newsletter: The Saturday Golfer
Why Play Golf? A Guide for the Beginner, Skeptic, or Hater

Last updated Nov 03, 2023

Why Play Golf? A Guide for the Beginner, Skeptic, or Hater

Is golf worth the hype? To the beginner, the skeptic, and the hater, here are my favorite parts about this game.

Featured Image

Written By: Zach Gollwitzer

Posted in: Golf Instruction

Tags: Beginners

According to the National Golf Foundation, golf is on the rise in a BIG way:

  • In 2022, 119 million people above the age of 6 in the U.S. were exposed to golf in some form.
    • 77.9 million people watched golf on TV, listened to a golf podcast, or read about golf
    • 25.6 million played a round of golf on a golf course
    • 15.5 million played off-course at driving ranges, TopGolf, and indoor golf simulators
  • 3.3 million golfers played their first round ever on a golf course in 2022

These are record-breaking numbers. Golf has never grown faster, and the last time we saw numbers even close to these was back in 2000 when Tiger Woods was in his prime.

If you’re reading this from my newsletter, I probably don’t need to convince you why golf is a great game, but you probably have a friend, colleague, or family member that’s on the fence about it.

So if you know anyone who might need a little nudge to get started, here are my top reasons to get into the game of golf!

Beginners, Haters, and Skeptics: Why Play Golf?

As golf has become a “new cool” again, I’ve received hundreds of emails and talked to people of all skill levels.

Many of these people have not just a distaste, but a real aversion to the word “golf”. As someone who has been exposed to and played golf my entire life, I was surprised to learn that for many people, “golf” has a negative connotation to it.

Here are a handful of comments I’ve heard:

  • “Golf is way too expensive for me”
  • “Golf is elitist—golfers are rude and I’d feel out of place”
  • “I suck at golf! I can’t keep up with my friends who play all the time”

While I can’t blame someone for thinking these things, as always, there’s another side to the story, and here goes mine.

Golf is Cheaper than you Think

Let’s be realistic—golf can be expensive. To play 18 holes of golf on a nice public golf course in the U.S., you’re looking at a greens fee between $50-$120. To buy a brand new, high-quality set of golf clubs, it’s going to cost you north of $2,000. A nice golf outfit will run you in the $150 range, a 12-pack of new golf balls will cost $35-$55, a glove $20-$30, and… You get the point.

But wait…

You don’t have to pay this kind of money to enjoy this game. Those are just what most people think you have to pay.

If you know what you’re looking for and you’re willing to do a bit of research and shopping, you can get started in golf for $500-$1,000 without sacrificing on quality. How?

  • Buy a used set of clubs on eBay, a garage sale, or a thrift shop
  • Play used golf balls—you can find them on every hole if you keep your eyes peeled
  • Play golf during “twilight hours”. Most golf courses run specials during certain times of the week and day.

Want some more ideas? Here are 26 ways to play golf on a budget.

Golf Stereotypes Ruin the Game for Everyone

Unfortunately, many of the golf stereotypes we all know of are true. You will run into some rude golfers. You will run into some “elitist” golfers. You will find Country Clubs that are “stuck up” and maybe even silently discriminate against certain types of people.

But that’s the small minority. It’s not the game of golf that we all love.

I’ve played a ton of golf over the years, and I think any experienced golfer would agree with me that most golfers are out there to have a good time, share a laugh with friends, or beat their personal best score. That’s it.

And furthermore, if you’re worried about not fitting in at a golf course, don’t. Nearly 75% of golf courses in the U.S. are open to the public and 2,500 of those are municipal. These courses are friendly to newcomers and aren’t going to kick you off for wearing the wrong golf attire or saying the wrong thing.

Golf helps you disconnect

We live in the age of screens. Most of us pick up our phone 300+ times every single day and on average, we look at a screen for 7+ hours every day!

While there are tons of cheap ways to get outside, I don’t think many newcomers to the game of golf realize how relaxing it can be out there on the course.

Many people think of golf as this maddening, stressful event where we throw and break clubs. And for some, that is 100% true.

But for many golfers, walking (or riding) 9 holes is an escape from the busyness of the world. It’s time to ourselves where we can quite literally smell the flowers and disconnect. It’s a place to relax, ponder, spend time with friends, and experience that elusive “perfect golf shot” (if you know, you know).

Golf Builds Relationships

If there is one thing I know, it’s that golf is about people.

Some of my best memories have happened on a golf course, and they had nothing to do with golf, but instead, the people I was golfing with. It’s the shared moments that last, whether those shared moments are a terrible shot you laugh about, a once-in-a-lifetime shot you celebrate, or that one-off conversation you had walking down the 9th fairway with your spouse, child, or best friend.

Many newcomers to the game might view golf as an obligation—something they have to learn to survive in the world of business or their personal social circle.

While this is a valid reason to get into golf, it’s the memorable moments, laughs, and pressure putts to shoot your lowest round ever that keep you playing.

Golf is a game that you can play with your spouse, your kids, friends, and colleagues at almost any age. What other sport can you say the same for?

Golf can be a Puzzle or an Art

To me, golf has always been a puzzle. It's a game that has many moving parts, and to shoot low scores, you have to bring it all together in one round.

Whether it's tinkering with golf equipment, analyzing launch monitor data, keeping stats on the course, learning a new shot, perfecting the golf swing, or adopting a new mental game strategy, golf will keep you on your toes.

But the best part is... You can make this game as simple or as complicated as you want. There's room for the "analytical" type and the "grip it and rip it" type on the same golf course.

It can be an intellectually stimulating quest for perfection or a relaxing pastime. Golf can be played at different speeds with different styles and personalities. It's a melting pot and that's what makes it so great.

A pitch to take up golf

So here’s my pitch—give golf a try for a year. Pick up some cheap golf clubs and make the commitment to learn what this game is all about.

As any experienced golfer knows, once you hit your first “flush” golf shot, you’ll be hooked forever.

If you're a beginner, I've written a special beginners quickstart guide just for you. This guide will cover everything you need to get started with golf on the right foot.

About the author: Loading...