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16 Golf Tips for Beginners

Here are my 16 golf tips for beginners to help you focus on the right things to improve your golf game.

Golf is a challenging game, I know I have played it for 20+ years. But I wish I had these tips before starting my golfing journey.

It would have started me off on the right path and stopped me from developing the bad habits which took years to remove from my game.

Keep reading, as I share what I think are important golf tips for beginners to get you started in your golf journey and doing it right from the beginning.

1. Know what equipment is right for you

Golf Equipment: Irons, balls and tee

The choices are endless when it comes to golf equipment, but ensure you get the equipment that is right for you and your skill level. As a starting point, the two main types of equipment you need to play golf are your golf clubs and golf balls.

Golf Clubs

When you are looking for golf clubs choose cavity back irons, these are more of a game improvement style iron and are more forgiving than blade or muscle back irons. These irons will assist you in hitting the ball straighter and further.

Golf Balls

When you are looking for balls choose balls that are designed for distance rather than spin. As you start out you need all the distance you can get. It is natural you will be losing a lot of balls when you begin, so the cheaper the better, if you ask me.

NOTE: Golf equipment (especially clubs) are not cheap, so before purchasing a set, ask a friend to borrow some clubs to have a hit or hire them at the pro shop at the golf course. The other thing you can consider if you are looking to purchase clubs is purchasing a half set, which will reduce your costs.

2. Find the grip that suits your swing

You may not realize, which I certainly didn’t when I started playing is your grip is one of the most important things in swinging the golf club correctly. If you do not get this right at the beginning it can cause many issues with your golf swing and to change your grip later is a lot harder to do. When gripping a golf club you need to consider grip type, pressure and strength.

Check out how to grip a golf club for more in-depth information.

3. Get your setup right

A golf instructor teaching a beginner how to grip a golf club

How you setup over the golf ball is important as it creates consistency and power. What I mean by setup is your stance, balance, posture & ball position. You need a strong base to create momentum to hit the ball. Your stance & balance is key in making this happen.

Your feet should be shoulder width a part as a rule of thumb, as this will allow you turn and a stable base to allow your body to turn to maximize swing power. As to narrow or wide stance makes it hard to turn your upper body and hips, which will reduce swing power. Having 50/50 weight distribution on both feet is a good starting point.

With your posture if you lean your upper body forward keeping your back flat, sticking your bottom out, letting your arms hang naturally and relaxed downwards with your knees bent. This will help in your consistency of your swing.

Where the ball is positioned in your stance will change slightly based on the club you are hitting:

  • Driver: line the ball up with the inside of your left heel (right hand golfer)
  • Putter and Shorter Irons (8-PW): middle of the stance – underneath your chest
  • Other irons (hybrids/3-7): as you go lower in each iron the ball position should be a little further forward then your chest
  • Putter: middle of the stance

4. Have Fun

The most important tip of all is that you have fun when playing golf. I know I have said it many times through this article, golf is a hard game to play. Do not be too hard on yourself & enjoy the company of your playing partners and the nature you are in. They say a bad day’s fishing is better than a good day at work, the same applies to golf.

5. We all learn at some point

Do not worry about what other people think. When you are starting out you may feel self-conscious and think that everyone else is watching and judging you. This is not the case, all golfers have been in the same position as you, so they understand what you are going through. Also everyone else is concentrating on their own game. Golf is hard enough as it is, then focusing on someone else

6. Patience is key

We all get frustrated playing golf, you can see it every weekend when you watch the pros play on TV. At times you will think you are not improving with all the practice you are putting in. You need to stay patient and continue practicing and playing to continue to improve, as much as you think it is not helping.

7. Become best friends with your putter

“Drive for show and putt for dough” is a known saying for a reason. You will hit your putter more than any other club in your bag through a round of golf. Making it the most important club in your bag.

Three key things to focus on with your putting is:

  • Pace control
  • Face control
  • Green reading

8. Practice your short game

Your short game are shots that are within 100 yards from the green.

I know there is no better feeling than smoking a drive off the tee or crushing your long irons from the fairway. But do not forget about your short game, put in the same time as you do in your long game, and you will be lowering your scores in no time.

9. Invest in golf lessons early

Golf Lessons

I know what you might be thinking that you have spent a lot of money on purchasing equipment and now you need to spend more money on lessons. Trust me, it is worth every dollar, especially if you are serious in wanting to play golf for many years to come.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I made when I started out and it took many future lessons to resolve the bad habits I had in my swing. Lessons will provide you with the fundamentals to consider when you setup for a golf shot and swing your clubs. This will set your swing and setup off on the right track and reduce bad habits creeping in from the start.

10. Learn the basic golf rules and etiquette

With any sport it is important to learn the rules of the game and it is no different with golf. Make sure you know the basic golf rules as this will make you and others playing with you enjoy the game more.

The same goes with golf etiquette on the course, there are some unwritten rules that must be followed, like do not talk whilst players are hitting, walking on the putting line of another player or not yelling FORE when a ball may hit the group in front of you.

11. Take advice from the right people

When starting out, every man and their dog are willing to offer you advice if you ask for it. I know it is tempting to ask a family member or friend on how to fix a problem you are facing. My advice would not do that, only take advice from a professional or people you trust who are experienced golfers. Taking advice from others, will only introduce bad habits into your game.

12. Practice, Practice, Practice

The only way to improve your golf game is to practice, practice and practice. There are many ways in which you can do this. Go down to the driving range to keep working on your golf swing, going to your local course to practice your short game and putting. One thing I would recommend is have a purpose when you practice. Meaning focusing on an improvement for the practice session. If you ask me the best practice you can get when starting out is on the golf course.

Do not just practice from perfect lies. As a beginner you will be more often than not be hitting from unperfect lies, be it the rough, in a bunker or a sloping lie, so try hitting for all lies.

13. Keep your ego in the bag

Golfers of all skill levels, fall in the trap of playing ego golf. I am sure we have all:

  • Tried hitting the ball between trees instead of chipping it out on the fairway and it going horribly wrong; or
  • Thinking we can drive the water and ended up in it; or
  • Not considering course and/or weather conditions and play the same shot as if it was a sunny day and we are hitting from the perfect lie or
  • expecting to hit every shot like Tiger.

Keeping your ego in the bag will result in shooting lower scores.

14. Develop routines that work for you

Routines are an important part of golf to help with consistency of your play. By having a pre-shot routine it can focus your attention on the shot you are hitting and remove distractions. There is no one size fits all routine, do what works for you. You watch any pro golfer, they all have their routines. It is important to practice your pre-shot routine each time you are playing a shot, so it becomes second nature to you.

15. Know where you are aiming

If you do not know how to aim properly it will make it very hard to play consistent golf. The aim starts with the clubhead. Put your clubhead behind the golf ball and aim it at the target. From there you have a reference point for alignment with the rest of your stance. Unable to aim means your swing will compensate for poor alignment, which will create bad habits in your swing over time.

16. Keep it simple

Golf is a challenging and technical sport, so help yourself by keeping it simple and not overcomplicating things. For me in my golf swing, I have a few triggers that I focus on like tempo, so I am not thinking about a million things.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot to consider when starting out in golf and it may be overwhelming. Please do not let it be, golf is a journey, and it takes time to improve. The only way to improve is to keep practicing and playing. The main thing though is to have fun doing it.

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