Bad Swing Golfer

Golf is unique in that you can play it your entire life, unlike some of the more physically demanding sports. While it may seem overwhelming trying to figure out all the subtle movements of a proper golf swing, the beginner tips laid out in this section will get you started on the right path.

While golf can be frustrating for beginners, you shouldn't get discouraged. No matter how much one plays, there are always areas to improve – even for professionals. Everyone has to start somewhere, but if you stick with it and put in the time to correct your game in the proper ways, then you will reap the benefits down the road.

Golf Practice

The driving or practice range is the best place to start. Here you can concentrate on the technical aspects of your golf swing, instead of worrying about slowing others down or looking for your ball on the course. You can hit dozens of golf balls, one after another, with the club of your choice, without distractions. Once you develop your game, you'll find the range a great place to cure any problems you may be having with your game. If you try to go straight to the golf course before spending some time learning and practicing, you're not going to enjoy the game. You'll quickly realize that golf is pretty complicated, which can be disheartening for newbies. The range is also a good place to start thinking about cause and effect of the golf swing. Even if you haven't yet taken lessons or done much research into the swing, as a beginner it is still good practice to start thinking about how your different swing motions can result in different shot trajectories.

Learn more in the Driving Range Tips found in our beginner's section.

There are many instructional resources for beginning golfers and novices, including Golf Info Guide's vast collection of training videos. You might also consider lessons with a PGA professional. Most golf courses have pros with whom you can schedule private sessions or group clinics.

If you'd like to learn more about taking lessons, this article should help.

How to Get Started Playing Golf?

How to Get Started Playing Golf?

Golf is one of the most popular recreational sports in the world. Unlike many of the sports Americans play when they are children – football, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. – golf is an easier game to carry into adulthood. You don't have to keep yourself in top physical condition to play golf, and you don't have to have a team of friends to play with, either. You can play this game alone, or you can play with others – either way, you get to spend time outside, challenge yourself, and take a break from the routine of daily life.

While all of that sounds pretty nice, there is one problem to consider – it can be hard to get started in golf. We will get into the 'barriers' which you will have to overcome later in this article, but safe to say there are a few things you will need to sort out before you can take up golf as a hobby. In this regard, it is a little trickier than playing some of those sports mentioned above. For example, if you want to play basketball, you can buy a ball at your local sports store and head to the park to find a hoop. Golf doesn't go quite that easily, and it is more expensive, but most agree it is worth it in the end.

In this article, we are going to give you a variety of pieces of advice which we hope will help get you started in this great game. There is a lot to learn, to be sure, but you should approach this challenge one step at a time just like anything else you do in life. You might feel a bit out of your element as a beginning golfer the first few times you head to the course, and that is okay. You won't feel like a beginner for long, however, as you start to build confidence and make friends at your local golf facility. There is no other way to get into the game than simply to get started, so don't put it off any longer. If you have been wanting to take up golf as a hobby, do it now and get to work on learning the ropes.

Prior to getting into the rest of this article, there is one point we need to make right here and now – golf is a hard game. You may have heard that this game will challenge you and lead to plenty of frustration, but you can't truly appreciate it until you are in the middle of trying to learn. It is important to go into the process understanding that you are certain to struggle at the start. In fact, the struggle is part of the enjoyment of the game. Since you have to 'put in your time' when learning how to swing, you will have a much greater appreciation for your accomplishments when you start to hit better shots.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you play golf left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Roadblocks

The Roadblocks

So what obstacles do you need to overcome when you are hoping to get started in golf? To lay out the challenge clearly in front of you, we have listed out a number of points below. Before you can really call yourself a golfer, you will need to have sorted out all of these matters. Note: these 'roadblocks' are not necessarily going to be big problems or anything like that, and you may be able to get past many of them in a single day. However, these points will give you a good understanding of what it takes to get into this game.

