Making a mistake is a given for new golfers or for any other sport or thing you’re trying to get better at. It’s human nature to make a mistake, that’s how we learn and get better. Pros make mistakes all the time but they are less common due to the fact that they are, well, pros.
The average golfer that plays on the weekends makes plenty of mistakes due to many reasons, some obvious and some not. That’s understandable because your average weekend golfer probably shoot between the 90’s and low 100’s.
These 30 mistakes new golfers make are easily preventable, so read on to find out what they are. Also, these are in no particular order and are my personal opinions as I was once a new golfer so I have been there and done that.
- Showing up late – This can be a big deal, especially on a Saturday because this is the busiest days on the weekend for golf courses. If you show up to the tee box 5 minutes after your tee time, you have delayed everyone else that is hitting after you. Most times the starter will let the group behind you go if you haven’t shown up but he now has to fit you back into the lineup. I’ve shown up late a couple times and I know shit happens but try to be on time to keep the pace of play going smooth.
- Forgetting your golf clubs – I am guilty of this and I have been playing for around 25 years. This isn’t something you would ever think you could do but it happens to the best of us. The good news is, most golf courses have clubs to rent and the bad news is they can charge whatever they want for them. Some courses take advantage of this due to the fact that they know people will need to rent clubs eventually, for whatever reason. I heard they charge a pretty penny for renting clubs in tourist areas like Cabo San Lucas or any place tropical.
- Forgetting your golf shoes – This is an easy mistake that can wreak havoc on your game. There’s nothing worse than playing golf in your loafers, no traction at all and now you have to worry about ruining your shoes. A playing partner of mine will usually forget something every round it seems, one time he forgot his golf shoes. He played in sandals, which is fine but I had the advantage.
- Not prepared for the rain – Nothing worse than playing a round of golf when it’s dumping buckets of rain on you. It’s bad enough when you are driving a golf cart but when you are walking without any gear, that’s the worst. Don’t get caught without rain gear, check out this rain suit that I recommend on amazon.
- Not prepared for the sunshine – I burn if the sun shines on me for more than a few minutes it seems. Sunscreen is always something that new people playing golf don’t think about. Maybe it’s because they assume they will be playing from the trees more often than the fairway. Check out this sunscreen specifically for Golfers
- Not drinking enough water – I’m in no place to tell people what to eat or drink but people new to golf most often think it’s the best time to drink beer. Which is fine, not judging, but depending on what the temperature is outside you could be ruining your chances at a good score. If a good score isn’t your reasons for playing than by all means, drink as much beer as you want. If you are trying to give yourself the chance possible, drink plenty of water. I would even suggest a hydration multiplier, CHECK it out here!
- Not eating enough food – I get hangry when I don’t eat after a while, playing golf can multiply that feeling. I generally bring food with me so I don’t have to buy anything to stuff in my bag. My bag has a little-insulated zipper compartment that I can stuff some water, chips, and a sandwich. Usually, that’s plenty of food for me so figure out what’s a good amount of food for you and start packing your lunch.
- Drinking too much beer – I know I said to drink as much beer as you want for #6 but there is such a thing as drinking too much. Maybe not to some people but to those who like to enjoy the game of golf, there’s definitely a limit. What that limit is I don’t know, I would say if you whiff the ball while teeing off, that might be your limit. All I’m saying is new players tend to think that golf is all about drinking beer while driving a golf cart when it’s so much more than that.
- Smoking cigars/cigarettes – On February 8th, 2015, Portland City Council made it so smoking was not allowed in public parks, that includes public golf courses. This isn’t a big deal to me because I’m not a smoker but it being a new law, most people around here don’t know about it. Not sure if it’s a law where you live but you may want to look into it before you go playing on a city golf course. I honestly don’t know if there’s a fine or a ticket, I’ve played with many golfers that smoke and it’s never really bothered me. But we’re living in a new age where the people outside have the right to fresh air, including the squirrels too I guess.
- Not marking your ball on the putting green – This is pretty common with a new golfer, it’s either not marking the ball or not knowing how to mark the ball. I recently played with a couple of friends that hadn’t played much at all. One of them thought the way you mark the ball was to place the marker in the center of the ball. If you haven’t guessed already, this would require you to move the ball and place it where you think the center of the ball is. Very understandable and it was something I didn’t even notice her doing. I think she noticed how I was placing the marker behind the ball and asked why I was marking my ball that way. Innocent mistake!
- Moving while someone is teeing off – This can be very frustrating, especially if you are playing with people you don’t know. If it happens a couple of times at the beginning of your round, I think it’s fair to say something to that person about it. Not just because you don’t want them to walk behind you but so they understand that it’s not okay for future rounds. So for the noob golfer, stop moving while someone is teeing off.
- Talking while someone is hitting – New golfers have a problem of finishing their stories at the expense of their playing partners. It’s not that big of a deal most of the time because, who are we kidding, it’s not like we are playing on the PGA tour. But there are moments when you weren’t expecting someone to say something and then it happens at the worst time. Don’t be that new golfer that is telling a story and not paying attention to your playing partners. Unless they’re your friends and you are trying to piss them off.
- Not paying attention to their shadows – Right when you’re about to tee off or sink a crucial putt, the shadow of a someone’s arm or head moves through your ball. This isn’t a big deal to some people and It’s something that I can usually forget about if it happens once or twice. But if it keeps happening throughout the round then you should say something to your playing partner who keeps doing it. It will eventually happen to them and they will probably remember when they did the same thing…like an amture.
