Golf is supposed to be fun – even for beginners!
For the novice getting started, the game entails entering a world with rich and varied history, a potentially major investment of time and money, a steep physical and mental learning curve – and enormous fun!
Part of the excitement is the newness and the joy of finding a sport that you can play alone, with friends and spouses, or even with the whole family. But golf is a difficult game to play well and can be frustrating and expensive if you don’t invest a little time finding out what you need to know.
The best way a beginner can begin is by learning what not to do.
First, don’t rush out and spend a large amount of money on course fees, equipment, lessons, clothing, and so forth. You don’t yet know which courses are worth it, what equipment is suits you, and even lessons can wait a bit.
Start small and don’t take everything too seriously too soon. Some pros advise against spending too much time on the driving range early on, because they want you to avoid developing bad habits which are hard to break. But some time on a range can be a quick and cheap way to get your muscles moving, find out if you have an aptitude or real interest in golf, and give you an idea of the types of clubs and balls to use.
Find an inexpensive course and wear comfortable, loose clothing that doesn’t bind your arms and shoulders. Start with a simple three club set borrowed from a friend or rented from the clubhouse. A Nine iron, a wedge, and a Number 5 wood is plenty. Actually you’ll use the wedge less on a driving range, but you can add a putter and move to the putting practice area later. Some courses have miniature sand traps for practicing.
Relax, observe those who hit well and imitate their grip, stance, and posture. Tee up, keep your eye on the ball as you swing, and give it a firm whack. If you miss a few, so be it. Enjoy. You’re teaching your body what the swing feels like, what angle and impact produces what kind of flight.
On the putting green, start very close to the hole – no more than a couple of feet. When you can make 25 putts in a row more or less consistently, move back to six feet, 10 feet, 20 feet – no farther. ’More or less’ consistently – even the pros sometimes miss a two-footer!
Whether driving or putting, stand so that a casual push wouldn’t knock you over. Golf is about balance, concentration, and some simple physics. Now, go have a cool drink in the clubhouse and enjoy the day. You did well your first time out.