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.Credit: morguefile.com
Tips for Beginning Golfers
Learn the Rules of Golf
Credit: morguefile.comBefore 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
Credit: morguefile.comLearning 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.
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.
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.
Credit: morguefile.comGolf 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.