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Golf For Dummies®, 2nd Australian & New Zealand Edition

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Table of Contents

Golf For Dummies® 2nd Australian & New Zealand Edition

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About the Authors

‘Life is full of ups and downs, and it wouldn’t be fun any other way.’ Living by this optimistic philosophy, Gary McCord persisted through years of mediocrity before finding success. An outstanding player, television announcer, instructor, author, speaker and even movie actor, he has become a golf celebrity.

McCord is well known for enduring 23 years and 422 tournaments on the PGA Tour without nabbing a single victory. A man of good humour, he sported a ‘NO WINS’ licence plate for years to poke fun at his less-than-glamorous work as a professional golfer.

‘Trapped in the headlights of bankruptcy’, as he liked to put it, McCord pursued other avenues in golf and found himself launching a broadcasting career. He scored big when a CBS Sports executive tossed him a headset and asked him to do golf commentary — giving him only 15 minutes to prepare. McCord jumped in with no fear and impressed CBS with his performance. Twenty-five years later, he’s still providing colourful commentary for CBS golf events. Fans and critics praise him for his knowledgeable perspective, refreshing humour and sometimes irreverent wit towards a game known for taking itself too seriously.

Broadcasting changed his perspective on golf. Realising that a better understanding of the golf swing would help his TV work, McCord studied the swing for two years. He emerged with knowledge, confidence and an improved golf game.

McCord’s own golf really came together as he began his career on the Champions Tour after his 50th birthday. In 1999, his first full season on that tour, he won two events — the Toshiba Senior Classic and the Ingersoll-Rand Senior Tour Championship — to finish 17th on the official money list with nearly $1 million in prize money. Since then, he has often finished in the top 30 on the money list while playing a limited schedule of 10 to 15 events per year.

When he isn’t broadcasting or playing golf, McCord keeps busy with myriad other projects. He portrayed himself in and served as technical director for the golf movie Tin Cup, starring Kevin Costner, Rene Russo and Don Johnson. He’s also a writer. In addition to writing Golf For Dummies, Gary’s the author of a collection of essays about his life on tour, Just a Range Ball in a Box of Titleists. His bestselling Golf For Dummies was released in DVD form in 2004.

McCord and his friend and CBS Sports colleague David Feherty became known to millions of golf fans and gamers as the voices of EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games. McCord also instructs and consults with more than 20 PGA Tour players.

Gary brings a sense of fun to everything he does and never takes himself too seriously. He and his wife, Diane, share the ‘ups and downs’ of a busy life together at their homes in Scottsdale and Denver.

Late one afternoon in February 1987, a 10-year-old Steve Keipert, and his father, strolled onto North Turramurra Golf Course in northern Sydney and within a casual nine holes sparked an obsession with golf that grew with every round and each passing year.

Steve has never and will never reach the on-course feats of his co-author Gary McCord, but his passion for the game and knowledge of the biggest events and leading players is first rate. A university-educated journalist who entered the golf media more than a decade ago, Keipert’s first involvement with Australian Golf Digest came in 1997 as a final-year journalism student seeking work experience.

Three years later he joined the editorial staff of Australia’s leading golf magazine and in 2004 assumed the role of editor, a position he still holds today. While his lowest handicap is six and today he remains mired in the good-but-not-great level of low-80s scores, Steve’s love for golf has never waned.

Steve lives with his wife and two young daughters in Sydney.

Dedication

Gary dedicates this book to spike marks, the wind just came up from the other direction, bad bounces, wrong yardage, rising barometric pressure, solar storms, dirt got in my eyes, yin and yang, the big bang theory, Brownian motion, dark energy, escape velocity, entropy, Newton’s laws of motion and a bad caddie. All the things we golfers can blame our erratic play on instead of ourselves, providing peace of mind in the unstable environment of this maniacal endeavour.

Steve dedicates this book to Claire, Ashleigh and Jillian, whose smiling faces make even the worst round acceptable. Also to my dad, who started me off in this mad, mad game all those years ago and my mum, who kept me at it once the ‘golf bug’ had taken hold.

Authors’ Acknowledgements

Gary would like to acknowledge the game itself, golf. It’s a clever game worthy of perspective. I’m not astute enough to unravel it all, but if you can get a good author, bingo, the game is easy. Thanks Kevin Cook for the time and effort he put into this edition.

