The time is now more ideal than ever to start playing golf. Here are some crucial pointers to get you going. Learn Golf for beginners in some do-it-yourself tips.
I enjoy working with novice golfers and feel privileged to teach someone the fundamentals of the game for the first time. You can propel the ball into the air and ignite a passion for the game that will last a lifetime once you have a firm grasp on it.
As a beginner, you will need to hone your abilities, knowledge, and skills. To assist you with that, here are the fundamentals.
Golf for beginners
If beginning golfers want to lay a strong foundation and play at their best every time, they must learn the fundamentals correctly from an early age. Beginners of the game can master the fundamentals required to strike the ball well by concentrating on important setup components like posture, grip, and stance, and having a repeatable pre-shot routine.
Appropriate Position for Setup
It’s crucial to remember the importance of proper setup when learning golf for the first time. The quality of the impending swing is largely determined by the posture, grip, stance, and alignment that a beginner adopts before even taking the club away. Hastily assembling the setup results in poor shots and erratic ball striking.
To properly set up:
Posture: To achieve a slight bend at the waist, flex your hips first and then stand tall. Steer clear of rounding the shoulders and maintain a straight spine.
Grip: Grasp the club with the palms facing each other and your hands lightly resting without strain, keeping the clubface square.
Arrange your feet so that the lead foot is ahead of the trail foot, about shoulder-width apart. Weight should be distributed equally.
Alignment: Place the feet, body, and clubface parallel to the intended line. Verify that the angles are in the plane.
It ingrains good mechanics to take care to assume this athletic setup position correctly before every shot. Rushing causes shots to go awry.
Robust Pre-Shot Protocol
After mastering the setup principles, novices require a reliable pre-shot routine to reinforce them. This practise list helps to strengthen foundational skills and develop rhythm.
A basic regimen might consist of:
- Select the intended shot shape and the target.
- Set up your grip, stance, alignment, and posture.
- Practice swing visualization.
- Enter and move at a tempo.
- By following this regimen consistently, a beginner can improve their technical swing, mental approach, and foundational skills. Consistency is the result of this synergy.
Applying good foundations in a structured manner creates a foundation that novices can build upon. These fundamentals set up golfers for success on every stroke.
Recognize How the Ball Takes Off
Gaining the ability to consistently get the ball airborne is one of the most crucial—yet frequently misinterpreted—basics for beginning golfers. Using their hands and arms, many novices instinctively attempt to scoop or hoist the ball into the air. But the right way to launch a shot is to brush the turf by hitting the ground at a positive angle of attack.
Swing Down to Climb Up
Contrary to popular belief, you must strike the golf ball with a slightly descending blow if you want it to launch up into the sweet spot of your driver or iron. As a result, the ball is compressed against the clubface and into the ground, raising the launch trajectory and producing a backspin.
Keys to achieving this include:
- Throughout the swing, keep your posture and spine angle correct.
- Imagine using both arms to toss a ball toward the target.
- At the point of impact, brush the grass 1-2 inches behind the golf ball.
- Maintain your balance and watch the ball take off.
- To groove this downward strike, practice swinging until you can hear the club brushing the turf. You can even take small divots after the ball. Take care not to overswing or lose your posture.
Exercises for Reliable Ball-Striking
Two great exercises to practice delivering steady downward blows for clean strikes are as follows:
- Hit Shots Off a Tee First – To learn the correct downward angle of attack, start by hitting mid and longer irons off a tee. Reduce the tee height gradually.
- Position Alignment Sticks Behind the Ball: Position two to three alignment sticks two to three inches behind the point of contact. Make sure to brush these sticks through the impact.
It takes practice to commit to a descending blow and establish firm contact with the ground. However, perseverance pays off, as stunning draws that land softly and abruptly are soon launched!
Recognize Your Club Distances
Getting a firm grasp on the fundamental motion required to make steady contact with the ball and launch it into the air is a crucial first step. This involves determining the distance that each club travels. Gaining knowledge of the average carry yardage for the entire bag increases your confidence when choosing clubs and managing distance.
Monitor Your Course Distances
Bring a notepad and your whole set of clubs to the driving range. After using each club to hit a few well-placed shots, record the approximate carry distance. Make sure to factor in factors like wind, elevation, and other things that could affect the actual number.
After establishing a baseline, monitoring shot distances during real golf rounds is crucial. To do this, there are a few simple methods:
- To view precise yardages, use a handheld device or GPS watch.
- Track distances with golf apps such as Golfshot, SwingU, and 18Birdies.
- Ask your playing partners to help you estimate distance or use a laser rangefinder.
