Golf is a great game, but it's tough to get into. Many beginners will give up within the first year. It's a sad statistic but there are things beginner golfers can do to increase their enjoyment out on the golf course and get better at the game of golf at the same time.
Here's my 9 step mini beginner golf guide.
1 - Learn the basic rules of golf
Before you start playing golf, it is important to understand the basic rules and etiquette of the game. This includes understanding the objective of the game, how to properly keep score, how to play out of bunkers and hazards, and common courtesies such as allowing faster groups to play through.
Here are few basics:
Play the ball as it lies: You must play the ball as it lies, without improving the lie or area around the ball in any way. Basically, this means, you can pick the ball up and move it to a spot which makes it easier to hit the ball.
Teeing off: You must tee off from within the designated tee box and must play the ball from the tee. Those little blocks on the flat bit of grass at the start of a hole are called tee markers. You need to hit the ball from between those markers and not in front of them.
Order of play: The player who is farthest from the hole plays first. If you're playing "ready golf" and you're not going to hurt anyone in front of you by playing first, by all means take your shot.
Stroke play: Most golfers play stroke play when out on the golf course. A stroke is counted every time the club is swung and makes contact with the ball. The goal is to complete the course in as few strokes as possible.
Bunkers and water hazards: If your ball lands in a bunker or water hazard, you must either play the ball from the hazard or take a penalty stroke and play from a designated drop zone.
Out of bounds: If your ball goes out of bounds, you must play a new ball from the spot where the previous ball went out of bounds, taking a penalty stroke.
Relief: If your ball is in a difficult lie, such as in a deep rough or on an unplayable lie, you may be entitled to relief, which allows you to play the ball from a different location.
There are loads more rules to learn but these are the basics to help you get started.
2 - Get to grips with golf etiquette
Golf etiquette is a set of rules and practices that golfers are expected to follow on the golf course. These rules and practices are designed to ensure the safety of all players, maintain the integrity of the game, and preserve the beauty of the golf course. Here are some of the most important elements of golf etiquette:
Respect for fellow players: Golf is a game of courtesy and respect, and players are expected to show consideration for their fellow players at all times. This means avoiding distractions or disruptions while others are playing, and waiting for your turn to play.
Keep pace: Golfers should keep pace with the group in front of them. If you are playing slowly, be prepared to allow faster groups to play through.
Repair divots and ball marks: Golfers should repair any divots or ball marks they create on the course. This helps to maintain the condition of the course and ensure that it is playable for future players.
Stay quiet: Golf is a game that requires concentration, so players should avoid talking or making noise while others are playing. Similarly, golfers should turn off their mobile phones or put them on silent mode to avoid disturbing other players.
Follow dress code: Many golf courses have a dress code that requires players to dress in a certain way. Golfers should always follow the dress code, which usually includes collared shirts, golf shoes, and shorts or pants.
Be mindful of the environment: Golfers should be mindful of the environment and avoid causing damage to the course. This means avoiding driving carts on sensitive areas, such as greens or tees, and staying on designated paths.
Safety: Golfers should always prioritize safety on the course. This means being aware of other players and staying clear of their swings, avoiding throwing clubs, and being cautious when driving carts.
By following these rules and practices, golfers can ensure that they are respectful to others and are preserving the integrity of the game.
3 - Invest in some semi decent golf equipment
We all like shiny things and golf gear is a rabbit hole that we all end up going down at some point. the fact is, proper equipment can help you learn golf more efficiently and make the game more enjoyable. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars and second hand gear is totally fine, but that set of grandpa's clubs from 1969 aren't making your life easier!
What golf equipment do I need to get started?
Essential items include clubs, golf balls, a golf bag, and comfortable golf shoes. As a beginner, it is recommended to start with a set of clubs designed for beginners. These clubs are sometimes called "super game improvement" irons and have features built it to make it easier to make contact with the ball and get it in the air.
Here are the essential items you will need:
Golf clubs: You will need a set of golf clubs. Most beginners start with a half set, which typically includes a driver, a fairway wood, a hybrid, a few irons (usually 7, 9, and pitching wedge), and a putter.
Golf balls: You will need golf balls to play the game. It is recommended to buy a few dozen to start, as you will likely lose some as you learn the game. Used balls are fine but avoid range balls or balls which look like they've been sat at the bottom of a lake for 100 years.
Golf bag: You will need a golf bag to carry your clubs around the course. Choose a bag that is comfortable to carry and has enough space to hold your clubs and other accessories.
Golf gloves: Golf gloves provide a better grip on the club and protect your hands from blisters. You will need at least one glove, but it is a good idea to have a backup.
Golf shoes: Golf shoes have spikes on the soles to provide traction on the course. They are not required, but they can help you maintain your balance during your swing. You can get some pretty cool looking styles these days which can be worn on an off the course, no need to look like a goof.