To my wife Diane, my mom Ruth, my sister Karen and her late husband Chris, my daughter Krista and her husband Mike, and my four granddaughters Breanne, Kayla, Jenae and Terra: See what you can do with spell check!

And many thanks to the great golf team Wiley put together: Acquisitions Editor Stacy Kennedy; Senior Project Editor Chrissy Guthrie; Copy Editor Megan Knoll; photographers Erick Rasco and Matt Bowen; models Clayton Allen, Robin Anderson, Robert Gaier and Swati Gunale; and Technical Editor Emily Hallberg.

Steve would like to say a huge thank you to all the professional and amateur golf bodies, both state based and national, in Australia and New Zealand. Special thanks to Catherine Spedding, Hannah Bennett and Rebecca Crisp at John Wiley & Sons Australia for their support, encouragement and advice throughout the editing and adaptation process.

Publisher’s Acknowledgements

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at .

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial and Media Development

Project Editor: Catherine Spedding

Acquisitions Editor: Rebecca Crisp

Editorial Manager: Hannah Bennett

Production

Graphics: Wiley Art Studio

Cartoons: Glenn Lumsden

Proofreader: Pam Dunne

Indexer: Don Jordan, Antipodes Indexing

Photographers: Erick W. Rasco, Matt Bowen, Paul Lester, Scott Baxter Photography, Daniel Mainzer Photography

The author and publisher would like to thank the following copyright holders, organisations and individuals for their permission to reproduce copyright material in this book:

• page 263: © GOLF Link.

Foreword

Golf has been around for centuries. It is a complicated and intriguing game that has us all baffled and mesmerised at times. If you’re reading this foreword you’re obviously interested in buying a book that can help you either start playing golf or perhaps get better. Golf For Dummies can help.

Growing up in the small country town of Goulburn in New South Wales, I had a hand at every sport there was. At the age of 11, I headed down to our local golf course, Tully Park, which just so happened to be about 150 metres from where I lived. It was one of the only games that I hadn’t tried as a kid, so I thought, ‘why not give it a go?’ After a couple of airswings and a few shots hit along the ground I started to hit a few sweetly and they travelled for seemingly miles in the air. I thought, ‘this is a cool game’.

My main focus at that time was hockey and Rugby league, but at 14 years of age golf was starting to take a priority. My handicap started at 32 and in no time had come down to single figures. With the tuition from my club pro and a job after school in the golf shop I narrowed my handicap to 1 by the time I was 16. Not long after I won the Senior and Junior district Champion of Champions in Canberra and from there I knew golf was going to be my career path.

Many instructional books have been written over the years but I’ve never come across a more informative, easy-to-read and fun book than Golf For Dummies. It covers absolutely everything you need to know about this wonderful game, from playing with a professional, to the planning strategy of a course, to which courses you should play.

From starting out to playing in a pro-am with a professional, Golf For Dummies covers every aspect of golf and I know that you will keep this book proudly on the coffee table for visitors to pick up and read.

Great golfing,

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Brett Ogle
Australian golf champion

Introduction: Should I yell ‘Fore!’ or ‘Four!’?

It’s hard to believe this is the second Australian and NZ edition of Golf For Dummies! If it’s the first golf book you’ve ever held in your hands, don’t worry. We’ve read more of them than we can count and this one’s a particular favourite. To bring you this edition we’ve gone back through everything we wrote in the first edition, updating some material, writing a bunch more to keep up with this fast-changing game, and making everything even clearer and easier to follow.

Not to mention funnier!

Because golf, like life itself, can be hard, but must be enjoyed. Please remember that as you begin your adventure in the most maddening and wondrous game of all: Golf is fun. And the fun starts here.

About This Book

Although Gary’s buddies on the professional tours will probably read this book just to see if he can write a coherent sentence, we like to think that we have something to offer golfers at every level, even the pros. The guys Gary grew up with at San Luis Rey Golf Course in Southern California will check out Golf For Dummies to see whether he’s used any of their funniest lines. And we hope that the title piques the interest of many others who have never played the game.

This is no ordinary golf instruction book. Most of the golf books you’ll find in your local bookstore (or, increasingly, online) are written by professional players or teachers. As such, they focus solely on the golf swing. Golf For Dummies covers a lot more than the swing. This book ought to be the only one you need as you develop a golf dependency. (Feel free to consult a doctor when you feel the first symptoms coming on — grinding your teeth, talking to yourself after missing a shot, punching the air after making one. These are the warning signs. But remember: This book is cheaper than a visit to the doctor.)

