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Tips for Beginning Golfers

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 14


Are you thinking about taking-up the game of golf? My initial advice to you is beware! Although the professionals make it look easy, the game is difficult. Many people mistakenly believe playing golf is a cinch because on any given day you can find senior citizens playing the game and playing it quite well. So how difficult can playing the game of golf be? You'll find out the first time you attempt to play.

If you want to learn how to play golf, there are several resources you can find. The marketplace is saturated with "How to" books, magazines, DVDs, and golfing aids. I've purchased my share of these items and today most of them are packed away in boxes. There is, however, one book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to learn how to play the game of golf, and play it well; "Ben Hogan's Five Lessons – The Modern Fundamentals of Golf." Hogan was one of the greatest golfers who ever played the game. This book has been in print since 1957 and it's a classic. Hogan's practical advice is priceless!

If you can't get a copy of Hogan’s book at the moment, here are some tips to get you started on your journey of learning how to play the game of golf.

Golf ball 2

Tips for Beginning Golfers

Learn the Rules of Golf

Golf tees
Before you can play any game you must know the rules, and golf is no exception. Learn how to keep score correctly and what to do when unexpected situations occur. Do you know what a "par" or "birdie" is? What would you do if you hit a ball off the tee box and it was lost? What if you hit your ball into a water hazard or what if you mistakenly putt your playing partner's ball? Also, why do golfers yell "fore?" All these questions and  more are addressed in the rules of golf. To get a copy of  The Rules of Golf go to the USGA (United States Golf Association) webpage at: www.usga.org/Rules  

Take a Lesson

Take at least one lesson from a PGA (Professional Golf Association) professional in your area. Have him or her teach you the basics of the grip and the golf swing. This will give you a foundation for future practice. If you simply pick up a golf club and begin swinging you will most likely develop and engrain bad habits. To find a PGA professional in your area visit PGA.com.

Practice Your Grip

The first thing an aspiring golfer must learn is how to grip a club. Ben Hogan once said "Good golf begins with a good grip," and that is the truth! The three most popular grips are the Vardon Overlap Grip, the Interlocking Grip, and the Ten Finger Grip (Baseball Grip). Although Hogan does recommend one of these popular grips, it is not a "one size fits all." You must find the grip that suits you best and once you choose the grip that you are most confortable with, practice gripping the golf club often.

Learn the Correct Stance

Golf Stance
Learning the proper stance and correct posture will help with your balance and swing. Your stance will be different depending on the club you are using. For example, when you're using a driver your stance will be much wider than with a sand wedge. In addition, you should bend your knees a bit in your stance, but not so much that you are bent over your ball. A good idea is to have someone video tape you while you are hitting golf balls so you can see whether or not your posture and stance are correct. If you have any questions, a professional can show you the correct stance and posture.  

The Swing

Once you have chosen a grip and learned the correct stance, the next thing you must do is learn how to swing the golf club. The first part of the swing is the backswing, where you bring the club back starting with your hands, then the arms, shoulders and hips. The second part of the swing is the downswing, where you bring the club forward starting with your hips, then shoulders, arms and hands. Learning the correct mechanics of the golf swing can be challenging, and in order to build a good swing, it not only takes practice but it takes the correct type of practice.

Golf Clubs Irons
Practice Several Times a Day

Practice the swing motion several times a day, regardless of where you are. Keep a child's size club in your home or office and practice your swing as often as possible. Take the club back in slow motion several times and then take a full swing. Next, practice the forward swing, again in slow motion, working on your follow-through.  Do this as often as you can.

Practice Often and with a Purpose

The only way to learn how to play the game of golf well is to practice, and practice with a purpose. Don't just go to a driving range and hit a bunch of balls, work on specific aspects of the swing and set practice goals. 

Sharpen your skills

Work on specific shots like bunker, pitch, short game, and others. These are the shots that will  lower your score.  

Read Ben Hogan's book

"Ben Hogan's Five Lessons The Modern Fundamentals of Golf" covers all the aspects of the golf swing and is full of some of the best instructional information that you will find anywhere. Read, re-read and highlight several of the educational passages for easy reference. Take this book to the driving range and refer to it when necessary.

Don't Give-Up

Golf Putting(101360)
Golf is a game that no person will ever play flawlessly. You will always hit a bad shot and when you're a beginner you'll hit several bad shots! There may also be times when you miss the golf ball completely and that may be an embarrassing moment for you, but remember, it happens to all new golfers. You're going to make mistakes and that's okay, everyone makes them, just don't give up!

Golf is a game that many people enjoy, especially when they play well. If you learn the correct fundamentals and practice often you can also enjoy playing the game of golf.

Learn Golf Fundamentals from Ben Hogan

Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf

Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf
Amazon Price: $14.00 $5.24 Buy Now
(price as of May 5, 2013)
This is the best "How to" book on the game of golf. So good, you'll want to take it to the golf course every time you play!


Jun 9, 2012 3:11pm
Good tips for a beginner. You could have added that golf should come with a warning - it can be addictive!
Jun 9, 2012 3:34pm
Sooooo true! Thanks so much David!
Jun 18, 2012 8:50am
Golf was addictive for me until it became too stressful. Next, I tried tennis, but everyone plays only to win - I like to win, too, but I also like to have fun. I found laying by the pool at the club, with a good book, more relaxing for my personality.
Jun 18, 2012 9:07am
Sitting by the pool with a good book is very relaxing and sounds so good to me right now. Thanks SG!
Jul 17, 2012 1:29am
Nice article. I fully agree with learning the fundamentals and then practicing regularly and a lot.
I must pick up that Hogan book and see if I can learn something from it. Just last week I wrote and article about Ben Hogan, I'm a big fan of his achievements.
Jul 17, 2012 10:48am
I absolutely believe Ben Hogan was the greatest golfer, and if you put his instructions into practice your game will improve. Prior to reading Hogan's book, I read several golf "how to" books and nothing worked. After reading Hogan's book and practicing his techniques, I couldn't believe how much my game improved. Good luck and thanks for the comment!
Jul 17, 2012 5:47am
I love to play golf! I absolutely stink, but it's so much fun. I will have to check out the Hogan book because I think the people I play with are tired of me not being able to break 100 -- and that's the front 9.
Jul 17, 2012 10:50am
Ha! It's great you enjoy the game, good luck with breaking 100 (on 18 holes). Thanks so much for the comment, Jack!
Jul 17, 2012 10:56am
Congrats on the feature! I always wanted to play golf, but my bad shoulder will not permit it. Instead, I fund raise for the gold outings my husband heads!
Jul 17, 2012 11:08am
Thanks MMM! My husband is a golf fanatic who introduced me to the game and he also puts together a couple of golf tournaments a year. It's great that you help your husband out with his golf outings!
Jul 17, 2012 9:24pm
Good tips for the beginners.
Jul 19, 2012 7:37am
Thank you very much, agamas!
Apr 13, 2013 3:57am
I've just included a link of your article into my article Beginner's Golf Tips. Hope you get some more reads!
Apr 13, 2013 3:07pm
Thanks TerrieTez!
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