The challenges of golf are more than the mere physical skills involved – there’s a lot to learn for a beginner, and only experience will teach you the valuable lessons you will need to master the sport.
Learning about the way equipment is used, how different courses are played, the importance of course conditions and the physical and mental demands of the sport are all part of the enjoyment; but if you are thinking about starting, or you want to pass on your skills to a learner, here are some of the basic factors to take into account.
1: Get Coaching Early
It’s easy to learn bad habits, so it’s good advice to get coaching from the very start of your golfing progress. Even just a scattering of lessons here and there can help improve your playing habits considerably. A good coach will be able to get you into the ideal habits right from the beginning, improving your performance and helping you to keep up with other improvers. Ask at your local club for advice on coaching.
2: The Right Equipment
It’s often said that a bad workman blames his tools, but in the case of golf, why burden yourself with poor equipment which will only slow your progress? Get the basics right and you will soon get a sense of how to improve your game through careful choice of more professional gear.
When looking for the perfect clubs, always keep in mind your skill set and aptness. Take no notice of what others feel about you having a 7-wood or hybrids at the ready rather than the longer iron clubs, because what is important is the score you can manage to get. Once you improve, you’ll be able purchase better quality clubs and benefit from the technology, getting lower scores.
The ball is also a crucial element in the sport, so don’t skimp here. Pros often advise that you should start your early days of practice with a harder ball as they will provide you with longer distances. In addition, the harder balls tend to be less expensive. As you get use to hitting the ball and become more confident with your technique, switch from using the harder balls to softer types.
You might want to think about whether you use a golf buggy; though a walk around a course can be good exercise, it does no god to over-tire yourself in the middle of a round. The buggy will not only take the burden of your equipment but will also save you plenty of time.
3: Focus on the Basics
Your shot performance will depend on how good your technique is before you even hit the ball, so any time spent practicing the fundamentals of stance and delivery is time well spent. Start with chip shots, the foundation of the golf swing.
The first thing you need to make sure you have correct before taking a shot is the stance. You need to spread your feet in parallel to your shoulders, with your knees bent slightly. Try to work out the right balance for you.
After you have worked out the stance, move onto your posture. Try to keep your head as still as possible with your hips tilted while also having a flat back and bent knees.
Then focus on how you are going to grip your club. The grip will need to match your shot. At the beginning, you can practice with a neutral grip, but as time goes on you can tighten or loosen your grip based on what feels and works best for you.
4: Examine Your Alignment
Aligning your shot is arguably the most important aspect of the game, because if this is wrong then your golfing experiences could turn very frustrating indeed. When aiming, try to get as square to the target as possible. The squarer you hit the target, the better your shot will be. Ask a friend to video record your swing so you can look back at it to see what you are doing right and wrong.
5: Practice, Practice, Practice
As in many things in life, practice makes perfect. This applies more to golf than to most things in life. The more you practice, the more you will enhance your golfing skills, whether on the course or a golf range. If at the range, imagine that you are at the course. Drive into the fairway, iron into the green, then putt into the hole.
Attempt to practice every type of shot you can think of, from drives to bunker shots, the lot. Don’t only focus on the one shot, as even though you will likely improve that one shot, you will still remain poor on the other equally important shots. Think of the game as a whole.
If you do practice the various shots, it will most definitely bear the fruits to success as well as increase your enjoyment of the sport.
Lastly, learn course etiquette – not letting others play through, delaying your shot preparation and blocking another player’s line are no-no’s which will not earn you any friends on the green!