Having said all that, we’re assuming that you have dabbled with golf and would like to get better. In our experience, most people give golf a try before they seek instruction. It must be an ego thing, kind of like those people who don’t like to ask for directions when they get lost because they feel that it’s an admission of failure. If that’s you, then think of us as your personal GPS: Your Golfer Positioning System.

Golf For Dummies will put you on track to becoming not just someone who can hit a golf ball, but a real golfer. There’s a big difference between the two, as you’ll soon discover.

Conventions Used in This Book

When this book was printed, some web addresses may have needed to break across two lines of text. If that happened, rest assured that we haven’t put in any extra characters (like hyphens) to indicate the break. When using one of these web addresses, just type in exactly what you see in this book, pretending that the line break doesn’t exist.

What You Don’t Have to Read

We’ve put this book together with your convenience in mind. Nice, huh? What that means is simple:

check.png When you see the Technical Stuff icon (shown later in this Introduction), you can skip that text if you want. It’s not essential to understanding the rest of the book.

check.png The same goes for sidebars, which are scattered through the book, printed on grey backgrounds. Sidebars are extra added attractions. We’ve tried to make them fun and informative, but they aren’t crucial to the rest of the book. Feel free to skip over them — you won’t hurt our feelings.

Our Crazy Assumptions

Because you picked up this book, we assume that you’re interested in golf. We also assume that you’re not already a great golfer, or else you’d be out there making millions on tour. Beyond that, we’re going to figure that you’re a little like Gary was when he became a professional golfer.

When Gary started out on the United States PGA Tour in 1974, he was full of fight and enthusiasm but lacked a basic knowledge of golf-swing mechanics. A warm panic would start to rise in him about ten minutes before he was due to tee off. Gary’s old friends Doubt and Dread would join him at the first tee. His brain would be racing, trying to figure out what swing thought (that one aspect of the swing that you meditate on to keep focused) to use that day. Most of the time, he’d be left with a thought like, ‘Keep the left elbow towards magnetic north on the downswing’. Usually, that action resulted in a silly-looking slice into uncharted territory.

Gary swung the club that way for most of his career. So he knows what it’s like to play without knowledge or a solid foundation. Gary’s a lot happier — and having a lot more fun — now that he knows what he’s doing.

The reason he’s qualified to help you is that he’s made a serious effort to become a student of the game. When Gary started working on golf telecasts for CBS, he didn’t know much about the inner workings of the swing. But his new job forced him to learn. Gary’s odyssey led him to seek advice from some of the world’s greatest teachers.

One of them was Mac O’Grady, a golfer Gary grew up with in Southern California. O’Grady had researched his method with passion since 1983. The result was a swing model that worked. Gary was lucky to study under O’Grady and can’t thank him enough. But we don’t cover Mac’s model in this book; it’s for advanced golfers. We’re gonna stick to basics.

How This Book Is Organised

Golf For Dummies will lead you through the process of becoming a golfer. Beginners need many questions answered as they take on the game. We’ve organised this book so that you take those steps one at a time and can flick back to them any time for quick reference. May this journey be a pleasant one!

Part I: Welcome To a Mad Great Game

Where do I play and what’s the course record? Wait a minute! First you need to know what this game is about. You need clubs. You need to know how to swing those clubs. You may want to take a lesson to see whether you like the game, then find golf clubs that fit you. In this part, we show you how to choose your clubs and give you some tips on the questions to ask before you make your purchase. Then we give you some ideas about what kind of golf courses to play. Picking up golf is a never-ending process of discovery and it starts right here.

Part II: Getting Into the Swing

This part gets right to the point: We give you a close look at the workings of the golf swing and help with your mental preparation. You also get a good look at the short game, where most scoring takes place. We show you how to blast your way out of bunkers and how to develop a sound putting stroke.

Part III: Common Faults and Easy Fixes

In this part we tackle the tough shots and help you deal with bad luck and bad weather. You’ll develop many faults during your golfing life and this part tells you how to fix most of them. You took a great first step by buying this book.

