Beginning Tactics for a Beginning Golfer Like You
Learn How to Hit on Par
Golf is the sport of gentlemen. It’s where we make business deals, where we found our friendships and where we have genuine, masculine fun. But it’s an exclusive world, and an intimidating one at that. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. First of all, don’t make the mistake that many beginners make, which is to go spend a lot of money on an expensive set of clubs before they know whether or not they even like the game. Starting with a collection of used golf clubs sounds wiser. But learning the basic fundamentals, the rules and proper golf etiquette is the first requirement.
Driving ranges and golf courses, public or private, are the best places to start. Trained professionals will watch to ensure that you get started in the right direction. Most pros will be able to fit you into a “starter set” of golf clubs that will suffice for your early rounds of golf and those first lessons. There are also rental clubs available so you don’t have to purchase something that might not be right for you later.
Golf lessons are available for both individuals and groups. For most beginners, group lessons are less expensive and oftentimes just as useful. Not to mention, it’s a great way to meet new friends with the same interests as you. Many golfers have met friends on the golf course that become life–long companions.
There are short Par 3 courses and executive golf courses (Par 54 or less) that are fun to play and can be very challenging as well. Most pros will advise you to start with learning the short shots and working your way up to hitting the longer shorts. It can be very frustrating going to the range as a beginner, hitting balls and standing next to an accomplished player driving the ball a hundred yards or more past you. Statistics reveal that 70% of the game is played from 120 yards into the green and 50% of the game on the putting green. So the putter, pitching wedges and short irons are the clubs to learn in the beginning. The confidence that you develop with those clubs will benefit you when you’re learning the longer shots with the driver, fairway woods and longer irons.
Popular among beginners are “Golf Schools” that could last from one day to a week. Barry Clayton, a PGA Golf Professional at Westin Mission Hills Resort in Rancho Mirage, California, says, “In a single day you can cover putting, chipping, pitching, all types of bunker shots and full swing, something that a single lesson cannot possibly include!” Charles Williams, a PGA member, is a professional club–fitter at the Fitting Studio at Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert, California and stresses the importance of being properly fitted for clubs once you are committed to learning and playing the game. Williams also recommends that all fitting be done outside and not indoors hitting into a net; since golf is played outdoors, the golfer needs to be able to observe the ball’s flight. And the PGA of America offers all of its PGA members a five lesson program designed to help the beginning golfer—whether man, woman or child—get off to the right start.
Golf is certainly a game and outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by all who play. Living in Southern California, we have access to some of the best golf courses and facilities in the United States and some of the best weather to enjoy the game all year ‘round. So get out there and enjoy the game of your life!
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[Updated May 2019]