for you, try the SB. It's all about trial and error.

Pros
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    ​Classic minimalist look
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    ​Excellent out the rough
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    ​Three styles of bounce
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    High bounce has optimal bounce for majority of golfers
Cons
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    ​Less forgiving​​​
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    ​Standard bounce and low bounce tend to dig

​Best sleeper wedge for any golfer

Minimalist look with forged iron feel. Sign me up. Wait, 14° bounce on the sand wedge? Even better! Tour Edge Exotics have always been well known for fairway woods and Game Improvement clubs but with this wedge, they've stepped up their game further making it one of the best wedges for mid handicappers even though you've never heard of it.

The CB Pro Forged wedge is markedly heavier than other wedges on the market and with that you get better shots more of the time. That 14° of bounce comes in handy when you hit a full shot to get the ball airborne. Out of the sand and around the green, you'll feel the fat sole bouncing off the ground instead of digging to get you closer to the hole.

​MONGO grooves in the club face mean you get the zip and rip on the greens you desire. The ball stops quickly and will rip back if that's your style.

Pros
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    ​Classic minimalist look
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    ​Extremely consistent shot shape and reaction on the greens
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    ​Dynamic bounce so lots of bounce with square face, less with open face
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    ​Tons of bounce to get out of bunkers and the rough
Cons
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    ​Slight loss of distance compared to other wedges
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    Limited lofts on offer

Best wedges for chipping and sand shots

This is a truly unique 42° club that's designed to help golfers struggling to get up and down around the greens particularly if you chunk your chip shots a lot. The C wedge from Cleveland is a little beauty around the greens to get up and down. Within 120 yards, it's a dart thrower.

The best wedge on the market to simplify chipping

With that super wide Smart Sole, duffed chips disappear and it's almost impossible to screw up shots with the club. Fat shots are saved by the wide sole to get the ball near your target. 

Green side you just aim the ball, take a putting stroke with it and the ball goes where you want, it's that simple.

Longer approaches take some time to adjust to the unique looking club face but once dialed in, you'll be lethal.

The Sand Wedge comes in 58° which in my eyes is ideal for a sand wedge - like a love child of a sand wedge and a lob wedge. There's massive bounce in the Smart Sole making every wedge shot something you look forward to. It's so difficult to make a mess of a pitch or bunker shot, they're practically fool-proof.

The bunkers-for-dummies wedge

Here's where this thing shines. You'll never fear sand again.

So simple: Line up to the target. Don't manipulate the club face like you do with a normal sand wedge. Swing and hit the sand behind the ball. That's all! The club will do the rest. Is this a miracle club? I don't believe there are any, but yes this is the exception. Practice a little with this thing and you'll get out of the bunkers first time every time.

Pros
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    ​Extra wide Smart Sole for the most forgiving wedges available
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    ​Get out of bunkers first time
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    ​Chipping could not be simpler around the green, no more fat or skulled shots
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    ​Simplified technique to escape bunkers
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    Good out of the rough with thick sole
Cons
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    ​Will take some practice to dial in how to hit these unique looking clubs
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    ​Only two options 42° and 58°

Best budget wedge

If you don't need a big Tour brand, this wedge suits your needs. Golfers in the know are very familiar with the Tour Edge name and the quality they bring to the table. And for the money, you could try a Pinemeadow, or you could use a trusted brand like Tour Edge.

The name Triple Grind Sole refers to the bottom of the club where they've ground off some of the bounce so you can manipulate the wedge open, neutral and closed for more consistent results. This isn't a game improvement point and shoot wedge like the Cleveland Smart Soles so you're able to get fancy with it.

Great first wedge upgrade

If you're getting your toes wet in the pool of golf wedges, this is a good first option. It's consistent, sturdy and higher quality than other wedges in the same price range. It's not always necessary to blow a wad of cash when something cheaper can get the job done just as well.

Pros
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    ​Unbelievably cheap for the quality​​​​
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    ​Easily manipulated open or closed
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    ​Tour Edge quality golf club
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    Good out of the rough ​and sand
Cons
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    ​Older model of wedge

​How to Create the Perfect Wedge Set

Step 1: Select the best option

3 wedges
Consistent gap

4 wedges
Micro gap

3 wedges
Random gap

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    ​50° ​pitching wedge
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    ​54​​​° ​gap wedge
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    ​58° sand wedge
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    ​48° ​pitching wedge
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    ​52° ​gap wedge
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    ​56° sand wedge
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    60° lob wedge
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    ​48° ​pitching wedge
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    ​56° sand wedge
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    60° lob wedge


The Three-wedge Consistent Gap approach is the simplest system. It also gives you more space in the bag for another fairway wood or hybrid.This is going to be best for most golfers so there is more room in the bag for hybrids and fairway woods for more forgiveness approaching the green.

The Four-wedge Micro Gap approach means you have a lot of wedge options. This is a good system for longer hitters who are confident with their drivers and boom the long ball down the chute and have between 150 and 90 yards into greens a lot of the time.

The Three-wedge Random Gap system is what most people have because they have a standard PW from the manufacturer and buy new wedges separately without knowing about the gap between the PW and SW. This is not a bad system but it's not optimal.

I ​moved from a 4 wedge micro gap system to a three wedge system after discovering 58° wedges. They work like lob wedges and since I use a lob wedge from the sand anyway, the 56° SW was my most underused club. I threw it out the bag and put a 15° three-wood in because my driver goes a long way the wrong way.

Step 2: Select the wedges

​Most wedge manufacturers produce wedges in the following lofts:

50°  52°  54°  56°  58°  60°  64°
There is no wrong choice, it all depends on your needs, BUT...

It's best to avoid the 64° wedges. They're a nightmare for anyone except Phil Mickelson. Seriously, they're awful and more of a gimmick. You might use this club once in a round and screw it up anyway!

Select your wedge manufacturer and try buy the 2, 3 or 4 wedges from the same range/manufacturer so there is consistency throughout the wedge set. Similar feel and distance gapping from the same range of wedges will give you more confidence on approach shots.

Step 3: Practice Practice PRACTICE

​Take those new wedges and go to the range. Waste half a bucket or even a full bucket on just hitting your wedges. Practice at the chipping green for an hour at a time. Chip in the garden or over the house.

Within a couple of months you'll drop your score by at least 4 strokes with a decent set of wedges and a 2 or 3 hours of practice a week. Guaranteed.