Part IV: Taking Your Game Public

In this part, you get the final touches of your education as a golfer. You learn how the rules were established, how to conduct yourself on the golf course and the fine art of betting. You even get the do’s and don’ts of golf-course etiquette. After you read this part, you’ll be able to walk onto any golf course and look like you know what you’re doing. Because you will know what you’re doing.

Part V: How To Be a Smart Golf Consumer

A sad fact of life is that you can’t always be out on the course. In this part, we show you how to max out a day as a spectator and how to tap into the best of golf on TV and online.

Part VI: The Part of Tens

This part contains the best of, the most memorable — and some stuff that won’t mean much to anybody except us. We just thought you’d enjoy knowing about it.

Part VII: Appendixes

Golfers have a language all their own. Appendix A lists the terms you’ll want to add to your vocabulary. Appendix B lists some of the more popular golf organisations, products and resources, along with a select list of schools in Australia and New Zealand.

Icons Used in This Book

As we guide you through this maze of golf wit and wisdom, you’ll spot several handy road signs. Look for these friendly icons; they point you towards valuable advice and hazards to watch out for.

missing image fileDuck! This is an awareness alert. Pay attention.

missing image fileThis icon marks golf hazards to avoid. Be careful!

missing image fileThis icon flags quick, easy ways to improve your game.

missing image fileDo this or Gary will never speak to you again.

missing image fileTalk like this and golfers will understand you.

missing image fileThis might make your head spin; take two aspirin and get plenty of rest.

missing image fileThis icon flags information that’s important enough to repeat.

Where to Go from Here

Feel free to flick through this book, picking your spots. It isn’t designed to be read like a novel from cover to cover. If you’re a complete novice, you might take a look at Appendix A first — get comfortable with the language. If you’re a little more advanced and need help with a specific aspect of your game or swing, you can find that information in Chapters 6 through 10. The rest of the book will help you make that vital jump from ‘golf novice’ to ‘real golfer’.

As Gary’s former boss at CBS, Frank Chirkinian, said, ‘Golf is not a game; it’s a way of life. If it was a game, someone would have figured it out by now.’

Frank was right. But you can figure out how to get started in golf the right way and how to enjoy the game. That’s what this book is for.

Part I

Welcome to a Mad Great Game

missing image file
‘Beware Birnam Wood, MacBeth.. especially the seventh hole, it has a small tricky green protected by a bunker to the front left.’

In this part . . .

This part explores the basics of golf: Why would anyone play such a crazy game? How did golf begin? What makes the sport special? In this part of the book, we describe a typical golf course. We also show you how to buy clubs and accessories that will make you look like a pro. We discuss how to get into physical shape for good golf, where to take lessons and how best to survive the lesson tee. In this part, you get a whirlwind tour, from the driving range all the way up to a full 18-hole course — including the penthouse of golf, the private country club.

Get ready; it’s time to tee it up!

Chapter 1

Why Play Golf?

In This Chapter

arrow Knowing the point of the game

arrow Learning how golf began

arrow Answering the question ‘What makes golf special?’

arrow Looking at a typical course

arrow Becoming a ‘real’ golfer

arrow Being bitten by the golf bug

Golf is simple. You’ve got clubs and a ball. You have to hit the ball into a series of holes laid out in the middle of a large, grassy field. After you finish the 18th hole, you may want to go to the clubhouse bar and tell lies about your on-course feats to anyone you didn’t play with that day. But if you’re like most golfers, you’ll play the game for much more than the chance to impress gullible strangers. You’ll play for relaxation, companionship and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Of course, there are some hazards out there. The game isn’t always straightforward.

The Point of the Game

Simply stated, the goal of golf is to get the ball into each of 18 holes in succession with the fewest number of shots, using no more than 14 clubs. After you hit the ball into all the holes, you add up your scores from all the holes. The lower your total score, the better. That’s it.

The game’s charm lies in the journey. As you play, you’ll find there are countless ways to get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. Many outside stimuli — and many more inside your head — make this one of the most interesting, maddening, thrilling and just plain fun endeavours you’ll ever find.

missing image fileThe best advice we can give you is to relax. Stay calm, make prudent decisions and never hit a shot while contemplating other matters. Golf should be played with complete concentration and no ego. The game tempts you to try feats of derring-do. To play your best, you must judge your talents and abilities honestly. You alone determine your success or failure: Should you try to make it over the water and go for the green that’s 220 metres away? Or play it safe?

