The Beginner’s Guide to Golf

We are renowned for creating high-quality performance golf clothing, which has been worn by successful golfers throughout history. Our combination of functional and stylish golf wear has helped our golden eagle logo become a wardrobe staple for fashion-conscious golfers of all abilities. 

While we’re incredibly proud of our connection to and history with golf, we are also proud to be clothing today’s golfers and encouraging the sport’s future leaders.  

To help you become the next Rory McIlroy or learn how to play golf in the first place, look no further than this Beginner’s Guide to Golf. 

What golf equipment do I need?

If you’re learning how to play golf, you’ll first need some clubs, a bag to carry them in and some balls. The equipment can be expensive, but most golf clubs will loan you everything you need to play if you’re not ready to invest yet.  

Golf clubs are split into three types:  

  • Woods – clubs with bigger heads that hit the ball furthest, including the driver which is used for teeing off.  
  • Irons – typically used on the fairway and offering more control in terms of height and distance compared to woods. The pitching wedge (used to hit the ball higher as opposed to further) and sand wedge (for using in bunkers) are both irons.  
  • Putter – only used on the green and for (hopefully) tapping the ball into the hole.  

If you’re looking to buy your own golf clubs, you will typically only use around seven clubs on your way around a golf course.  

For a beginner, we recommend carrying the following clubs:  

  • A driver and an additional wood to use on the fairway 
  • Sand and pitching wedges 
  • 7, 8 and 9-irons  
  • A putter 

What golf clothing do I need?

A full 18-hole golf course will mean a walk of between three and six miles, so you need to wear a lightweight, comfortable and waterproof outfit. Another consideration is that your local golf course or club may have a smart dress code, i.e. no denim, tracksuits or trainers.  

For over 50 years, we have been creating specialist golf clothing to help golfers just like you perform at the highest level and ensure you stay warm, dry and comfortable. The collection has been designed with versatility in mind, each piece tows the line between smart and casual, ensuring you never look out of place stepping out onto the course. 

We offer a range of stylish and versatile jumpers and knitwear, designed to keep you warm and allow for ample movement to avoid hampering your swing. 

To help you stay composed, our polo shirts and baselayers are made with wicking properties (drawing sweat and moisture away from the body) to keep you cool and dry when you’re out on the green and the pressure is on.  

Our golf jackets and coats, on the other hand, are made with durable water-repellent and PFC-free coatings, to help you brave the elements and enjoy golf throughout the year. 

Golf rules you need to know

To learn how to play golf, you need to know a few ground rules, or you may be penalised when you’re out on the course. Here are the golf rules you need to know before you tee off:  


  • You can carry a maximum of 14 clubs – this can be a combination of any clubs you like, but 14 is your limit. The minimum is one club, but only carrying a driver might make putting difficult.  
  • You are only allowed to change your ball during a hole if you lose it, otherwise you must finish a hole with the ball you started it with.  

Teeing off

  • You must tee off behind the line tee markers – when approaching a hole, you will notice tee markers (small monuments or coloured rocks) that indicate where you must tee off from.  
  • If the ball falls off the tee before you take a swing, it does not count as a shot – swinging at the ball and missing completely (an air shot) however, does count as a shot.  
  • The lowest score from the previous hole tees off first.  

Practice shots

  • Practice shots can be taken, but you can’t swing at your ball. 

Approach play (on the fairway, in the rough and hazards)

  • You must play the ball as it lies – tees cannot be used on the fairway and don’t even think about kicking or moving the ball while no one’s looking… 
  • You can’t make the lie better – you cannot flatten the ground around where your ball has landed with your club or foot. Similarly, you must not break or bend tree branches to make your swing easier.  
  • After teeing off, the furthest player away from the hole should take their next shot first.  
  • If you hit your ball into the water, you can either play it where it landed (if possible), hit the ball from the spot you took the shot that went into the water (incurring a one-shot penalty), or drop the ball from the edge of the water hazard on to dry land (also a one-shot penalty).  

On the green

  • You can fix the putting line – if your ball’s route to the hole is impeded, e.g. by stones or leaves, you can throw these off the green without being cautioned. This also applies to competitor’s golf balls, but don’t throw those – just ask them to mark where their ball was.  
  • You have 10 seconds – if your putt is agonisingly close to going in, right on the edge of the hole, you can wait 10 seconds to see if the ball goes in. If it doesn’t go in, you will have to take another shot. 

What are the parts of a golf course called?

Getting to know the golf course is one of the first rules of learning how to play golf. Where you are on the course is important, as it will determine the type and size of the club you should use. Golf courses are typically split into five areas:  

  • The tee – quite self-explanatory, you’ll tee off here.  
  • The green – the business end of the golf course, where the hole sits.  
  • The fairway – the part of the course you’ll usually be hoping to land on once you have teed off.  
  • The rough – the areas of longer, thicker grass where you should try to avoid. The rough is usually on either side of the fairway and surrounding the green.  
  • Hazards – the places you really don’t want to be. Hazards include lakes, bunkers and wooded areas.  

What’s next?

Now you know more about golf, including the must-know golf rules and what you need to wear, discover our full range of clothing, designed specifically for golfers 

For more articles, including style advice and guides on how to get into sport, explore our blog.  

Lyle & Scott

Lyle & Scott

Writer and expert