Is Golf too Difficult for Beginners?

I just wanted to do a quick post on something that I was thinking about this morning.  Is golf too difficult and  inaccessible to the majority of people who might consider taking up the sport? What I mean is that with the price of clubs, greens fees, range balls, etc. constantly increasing, the golf courses and golf companies are nearly making it impossible for people of average means to get involved in the sport.    Golf isn’t supposed to be a game reserved only for the rich.  Combine that with how difficult the game really is, and it’s a lose/lose combination for newcomers to the game.  My feeling is that most new golfers don’t have the time, patience, dedication or funds to really embrace the sport.  I know that not everyone is going to start playing at age 3 and dedicate their lives to the game.  But is “Golf”, just too imposing of a sport now that the game itself scares off those who might be interested int taking up the game?

Should the major golf manufacturers price entry level clubs so just about anyone could afford a set?

Are golf courses only catering to the better players..who have lots of money?

Should there be courses that are shorter, with bigger holes (cups) so beginners can learn the basics without being demoralized at how penal a normal, full sized course can be?

Playing devils’ advocate, do we really want a bunch more newbies out there on the public courses, hacking away, making the average weekend round 6+ hours?

Not sure of the correct answers to these questions, or if they’re even legitimate questions at all.  I’m curious to hear your take on this?

56 Responses to “Is Golf too Difficult for Beginners?”

  1. Golfman530 says:

    It all depends on where you play. Just about every community has places to play that are very cheap. They might not be the best maintained place but they work. Also many places offer range memberships that are not that expensive. It’s all in what you make of it.

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  2. I agree that golf does still appear to be elitist (particularly if you play at a ‘private’ club)and it does put newcomers off.
    You can spend a small fortune on the ‘tools fo the trade’ if you buy new.
    Most newcomers wouldn’t actually buy new because of the crazy prices some manufacturers charge.
    There are still some bargains to be had in the second hand market.
    As for the courses, I’ve played on some excellent public ones and some rubbish ones too! The same can be said for the private courses too!
    If there were some decent beginners’ courses that had some easy holes then I’m sure the sport would attract many more new starters.

  3. Jason says:

    I live in Northern Ohio and I must say the majority of our courses are raising rates and in return letting their courses go unwatered. I had to quit the league I was in because the greens were so bad and the cost per week kept going up. I did some serious looking around and I stumbled across this course that was absolutly beautiful and came in at about $10 per 9 with a cart. I also found a practice facility not to far from my house with sand traps,driving range and putting greens and all it costed was the price of a bucket of balls.

    So what I’m trying to say is a beginner golfer with a bit of research could find a great way to learn the sport without draining their bank account. Not to mention I’m sure everyone knows where a park is or atleast some open space to practice their short game at,right? I means thats what needs the most practice. It seems like everyone wants to practice their drives when they are new to the game but in reality you could have a “not so good drive” and still be very competitive with a solid short game. Just my opinion I guess.

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  4. adrian smits says:

    The cost and difficulty of golf only has to be as great as people want to make them. I found used fat shafts at a garage sale for 30 dollars.My own swing theory seems to work better than anything I’ve learned from the books read or the pros who gave me lessons.It’s true finding a cheap round is getting harder but coupons, savings books and season passes at the right courses can still keep golf reasonably affordable

  5. Alan says:

    If a person expects to jump on the course and be Tiger or Annika within a few days, which lots of people expect to be, then golf isn’t the game. However, by knowing the rules (which can add confidence for a newbie), a modicum of preparation, and the proper expectations, golf can sink its hooks into new golfers.

    Also, if etiquette is stressed by serious golfers of all levels, slow play will be eliminated. I know, it’s a little like saying we can have world peace if we would all just get along. But, etiquette is just as important as the rules.

    Entry level clubs aren’t as big a problem as the cost of playing a round. Golf clubs are available everywhere from Target to WalMart, but finding a cheap course worth playing is a challenge.

    That’s my two cents.

    Great post and worth thinking about.

  6. Wyatt says:

    Ya, I have tried to teach a few of my friends how to play. They expect to be hitting it long and straight from the very beginning and just end up becoming too frustrated. It is the ones who understand that it takes time, who really stick with it.

    onthegrassgolf.blogspot.com

  7. Ron says:

    I think beginners will have a hard time with golf because of all of the expense they will have to strive with today. Take baseball, for instance, the fields and area look like your average “joe” can attend, but then look at the golf courses and clubhouses. They always have had an “upper class” look to them, but nowadays they look as though you track dirt on them, then you will be in big trouble!
    I like going to different golf blogs and finding info to better my knowledge, because I am some-what of a golfer myself, take for instance this website GolfTips.MrNightrider.com it is a “golf tip” blog like this one, and one of its main focus is teeing off or learning how to drive the ball with strength and grace to reach an effective hit to better your game. Now, with this site and many others, I am own my way to being a better golfer, thank you!

