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Golf Tips for New Fans

Like any sport, golf is confusing to watch if you never played it yourself or you didn’t grow up watching it. Here are a few things you can do to learn more about the sport.

1. Read about the basics. Here are a few sites you should visit to learn more about the game:
SportSpectator Fan’s Guide to Golf: Our 10 minute guide to golf.
Wikipedia Golf Write-up: Good wiki community write-up on golf.
-1b. Consider buying one or several of the following books:
Golf Essentials for Dummies
Complete Idiot's Guide to Golf

2. Watch a televised match. The commentary makes the sport much easier to follow and will help you pick up the lingo. Commentators use the language and provide analysis that will help you learn. Professional golf tournaments are four days long, with play starting on Thursday and ending on Sunday. Between the PGA (men's pro), LPGA, (women's pro), and senior tours, there is televised coverage of golf almost every week.

3. Watch a major tournament and follow a player over the 4 days. Golf is much more fun to watch when you are rooting for a player. If possible, choose one of the four major tournaments (Masters, British Open, US Open, and PGA championship). These are the most important tournaments in terms of both prestige and payout. Some players, like Tiger Woods, play very few tournaments that aren't one of the majors. Other players, like VJ Singh, play as many tournaments as possible. Choose a popular player like Tiger Woods, VJ Singh, or Phil Mickleson. Or consider choosing an unknown player that is on the leaderboard after the first day. If you have to choose only one day to watch, watch the final day (Sunday).

4. Play. If you've never played before, have a friend or colleague take you to a driving range so that you can appreciate what it is like to hit a golf ball. If you have moderate success at the range, have a friend take you out to an inexpensive public course (preferably a Par-3 course). People on public courses, especially Par-3 courses, have a much higher tolerance for novice players.