The best advice that I could give anyone wishing to play the greatest game of all is this:
I would suggest you go to a range and just begin to hit some golf balls, mimicking what you think you saw on TV or what you believe you witnessed your friends doing. Let your own athleticism take you as far as it can.
If you still have the need for more punishment, find a facility that offers clinics and supplies clubs. Inquire and make sure the class sizes are small.
Between two and five people is plenty for your first formal introduction to the game. It also insures that you will get some individual attention. You may want to take a series of these clinics. They can be very informative and inexpensive.
At this point, you may want to get a rulebook and see what kind of rules govern this insane game. It will also give you some insight as to what you are getting yourself into.
If the bug has bitten you, and the game gets into your blood, the next step should be to find someone that you consider a really loyal friend who already plays the game. Plead your case as to your probable addiction, and talk him into taking you to a local club for a round of certain bliss.
I would suggest a par 3 or a course that is not too busy and one that is golfer-friendly. (This is where you have to have complete trust in your so-called friend.)
While playing, ask your friend questions about certain things like: why you probably have to take a cart, why they parked the cart where they did, fixing ball marks, the proper way of marking your ball.
These are all things that pertain to helping understand how to get yourself around the golf course.
If you are still convinced that this is a wonderful game, then I would begin to get serious about it. Find out what golf professional in your area has the reputation for being an excellent instructor and has the patience of Job. See if you hit it off and understand their concepts of the game.
If so, sign up for a series of lessons and make a commitment to set aside some time to begin practicing. It's not enough just to take lessons; you must apply what you are learning. Remember to be patient with yourself, as well as with the golf professional. You must practice to get better, but it's very important that you are practicing using the right information.
For this reason, I make my final suggestion. Make sure to see a P.G.A. professional, because their goal is to make this game as enjoyable for as many people as possible.
Tim Peightal is a PGA Pro, general manager and director of golf at Pelican Bay Country Club - north and south courses in Daytona Beach. He also owns Summit Driving Range in Port Orange. Mr. Peightal can be reached by sending an e-mail to GypsyPro12@ aol.com.