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Golf

jhunter46jhunter46 Registered User regular
edited June 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I've always been an avid golf fan, although most of my experience comes from watching and playing on Xbox. I'd consider myself mildly athletic, I played quite a bit of baseball, but I've fallen out of shape since high school.

At any rate, I'd like to get into shape, and I think golf would be a nice way to get out, walk and enjoy the out doors. I'd like to pick up a set of golf clubs and maybe look at lessons.

Should I get a starter set, maybe pick up a used set of clubs?

What does a newbie golfer need?

(Yes the U.S. Open was freaking fantastic).

jhunter46 on

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    GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Hell yes the Open was amazing.

    I'd definitely recommend a starter set from Target or something, or even some hand-me-downs if you know anyone who has some extras. You don't want to drop the cash on a good set right off the bat for a couple reasons:

    -You may get bored quickly, or decide not to stick with it
    -You want to get them fitted, which works best when you have a decent golf swing (because they'll measure the angle you approach at so the clubs are bent at the right angle, etc)

    I played my first couple months with some old clubs from my wife's grandfather. When I decided I wanted to keep playing I spent the money to get custom fitted irons - I'm pretty tall so playing with regular clubs was awkward at best. They can adjust things like shaft strength, lie angle, shaft length, grip size, etc. and they all make a difference.

    I played without golf shoes for months, but they definitely help. Walking a course is great exercise, like you mention - if you'll be doing it quite a bit, buy your own pull cart so you don't have to rent one every time. When you've settled in a bit, it's fun to join a club at a local course and start tracking your USGA handicap as well.

    One other thing - don't get discouraged, golf is incredibly frustrating at times, but because of that also very rewarding.

    Ganluan on
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    HawkstoneHawkstone Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things. Somewhere outside of BarstowRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    stryker116 wrote: »
    Hell yes the Open was amazing.

    I'd definitely recommend a starter set from Target or something, or even some hand-me-downs if you know anyone who has some extras. You don't want to drop the cash on a good set right off the bat for a couple reasons:

    -You may get bored quickly, or decide not to stick with it
    -You want to get them fitted, which works best when you have a decent golf swing (because they'll measure the angle you approach at so the clubs are bent at the right angle, etc)

    I played my first couple months with some old clubs from my wife's grandfather. When I decided I wanted to keep playing I spent the money to get custom fitted irons - I'm pretty tall so playing with regular clubs was awkward at best. They can adjust things like shaft strength, lie angle, shaft length, grip size, etc. and they all make a difference.

    I played without golf shoes for months, but they definitely help. Walking a course is great exercise, like you mention - if you'll be doing it quite a bit, buy your own pull cart so you don't have to rent one every time. When you've settled in a bit, it's fun to join a club at a local course and start tracking your USGA handicap as well.

    One other thing - don't get discouraged, golf is incredibly frustrating at times, but because of that also very rewarding.

    Agreed, much like many sports if you arent that good no amount of expensive equipment is going to improve that. Start with a $100 set of clubs or hand me downs. Then when and if you get good buy better clubs one at a time starting with your driver. Shoes and a glove do seem to be two things that will help a bit in the early going however and arent that expensive.

    Hawkstone on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I played golf in the Jr. Tour for a long time (I wasn't great or anything, just in it) when I was younger, and I took lessons for five years.

    some tips:

    1) you need to devote three days a week to hitting range balls, because it's the best way to get your swing right.

    2) if you can afford it, take lessons. Unless you're some kind of savant, your swing is going to suck. Lessons are a little expensive, but it's the best way to get the fundamentals down so you can get better on your own time.

    3) Get a cheap set of clubs. Don't worry about the expensive stuff until you get better. A good cheap set with a bag will run you about $200 at Wal-Mart or a sporting goods store

    4) Invest in a comfortable golf glove and golf shoes. They'll be the most important things that keep you from blistering the hell out of your hands and keeping your feet down through your swing.

