Gibbs 1Kase GibbsMs. BennettBritish Literature9 September 2011 Teaching the Game of Golf Teaching the game of golf is the hardest occupation for a human because golf is a 90%mental game and how one person plays the game is never exactly like how the next person playsgolf. So the question is, how should someone teach another person to play this sport? What willmake this project even harder is teaching golf to a varsity baseball player. Teaching someonegolf is hard enough, but teaching them the sport when his or her primary sport is golf’s polaropposite could be one of life’s hardest challenges. Countless components go into the game ofgolf. Just one component is that when teaching another person to golf, the teacher has to figureout the beginner’s basic skill level, what the student knows about the sport, and even how thebeginning golfer thinks. Along with the player’s mind being in the right shape for the sport,golfers have to know how to swing each club, which club to use, and when to hit each shot,along with other variables. Knowing what clubs and swings to use on the golf course can beextremely complicated for the rookie golfer. In the game of golf, teaching someone to play iseven more difficult than playing the game itself. There are many rules for how the game must beplayed and beginners can become extremely confused about what to do in certain situations. The objective in golf is to “beat the course,” or in other words, get the golf ball to the cupin as few attempts as possible, which sounds easy, but when taking in all the variable of the
Gibbs 2sport, golfers soon realize how hard the game truly is. Golf courses are usually made of 18 holesor nine holes played twice for a standard round of golf. Each hole is either a par three, four, orfive. The par indicates that the golfer should be able to get the golf ball into the hole in that manyattempts. To be successful, golfers try to be at least one below the par for each hole. Forexample, if a hole is a par three, and the golfer scores a two, he or she birdied the hole and isnow one below par. Most courses are between par 70 and par 72. Each hole except par threes areusually made up of three types of shots. The three shots the golfer uses are the drive, iron play,and a putt. All these shots sound simple, but are quite intricate in reality. The first shot a golfer generally takes on the course is his or her tee shot. For a tee shot,the golfer will select one of the tee boxes. A tee box is one of the spots for a golfer to take his orher first shot on each hole. Most courses have four different boxes to choose. They are usuallycalled the “tips” box, which is used by the elite golfers or in tournaments sometimes; the bluetees are generally next closest and are used by the average golfer; white tees are used by seniors,while the red tees are used by women and kids. Most people will usually use a driver their firstshot on each hole except on par threes because the yardage on those particular holes are usuallytoo short for a driver (USGA). The driver is the longest club in the golfer’s bag but also one ofthe lightest. The shaft in the club is usually decently light and the weight in the club mostlycomes from the head. When teeing off, golfers usually try to put great force into their swing;what is not realized by most beginning golfers is that the club will do all the work if they havethe right technique. A golfer has to know when to do what in his or her swing which is why“timing improvement also improves golf accuracy” (Sommer and Rönnqvist). A rule of thumbfor driving the ball is to first bring the club back, keeping the left arm as straight as possible ifthe golfer is right handed; then once the club is no more than parallel with the ground, turn the
Gibbs 3hips, then let the arms follow through the swing with the wrists turning over at contact with thegolf ball. The biggest frustration most beginning golfers have is when the golfer lets his or herhips turn too fast, causing the arms to be too far behind the hip, which causes the ball to spin offof the head of the club in a rightward direction so the golf ball is far right of the intended target.The easiest way to stop the “slice” of the golf ball is to simply “close” the club face (Dahlby).When a golfer closes the club face, he or she simply rotates the club head a little to the left priorto the swing. The drive is the longest shot each golfer will hit and is also arguably the most funto hit. After the golfer drives the golf ball, he or she will usually use an iron to get the next shotas close to the hole as possible. An iron is one of the clubs that allows a player to hit the golf ballanywhere from about 100 to 250 yards, depending on the player and the club. Most iron setsrange from the pitching wedge, which is the shortest yardage- hitting club in the set, to the threeiron, which is the longest yardage- hitting club. Not all irons are the same. For instance, moreskilled golfers generally use irons called “blades,” which is a set of irons that are very thin on thebottom and in width, while beginning golfers tend to use cavity back irons or even a set of hybridirons. A cavity back is when the iron has its back cut into, which allows the golfer to miss- hitthe ball and still get a decent result from the shot. Hybrid irons are irons that have the cavityfilled in with certain plastics that allow the golfer to miss- hit the ball even more with goodresults. A beginning golfer will usually use one of these two type of irons because “more weight[is] concentrated in the sole, [so] the irons center of gravity will be lower and this will help shotslaunch on a higher trajectory,” (“So You Want…”).