  • Acquiring equipment. This is really the first thing you will want to do after deciding that you would like to get into golf. Can you rent equipment when getting started? Sure, but you will be playing with bad clubs, and those clubs won't be a good match for you personally. The better option is to buy a set so you can start on the right foot. However, you certainly do not need to buy the most expensive clubs in the shop, and you don't even need to buy a new set. Consider looking online for used golf clubs that you can pick up for an affordable price. There will always be time later to buy more expensive clubs if you so choose – but there is no need for that kind of investment at this point. If you don't know anything at all about buying clubs, ask in your local golf shop for assistance. Tell the salesperson that you are just getting into the game, and want a decent set for an affordable price. Most shops have sets which are designed specifically for beginners.
  • Finding a place to practice. You may already where to go for golf practice in your local area, but doing a bit of research never hurt. Search the web for 'golf practice facilities' in your area and you will quickly get an idea of where you can go to learn the game. Some of these facilities will just be driving ranges, while others will have ranges in addition to a full 18-hole course. As you are getting started, try out a few locations to find out which ones you like best. After you settle on a place which will be your go-to practice spot, ask if they have memberships or discount cards you can use to save on your practice habit. There will be a lot of practice time involved in learning this game, so saving money where you can is a great idea.
  • Picking up various accessories. Buying clubs is your main concern with regard to equipment, but you are going to need a number of other items before you can start playing. For one thing, you will need golf shoes. Don't try to learn this game in tennis shoes, as you will never have the grip or balance you need to make a great swing. Also, you may need golf-specific clothing if the courses you plan to play enforce any kind of dress code. Golf balls, tees, a hat, umbrella, towel, and more will also need to be purchased along the way. Golf isn't the most affordable game in the world, so shop wisely and save money whenever possible. The internet is a great resource for finding used or discounted golf gear to help get you started.
  • Scheduling time to practice and play. Before getting too far into the process, take a look at your personal schedule and make sure you have enough time for this game. While you can squeeze golf practice sessions into a relatively small window, it takes more time to play a full 18-hole round. Most rounds of golf take more than four hours to play, meaning you need a big chunk of time available to get out on the links. Look at your personal calendar and try to sketch out some time where you can both visit the driving range and get some experience on the course. It would be a shame to buy all of that new equipment, after all, if you aren't going to get out to use it.
  • Making friends. Of course, it is not required to have friends who are golfers if you are going to get into this game. After all, golf is a game that you can play just as well by yourself as you can with a group of friends. However, it is nice to know other golfers, as you will probably have more fun when you are on the links with people you know. As a starting point, you could simply ask people you already know if they happen to play golf. You might be surprised to find just how many people in your circle of friends like to play golf from time to time. Also, you can ask in the pro shop at your local golf course to be paired with other golfers who don't have a full group. This is common practice in the golf business, and you may make a number of friends after being paired together on a Saturday morning.

As you can see, none of the points on the list above should prevent you from getting into this game. As long as you are willing to spend some money to get started with basic equipment and some practice time on the range, you can call yourself a golfer in short order.

Taking Lessons

Taking Lessons

It is possible to get started in golf without taking a formal lesson from a teaching professional. In fact, if you ask around, you will likely find many golfers at your local driving range who have never taken a lesson from a pro. With that said, we recommend that you do take at least one or two lessons when first getting started. It is hard to undo the 'damage' that you can do early on in your golf experience by getting into bad habits. If you start off with a teaching pro on your side, you can learn the correct fundamentals to make sure you game has a solid base.

Following is a list of reasons why you should strongly consider taking at least a lesson or two when getting started in golf.

  • Easier to learn the fundamentals. There are a few fundamentals which you absolutely need to get right when starting in golf. You could try to learn these things through watching videos online, or reading books, but you will fare better simply by taking a lesson. Having a professional golf teacher right there in front of you to offer assistance is something you can't replicate in any other way. Not only will this help you to get the fundamentals right, but it will also give you confidence knowing that you are off to a good start. If you learn the basics of golf technique on your own, you might always wonder in the back of your head if you are doing it right. There will be no such concerns when you learn directly from a professional.
  • It's affordable. Many new golfers avoid taking lessons because they think doing so will be too expensive. In reality, golf lessons are fairly inexpensive, and that is especially true for beginning golfers. Teachers will often provide lesson 'packages' aimed specifically at newer golfers, where basic concepts will be covered and the cost will be lower. Or, they may offer group classes for new golfers, which is a great way to get an even lower price. Call around to a few local golf facilities to ask about their lesson programs for beginning golfers. It shouldn't take you too long to find a great deal.
  • Learn the language. Golf has a language all to its own, and it can take a while to learn this lingo if you only go to the range and practice by yourself. By working with a teaching pro, you will be exposed to some of the language of the game, and you will quickly feel like more of a golfer because you will know how to talk about your swing. This isn't something that is necessary to get going in golf, of course, but it is nice to be able to chat with other players and know what they are talking about.