    5) Don't get discouraged if you shoot a hundred on nine holes. You'll get better.

    Also, this year's Open was one of the best I've ever seen as well. Tiger really showed his skill despite the bad knee.

    amateurhour on
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    GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    While golf is awesome in its own right I don't think it's really the best way to get fit.

    Gafoto on
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    VoodooVVoodooV Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I hope you aren't a tall lefty like myself. I've recently started getting into golf also and getting clubs that fit me has been a bitch of a time. It was virtually impossible to find anything cheap that worked so I had to plunk down more coin than I originally wanted to be custom fitted for some clubs

    I've had to deal with the difficulties of finding lefty equipment for sports all my life, but I've never had as hard of a time as it was finding tall lefty stuff for golf.

    Gafoto is right though. Golf is great for getting outside for some fresh air and some beautiful scenery and some light exercise, but I wouldn't exactly call it a great workout. Until I found out much later about his knee surgery, I was snickering at how much they were making a big deal at Tiger's hobbling. Try having a knee injury when you're a runner THEN you can make a big deal out of it.

    Running and swimming are where its at for getting fit. If you want something less boring, try a climbing gym. Climbers are the friendliest group of people you'll ever meet.

    VoodooV on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    If you walk 18 (which ought to take you 4-5 hours) and carry your own bag, you're going to be pretty tired at the end, especially in the heat. At least 4 miles, maybe 5-6 if it's a long course and if you've had to hunt around for your ball a bit. And you'll have needed to drink plenty of fluids to keep from getting dehydrated.

    Assuming you're "average" size you'll probably use standard length clubs. You could go into a golf store and talk to a sales guy to make sure. You ought to be able to find a full set of irons, wedges and a putter w/a bag on Craiglist for 100 or less. Get steel shafts. You don't need a driver yet, but you can get one cause they're fun to hit. Get a glove. Get a lightweight bag with backpack-style shoulder straps (goes over both shoulders) and skip the cart. You can skip shoes initially if you want but if you take to it you'll likely want to pick up a pair ($40 at Academy).

    If you buy a used set but it's missing a club or two, you can go to a golf store to find used clubs. Depending on your area there may be a small specialty shop specifically for used golf equipment.

    Lessons will probably get you better faster, but if you have any friends who golf they'd probably be more than happy to give you some initial pointers.

    Edit: You'll probably want to hit a few practice buckets at the range before hitting a course. Courses vary in how stuffy they are, some will require a collared shirt and will expect you to keep a reasonably quick pace, some are more informal.

    Djeet on
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    LegionnairedLegionnaired Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    When its time to get custom-fitted clubs - consider building your own.

    There's a store in the area here called Golfsmith - you can take a class for 25 bucks and you build a wood and an iron, custom fitted, out of comparatively decent components. They give you a 25 dollar gift card at the end of the class to get you to bite on self-building, and so you can build another pair of irons with that cash too.

    A 3 wood, and 3,5,7 iron all custom fitted is a great way to start your set, especially for 25 dollars.

    Plus, if you're like me, you have a deeper connection with it because you crafted it yourself instead of buying it off a rack, even if all you did was glue some parts together.

    Legionnaired on
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    truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    VoodooV wrote: »
    Until I found out much later about his knee surgery, I was snickering at how much they were making a big deal at Tiger's hobbling. Try having a knee injury when you're a runner THEN you can make a big deal out of it.

    Don't want to start a flamewar or anything, but you must not golf much if you don't understand how big that knee injury is to a golfer.

    Golfers who hit the long-ball swing rather fast/hard. You begin by coiling your body up much like a spring and the bulk of the pressure is located on your front knee (the one closest to the target). When you unload this built up pressure, yeah you can blast the ball in that 300+ yard range which many many people are enthralled with. Tiger has one of the fastest swing speeds on tour and his game really has been about hitting the long-ball for a long time. Now that he has busted up his knee more than once he can't load up all that energy to hit the big blasts anymore. Which means Tiger can't play "his game". Having to alter your own style of play, have an injury, and play so many holes without injuring the knee again really adds to how amazing his win was for the U.S. Open.