- You will eventually dial in trustworthy numbers for every club once you have gathered enough data points. Check these again from time to time as your swing gets better.
Take Variables Into Consideration
The carry distances will change according to your swing as well as additional variables such as:
Angle/Lie: Sidehill, uphill, and downhill lies can change the distance by yards.
Conditions: While cold and rainy weather reduces distance, hot weather can increase it.
Missed Shots: Unusual or thin results ought to be disregarded as anomalies.
However, once you log enough well-hit shots in neutral situations, you will be able to pinpoint useful averages for each stick that performs well on the course.
Having a firm grasp on the distance you hit each iron or wood, as opposed to relying solely on gut feeling, gives novice golfers a great deal of confidence when choosing their full-swing clubs.
Have a Reliable Fairway Club
Once beginner golfers have dialed in their full-swing club distances, the next step is identifying one go-to fairway wood that can be counted on from variable lies in the shorter grass. Rather than force long irons not quite ready for primetime, a reliable fairway finder builds confidence.
Why Fairway Woods Excel From The Turf
Fairway woods feature a low profile, shallow face, and minimal offset that make them easier to hit off the deck than longer irons with more height and offset. The improved launch conditions reduce fat shots.
In particular, higher lofted fairway woods like 7-woods launch the ball on a higher trajectory ideal for beginners. The increased lift helps shots resist crosswinds and stop on the green versus longer clubs.
Having one fairway wood you know will get the ball airborne regardless of the lie provides a perfect safety club once the driver finds the short grass.
Dial In Your Go-To Fairway Finder
When gauging which fairway wood may work best as a reliable option, consider these factors:
- Loft – Prioritize higher lofts (16+ degrees). As skills improve, can work downwards.
- Shaft – Ensure proper fit for consistency. Lighter senior flex is ideal for slower speeds.
- Practice – Hit off various lies and tight lies to match course conditions.
With practice dialing in a go-to fairway wood, beginners gain tremendous confidence knowing they have a club ready for any pinch situation in the fairway they can count on to advance the ball down the hole.
This safety club is invaluable while also working on mid-long iron play, so don’t overlook the value of a trusty higher lofted fairway wood.
Learn a Basic Chip Shot
Once beginners can reliably get the ball airborne with full swings and fairway woods, developing a go-to chip shot opens up scoring opportunities from just off the green. Rather than risky full swings, a basic bump and run chip makes saving par very achievable.
Keep It On The Ground
The best advice for beginners struggling with quick wrists and inconsistent contact on delicate pitch shots is to keep it on the ground! A basic chip filters out timing and simply utilizes a putting stroke that just barely brushes the grass.
To hit a superb bump and run:
- Grip down several inches on the wedge
- Play the ball back one inch instance
- Lean the shaft forward and lead the side toward the target
- Make the same stroke as a putt, brushing grass lightly
Making confident contact on this type of chip makes getting up and down for par from just off the green quite straightforward. The margin for error goes way up!
Drills For Dialing In Distance
Two handy drills to master distance control include:
Feet Together Chip – Take a very narrow stance with feet together to make very short back and through strokes. Great for bump and run shots only requiring carry of 5-10 feet.
Obstacle Chips – Place a club, towel, or alignment stick on the ground several yards in front of you. Chip to carry an object and roll out after it. Grooves feel for length.
Committing to keeping the first chip shots simple as a beginner avoids short-game disasters. Get up and down more by staying on the ground!
Short Game Priority Order
With skills progressing on full swing and basic chips around the green, beginner golfers should adopt a clear short-game priority order for which shot to hit when misses do happen. Following a risk management pecking order significantly cuts down on penalty strokes.
1. Putt Whenever Possible
The easiest principle for beginners to apply is to always putt when on or just barely off the green. Putting mishits still often ends reasonably close to the hole. Choosing to chip or pitch from Makable putting distances leads to bladed shots and headaches.
So don’t be afraid to leave the flagstick in even on longer putts. Lagging it close from a distance and tapping in cleans up plenty of shots.
2. Chip When You Must
Once off the green by several yards in the fringe or nearby fairway, play a bump-and-run chip/pitch that doesn’t fly the ball too far in the air. Make high percentage contact and use the ground to get it close.
This prevents the steep swings that produce skull and chunk chips resulting in penalty strokes. Don’t fly it too far!
3. Only Pitch When Forced To
Beginners should only open the face and play higher lofted pitch shots when they absolutely must carry a bunker or hazard and have no other option. These delicate shots lead to thin contacts and inconsistent results.