Golf tees: You will need tees to hold the ball in place when you tee off. They come in different lengths, the longer ones being for clubs like the driver and the. shorter ones for woods and irons.
Golf towel: A golf towel is useful for cleaning your clubs and balls and wiping sweat from your face and hands (if you're lucky enough to play in a hot country)
Once you have these basic items, you are ready to hit the course! As you become more experienced, you may want to add other items to your golf bag, such as a rangefinder or a GPS device. But to get started, these essentials are all you need.
Why do I need clubs specifically designed for beginners?
Clubs that are specifically designed for beginners can be helpful for several reasons:
Forgiveness: Beginner clubs are typically designed to be more forgiving, meaning that they can help compensate for mistakes made during the swing. This can help beginners hit straighter and longer shots, even if they don't make perfect contact with the ball.
Lightweight: Beginner clubs are often lighter in weight, making them easier to swing for those who are new to the game. This can help reduce the risk of injury and help beginners develop good swing mechanics.
Larger sweet spot: Beginner clubs often have a larger sweet spot, which is the area of the clubface that produces the best results when making contact with the ball. This can help beginners make better contact with the ball and hit straighter shots.
Consistency: Beginner clubs are designed to help beginners achieve consistency in their swings. By using clubs that are specifically designed for beginners, golfers can develop a consistent swing that will help them improve their game over time.
Confidence: Using clubs that are designed for beginners can also help boost confidence on the course. When golfers are able to hit straighter and longer shots, they are more likely to enjoy the game and stick with it over time.
Clubs that are specifically designed for beginners can be helpful because they are more forgiving, lightweight, have a larger sweet spot, promote consistency, and can boost confidence.
4 - Find a beginner-friendly golf course and take lessons
Finding golf courses that are beginner-friendly can help you feel more comfortable and confident when playing golf. Municipals or a pay and play golf course will allow you to just turn up and play without much fuss. You might even find a few other beginner golfers to play and practice golf with.
Booking a few lessons with a professional golf instructor is a great way to learn the proper swing technique, etiquette, and on-course strategies from someone who has more than likely seen it all. It's important to remember that teaching golf pros have probably seen guys who are worse than you and they don't care. They want you to get better so that you keep playing and coming back for more lessons!
5 - Practice smart and regularly
In my opinion the best practice for a real beginner is to play as much golf as possible. I learned on a pitch and putt golf course and it was a great way to just get used to the feeling of hitting the ball and putting. If you've been to see a teaching professional they will give you a few drills to work on. Here are a few simple things I would recommend for beginners to do to practice golf in a smart way. Remember - just bashing balls at the driving range doesn't help anyone!
Focus on the basics: Start by focusing on the basics of the golf swing, such as grip, stance, and posture. Practice these fundamentals regularly to build a solid foundation for your swing.
Hit balls at the driving range: Hitting balls at the driving range is a great way to practice your full swing and develop a feel for the club and ball. Start with shorter clubs, such as a wedge or short iron, and gradually work your way up to longer clubs. DO NOT HIT BALLS MINDLESSLY. Yes, smashing driver can be fun, but it's not really advancing your skillset or improving your overall game. take time between shots and visualise what you are trying to do.
Work on your short game: Improving your short game, including chipping, pitching, and putting, can help you save strokes and be more successful on the course. Spend time practicing these shots on the practice green or at a pitch and putt golf course.
Be mindful of course management: My channel is all about course management and less about the technical side of the golf swing. If you can learn to make good decisions on the course as a beginner golfer, it's going to make you improve rapidly as you will cut out necessary strokes from your score. Watch some videos on my channel to learn more.
Play as much as you can: Regularly playing on the course will help you apply what you have learned in your practice sessions and provide an opportunity to see how your skills translate to real-life situations. 3 holes, 9 holes whatever, just get out there!
Seek feedback: Seek feedback from a golf instructor or more experienced golfers to help identify areas for improvement and receive tips on how to make progress. Playing with better players can be eye opening and you will see different ways to play and hit the golf ball. I learned how to chip by watching how far back a pro took the club for different shots and I tried to copy him. Have your eyes and mind open at all times.
Make practice fun: Make practice fun by setting achievable goals and incorporating different drills and games into your routine. This will help you stay motivated and engaged.
Remember, the key to improving your golf game is to practice regularly and consistently, and to have fun while doing it.
6 - Join a beginner golf league or society
Joining a beginner golf league or society can help you meet other people who are just starting out and provide an opportunity to learn and play with others who are in a similar skill level. Society golf also lets you play lots of different courses and you will learn golf etiquette and lots of other golf skills along the way.