- Hitting while your playing partner hits – I don’t mean teeing off, I mean hitting in the fairway when you’re 20 yards away or something. Sometimes people get confused and aren’t sure about when it’s their turn to hit. It’s not that big of a deal but when you hear someone hitting a ball as you are hitting, it can be a bit distracting. Generally, the player that goes first is the player that’s furthest from the flag but sometimes you bend the rules. Like if your playing partner can’t reach the people playing in front of you but you could, this would be a good time to let him hit first if he was closest to the flag.
- Not taking relief from immovable obstructions – When your ball lands on the cart path, you are allowed to take relief from the path without a penalty. This also applies to an obstruction that interferes with your stance. In all cases, you determine the nearest point of relief no closer to the hole.
- Not yelling fore – Coming from a person that’s been hit in the head with a golf ball, please yell fore. Even if you aren’t sure if someone is in the woods, that’s where I was when I got hit. The person hitting the ball couldn’t see me though so he didn’t know. I’ve almost been hit a bunch of times though, some yell fore and some don’t. Now, whenever I hear fore I take cover and you should too because it’s not fun getting hit in the head.
- Not fixing a divot – I think every round I play there’s a large divot on the green that wasn’t fixed. It’s not always the new players that leave them, sometimes you can’t see the divot because it’s too small. When I see a divot on the green I usually fix them. That goes with fairway divots too. I’ve played with new players that didn’t know that if they take a huge chunk of land out then they need to put it back.
- Not pulling the flag – If you are last to putt, you are closest to the hole, which means you can easily pull the flag. Don’t make the guy that’s 30 feet away have to walk up to the hole just to pull the flag. It’s also important to pull the flag for the people behind you, if the green is difficult to see especially. That’s how the players behind you know when you are on the green and when you get off the green.
- Not waiting long enough to hit the ball – Don’t wait too long to hit because you probably aren’t going to hit the ball 300 yards if you’re new to the game. But give the group enough room so you feel comfortable with the space and that you know there’s a small chance that you would hit them. If you’re just impatient and want to hit just know that it sucks getting hit by a golf ball and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
- Taking too many hits – If you are they player that needs at least 10 strokes to get it to the green, you might want to rethink playing on a course. Just because anyone can pay to play the game doesn’t mean they should, I’m not trying to sound harsh either. I just feel if you are holding up the group behind you because you have to take too many hits then you should spend more time on the driving range. Maybe get a coach to help you out because you can’t tell me it’s fun to hold people up that’s playing behind you.
- Driving on the fairway when you’re not supposed to – I’m guilty of this but when I did this I was trying to turn my golf cart around. Well there’s a reason they don’t want you driving on the fairway with the golf cart, it’s usually because it’s too wet. I hardly pulled into the grass but I wasn’t able to pull back out and needed my buddy to push me out. This was not good because I left tire marks on the grass.
- Damaging the green – This can happen by dragging your feet and scuffing up the green. Dropping a club on the green on accident put a small dent in the green. Throwing your club if you are mad that you missed the putt can do some damage.
- Not raking the sand trap – The only time I have never raked the sand trap was when there wasn’t a rake for the sand trap. This makes it difficult to leave the trap in its original condition if there’s no rake around. I don’t know if new players know to rake the sand or not but I have seen traps that looked like a little kid was playing in them. Not sure why someone would leave the trap a mess but it happens.
- Taking too long – Sometimes golfers take too long to figure out what they want to do next. Or maybe they aren’t paying attention and they are having a conversation with a fellow player. Whatever the case, just be courteous of other players and try to keep things moving.
- Playing the wrong ball – New player tend to forget what ball they were playing when they teed off. Everyone has done this but new players especially because they’re focused on more important thing like trying to hit the ball. If you forget what ball you were playing and you come up to a ball that you may think is yours but you aren’t sure. Make sure no other players are playing on the other fairway before you pick the ball up.
- Looking for too many balls – There are players that like to play golf just so they can look for golf balls. This can be a major problem especially if you’re playing with strangers and you let your golf ball hunt get in the way of the game. I would only suggest looking for golf balls if you actually lost your ball in that area. Don’t be the player that takes his golf ball fishing pole out every time you pass a water hazard.
- Leaving their club on the previous hole – I’m guilty of this myself but in all fairness, I set it against a tree when I normally leave in next to me on the ground. So I didn’t see it. But this is pretty common with new golfers for a hand full of reasons, like half the reasons listed above. ; P
- Not bringing enough golf balls – If you are a new golfer, be prepared to lose some golf balls. Its inevitably going to happen, trees, water, rough, you are going to lose your ball so bring plenty.
- Being too loud and obnoxious – This would most likely go along with drinking too much on the golf course. But, some people don’t need alcohol to be loud and obnoxious. If you’re new to the game just remember that someone is about to hit a crucial putt and you might be the reason they missed the putt if you are too loud.
- It’s too crowded – Saturdays are probably the busiest days on all golf courses so if you’re new to the game of golf, I wouldn’t pick this day for your first round. Unless you play really early or really late. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t play on this day, it’s just really busy and usually slow on the course. Which you might think is a good thing, if you’re a new player then you will be looking for your ball anyway, so this is perfect. That’s one way of looking at it but if you can play a round of golf with not a lot of pressure from the group behind you then that’s preferred, for me at least. I will play on Saturdays if I can get a tee time that is around 8 – 9ish in the morning or sometimes 6 – 7ish.
Well there you have it, 30 mistakes new golfers make on a Saturday afternoon. Obviously you can make most of these mistakes on any day of the week but Saturday is the busiest day of the week for golf courses so I put that in the title. Like I stated before you started reading the 30 mistakes, these are my opinions so take it with a grain of salt or do what you want with the info.