By establishing this clear priority checklist, beginners handle misses much cleanly and avoid penalties. Stick to your strengths!
Hit Basic Bunker Shots
While beginners may dread ending up in bunkers, being able to hit basic explosion shots out of the sand can save countless strokes. By committing to make contact with the sand and resisting handsy movements, sand saves become very achievable.
Hit The Sand – Not The Ball
The most common mistake beginners make from greenside bunkers is trying to help the ball in the air with quick hands and scooping. But the proper technique is to swing through the sand itself.
To hit bunker shots correctly:
- Play the ball forward in the stance
- Dig feet into the sand for stability
- Swing clubhead edge straight into the sand
- Follow-through and lift sand
Make practice swings hearing the whoosh of sand, then swing with the same force to lift the ball out on a cloud of sand. Don’t decelerate!
Drills For Consistent Explosions
Two handy drills to master consistent bunker contact are:
Hit Ball Back – Drop balls 5+ feet behind you in the sand. Make full finish swings brushing sand to learn how far back to make contact.
Toss alignment stick – Toss a stick into the sand. Swing to hit the stick first, then the ball after. Grooves proper sequence.
Sticking with the basics allows beginners to get up and down for par even from greenside bunkers. Stay committed to contact sand first!
Have Proper On-Course Equipment
While fundamentals and technique are vital, beginner golfers also need to ensure they have the proper equipment and accessories ready to play when heading to the first tee. Being prepared with golf balls, tees, ball markers, club brush and more supports smooth play.
Stock Up On Balls
There’s nothing worse than running out of balls mid-round as a beginner still struggling with consistency. Be sure to start rounds with at least 6-12 balls in the bag so you won’t need to stress about losing too many.
Having extras also allows you to try different models to see which feels and performs best without fear.
Accessorize For Success
Some other handy gear beginners should carry:
- Tees – Multiple lengths to suit different clubs/scenarios
- Ball Markers – Chip, pitch, and putt marker to spot ball
- Golf Glove – Consistent grip and prevents blisters
- Club Brush – Groove/face cleaner between shots
- Divot Tool – Fix ball marks you make on greens
Carrying the right accessories speeds up play as you’ll always be ready to hit your next shot when it’s your turn. Don’t hold up the group!
Check your golf bag the night before rounds making sure it’s stocked up. Arrive at the course prepared just like the pros do!
Understand Distance Control Putting
Once beginners have the key full swing and short game fundamentals established, honing in distance control on the greens is vital for saving strokes. Learning how adjusting backswing length influences putting speed allows beginners to start holing more putts.
Backswing Sets Speed
The most common mistake beginners make is using their hands and arms to accelerate the putter on short putts. But the key is backswing length instead of controlling distance.
- Long backswings create faster, harder putts
- Short backswings create slower, softer putts
Making this connection allows controlling speed with body motion rather than hands. Eliminates yips!
Use Feet As Guidelines
To understand how much backswing is needed, using your stance width as a guide works perfectly:
- Small Putts – Toe to Toe
- Medium Putts – Foot to Foot
- Large Putts – Outside of Feet
Syncing up backswing to stance ingrains a feel for distance without needing perfect technique. Get the ball rolling online more often!
Understanding this vital relationship between backswing and speed allows beginners to start confidently dialing in distance control on the greens.
Final thoughts on golf for beginners
By focusing on these core basics early on, beginner golfers equip themselves with the key fundamentals, techniques, and etiquette needed to find success and enjoyment in this lifelong game.
Laying this groundwork of proper grip, posture, alignment, club distances, and short game priority gives newcomers a blueprint to implement on the course.
Understanding essential principles like brushing the ground to launch shots, controlling distance with backswing length, and keeping chips/pitches low risk provides a great framework useful for an entire golfing lifetime.
Pair this with proper on-course preparedness, ability to escape bunkers, and knowledge of basic rules and etiquette, and beginners have all the tools needed to smoothly navigate those critical first few rounds.
Don’t try rushing to advance too quickly before cementing these basics. Building on these fundamentals in lessons and practice ensures steady, incremental improvement.
Implementing just a few of these basics per round creates positive momentum. Before long, breaking 100 becomes a realistic goal! Stay committed to the process and enjoy the journey inherent in this wonderfully challenging game.
Lana has been swinging a golf club for close to 30 years. After playing Division 1 College golf, she went on to turn professional and coach hundreds of golfers to become better players. Lana lives in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children and continues to write, teach, and learn about golf daily. As a scratch golfer, Lana has actionable tips and advice to help you take your game to the next level without over complicating it.