Golf - how to get started
Golf is a great game: sometimes rewarding, often frustrating but highly addictive. Getting started in it is actually not so difficult, and hopefully this article can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls.
The very first steps
The biggest mistake by people wanting to start in golf is to rush out and buy a brand new set of shiny and expensive golf clubs. While they are nice to look at you should keep in mind that todays golf equipment comes in great varieties to cater to different golfing types and abilities. Since you're just starting out you do not know which set fits you best. Just imagine the envious looks you get at the driving range when you come with your $2000 set, and the subsequent laughter when you try and just 'hack away' - not worth the embarrassment! Once you spend a few hundred or even thousand $$ on a set that doesn't suit your style you're stuck with it or you have to sell it to somebody else at a loss.
If you feel you want your own clubs get a half set. This generally comprises five irons and perhaps two woods and a putter. Usually the irons are the odd numbers 3,5,7,9 and wedge. These clubs are more than enough to get you started.
A better alternatively: most Driving Ranges will have clubs for hire, so you can try out a few different ones. You can also borrow one or two clubs from a friend. The shortest iron (nine iron) or a wedge are the best clubs to start, practicing with it will give you the feeling of hitting the ball in the air and should be fairly straight forward.
Where to get golf clubs?
Most Pro shops and driving ranges sell second hand clubs. They will also be able to offer you advice and let you try some clubs out. Alternatively, nearly all driving ranges will have clubs for hire if you want to have a go without committing to a set until you get the hang of it. Or ask other people at the driving range, you will soon find out that many have another set of clubs at home because they made the exact same mistakes I mentioned above. Make sure you try before you buy, if they fit (and only if they fit!) you can often get them for a steal. Make use of these opportunities, and also take a look at our website LearnAboutGolf.com as to how to choose a club. I again stress that you need to have a basic understanding on which club suits you reasonably well before you buy. DO NOT buy expensive brands at this stage.
"I want to play, I want to play!"
As hard as it will be to contain yourself, don't even contemplate going anywhere near a golf course. Golf is technically quite demanding, and without at least some basic training you'll end up with a lot of frustration. You've seen the top players on TV loosing their cool in frustration, imagine how you will feel if not even a single shot goes where you want it to. Besides, the other people having to wait for you will also not be happy.
As a beginner at the great game of golf, start off at a driving range, take at least four or five lessons, learn the fundamentals, progress to a 9 hole course and eventually venture out into the great unknown of an 18 hole golf course. Believe me, it will be a lot more fun for you and those around you if you follow this path.
Where to get lessons?
You will meet plenty of people at the range who will teach you the 'innermost secrets' of golf. Fact is that most of them have started playing not long before you. So the answer to the above question is: go to a Professional. As you have seen on TV, even the worlds top players have a coach. Tiger Woods, probably the best golfer the world, still takes lessons. Certified Golf Professionals are the only people qualified to teach you how to play the game. Lessons from a Pro will cost you money but will be the best investment you'll ever make. Taking the advise from the 'know-it-all' people at the range will likely screw-up your game at the very early stage, and it will take a long time to correct the faults later.
The two places to get golf lessons are at driving ranges and golf clubs. You don't have to be a member of a club to get a lesson from the Pro. You bring in money, so they will be glad to help. The usual cost is about $25-40 per 45 min, but you will get reductions for a block booking. If you are a bit on the budget see if they do group bookings, those are also cheaper than individual lessons.
What else to do?
Books and videos can be invaluable in learning the basics. To build a sound golf swing you will need the three fundamentals: Grip, Stance and Posture. There are some very good books and videos on the market that will help you to establish the three fundamentals. And watch the Pro's on the TV, or better still video them and play back in slow motion, you'll learn a lot this way. Don't get blinded by too much science, you're still a beginner. Stick to Grip, Stance and Posture and you'll be on your way. Take a look at the golf tips and golf lessons on our website LearnAboutGolf.com for some advice as well.
- Don't waste your money on expensive clubs until you have reached a basic level of competency.
- Don't go near a Golf Course, again until you have reached a basic level.
- Get lessons from a qualified professional.
- Learn the three fundamentals
- Watch the Pro's.
- Learn the rules of golf and the basic golf etiquette.
I hope that this article has been of some help to avoid costly mistakes many people made, including myself. Follow the above basics and you are on your way to all the fun (and frustration) golf can offer. Enjoy