  8. John says:

    The beginning golfer doesn’t need to buy the latest brand-name irons and driver to play the game. There are plenty of full sets (including bag) available for well under $100 at the big box stores like Dicks or Walmart. There are also plenty of par-3 courses and driving ranges where beginners can practice without dealing with the frustration of 6,000-yard courses and 5-hour rounds.
    Indiana has many par-3 courses perfect for the beginner. Find a list of all courses in Indiana at http://www.IndianaGolfOnline.com.

  9. Ryan Becker says:

    I think this is a good point. The biggest obstacle for many people is the cost. Playing 18 with a cart is very expensive, and equipment is incredibly expensive, and that is a real barrier for many people. The time commitment could be a barrier too — going out to play around, all in, is somewhere in the vicinity of a 5-6 hour investment, which is tough for some people.

    I think that pricing equipment in a reasonable way that is targeted to beginners is a good place to start. Providing lower cost options might make the game more economically feasible for many people. Also, public courses should offer frequent play discount cards, or maybe one day a month where greens fees are half off, or you get a free cart, or something else along those lines.

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  12. Csisaaccs says:

    I don’t know if it is that hard really for new golfers to start up. Think about how much golf club prices drop after they are a year or two old. You can buy irons new from online sites such as golf galaxy and golf smith that are a few years old for hundreds of dollars off original price. Dicks sporting goods always has cheap irons. If its not the iron sets with addition to their selection of cheap wedges and drivers, its also the measly 300-400 dollar full sets usually affinity but still good starter clubs. Most people can finger a course that is known for being poor shaped or cheap and not worth it these are the courses that live for beginning golfers. No new golfer to the game should use the best clubs play the best courses. And even if they don’t want to spend the money on full rounds till they figure out what they want from the game there is always the driving rangers a bucket of balls is no more than a value meal or two that seems certainly easy enough for a starter to handle. The golf companies are not taking advantage of the golf world. They are taking advantage of people that play golf that are constantly improve their game by buying it. Shouldn’t the focus be on the golfer and his or her swing not necessarily on the equipment. The golf courses prices are also in response to demand and economy. Is it hard to find a diamond in the ruff kind of course that has a 18 rate of 40 or so in comparison to the 80 and 100 dollar rounds, not really its just you don’t play with your lawyer friends at the local country club. Treat the game like a game and less like a business and it gets a lot cheaper and in a lot of ways much more fun.

  13. Personally I find golf intimidating. It’s difficult to get good at a sport that seems impossible while at the same time costing you $80 to become the most frustrated you have ever been while trying to “relax and have “fun.” I know it’s an amazing game but to get good, not easy.

  14. Armando says:

    My wife and two kids and myself took up golf for the new year. I had never played before and had the pleasure of playing with a great group at a business function. I fell in love with the sport and brought the “bug” home to my wife and kids. Being 43 years old it has felt great to take up a new sport that has been somewhat easy on the body and I can share with my family. But I agree with your post. It can get VERY EXPENSIVE. Just to start out you will spend at least $1000 for a family of four and that is buying the most economical clubs at the store. Green fees are ridiculous! We have booked a golf resort vacation and when we looked into the green fees at peak times it would cost almost as much as our stay at the resort for a family of 4 to play a round of golf. Luckily they have an after 3pm deal for a much better price. Locally we have found a course that is relatively cheap for the 4 of us. We can play for under $65 total. Now the course is not the best kept, but at least it gives us the opportunity to play more often. It also has a good driving range, pitching area, and practice putting greens. Besides that we are always looking at well over $200 bucks for the 4 of us to play. If you watch the golf channel like I do they have a great program on Monday nights at 7pm called the Golf Fix. At the end of one show the host, who is very good mind you, had a last thought of getting us “golfers” to get others to play the game of golf. That golf is a sport in a decline right now. I wonder why? Like you said the average person CAN’T afford it! We need golf courses to become more mainstream without it losing its glamour. After all we don’t want to go out there and have people just fooling around on the course. I have witnessed this first hand already and it can be very frustrating. Especially when I keep my family moving quickly but properly through each hole. I hear about people that play golf 3 or 4 times per week; lucky them I say! They must also have a buck stashed away!

  15. Firstly, price is a Massive issue without doubt. Fortunately, i grew up in family that has always been involved in golf so as a youngster i always had access to ‘hand me down’ equipment which i was very grateful for. But someone who just decides to take up the game from scratch with nothing is difficult. What you could do is spend a couple of hundred on an ‘All in one’ set that is great start with but the problem is if you do end up getting into the game and pick it up easily you will soon ‘grow out’ of the cheap set which are now worth Zip (you know the type i mean) if they are not a branded name, so then its back to the shop to buy more clubs.

    Last point i would say is playing a full round (18 holes) or even 9 holes as a junior/beginner is very intimidating. Cleary if you are of a poor standard its going to take even longer to get round, plus you have the added pressure of games behind you waiting etc. Courses to me should be set up in 6 hole segments. 6 holes for a beginner or junior is plenty to give them the experience they need to try out the game and start progressing.

    Everyone has to start somewhere!