    For the OP, the lesson here is not to swing hard. It is one of the toughest things to learn when starting out. You'll still be able to hit a good deal of distance, maybe not in that coveted 300 yard range. But I've seen enough blown out knees from golfing buddies to learn to lay off.

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    CooterTKECooterTKE Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    look up Pine Meadow Golf online as i picked up a set of used clubs for $199 and they are pretty sweet.

    CooterTKE on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Gafoto wrote: »
    While golf is awesome in its own right I don't think it's really the best way to get fit.

    dude, you're walking and swinging clubs in 90 degree heat for four hours over the course of two to four miles. You burn calories

    amateurhour on
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    MovitzMovitz Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Gafoto wrote: »
    While golf is awesome in its own right I don't think it's really the best way to get fit.

    dude, you're walking and swinging clubs in 90 degree heat for four hours over the course of two to four miles. You sweat a lot

    Fixed

    You don't burn nuthin' walking around peacefully at an oversized lawn. Regardless of how hot it is

    Movitz on
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    Big DookieBig Dookie Smells great! Houston, TXRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Movitz wrote: »
    Gafoto wrote: »
    While golf is awesome in its own right I don't think it's really the best way to get fit.

    dude, you're walking and swinging clubs in 90 degree heat for four hours over the course of two to four miles. You sweat a lot

    Fixed

    You don't burn nuthin' walking around peacefully at an oversized lawn. Regardless of how hot it is
    Right, because walking 4000-5000 yards over the course of 18 holes while dragging and carrying a thirty pound bag doesn't burn anything.

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    musanmanmusanman Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Big Dookie wrote: »
    Movitz wrote: »
    Gafoto wrote: »
    While golf is awesome in its own right I don't think it's really the best way to get fit.

    dude, you're walking and swinging clubs in 90 degree heat for four hours over the course of two to four miles. You sweat a lot

    Fixed

    You don't burn nuthin' walking around peacefully at an oversized lawn. Regardless of how hot it is
    Right, because walking 6500+ yards over the course of 18 holes while dragging and carrying a thirty pound bag and using your entire body to swing a club over 100 mph doesn't burn anything.

    fixed again

    Golf is pretty good exercise, but it's super fucking frustrating. I've played for almost 20 years but right now my golf game is so inconsistent it's hard to look forward to it.

    If you walk every time you will get yourself in pretty good shape. If you ride and smoke cigars and drink (the only way I can stand a round right now) it's not so much good for you.

    There are phases of golf you go through, and you need to make sure you can stand it before you are going to spend a lot of money on it (it's expensive for greens fees and equipment).

    You're awful, it's hilarious. Then you get a little better and start to get into it. Then you hit some bad shots and think WHY CAN'T I DO WHAT I WAS DOING EVERY TIME and get a little frustrated. Then you grind it out and go through these phases again but a few strokes lower.

    Also regarding Tiger's knee. Watch him swing his club and tell me it's no big deal. He gets that thing up to about 130 mph and his swing is designed to pop his knee to help him clear his hips. When you take your leg and intentionally pop your entire body's weight into it 45 times in a round (putts don't count), it's going to hurt. Do that after surgery. Amazing.

    musanman on
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    MovitzMovitz Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Big Dookie wrote: »
    Movitz wrote: »
    Gafoto wrote: »
    While golf is awesome in its own right I don't think it's really the best way to get fit.

    dude, you're walking and swinging clubs in 90 degree heat for four hours over the course of two to four miles. You sweat a lot

    Fixed

    You don't burn nuthin' walking around peacefully at an oversized lawn. Regardless of how hot it is
    Right, because walking 4000-5000 yards over the course of 18 holes while dragging and carrying a thirty pound bag doesn't burn anything.

