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Equipment Report

    So your dad wants to play golf

    With Father’s Day looming, here are a few tips to your dad started in this great game

  • Jay Haas watches play alongside his son Bill at The Presidents Cup in South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)Jay Haas watches play alongside his son Bill at The Presidents Cup in South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Sunday at the U.S. Open coincides every year with a special holiday: Father’s Day. For sons and daughters who play the game of golf, It’s a great time to join their dad in an early round before going home to watch the conclusion of the U.S. Open.

Not all fathers play golf, however. That’s perfectly fine, but maybe dad has dropped a hint or two recently that he’s interested in picking up the game. Maybe Tiger Woods bwinning the Masters has sparked his interest. Or, maybe he’s already started playing, but his game isn’t quite golf course ready.

Amid your search for a Father’s Day gift, you figure this is the perfect time to get him something golf-related and keep dad enthused about the game. What do you buy, though? Does dad need an entire set of golf clubs? Should you get him a club fitting? Group lessons? Golf instructional books?

The golf market can be overwhelming, especially when starting from scratch. Most importantly, we want dad to enjoy the game.

To help us sift through the clutter, and get dad started the right way, PGATOUR.COM recently spoke with Anne Cain, a Top-100 ranked instructor from the PGA TOUR Academy at World Golf Village. Cain was an All-American at the University of Georgia, played golf professionally, and then went on to coach dozens of TOUR players and collegiate competitors.

Below, Cain offers invaluable advice for sons and daughters who want to help dad get started playing golf and enjoy it for a lifetime. Of course, this advice can also be great for mom to get started playing golf, too.

PGATOUR.COM: What are the essential purchases that need to be made to start playing golf?

ANNE CAIN: “I think a good starting set is a putter, wedge, 7-iron and driver.”

PGATOUR.COM: Should you spend more money on lessons or a club fitting/new equipment?

ANNE CAIN: “I would recommend spending more time on lessons initially. A good instructor should be able to guide you on future club purchases, as well.”

PGATOUR.COM: Do you recommend group lessons, or one-on-one lessons?

ANNE CAIN: “I recommend private lessons if your budget allows for it. Imagine taking piano lessons in a group – you are not going to get the same individual attention as you will in private instruction. Group lessons are better for socializing or getting info on a particular shot within the game.”

PGATOUR.COM: What about getting dad a swing instructional book? Would this be helpful for him?

ANNE CAIN: “Reading is a great idea; however, for a beginner it can be confusing getting information from too many sources. If you want to read, get books on the rules of golf or the etiquette.”

PGATOUR.COM: Is it better to spend more time at the range, or more time on the course when just starting out?

ANNE CAIN: “You need to develop technique on the range until you have a certain percentage of successful shots. They don’t have to be perfect, but the ball needs to advance. If you can find a par-3 course, then start playing there before moving to a regulation golf course. Have a friend or family member take you out initially to show you the ropes.”

PGATOUR.COM: What are some good goals for dad to establish early on?

ANNE CAIN: “Goals are individual and need to be established with your instructor. I usually have new students do drills with some feedback and we shoot for a percentage of successful shots or contact on the sweet spot. Once you build to a 70% success rate, you can move to a new area or try playing on the course.”

PGATOUR.COM: How can you help dad from getting frustrated when all he does is duff or whiff the ball? Or if he goes out on the course and shoots 150 the first time out?

ANNE CAIN: “Perhaps it’s too soon for him to be on the course. I would buy him the gift of golf instruction for Father’s Day. An instructor can get him on the right track and show him how to practice and improve. That will help so he’s not so frustrated the next time he goes on the course.”

PGATOUR.COM: Should a son or daughter try to help dad when he’s struggling, or leave swing advice to the pros?

ANNE CAIN: “Leave it to the experts – we know what we are doing!”

PGATOUR.COM: What are some tips for course management for the beginner?

ANNE CAIN: “Set a goal for a score on each hole – it might be two or three strokes above par. Do what you can to keep the ball in play and avoid trouble areas like hazards and bunkers. For guys, that may mean leaving the driver in the bag and hitting a different club off the tee.”