So you want to play golf, you’ve watched the likes of Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy run off with the Major titles and you want to take up the game more seriously. Where do you start?
Well, you can begin right here by reading these ten top tips for the beginner gorilla golfer!
1. Head to the range, not to the course
So, you have borrowed or bought a cheap set of clubs and want to experience golf having never done so before, or not played properly for many years. Time to head to the course, right? Wrong!
The likelihood of you being able to play on a full-length course with little or no previous experience and not drive other golfers mad is negligible. It is much more advisable to practice your game at a local driving range, so you can at least develop the fundamentals of your swing and learn more about the game.
There’s another very good reason to visit a driving range or local club shop first as we’ll see below.
2. Book some lessons with a golf professional
Undoubtedly, the best way for any new player to begin the game is in the hands of a qualified PGA professional. These pro’s have the knowledge, tools and skills to mould you into a decent golfer far more quickly than working on your swing alone.
Even just a few lessons from a pro can have a massive impact on your game, allowing you to get the fundamentals of the game right and making you develop your game at a far quicker rate.
3. Practice ALL aspects of your game at the range
Do you buy 100 balls, hit 70 with your driver and the rest with the other clubs in your bag before going home? Think about a typical round of golf, how often do you hit three drivers in a row at a single hole?
Practise all the clubs in your bag equally, especially the lower irons, wedges and putters. Your short game is where all amateurs can improve very, very quickly with just a little work at the range. By all means, work on the driver, but don’t waste all your range balls on the most expensive club in your bag.
4. Don’t spend too much on a beginner’s set of clubs
There is absolutely no need for any amateur to go out and spend thousands of pounds on a set of clubs. As a beginner, you will not have the skills you need for this set to make a difference to your game. All you will be doing is playing bad golf with expensive clubs!
Buy yourself a cheap beginners set that is forgiving. Your club pro will be able to advise you on which is an ideal set for your level of ability and which is in your price range too.
5. Get yourself some very comfortable golf shoes & golf gear
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is buying a pair of golf shoes that are ill-fitting or don’t offer support. By the 13th hole, your feet will be screaming in pain and you’ll care less and less about each shot you make.
A good pair of golf shoes and some comfortable golf clothing is as important to a golfer as their clubs as they allow them to walk lengthy distances comfortably and allows them to focus on one thing only, playing the game.
6. Learn golf etiquette before you venture out onto the course
Every beginner has usually committed a golfing faux pas, but you can reduce the times this happens by learning all about course etiquette.
Whether its raking bunkers, replacing divots, repairing pitch marks, keeping quiet while people take their shots or more modern issues such as putting your mobile on silent, or switching it off altogether, learning good etiquette is vital for the beginner.
7. If you are playing slowly, allow those behind you to play through.
Experienced golfers are well aware that everybody has had to learn the game and in almost all cases, they are willing to help other golfers try and improve and be patient with them.
However if you are playing on a course and the group behind are obviously being forced to wait due to you playing slowly, let them play through. It is a courtesy that is sadly lacking in modern golfing circles and which sorely needs to be reintroduced to the game.
8. Always replace or fill in divots and repair pitch marks on the green.
Playing golf causes wear and tear on the course you play and you can do your bit to ensure the course remains in top condition by doing some running repairs after your shots.
If you take a divot, always replace it (or fill it with sand if that is the practice at your course). On the green always repair pitchmarks (and any others selfish golfers may have left).
9. Practice the game as often as you can
It goes without saying that you can’t get good at golf if you don’t practice the game, so you should make time every week to hit the range and smack a few balls.
A good practise is to structure your range time to ensure that you spend equal amounts of time on all key aspects of the game, tee shots, approach shots, the short game, rescue shots and putting.
10. Don’t expect too much too soon, enjoy the game!
Lastly, golf is a game that is easy to start playing but very difficult to master. Don’t expect too much too soon and get frustrated that you are not shooting 63 or 64 after three weeks of playing!
Enjoy the game for what it is, relax and keep stress levels as low as possible, this will help you develop your game quickly and with time and effort, the shots you take for each round will start to come down and remember, even the very best still get it wrong sometimes!
Beginning golf isn’t daunting and with so many excellent courses available, such as the I-Golf courses at Lascaux, there has never been a better time to try your hand at a game that will not just become a passing hobby, but a part of your life.