    Well yeah, it burns a little but that 4-5 hour walk is basically equivalent to a 40 min jog. So in order to get fit, golf isn't effective at all. The two obligatory pints of beer at the clubhouse afterwards pretty much cancels all the effort. Hell, one pint of beer does it.

    Don't get me wrong, golfing is great but it's not an exercise.

    Movitz on
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    vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Movitz wrote: »
    Well yeah, it burns a little but that 4-5 hour walk is basically equivalent to a 40 min jog.
    Man, what? From everything I can Google, your numbers are horribly skewed. Depending on how you get around the course, golf can be fairly strenuous, mildly strenuous, or hardly strenuous. I.e. carrying your clubs, pulling your clubs on wheels, or letting a power cart do all the hard work. Let's say OP takes the middle path and gets on of those wheely carts so he can pull his clubs behind him (that's what I'd do; those power carts are a) expensive and b) make me feel like a lazy ass, but I find lugging the clubs in a shoulder bag to be a drag). In that situation, everything I can find says golf will burn over 400 calories an hour, whereas jogging for the same length of time will burn about 600. That's for a 190lb. person, the exact amount depends on your weight, but the ratio stays more or less the same. I just don't see how your statement is remotely accurate, or really all that helpful to be honest. If nothing else, golfing would be a significant improvement over no major physical activities.

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    RoundBoyRoundBoy Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    The starter sets are ok, if you get all the clubs you need + bag. I was always of the mindset that skill > equipment, until i bought better clubs.

    Just starting out, get the starter set.. but knockoffs from valuegolfclubs.com are *very* nice and *very* cheap. I also took advantage of a deal at Dicks Sporting goods to get a Driver + 2 other woods of my choice for $200. It was money VERY well spent... think of it in the future.

    Check out your local community college for lessons.. they can be often very cheap. Also look at the local pro shops (do you have a GOLF GALAXY near you?) that offer to video tap your swing. You gain a TON of insight.

    Buy the cheap packs of balls... get yellow or some other bright color... trust me.

    walk when you can, but ride on a full course... especially if its busy. If you are in the Philly area, I can always use a 4th.

    RoundBoy on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Movitz wrote: »
    Well yeah, it burns a little but that 4-5 hour walk is basically equivalent to a 40 min jog.
    Man, what? From everything I can Google, your numbers are horribly skewed. Depending on how you get around the course, golf can be fairly strenuous, mildly strenuous, or hardly strenuous. I.e. carrying your clubs, pulling your clubs on wheels, or letting a power cart do all the hard work. Let's say OP takes the middle path and gets on of those wheely carts so he can pull his clubs behind him (that's what I'd do; those power carts are a) expensive and b) make me feel like a lazy ass, but I find lugging the clubs in a shoulder bag to be a drag). In that situation, everything I can find says golf will burn over 400 calories an hour, whereas jogging for the same length of time will burn about 600. That's for a 190lb. person, the exact amount depends on your weight, but the ratio stays more or less the same. I just don't see how your statement is remotely accurate, or really all that helpful to be honest. If nothing else, golfing would be a significant improvement over no major physical activities.


    You can easily burn a thousand calories playing eighteen holes of golf, if not more. Do that twice a week and you're getting good exercise, period.

    amateurhour on
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    CrystalMethodistCrystalMethodist Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Hit Craigslist. I found a set of golf clubs that was *just fine* for about $30 within about two days of looking. Buy an inexpensive golf glove that feels comfortable from a store and you're good to go.

    Golf is a very expensive game, but let me emphasize this: do not let people trick you into buying lots of shit. Spend all of that money on lessons, the range, and time on the course because that is the only place where you will see real improvement right now in your game. When you outgrow your cheap clubs, you'll know, and you'll only be $30 in the hole.

