Just Starting to Play Golf – Tips Every Beginning Golfer Should Know!
Congratulations on your decision to take up the great game of golf. Let me save you endless frustration and expense and encourage you to quit now..while you still have your sanity. Just kidding..just kidding. Since your new to golf, there are some basic tips I can provide to you to help make your introduction to the game much more enjoyable, and hopefully keep you coming back to the course for many years to come. Believe it or not, these suggestions are not really swing related. While the swing is one or the most important aspects of golf, for the beginning golfer, there are equally important aspects which help steer you in the right direction for your game. Also, if you’re going to pick up any type of instructional literature, if you only buy one book be sure to get Hank Haney-The Only Golf Lesson You’ll Ever Need. This is a must read for any new golfer and will help your game more than you can imagine. Ok moving on.
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 PGA teaching professional. Most decent golf courses and driving ranges will have a PGA 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 their professionals. Get some lessons and learn properly. I can’t stress this enough.
Stick With the Driving Range – Even after you have a few professional lessons, continue to hone your skills on the range for a while. There’s nothing worse than heading out to the course as a beginner and realizing that you don’t have the necessary skills to get around the course in a reasonable manner. If you stick with the range, and continue to practice what you learned in your lessons, your first trip to a course will be much more enjoyable. When you do decide to venture out on the links, and executive or par 3 course will be your best bet to get comfortable with playing an actual round.
Don’t Buy Clubs Just Yet – I knew you’re probably excited and want to get all the cool golf gear, but let’s wait on that for just a bit. After you get a couple of lessons, and see if you still want to play this cruel game, then you can think about getting your own set of clubs. Online is a great place to get deals on golf equipment, but I don’t necessarily recommend that. Even though you’re a beginner, you should be properly fitted for your first set of clubs. The same place that you took your lessons should also be able to fit you for irons and woods. They will check your swing tendencies and variables and suggest club length, lies and shaft flexes for your particular swing. Being properly fitted will allow you to maximize your swing and equipment’s abilities. Generally the cost for this fitting will be included in the price of the clubs you order. How much you want to spend on your set of clubs is up to your personal budget, but you should be able to get a great starter set in the $300 range for the irons, and a good quality driver for under $100.
Practice, Practice, & Practice – That pretty much says it all. However practice with a purpose! So many new golfers ( and experienced golfers) just bang balls at the range with no goal in mind…this is worthless. You should be working on some aspect of your game whenever you’re out practicing. Pick targets and try to hit them. Work on your balance or tempo or if you’re new, just work on striking the ball consistently. And until you groove your swing..keep the driver in the bag. The worst thing you can do is to hit 100 balls with your driver and neglect your pitching wedge. Spend twice as much time on your short game (putting included) as the rest of your game.
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. I’m not a professional golfer by any means. I’m currently a 5 handicap, and it’s taken a LOT of work to get there. These tips are some of the things I wished I had known back when I started playing the game at the age of 10.
And while these are just some very basic tips for the beginning golfer, they’re aspects which are often overlooked. Golf should be an enjoyable pastime, and learning the proper way will play a large part in how much enjoyment you get from the game. You don’t have to have the game of Tiger to have a great time playing the game. Get out there and have a great time…golf’s a game you can play for the rest of your life. If you’re interested in working in the golf industry, check out one of the premier professional golf schools in the country at the Keiser University College of Golf.
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