7 - Watch tutorials and read articles (with caution)
There are many resources for golf tips available online, including tutorials and instructional videos, books, and articles about golf techniques and strategies. These resources can provide additional guidance and insights to help you improve your golf skills. BUT! And it is a big one, online golf videos on YouTube can ruin your game. My brother in law nearly destroyed his game by watching swing tips and had to go and see a pro to fix all of the stuff he had filled his head with.
My recommendation is to watch and read content which focuses on the mental and course management aspects of the game. Avoid swing tips unless they are specific to YOU and YOU ONLY. What works for 6ft 3" Dave won't work for 5ft 8" Bob.
Seek feedback from experienced golfers: More experienced golfers can provide valuable feedback and advice on your technique, etiquette, and on-course strategies. Take their feedback and constructive criticism to heart, and work on incorporating their suggestions into your game.
Focus on developing a solid swing technique and short game: As a beginner, it is important to focus on developing a solid swing technique and improving your short game. This will help you learn to play more consistently and have more success on the course.
Stay patient and persistent: Learning golf takes time and practice, so it's important to be patient and persistent. Don't get discouraged by setbacks and try to have fun and enjoy the process of learning a new sport.
Have fun: Finally, remember that golf is a fun and enjoyable sport. Embrace the challenges and the process of learning, and don't be afraid to try new things and take risks. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the game!
8 - Know how far your clubs go
This might sound simple, but so many players don't really know how far they hit their golf clubs. You need to be honest with yourself in this area. Yes that drive you hit perfectly on a hit summer day downwind on a rock hard fairway might have gone 280 yards, but is that realistic?
How do I work out how far I hit my golf clubs?
To find out how far you hit your golf clubs, you can follow these steps:
Track your shots: Keep track of how far you hit each club during practice sessions or rounds on the course. Use a rangefinder, GPS device, or estimate the distance based on landmarks.
Record your data: Create a record of your shots and their distances, organized by club. This data can be used to track your progress and identify patterns.
Take into account variables: Distance can be affected by factors such as wind, temperature, humidity, and altitude. Make sure to take these variables into account when tracking your shots.
Seek feedback: Ask a golf instructor or more experienced golfer for their opinion on your club distances. They may be able to provide valuable insights and make recommendations for improvement.
Use a launch monitor: A launch monitor is a device that uses sensors to track the ball flight and provide data on clubhead speed, launch angle, and ball speed, among other metrics. Launch monitors can be found at golf retail stores, indoor golf facilities, or by booking a session with a golf instructor.
9 - Scoring. How does scoring in golf work and do I need to keep a scorecard?
Scoring in golf is based on the number of strokes it takes to complete each hole and the entire round. The goal of golf is to complete each hole in as few strokes as possible. At the end of the round, the player with the lowest total score wins.
Each hole on the golf course has a designated par, which is the number of strokes that an expert golfer is expected to take to complete the hole. For example, a par 3 hole is one that an expert golfer should be able to complete in three strokes. The total par for the entire course is the sum of the pars for each hole.
To keep score in golf, you record the number of strokes it takes you to complete each hole on a scorecard. You add up your total strokes for the round to get your score. If you complete a hole in fewer strokes than its par, you have a birdie. If you complete it in one stroke fewer, it is an eagle. If you complete it in one stroke more, it is a bogey. And if you complete it in two strokes more, it is a double bogey. If you take more strokes than double bogey, it is typically referred to as a "bad hole".
It is important to keep a scorecard in golf as it helps you keep track of your progress and identify areas where you may need to improve. Additionally, when playing in a group or in a tournament, keeping score allows you to compare your performance against other players.
In conclusion, scoring in golf is based on the number of strokes it takes to complete each hole and the entire round. You can keep track of your score by using a scorecard, which is an essential tool for playing the game.
In conclusion, golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. If you're a beginner golfer, it's important to start with the basics and gradually build your skills and knowledge over time.
To get started in golf, you'll need a set of clubs, golf balls, tees, and comfortable clothing and shoes. You should also learn about the rules and etiquette of the game, as well as basic techniques for hitting shots such as the chip and the full swing.
As you become more comfortable with the game, you can start to focus on building a consistent setup and swing, as well as improving your accuracy and distance. You may also want to consider taking lessons from a golf instructor to help you improve your technique and develop a personalized practice plan.
Remember to stay patient and have fun as you learn and grow in the game of golf. With dedication and practice, you can become a skilled and confident golfer over time.
FAQs from beginner golfers
How do I Hit a Basic Golf Chip?
Hitting a basic golf chip shot is an essential skill to have for any golfer. Here are the steps to hit a basic golf chip shot:
Choose the club: For a basic chip shot, use a pitching wedge, sand wedge, or another club with a higher loft. The higher loft of the club will help you get the ball into the air and onto the green.
Set up your stance: Stand with your feet close together, about shoulder-width apart. Your weight should be on your front foot, and your back foot should be slightly behind your front foot.