Figure 1-1 shows a smart course of action. You start at the tee and hit your drive to Point A. From there, it’s 220 metres to the green, with a watery grave lurking to the left. So you lay up to Point B and go from there to the green via C. This approach won’t always work — you might aim for Point B and still yank your second shot into the pond — but it’s the smart play. And that’s the key to good golf.

Figure 1-1: Don’t get greedy — play the game one step at a time.

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Score is everything. As you see in Chapters 8, 9, and 10, the most pivotal shots occur within 100 metres of the hole. If you can save strokes there, your score will be lower than that of the player whose sole purpose in life is to crush the ball as far as possible. So practise your putting, sand play and chip shots twice as much as your driving. Your hard work will pay off and your friends will be the ones dipping into their wallets.

How It All Began

The game dates back to medieval Scotland — on the gloomy, misty east coast of the kingdom of Fife, where Macbeth ruled in the 11th century. Some historians say golf began when Scottish shepherds used their long, wooden crooks to knock rocks at rabbit holes. Their hobby became so habit-forming that the Scots of later centuries played ‘gowf’ instead of practising their archery.

The first printed reference to golf came in 1457, when Scotland’s King James II banned ‘gowf’ so that his subjects could concentrate on their archery — the better to beat the hated English on the battlefield. Golf was outlawed until 1501. After that James’s descendants, including his great-great-granddaughter Mary, Queen of Scots, embraced the game. (The original golf widow, she scandalised Britain by playing golf in the days after her husband, Lord Darnley, was murdered.)

The wooden golf balls of Queen Mary’s day gave way to ‘featheries’ — leather pouches stuffed with goose feathers — and then ‘gutty’ balls made from gutta-percha rubber imported into Scotland from Malaysia in the 1850s. In 1860 one of the best Scottish golfers, Tom Morris of St Andrews, helped organise the first Open Championship, the tournament that launched modern professional golf. Scottish pros emigrated to the United States, introduced Americans to the game and the rest is history. And frustration. And fun.

Why Golf Is Unique

You’ve probably heard that business leaders are constantly making huge deals on the course, advancing their careers. Well, ‘constantly’ may be an overstatement — business leaders, like other players, spend much of their time on the course looking for wayward golf balls. But it’s true that golf can help you climb the corporate ladder. That’s one reason to play.

And it’s about the 167th-most-important reason. More important reasons include spending time with friends, staying in shape and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see. (All tennis courts are pretty much the same, but each golf course is different from every other and many are designed to show off their gorgeous settings.) Golf is a physical and mental challenge — it tests your skill and your will.

Golf is also a game for a lifetime. Your friends may play football and cricket in high school, but how many are still scoring tries or hitting boundaries when they’re 30 or 40 or 60 years old?

The most important reason to play, though, is that golf is magic. It’s maddening, frustrating, crazy — and totally addictive. Once golf becomes part of your life, you can barely imagine life without it.

Golf is also a famously difficult game. As we see it, two main reasons exist for this:

check.png The ball doesn’t move on its own.

check.png You have, on average, about three minutes between shots.

In other words, you don’t react to the ball as you do in most sports. A cricket ball gets bowled, hit and spat on. A football gets passed, kicked, and run up and down the field. A basketball gets shot, rebounded and dribbled all over the place. But a golf ball just sits there, daring you not to lose it.

In most sports, you have only an instant to react to the action — your natural athleticism takes over and you move to the ball. In golf, you get far too long to think about what you’re doing. Thinking too much can strangle the soul and warp the mind.

Maybe golf would be easier if the ball moved and you were on skates. Then you could stop worrying and react.

But if it were easy it wouldn’t be golf, would it?

What You’ll Find on a Typical Course

missing image fileMost golf courses have 18 holes, although a few, usually because of a lack of money or land, have only nine. Courses beside the sea are called links, in honour of the parts of Scotland where the game began. (They were the link between beach and farmland.) The 19th hole is golf speak for the clubhouse bar — the place where you can reflect on your game over a refreshing beverage of your choice. (See Appendix A for the lowdown on golf jargon.)

How long is a typical golf course? Most are between 5,500 and 7,000 metres. A few monsters are longer, but leave those courses to the pros you see on TV. Start at the low end of that scale and work your way up.

