So you want to learn how to golf but you are a beginner that has never swung a club and you are overwhelmed with all the choices and advice from other websites or from friends as to what the best way is to get into golf.
For many, golf is considered a sport of elitists played by old white guys in weird clothes but over the years that perception has changed and golf courses are starting to adapt to a new crowd of younger golfers that are beginning the long path that veterans like us already know…golf is fun but getting started is intimidating if you don’t know where to start.
Top Ten Golf Tips For Beginners
So if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed before stepping onto your very first golf course our list below are easy to follow golf tips to help you get started.
#1) Try The Driving Range First
Before any of the following golf tips below, start by swinging a club and seeing if you enjoy it first! Ask a friend that is into golf to join you at a driving range and offer to buy them a bucket to hang out with you for an hour or so. Then hit a bucket and take heed to any tips he/she has when it comes to grip and stance. By going out you can then get an idea if you are still interested in going down the golf rabbit hole and moving on to the next step.
#2) Start With Cheap or Second Hand Golf Clubs
Here you have some options. You can simply buy a simple set of clubs from a sporting goods place for a couple of hundred dollars and they will be adequate for learning to play with. You can go to a second hand sporting goods store and get a set from there that may be better quality but have been used and have some dings and scratches. You can also ask around to see if anyone you know has a set that is sitting in their garage or basement that is no longer being used and that you can borrow. If you lean on that option, make sure that the clubs are newer and not actually made of wood. You are “permitted” to carry up to 14 golf clubs in a bag but if you are a beginner you won’t need that many. A few irons, putter, sand wedge, pitching wedge and a driver or 3 wood will get you started. If you are buying new, see if you can try out the clubs before you buy them. If you are getting a used set, grip them and see how they feel in your hands to make sure they feel comfortable.
#3) Consider Taking Some Golf Lessons
I don’t care how many of your friends can give you tips on the driving range on how to golf you will only learn by taking lessons from a pro. It could be group lessons, it could be private but having someone that knows what they are talking about looking at your grip, stance and swing will be the best chance you have of learning how to golf properly. Golf lessons aren’t very expensive and you will learn to play much quicker under the eye of a professional than watching videos, having your friends “teach” you or simply trying to learn at a driving range on your own. Check out courses that are near you and ask if any have golf lessons that focus on beginners. Even see if there are any reviews online of any places that offer lessons to see what others have said about the pros that are teaching them.
#4) Practice Whenever You Can
If you’ve made it to the golf lessons stage then you are on your way to playing golf but here’s what you need to know….Golf is Hard! You will look like a pro during your lessons but if you don’t head to a range and practice what you’ve learned you will come back to your next lesson and look like a fool again. You need to practice everything that you learned that previous week and also past lessons so that if you are having some problems still, the golf pro can help you iron things out.
#5) Leave The Driver In The Bag
I stopped playing golf for a while and started again years later and took lessons again trying to regain some of the skills I had lost. The golf pro did his thing and after the lessons were done said “If you truly want to get better, leave your driver in the bag for a year”. It’s no secret that the driver is the hardest club to hit and can ruin your confidence in an instant. Hitting irons are a lot easier and even the rescue clubs and 3 wood/5 wood are a bit forgiving. You can practice with the driver on the range but build up your confidence on a course by ignoring your driver and hitting solid iron shots. You won’t hit it as far…but you won’t be in the woods the whole round looking for balls either.
#6) Learn Golf Etiquette
There are certain rules of play that need to be followed on a golf course. I’m not talking about some of the obscure stuff but here are some basic golf etiquette rules that should be followed out of courtesy to your fellow golfers:
- Don’t talk while others are hitting, especially off the tee
- Don’t walk across other players putting line
- The person who is furthest from the hole should be up next to hit the ball
- Set a max score per hole and if you have reached that total pick up your ball and move on, usually double figures such as 10
- It’s ok to look for a lost ball but anything more then 5 minutes on a busy course is painful for golfers behind you
- Always rake the bunker after a shot from there
- If you take a chunk of grass out of the fairway make sure to find the divot and put it back
- Always yell Fore! on a bad tee shot that may hit other players on the course
The list of golf etiquette is endless and you’ll learn more as you go along but these are some of the ones you want to know before you go out the first time.
#7) Start By Playing on Executive or Par 3 Courses
A typical golf course is 6000 – 7000 yards and a good golfer can finish the round hitting the ball about 80-90 times….You will hit over 140+ your first time if you go to a full course and you will get tired! Try out an executive or Par 3 course and you will have shorter holes to aim at and you will get to leave the driver in the bag as I suggested earlier. Some courses have 9 hole rounds and some have started offered 6 hole rounds which is another option if you would rather try on a full course.
#8) Play With Your Friends
Your first time out will be intimidating and the worst feeling is to be paired up into a foursome with 2 guys that are good at golf that aren’t supportive of beginners. Find a way of getting 3 friends to play your first round with you, they are less likely to criticize you and be unsupportive of your play (unless your 3 friends are a-holes in which case you need to find better friends!). Make sure you offer to buy them a drink at the clubhouse after the round (or buy them a round or two from the beer cart) to thank them for putting up with you your first time out. If you can’t play with all your friends and get paired with strangers, don’t feel pressured by them. Everyone was a beginner once and most are understanding that you are going to be a drag on the round. As long as you try to play at a quick pace and know when you should pick up the ball during a hole then you’ll be fine.
#9) Visit the Driving Range Time and Time Again
You survived your first time golfing? Still interested in the game? Go back and practice! You will have learned from playing a course what you are good at and what you aren’t and now you need to go back and improve on your faults and practice what you were good at.
#10) Most Important – Have Fun
Golf is hard and for a beginner it is a long road to actually getting to a point where even a bad round of golf is enjoyable. It’s a great way to hang out with friends in the outdoors and you really shouldn’t stress about it…It’s just a game!
Bonus beginner golf tips:
Learn the proper grip – It is the basis for everything in golf. From your lessons, learn what the proper grip is for you that you are most comfortable with and will allow you to hit the club the best.
Practice! – I know, I’ve said it already but you need to practice. Find a range that also has chipping greens and putting greens so that you can practice your short game. 2/3 of your added shots will come within 75 yards of the hole and 50 percent of your score comes on the putting green.
Buy Used Golf Balls – Brand new golf balls aren’t cheap and you will lose a remarkable amount the first year of playing. People sell either near the golf course cheap golf balls that they have found or online others will sell used golf balls. There is no shame is using used balls!
Don’t Be Embarrassed to Tee Off From Shorter Boxes – Pick the shortest tee box and hit from there! Most golfers will call them “the ladies tees” but that’s an archaic term. Reality is there are plenty of guys that should only be playing the forward tees and hitting from a shorter distance. You’re there to learn how to improve and having to hit it a further distance isn’t going to help you improve that much…it’ll probably discourage you more.
Be Prepared for a Round of Golf – Bring some protein bars, maybe a bottle of water, a water proof jacket if there is a hint of rain and PLENTY of golf balls! A full round of golf is over 4 hours long so prepare yourself accordingly.
Getting started in golf is hard but as many will attest to it can be a relaxing game and a great opportunity to keep up with friends as you get older all while enjoying the great outdoors and getting some much needed exercise. Follow our beginner golf tips and we’ll see you on the links!