You’ve finally done it. You’ve made the decision.

You’re going to learn to play golf.

Problem is, you don’t own clubs, let alone tees, gloves or shoes.

Worse still, maybe you’ve never even swung a club, let alone putted, chipped or teed off.

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No problem.

You can learn everything from scratch, and you don’t necessarily need your own equipment to start.

What’s more, you might learn quicker than you think.

Most area golf courses offer programs specifically for beginners, who learn to play in measured but steady increments that can have them playing big courses within weeks.

“Initially, there is a bit of a time commitment to learn the game and practice,” said Brandon Brezy, head PGA Professional at Valle Vista Golf Club in Greenwood. “But once you (learn), the payoff is huge.”

One of the most popular starting points for beginners is the PGA of America’s Get Golf Ready program.

Offered at many local courses, Get Golf Ready is a five-lesson series that begins with basics, from stretching to warm-ups to gripping the club, to playing on a course by the final lesson. The program costs $99 and requires no equipment.

So if you’re new to the game, you don’t need much to get started. Cash for affordable lessons, a few hours a week to practice and a commitment to learn is pretty much all you need.

What follows are tips on how to start from local golf pros.

Amber Pasel, Hickory Stick Golf Club

Q: What would be your advice to someone who wants to learn to play?

A: Call a golf course near you and see if they have any beginner clinics or private instruction. Talk to some friends that may be interested, as well, and sign up for some beginning lessons.

Signing up as a group will make it more fun and more affordable for all. Golf can be an intimidating sport, but let us help you get involved with the sport.

Q: What kind of equipment should beginners invest in?

A: We recommend to give the Get Golf Ready clinic a try. No need for clubs at first. You can borrow some of ours.

Once you get through the five sessions and want to continue, there are starter packaged sets that are very affordable. The packaged sets include all clubs needed in the bag. It should get the golfer through their first couple of years in golf or more.

Depending on how serious the golfer becomes, they may want to look into a new set that is specialized for them after a few years.

Q: What would the initial time commitment be like for lessons and practice?

A: It depends on how serious or good the golfer wants to get. In our clinics and lessons, we give a great deal of drills a golfer can do at home rather than having to go to the golf course each day.

If you can commit to practicing once a week for a few hours, you will see yourself getting better. The more you practice, the better you will get.

If you just take the lessons and do not practice, you will not see much improvement.

Ben Beatty, Otte Golf Center

Q: What would be your advice to someone who wants to learn to play?

A: A good place to start is with making a plan and setting some goals. Learning to play golf requires time. Beginners should consider how much time they have available to learn and develop their golf games. Determining how time a player is able to invest will help in setting reasonable expectations.

Finding a qualified instructor is essential to learning the fundamentals for all beginning golfers. Find an instructor, learn the proper fundamentals, practice as often as time will allow and have fun.

Q: What kind of equipment should beginners invest in?

A: My approach is to keep it simple and cost-effective. No one needs to rush out and buy clubs, bag, balls, tees, shoes, etc. Focusing resources on instruction in the beginning is the wisest choice you can make.

An experienced professional will be able to guide beginners into the right equipment as their game begins to develop. Everything you need to get started can be borrowed.

Q: What would the initial time commitment be like for lessons and practice?

A: Learning new motor skills requires repetition. I encourage newcomers who want to establish a solid foundation to be willing to invest a minimum of two hours a week over a 45- to 90-day period. One hour of instruction and one hour of practice each week over that period allows your muscles the time they need to establish the foundation.

Progress should be gauged in large chunks of time. Beginners can appear to get worse from day to day, but they look back where they were 90 days ago, it’s easy to see progress being made.”

Brandon Brezy, Valle Vista Golf Club

Q: What would be your advice to someone who wants to learn to play?

A: If someone were taking up the game for the first time, I would suggest they enter a Get Golf Ready program. It introduces new players to the game and focuses on having fun while learning.

It’s a group environment, and usually there’s something fun, like wine or drinks and food afterward. It’s very affordable, too.

Q: What kind of equipment should beginners invest in?

A: A good first set should be a box set, something that’s inexpensive but nice and comes with everything included.

Q: What would the initial time commitment be like for lessons and practice?

A: I always tell them that they can’t work on their games enough. Usually, if they end up liking the game, they can’t get enough of it. I always say golf is like an addiction, constantly searching for that great shot or score.

The beautiful thing about golf is you can still be a novice golfer but you can play fast. You don’t have to be a scratch golfer to play fast.”

Elliot Elger, Hillview Country Club

Q: What would be your advice to someone who wants to learn to play?

A: Seek out a PGA professional to see if the club has any beginner clinics or lesson packages.

Q: What kind of equipment should beginners invest in?

A: Most of the courses would have demo sets or older sets for rent if you are interested and don’t have your own clubs. Ladies and junior sets can come in small starter sets.

The legal limit of golf clubs is technically 14 clubs. All new players do not need that many. Work with your PGA professional, and they can fit you and analyze your swing to create a game-plan in both cost effectiveness and skill level.

Q: What would the initial time commitment be like for lessons and practice?

A: Beginners and juniors should be in the 30-minute area, simply because you do not want to overwhelm the new student with information. At that stage in their golfing careers, keeping it simple and working on the basic fundamentals like posture, grip and alignment (is the goal).

My personal preference would be to have two to three lessons per month with the ability to practice on your own or play on the golf course in between lessons.

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Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rmorwick@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.