Every hole you play will be a par-3, a par-4 or a par-5. (Par-2s are for mini-golf courses; the exceedingly rare par-6s tend to be gimmicks.) Par is the number of strokes a competent golfer should take to play a particular hole. For example, on a par-5 hole, a regulation par might consist of a drive, two more full swings and two putts. Two putts is the standard on every green.

missing image fileThree putts is too many. One putt is a bonus. The bottom line is that in a perfect round of par golf, half the allocated strokes should be taken on the greens. That premise makes putting crucial. (We talk about how to putt in Chapter 8.)

Obviously, a par-5 is longer than a par-4 (two full swings, two putts), which in turn is longer than a par-3 (one full swing, two putts). With rare exceptions, par-3s are from 90 to 230 metres in length; par-4s are from 231 to 440 metres long, barring severe topography; and par-5s are from 441 to 630 metres.

Many courses have a total par of 72, consisting of ten par-4s (40), four par-3s (12) and four par-5s (20). But you can find golf courses with total pars of anywhere from 62 to 74. Almost anything goes. Table 1-1 lists the distances that determine par on a hole, for men and women. It’s worth noting that these guidelines don’t always refer to precise distances, but to what the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association call a hole’s ‘effective playing length’. A 420-metre hole that went straight uphill, for example, could be a par-5 for men.

/Table 1-1

That’s the big picture. You often find several different teeing areas on each hole so that you can play the hole from different lengths. The vast majority of holes have more than one teeing area — usually four. We’ve seen courses with as many as six different tees on one hole. Deciding which tee area to use can make you silly. So the tee areas are marked with colour-coded tees that indicate ability:

check.png The black tees are invariably the back tees and are only for long ball strikers.

check.png The blue tees are usually slightly ahead of the black and make the holes shorter, but still hard. Club competitions are usually played from these tees.

check.png The white tees are for everyday, casual play and are the right choice for beginning golfers. Stray from the white tees at your peril.

check.png The red tees are traditionally used by women, although many women use the same tees as men.

How to Become a ‘Real’ Golfer

What’s a ‘real’ golfer? There are three essentials:

check.png You understand the game.

check.png You can play it a little.

check.png You never dishonour its spirit.

Anyone can smack a ball aimlessly around a course. (Gary can already hear his fellow professionals saying, ‘Yeah — like you, McCord!’) But that doesn’t make you a real golfer. There’s much more to this game than hitting a ball with a stick.

How can you start becoming a ‘real’ golfer? It’s easy: Read this book. You’ll find everything you need to get started, from equipment to instruction to common problems, etiquette, betting and more. We tell you about the pitfalls that beginners face (and I’m not just talking bunkers) and how to avoid them.

You need to start by buying golf clubs and balls. You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars to get started. You can start simple — use cheap equipment at first and spend more if you enjoy the game. (Check out Chapter 2 for tips on what you need to get started.)

After you have golf clubs, you need to know how to grip the club: The V between the thumb and forefinger of your top hand should point to your right shoulder. That seems simple, but you wouldn’t believe how many beginners get it wrong — and complicate their voyage to the promised land of ‘real’ golfers. (Chapter 6 has more information on this gripping — pardon the pun — topic.)

When you’ve got the grip down pat, you’re ready to swing. Believe me, the swing is not as easy as it looks. That’s why I devote an entire chapter — Chapter 7 — to developing your own swing. That’s where you can determine what type of golfer you are. You can also find out about swing plane, various checkpoints during the swing, and what amateurs can glean from the swings of such great players as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods.

You’ve probably heard about golf etiquette, handicaps, and one- and two-stroke penalties — and maybe even such odd-sounding things as nassaus, skins and barkies. If not, don’t worry. You’ll soon be tossing such terms around like a pro. (Chapters 13, 14 and 15 give you the fine points of playing with experienced golfers on public and private courses.) Knowing when to hit (and when not to), how to keep score and how to bet are integral parts of the game.

Living the Golf Life

As any true golf nut will tell you, there’s more to the game than playing it. There’s the fun of feeding your addiction by watching the sport in person or on TV, following it on the internet and playing virtual golf when it’s pouring rain outside. (See Chapters 17, 18 and 19 for our guide to these topics.)

If the golf bug bites you, as it has bitten millions of others, that little sucker will have you living and breathing birdies, bogeys, barkies and digital dimples — all the stuff that keeps golf nuts going when they’re not actually out on the course, slapping balls who knows where.