Reading this book is a good first step. You're doing great. Now you need some actual exposure, too.
Step 2 Test the waters
Start your golf learning experience by using a
practice facility (driving range,
putting green, short game area, etc.). That way, even if you feel like you have no
idea what you're doing, or if your behavior is completely inappropriate, at least
it's only practice, right?
Most golf courses have some kind of practice facility, and some practice facilities
are stand-alone (separate from golf courses). Check your phone book or local sporting
goods store to find one near you.
You don't need any equipment or special clothing, nor do you need a group of people to
get started. Every golf course or practice facility I've seen in my life has some kind
of clubs you can borrow (or rent very cheaply) to give it a try. Also, it's totally
fine to go to the course or driving range
by yourself. People do it all the time. If you're wondering what to wear just make sure
it's comfortable, loose enough to move freely and generally appropriate for public places.
Most golf facilities frown on tank tops, cut-offs, etc. and many courses require collared
shirts and if you're wearing shorts that they be a certain length. Use your judgement and
see what other people have on. Sneakers or athletic shoes are best for footwear, but
certainly make sure your shoes are flat, comfortable and not slippery -- heeled shoes (any
height), sandals or leather-soled dress shoes are not good.
If you are very conservative by nature you could simply go to
observe the first time you go to the golf course, but that is a bit extreme. You might
as well get your feet wet immediately, no? Plus, when you see the ball flying through
the air you will probably not be able to resist the temptation to give it a try.
Golf is a game that is steeped in tradition, civilized behavior and courtesy
(snobbery?). Therefore, what you do and don't do when you participate in the game
of golf is somewhat important. Golf etiquette
is as important as skill to many people who play the game. Learning the nuances and
subtleties of appropriate behavior may take years, but if you start with these simple
guidelines you'll be fine:
Learn from the behavior of more experienced players.
Be gentle with your sounds and movements (or totally silent and motionless) when
anyone is preparing to make a stroke within earshot on the golf course.
Be aware of your position relative to other people and be unobtrusive, e.g.,
don't stand too close to somebody making a stroke, or in a distracting position (like
behind them), don't swing near or toward anybody, etc.)
Be respectful of the course/property. Golf courses are expensive to maintain
and the condition of the course is important for maximum enjoyment of the game
(i.e., the smoothness of the putting greens,
bunkers and fairways).
Repair all damage you cause to the course to the best of your ability (e.g., replace
ball marks, rake bunkers, etc.).