    You should take lessons now or you risk developing bad habits that will take a long time to get rid of later. Spend the money now and you won't have to spend 3x that later trying to fix shitty form that you've been relying on for years.

    Go to a local public driving range and ask about lessons. Sign up for some and talk to the instructor about how to keep up your game. Do you have any friends who play? Playing 9 holes (you won't be good enough to get through 18 for a little bit) with a good buddy on a weekend is a great thing and it's important to get on the course as much as you can. Playing on the course is the best way to figure out the weakest part of your game and to motivate yourself to get better.

    Golf is a great game and it's something you'll have for the rest of your life. There's no feeling on earth like hitting a beautiful drive or chipping in a ball from off the green. Definitely follow through on this plan, it'll give you a wonderful hobby for a long, long time.

    CrystalMethodist on
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    MovitzMovitz Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    Movitz wrote: »
    Well yeah, it burns a little but that 4-5 hour walk is basically equivalent to a 40 min jog.
    Man, what? From everything I can Google, your numbers are horribly skewed. Depending on how you get around the course, golf can be fairly strenuous, mildly strenuous, or hardly strenuous. I.e. carrying your clubs, pulling your clubs on wheels, or letting a power cart do all the hard work. Let's say OP takes the middle path and gets on of those wheely carts so he can pull his clubs behind him (that's what I'd do; those power carts are a) expensive and b) make me feel like a lazy ass, but I find lugging the clubs in a shoulder bag to be a drag). In that situation, everything I can find says golf will burn over 400 calories an hour, whereas jogging for the same length of time will burn about 600. That's for a 190lb. person, the exact amount depends on your weight, but the ratio stays more or less the same. I just don't see how your statement is remotely accurate, or really all that helpful to be honest. If nothing else, golfing would be a significant improvement over no major physical activities.

    Ok, I admittedly skewed the numbers somewhat when I pulled them from my ass :P

    But I seriously wouldn't consider a round more then a moderate paced walk and that's like 250kcal/h. I always carry my clubs so, sure add some extra burnage to that for good measure. It's still no efficient exercise.

    My only point here was that I agreed with Gafoto in that golf won't do wonders for your body, of couse it's still better than nothing if that's the other option.

    Movitz on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    In my experience the level of exertion in walking the course while carrying a lightweigt bag is about equivalent time walking at about a 4 mph clip. 9 holes would be about 2-2.5 hrs and 18 about 4-4.5, though I'd take a break and get out of the sun at the turn. Walking 18 on a sunny summer day can be pretty brutal. I wouldn't do it unless I hadn't been drinking the previous night, I'd probably drink 6+ liters of water during, and I'd take a light snack at the turn (BLT and a coke); evenso I'd be flagging towards the 2nd half of the back 9. You don't want to eat heavy at the turn or drink alcohol if you're trying to improve your game (though if you're just having a good time then whatever).

    And though golf lessons would no doubt be your best bet, I don't think there's anything wrong with just taking a whack at it without lessons. Here's where a more experienced golfing buddy might be helpful in pointing out where you're just doing it wrong. A few buckets of range balls and playing 9 holes a few times may or may not get you started on a wonky setup/swing, but it would let you know if it's something you really want to pursue. All it takes is getting good contact that one time to get you hooked and wanting to come back for more. If you want a basic method for grip, stance, and swing, check out Ben Hogan's Five Lessons, it's pretty short, and also pretty pointless unless you actually go out and hit some balls somewhere.

    If you're buying used, just know older bags can be much heavier than the newer bags. Also, even the cheapest set of steel irons are going to be good enough for you for the first year or two, even if you're playing 3-4 times a week. You're likely going to beat them up so there's no point spending a bunch of dough on your first set. Also a really heavily used set may need to be re-gripped; opt for a set that doesn't need to be re-gripped as the expense of re-gripping 10-12 clubs may exceed a cheap set you could find on craigslist.

    Djeet on
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