There are three things you need to focus on as a beginner: developing your skills, understanding the ins and outs, and abilities. These are the basics of beginning any new activity, and will help you immensely in whatever it is you’re trying to do.
1. Nail the basic fundamentals
There are a few key things you can spot in a good golfer before they even hit the golf ball.
Having a proper grip, posture, and stance are crucial, and good golfers usually have a very specific order which they do these things (known as a pre-shot routine) to ensure they’re repeatable each and every time.
- First, put your hands onto the golf club following the guidelines here.
- Next, step into the golf ball with one leg, and bow from your hips, like this.
- And finally, adjust your feet so your weight is balanced and your feet are about shoulder width apart. Put simply: Grip the club, step and bow, then adjust your feet.”
2. Understand how the ball gets into the air
One of the most difficult things for a beginner golfer is to get the ball in the air with consistency. The basic idea is that in order to get the ball airborne, you have to make contact with the ground.
You can do this by getting into a good posture, bending from the hips, and extending both arms into the ground during your swing.
It may help to visualize throwing a ball (as demonstrated in the video below). Don’t be afraid to hit the ground on your practice swings to get this feeling.
3. Know how far your clubs go
Golf is a game of consistency. You need to know your clubs and how far they go in order to make sure you’re hitting the ball the same way each time.
One way to do this is to use a range finder or an app like GolfLogix to measure the distance of each shot.
These numbers will change over time, but it’s important to know them in order to improve your consistency on the course.
4. Have a reliable club from the fairway
When you tee off and your ball is on the ground, many new golfers have a comfort level with one club over the other. You may feel more comfortable using your hybrid than a fairway wood, for example.
The key is to find a club that you’re confident with, and one that will help you have fun while also going a reasonable distance.
A great choice for a reliable fairway club is usually your most lofted fairway wood, such as a 7-wood. A 7-wood typically travels a good distance while also being more consistent than other, lesser lofted options.
5. Be able to hit a basic golf chip
When you’re starting out, you need to be able to hit a basic chip. This shot doesn’t have to be perfect as a newer golfer, I wouldn’t expect you to have perfect distance control.
Your goal is to have a go-to shot when you’re close to the green.
For a basic golf chip: Grip the club lower, with a more narrow stance. Lean your weight and torso towards the target, and make a basic putting motion that brushes the grass.
I would choose a pitching wedge for this shot, and practice getting comfortable with it.
6. Short game priority order
When it comes to managing risk on the golf course, one of the best things you can do is choose the right shot. The smaller the motion, the less chance for error.
Remember the priority order for the short game: putt whenever you can, chip when you can’t putt, and pitch (a longer, higher chip) only when you have to.
By following this pecking order, you’ll be able to keep the ball in play even when you miss.
7. Know how to hit a basic bunker shot
Sand shots can be tough for beginner golfers. And, like we talked about earlier: Remember that to hit the ball up, you need to hit the ground.
This means overriding any instinct you have to lifting the ball up, and commit to hitting the sand instead.
To help with this, dig your feet into the sand and play the ball more forward in your stance.
Doing this will help you make contact with the ball on the upswing, rather than before or after it.
8. Know what equipment you need
Beginner golfers, just like any athlete in any sport, need to have the right tools before starting.
For golf, this means having six to 12 golf and a golf glove (if you choose to wear one). You’ll also need tees and a ball marker, which should be easily accessible in your pocket.
It’s important to be prepared and ready to go when it’s your turn to hit the ball. Having all of these things with you will help you stay focused and ready for your turn.
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