Gibbs 4The idea in iron play is to get the ball onto the green, preferably as close to the pin, or hole, aspossible. The swing is not much different from that of a drive, except that the golfer should try tocompress the golf ball against the ground to get even more distance and to help stop the ball assoon as it hits the green by creating backspin on the ball. In order to make a good, clean shot, thegolfer wants to be sure to keep his or her head down through the swing while making goodrotation with the body (“Iron Play Simplified”). These rules go for each iron, from the pitchingwedge through the highest iron in the golfer’s bag. Every golfer wants his or her shot to be on the green in regulation, which means that heor she will be set up for a birdie attempt. With most new beginning golfers and even manyskilled ones, the golfer may sometimes be a little short of the green. When a golfer takes a shotto the green from 120 yards to about twenty yards out, it is called an approach shot. Thedifference in this swing is that the golfer will usually not swing a full contact swing; knowinghow hard to swing in these situations can only be taught with experience because each golfer’sswing is different. The main idea behind the concept of these shots is to make sure that the golferhas the right club to use for the situation (“Ryan Moore”). For example, depending on the golfer,he or she may use either a standard pitching wedge or a 60 degree sand wedge from 55 yards out.It all depends on the golfer. Golfers should not change the way they set up this shot, only thepower in which they hit the ball. When the golfer is about ten or fifteen yards out, he or she willeither use the pitch or chip shot. These two shots are usually used with anywhere from a 52degree wedge to a 60 degree wedge. The difference between the two clubs is that the face of the52 degree club is raised higher while the 60 degree wedge is more flat to the ground. A chip is ashot that the golfer uses to keep the ball low or to literally keep the ball on the ground when he orshe is close to the green. The pitch shot is used when the golfer has to get the ball over an object
Gibbs 5such as a creek or bunker (“So You Want…”Slide 14). With the pitch, the golfer can land theball close to the target because the ball will not roll far after it hits the ground. On the other hand,a golfer has to keep the ball in the air for only a short time with a chip to allow it to roll to thetarget. The biggest obstacle to overcome before the golfer gets on the green is if he or she is in abunker. A bunker is simply a pit of sand. Sand is a difficult obstacle to beat because a golfercannot play the sand like a regular shot. He or she must hit the sand itself first and then let thesand carry the ball out of the bunker. The main thing to remember when hitting from the sand isto keep accelerating throughout the swing (Abraham). Iron play is the most needed part to besuccessful in a beginning golfer’s game. Finally, good putting is an absolute must if a golfer wants to be successful in the game.Putting is just one simple stroke of the golfer using his or her arms as a pendulum for the club.Another main component to the putt is for the golfer to remember to keep his or her weightleaning forward to make sure that he or she makes clean contact with the golf ball (“PuttingAbsolutes”). The wrists should not hinge at all when a golfer is putting because it can cause thegolf ball to go to either the left or right of the intended target. Although golf does not seem to be a hard sport, in reality, it is easily one of the hardest toplay and impossible to master. Many different components go into the game itself such as whatclubs, what swing, how to line up and a million other variables. For this reason, new golfersshould study which of each variable is best for them. If a person wants a challenge, all they haveto do is pick up a golf club because it is the ultimate sport of thinking and even physical ability.The good part about it is that golf is the best sport anyone can play when he or she understandsthe game.