Here’s A 5-minute Crash Course On Golf If You’ve Always Wanted To Try It
This is your first step to becoming a golf champ like Yuka Saso!
If you’ve been keeping up with the latest news, you’re probably aware that on June 6, 2021, 19-year-old Filipino professional golfer Yuka Saso made history by being the first Filipina to win the 2021 US Women’s Open.
Yuka, who was born in Bulacan, moved to Japan with her family, then went back to the Philippines because at a very young age of 8, she already knew she wanted to play golf. Her father said that they couldn’t afford the sport in Japan, so they decided to help her pursue it here instead. She was homeschooled until high school so she could focus on her love for golf.
According to this article, Yuka’s father is a Japanese golfer and Yuka drew inspiration from him. She is where she is now because of her father’s tough love.
Yuka participated in the 2011 US Kids golf tournament at the age of nine, then competed in amateur contests and won two gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games. She also had a number of amateur wins from 2016 to 2017 before she turned professional in 2019. She won her first tournament in the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association as a rookie.
This year, all her efforts paid off as she won the 2021 US Women’s Open, claiming her first major win, and the distinction as the first Filipina to bring this trophy home.
If it has ever crossed your mind to start playing golf, whether for leisure or to compete professionally as Yuka does, the first step is to try it out. Here’s a primer for golf beginners.
What equipment do you need?
First, you’ll need golf clubs, of course! Most golfers recommend Iron and Driver clubs for beginners.
Tiel, 22, started playing golf in 2020. He says, “Of course you need a set of clubs. For beginners, a full set isn’t required – [just] a type of club which are a set of irons. These are used to get the basics of the swing right and for beginners to get the feel of the game. Golf gloves are also helpful as they help in gripping clubs during games and practices.”
Hans, 25, started the sport in February 2020. He paused for a bit during the lockdown and started playing again May this year. “I'd say start with an iron and a driver to practice your swing on both. Irons are around Php 2,000 while drivers cost around Php 8,000,” he shares.
Gloves range from Php 300 (from Lazada and Shopee) to Php 2,000 (from sport stores).
Where can you buy golf equipment?
Twenty-two-year-old Nehro also started playing golf in February 2020, right before lockdown. He says that he bought his equipment from the Facebook Marketplace. Most golfers, even Tiel and Hans, got their stuff from the Marketplace because it’s a lot cheaper to buy secondhand than buying brand new clubs, especially if you’re just starting. There’s a lot of good quality equipment you can buy there, as long as you’re wary of fake postings.
Adrinne, 23, started playing golf in June 2020 because she wanted a safe hobby during the pandemic. She recommends buying equipment from Pacsports and EmpireGolf if you want to go to a physical store.
Location: Leviste St., Makati
Locations: SM Megamall, CityGolf, Legaspi Village Makati, SM Aura, SM Clark, Eagleridge Golf & Country Club
Pia, 23, started playing golf religiously since October 2020 as a quarantine hobby. She was also inspired by her dad who plays the sport too. Aside from the physical stores mentioned above, she suggests Golf Depot too.
Location: Unit 101 South Center Tower Madrigal Business Park, Muntinlupa
What are the popular and trusted brands by golfers?
Where can you play and practice?
There are a number of driving ranges and golf courses around Metro Manila and in nearby provinces that you can go to. Driving ranges are more practical if you’re a beginner, because you get to focus on improving your form and your shot. They cost around Php 300 to Php 500 per hour. In addition, most country clubs require membership for you to enter.
“In terms of what works best for beginners, all driving ranges are more or less the same. But
I was told by my dad that practicing on actual soil rather than fake grass is way better for you in the long run,” Pia says.
Villamor Air Base Golf Club
Camp Aguinaldo Golf Course
Club Intramuros Golf Course
Veterans Golf Club
Manila Southwoods Golf & Country Club
Fernando Air Base Golf Club Driving Range
Puerto Azul Golf and Country Club
Mount Malarayat Golf and Country Club
Do I need a teaching pro?
Yes. All golfers recommend that beginners should get teaching pros. Pros are always available in every driving range, with fees from Php 700 to Php 3,000 per hour. If you’re just starting, you should really get pros on the first few sessions so you can get the basics and fundamentals right. This gives you a kickstart and helps you progress in the game.
What are the benefits of playing golf?
Golf is good for your health in many ways. As stated here, this sport exposes you more to the outdoors (with social distancing, of course) that helps you soak up that necessary vitamin D. You can also burn calories, strengthen your muscles, and keep your heart rate up while you play. Golf can even improve your vision, reduce your stress, and help you get better sleep. Most people also like golf because it has a low injury risk.
Both Nehro and Adrinne say that this sport is relaxing and stress-relieving.
“In my experience, it helped me a lot in my mental health during the pandemic as it provided open spaces for me to relax. Golf also is a great form of exercise and has helped me change my body clock, turning me into a morning person and be more productive each day,” Tiel explains.
Other than the health benefits of golf, it can also be an advantage for both business and personal growth.
For Hans, he plays golf primarily for business and connections. “Apart from having fun with friends and the satisfaction of learning a new sport, it's a good way of networking, especially if you're a businessperson. This is honestly my primary reason for learning golf. There's a saying that goes, you can't do business if you can't play golf,” he says.
On the other hand, Pia plays golf for self-improvement. “Golf taught me the value of patience. It’s such a rewarding feeling when you finally feel your swing come more naturally. It takes months of practice to get it right. I usually go to the driving range alone, so it has also given me a huge sense of independence as well,” she shares.
Tips from golfers
“If you don’t have clubs, you can rent first. Make sure to own a trusty pair of gloves. Listen to your pro/mentor/coach but also try not to overthink your swing. Don’t be shy to ask the staff for help. Befriend those you meet at the range. Always give a tip to your tee boy or tee girl. Try to go every week to learn faster.” – Pia
“Go to the driving range, look for a pro and start hitting some balls.” – Adrinne
“For those who want to start playing the sport, start playing in driving ranges first. Watch YouTube videos to improve your swing and have a pro guide you on your first few sessions.” – Nehro
“Just do it! Find friends who are willing to start learning with you. Definitely get a pro for your first time to get the basics right and learn the fundamentals. If you don't have a golf set yet, you can opt for second-hand. Lastly, it's hella fun, you won't regret it!” – Hans
“My tip for beginners is, consistency is key because frustration will always come but you just got to keep going so that you’ll be able to enjoy the sport. Don’t put too high expectations on yourself and always enjoy the game! Lastly and the most important tip for beginners is keep your head down!” – Tiel