In most places, taking a lesson will cost a similar amount of money to playing a round golf. Considering the relatively low financial investment required, and the potential for a long-lasting payoff through improved skills and an understanding of the game, scheduling a lesson near the start of your golf experience is an easy choice. Also, there is the possibility that you will form a long-term relationship with your teacher that could extend for years as you get better and better at this challenging sport.

Playing Your First Round of Golf

Playing Your First Round of Golf

There is a huge difference between hitting golf balls on the range and hitting shots on the course. Without a doubt, the range is the best place for you when first getting started. In fact, you really shouldn't think about venturing onto the course until you have plenty of range time under your belt. With that said, there will come a time when you will need to make your initial journey onto the first tee. Doing so can be a little bit intimidating, but it can also be very exciting.

So how do you know when you are ready for your first round? Watch for some signs on the driving range that point to your ability to handle an actual round of golf. The first thing you should watch for is the ability to get the ball up off the ground. Can you consistently hit the ball up into the air with most of your clubs? If not, more range work is probably needed. Getting the ball airborne is crucial on the course because you will usually need to fly the ball over some rough areas before you find the fairway.

In addition to getting the ball off the ground, you should also be able to move it a decent distance down the range on your average shot. You certainly don't need to be a long hitter, but you will have to hit the ball far enough to reach the green in no more than a few shots. Most people have enough distance to play the average public course from the 'white' tees as long as they are getting the ball in the air, but this is still a point to think about before making a tee time.

When you decide that you are ready to get out there and try your first round, think carefully about your scheduling of that round. When are you going to play, and where? You want to avoid particularly busy times of the week when scheduling this round, as you don't want to feel rushed by other players. Saturday morning, for example, would not be a good choice. Weekday afternoons are typically pretty quiet at the typical golf course, so try to arrange your schedule to be able to play in that window. If you have a close friend who would like to go with you, that will be perfect – otherwise, it is completely acceptable to play this first round alone.

On the matter of where you should play, there are two main points you want to keep in mind – difficulty, and cost. There is no reason to pay a large sum of money for this first round, as you will just be learning the ropes. Look for local courses that are affordable to play, such as municipal facilities and shorter courses. Ask at your local golf shop, or as a friend, to recommend a course which would be both affordable and relatively easy to play. There will be time later to explore the expensive, difficult courses in your area. For now, keep it easy and get your feet wet on a forgiving track.

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

If you are anything like most other people who start this game, you will soon become obsessed with the idea of playing as much golf as possible. It is exciting to see yourself improve over time, and one good score will lead to the goal of going even lower next time out. Golf is a game which can never be mastered, which is a big part of its appeal. No matter who you are, or what you have accomplished in golf, there is always room for improvement. A 'perfect game' doesn't exist in this sport, and the pursuit of a better swing and lower scores will be present as long as you play.

Once you move out of the beginner phase of your golf life, you can start to think about ways to sharpen your performance and have more fun. The following list offers up some ideas for where to go when your beginner status has run out.

  • Buy better equipment. If you bought an affordable used set when you were first getting started, it might be time to get some new clubs which can be custom fitted to your swing. Now that you have been playing for a while, you should have a fairly repeatable swing which can be measured on a launch monitor. The data obtained during a fitting process will help you pick out exactly the right equipment to match your abilities.
  • Take a golf trip. Traveling to play golf in a new place is one of the best things about being a golfer. There are plenty of great golf destinations to put on your list, so start planning your first golfing trip right away. The best golf trips are those where you can play golf in the morning and then enjoy other local attractions for the rest of the day. Fortunately, popular golf destinations also tend to be destinations which are popular for other tourism – meaning you will have a great trip from start to finish.
  • Play in a competition. You might think this is a stretch for someone who hasn't been golfing very long, but it is actually a very realistic goal. There are tournaments which are geared for players of all skill levels, so you don't need to shoot low scores in order to have fun. Establish a formal handicap at your local golf course and look for tournaments which cater to all kinds of players. Testing your skills in a competition is fun, and you will probably meet even more golfers along the way.

Golf is a great game to take up as a hobby. If you start out with the intention of just playing once in a while, there is a good chance you will wind up playing quite frequently – and your skills may improve beyond your expectations. We hope that the advice contained in this article will help you hit the ground running in this time-honored game. Good luck and have fun!