A Beginner's Guide To Golf By Malaysia's Top Pro Golfer Gavin Green
What is the best way to be introduced to golf?
I think it would be good to start with someone who loves the sport such as a friend or a coach. Watching the game on television and movies based on golf such as Tin Cup and The Legend of Bagger Vance would also help.
In a nutshell, how does the golf scoring system work?
Basically, you want to get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. Each hole has a number of assigned base strokes that’s called par. As an example, if it is a par 3, that means you’ll have to get the ball in the hole within three strokes for it to be considered par—anything less than that is better. At the end of 18 holes, you’ll tally up your scores and see if you shot under or over par. Most golf courses are par 72.
Golf is riddled with etiquette unknown to beginners. What would you say are the essential etiquette tips one needs to know when playing golf with others?
It is usually the simple things like not talking at the top of your voice when others are hitting, staying still when someone is putting, and following the rules. It’s really not too difficult and one will learn as they move along.
Since one game typically runs for hours, what is your pet peeve when playing golf?
Slow play would be the one. When I play with my brother (Galven Green, who's also a competitive golfer) or my friends, we usually end up finishing the game in less than four hours and it’s fun that way. By the way, a typical game of golf with 18 holes usually lasts 4 hours.
What are your must-haves when you play on the course?
Those would be my cap, umbrella, rain jacket, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
Do you think golf is one of the more expensive sports to get into?
It can be, but I think it’s a worthwhile investment. Anyway, there are many second-hand shops that sell golfing equipment too and that helps reduce the cost.
What are the most common topics discussed when playing golf?
Personally, I make friends as I go along and we’ll talk about anything of interest, really.
What are the most important golf competitions to know about?
There are so many golf competitions out there that it’s hard to pinpoint—is it for amateurs or professionals? This question is a bit difficult to answer for me.
Could you name a few golfers that one should know?
If by ‘should know’ you mean recognise, I guess if you mention Tiger Woods, everyone would know him. Even those who are non-golfers.
What traits or skill sets will help someone when playing golf?
Focus as well as good hand and eye coordination.
Which golf courses in Malaysia would you recommend for beginners?
I would recommend TPC Kuala Lumpur, Kelab Golf Seri Selangor (KGSS) and Monterez Golf & Country Club. I grew up on Monterez and it’s good for beginners as it’s not too long a course.
See also: The Best Golf Courses In Malaysia