Golf can be one of the most enjoyable games, and like any other sport, also one of the most frustrating. When you’re first starting out, you want to make sure you understand everything there is to know about it, from how to swing to how to act. We have 10 basic tips here for you beginners out there so you can get started in golf the right way.
1. Get Started the Right Way
When you’re just starting out, it’s not the time to start trying to get the same golf clubs as Tiger Woods or Brooks Koepka and doing what they do on the golf course. You can get the new and hottest golf equipment for golf pros later on. Rather, get a good pair of beginner clubs that can help you develop your skills. The Callaway Strata clubs are reviewed by many as the best beginner set and they’re affordable. Use this set to work on your skills and improve them. You can also find titanium drivers out there for a low price. Once you get to the next level of your game, you can start looking at upgrading your equipment, but for the first stages of starting out, we want to focus strictly on your skills.
2. Accuracy scores, not distance
We all want to hit it far, and really, with a few lessons, we can figure out how to mash it like Happy Gilmore out there. But unless you’re training for a long drive competition, you need to focus a lot of your game on hitting it straight when first starting out. Obviously distance matters, but the goal is to score well. You do this by keeping it in the fairways and hitting on the greens. When you’re first starting out, this needs to be your goal: Fairways and greens…and finding a way to getting it in the hole once you have your putter in your hands.
3. Practice a lot
There are plenty of driving ranges out there. You need to use them. This is where a lot of your learning is done. Vijay Singh spends over 100 hours during the week doing nothing but hitting golf balls, and many other golfers have similar stories. You can’t better unless you practice. Each day should be a focus. One day, focus on improving your driving. Another day, your short irons. Another day, your wedges. Before you hit the golf course regularly, you want to be confident. You can get your confidence through practice.
4. Master your wedge game
“There are so many irons in my bag. Which one should I practice with the most?” The answer to that is the wedges and the 9-iron. You should set it a goal once you practice to hit it on the green at least 90% of the time when you are within 100 yards. These are going to be a lot of your shots on the golf course as a beginner. You’ll have some long iron shots, too, but the average pro golfer doesn’t even hit the green with a 5-iron most of the time. But they do put it on the green with their pitching wedge 100% of the time. This needs to be your goal, too. You need to master your short irons before anything else.
5. Find a putting stroke that is comfortable for you
Putting is so crucial to golf. The phrase “Drive for show, putt for dough” is as true as they come. You need to put a lot of practice in putting. You also need to find a putting style that fits you. Everyone is different. Some like the left hand low, some like the right hand low. Some like small putters, some like big ones. So go with straight arms, some like bent arms. No matter what, though, one thing needs to remain constant: Your head is down, your arms and shoulders stay straight through impact, and your focus and concentration are all there.
6. Find some time to fit in lessons
You can’t do it all on your own as a beginner. Even if you do make great progress, a golf pro can make you better. Take advantage of the pros that are on the range. Ask their advice and get some lessons. They can go a long way in helping your game and “getting you better faster.” I am a golfer who used to shoot in the upper 70 and low 80s. I went to a golf pro, and in one 30-minute lesson, I became a 0-handicap and now shoot around Even Par every time. They are useful and they can trim strokes off your game. Utilize them.
7. Keep your head down
This may be the most important tip of any for a golfer just getting started. Yeah, I know, it sounds cliche, but it is so important. We can talk about the perfect stance, the perfect swing, the perfect release and all of that, but none of it works if your head doesn’t stay down throughout your whole swing. This includes chip shots and putts. If you’re going to score on the golf course, your head has to stay in place until that club is done swinging through your body.
8. Learn how to hit the basic shots first
These include basic chips, straight forward iron shots, drives, lob shots, and hybrids. It’s not the time yet to learn how to hit draws and fades. Your swing may lead you to that, but that’s more for a future lesson. You want to learn to hit the basic shot first and master that before we get into crazy stingers and choked-down five-irons. Learn your fundamental shots first.
9. Understand scoring and basic terminology
It’s important to know what birdies, pars, and bogeys are. It’s also important to know the difference between par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s, as well as handicap scores and basic terminology. When you get a chance, go online and learn the basics so you know what those mean when you get on the course and what score you need to make par, birdie, or bogey.
10. Learn the right etiquette
Golf is a game unlike any other. There’s certain do’s, and certain don’ts. For example, don’t walk in front of another’s line with your cleats. Rake the bunkers after you hit a shot. Don’t scrape the greens. Replace divots. If you’re going to a fancy course, dress appropriately. Always compliment others after a good shot. Wait your turn until it’s your time to hit. Know the basic rules of the game. These are just some of the basics you need to learn when you’re on the course. Make sure you research all the proper things you should do when you start playing for real.