Position the ball: Place the ball in the middle of your stance, closer to your back foot.
Align your body: Align your body with the target line, with your feet, hips, and shoulders pointing towards the target.
Take a short backswing: Take a short backswing with your club, keeping your wrists firm and your elbows close to your body.
Swing down: Swing the club down towards the ball, making contact with the ball first, and then the ground. Keep your wrists firm and your head still.
Follow through: Follow through with your swing, extending your arms towards the target.
Finish your shot: Hold your finish and watch the ball roll towards the hole.
Remember to keep your swing smooth and relaxed, and to practice your chipping regularly to develop your skills. With practice and patience, you can master the basic golf chip shot and improve your overall game.
How do I build a consistent set up and golf swing?
Building a consistent set up and golf swing requires practice, patience, and attention to detail. Here are some tips that can help you develop a consistent set up and golf swing:
Develop a routine: Establishing a consistent pre-shot routine can help you prepare for each shot and get into the right mindset. This can include visualizing the shot, taking a few practice swings, and aligning your body and clubface.
Check your alignment: Proper alignment is crucial to hitting consistent shots. Use alignment aids such as alignment sticks or target lines to ensure that your feet, hips, and shoulders are all aligned with the target.
Check your posture: Your posture can also affect your swing. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bent at the knees. Keep your back straight and your weight balanced between your feet.
Check your grip: A proper grip can help you control the clubface and hit consistent shots. Grip the club with your fingers and not your palms. Make sure the grip pressure is firm but not too tight.
Practice your swing mechanics: Work on developing a smooth, repeatable swing that incorporates the proper swing mechanics. Take lessons from a professional or use instructional videos and practice drills to help you improve your swing.
Focus on ball contact: Consistent ball contact is critical to hitting accurate shots. Make sure you are making contact with the ball before hitting the ground, and focus on hitting the ball in the center of the clubface.
Practice regularly: Building a consistent set up and golf swing requires regular practice. Set aside time each week to practice and work on your swing mechanics.
By incorporating these tips into your practice routine, you can develop a consistent set up and golf swing that will help you improve your game and lower your scores. Remember, building consistency takes time and effort, so be patient and keep practicing.
What is the difference between men's, women's and senior golf clubs?
Men's, women's, and senior golf clubs differ in their design and specifications to cater to the specific needs and abilities of each group of golfers.
Men's golf clubs: Men's golf clubs are typically longer and heavier than women's and senior clubs. They also have less loft, which requires more clubhead speed to launch the ball into the air. Men's clubs are designed for golfers with stronger swings and faster clubhead speeds.
Women's golf clubs: Women's golf clubs are shorter and lighter than men's clubs, making them easier to swing for women who typically have less strength and slower swing speeds than men. Women's clubs also have more loft, which helps get the ball in the air more easily.
Senior golf clubs: Senior golf clubs are designed for older golfers who may have lost some of their strength and clubhead speed. These clubs are typically lighter in weight, have more flexible shafts, and more loft to help get the ball in the air. They are also designed to be more forgiving to help compensate for any mistakes in the swing.
Overall, the main differences between men's, women's, and senior golf clubs are their length, weight, loft, and flexibility. By using clubs designed for their specific needs, golfers can maximize their performance on the course and enjoy the game more fully. It's important to note that golfers can use any clubs they feel comfortable with, regardless of their gender or age.
What is the difference between fairway woods and hybrids?
Fairway woods and hybrids are two types of golf clubs that are used for hitting long shots from the fairway or rough. While they can be used for similar shots, there are some key differences between the two types of clubs.
Design: Fairway woods have larger clubheads and longer shafts than hybrids, which makes them better for hitting longer shots from the fairway or rough. Hybrids, on the other hand, have smaller clubheads and shorter shafts, which makes them more versatile and easier to hit from a variety of lies.
Loft: Fairway woods typically have less loft than hybrids, which makes them better for hitting low-trajectory shots that roll out farther. Hybrids, on the other hand, have more loft, which makes them better for hitting high-trajectory shots that stop quickly on the green.
Forgiveness: Hybrids are generally considered to be more forgiving than fairway woods, meaning that they can help compensate for mistakes made during the swing. This can help golfers hit straighter and more consistent shots.
Versatility: Hybrids are more versatile than fairway woods because they can be used from a wider variety of lies, including rough, fairway, and even the tee box. Fairway woods are generally only used from the fairway or rough.
In summary, fairway woods are designed for hitting longer shots from the fairway or rough with a low trajectory, while hybrids are designed for hitting a variety of shots from a variety of lies with a higher trajectory. Hybrids are also generally considered to be more forgiving and versatile than fairway woods. Ultimately, the choice between a fairway wood and a hybrid will depend on a golfer's individual needs and preferences.