Call it a hunch, but sometime this summer you’re going to find yourself out on the golf course.

It could be this weekend while visiting the in-laws for Father’s Day. Or an impromptu invitation by the boss on the office retreat next month.

Whatever the case, you should be prepared–and have a few tricks up your sleeve—especially if you’re not exactly a clubhouse regular. So we’ve put together a handy little guide on how to take your next round of golf to the next level. (We’ll spare you all the old-fashioned etiquette rules, like keeping quiet during backswings and not stepping across putting lines on the green.)

Winning at golf, regardless of your handicap.»

Pick up a hybrid club. Here’s our one gear recommendation, and it’s the secret weapon you should have in your bag: an iron/fairway wood hybrid. They don’t allow these on tour for a reason, but for the weekend warrior they’re a godsend on long par 4s, par 5s and the occasional par 3 off the tee. TaylorMade calls it the Rescue Club, but you can find a good selection of hybrids in any club shop worth its green fee.

For your refreshments. Keep an eye out for the beverage cart. Be polite to the cart girl and leave a nice tip, and she’ll swing back around sooner than later—there’s no deeper feeling of desperation on the course than not knowing when your next Bloody Mary is coming. If you’re not sure of the beverage situation (or it’s a muni course), you might want to slip a few cold cans into your most insulated bag pocket. Either way, remember: this game is a marathon, not a sprint.

Drop some well-timed lingo. A pastime this old is bound to pick up some clever terms and turns of phrase. Brush up here (or pick up the pocket-size book) and pepper them into the conversation as necessary—for authenticity’s sake. For instance: stick the green and then tell the rest of your foursome you’ll be seeing them on “the dance floor.”

For the advanced move: learn a trick. This one counts for style points far beyond what any tartan knickerbockers might lend. You can always try mastering the Tiger Woods juggling act, but you’re best off learning something that might come into play on the course. Something like Phil Mickelson’s backward shot that’ll get you off the lip of a bunker in spectacular fashion.

The importance of a good 19th hole. Post-golf drinks are a time-honored ritual as important as the game itself. Research this list from Golf Digest, find your nearest course and make the tee time.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar