Golf is one of the most popular sports. It is quite easy to take up and gives you the chance to have a great time outdoors and meet new people.
Get a lesson...or five! - You've probably been to the driving range with your friends who are golfers, and that's how you decided you wanted to get into the sport..correct? That's a great introduction to the game, however if you want to start learning the basic mechanics of the golf swing, you'll want to take a lesson from a certified teaching professional(PGA or WGTF). Most decent golf courses and driving ranges will have a teaching professional and they usually have good package deals for beginner golfers, and will often have group lessons for discounted rates. I suggest setting up an individual lesson, where the professional will go over the basics such as grip, stance, posture, and swing mechanics. Don't fall into the temptation to allow your friends to teach you. While their intentions are good, they will do your golf swing more harm than good. Golf professionals know how to teach a golf swing, that's why they are professionals. Get some lessons and learn properly. I can't stress this enough.
Buy a used set of golf clubs (). This does not have to be a full set, just a few clubs will do (3 wood, 5, 7, 9 iron, pitching wedge/sand wedge and a putter. Used clubs caution: If the grips don’t fit your hand, or the shafts are too firm or the wrong length, you'll have an unpleasant experience. Blisters, and the arm equivalent of shin splints, can occur. Just like shoes, you need clubs that “fit.”
Etiquette & Rules - Take some time to learn the rules of golf...and the etiquette, as this is just as important as being able to hit the ball 300 yards. The game of golf is about honesty, honor and respect, not just hitting a ball around a grassy park. You can get a copy of the official rules at the USGA website. Keep it in your bag and study it so you know the rules for any particular situation you may find yourself in on the course. As for etiquette, these are just common sense issues more than anything. Don't walk in other peoples putting lines because it can disturb the grass and make putts go offline. Don't talk when others are hitting. Don't stand directly behind or in front of a player who's swinging a club. Always dress appropriately and according to golf course rules. These are just some of the basics but as you play more you'll learn the in's & out's of golf etiquette..and don't be afraid to ask a seasoned golfer about a rule or an etiquette issue. They're usually happy to help a beginner learn.
Look around for a golf pro (teacher) in your area. Most golf courses have a pro or can refer you to one. Book 3 or 4 lessons from the pro, ask for a package rate.
Learn the basics, such as how to grip the club, how to stand over (address) the golf ball, how to swing the golf club, how to putt, etc. The pro should show you all these basics. You can also watch online videos and read one of the many golf guides online.
Go to a driving range a few times before you head out onto the course. Your aim is to be more confident in your club and shot selection, knowing the distances and average trajectory of the clubs you use is essential. Also, using the driving range before a round will give you an idea of how the weather is affecting your shot. Is it windy? Is the humidity making the ball heavy and affecting distance? Practicing at the range lets you find these things out without costing strokes.
Try going out to a 9 hole golf course first. If you don't have a lot of time to play, or cannot hit the ball far enough yet, then you could try the driving range or a pitch and putt course a few more times. These are handy to practice.
As you progress, it is vital to work on your short game (putting and pitching). Think about it. It is useless being able to hit the ball 200 yards, depending how strong you are you should be able to drive the ball 250, and not have a clue what to do when you get to the green. In an average round, you will use your driver 12-15 times, depending on the course. On every single course you will use your putter about 30 times in a round, depending on your ability. The short game is the key to a lower handicap.