Left arm straight and head down is not going to cut it as a beginner. In fact, throw those two most common beginner tips out the side of the golf cart right now.
Learning golf is difficult, and it’s made even more difficult with the help of our friends. People mean well, but there is a lot of bad advice out there.
In my list of the 19 practical golf tips for beginners, I use my experience from years of teaching and my desire to always become a better player to give you straightforward and actionable golf tips.
1. Get Lessons (Even When It’s Too Expensive)
You don’t have to take a $1000 lesson with a Golf Channel instructor.
Find a local PGA Professional, even an assistant professional with some great reviews, and sign up for a series.
Taking a few lessons at the beginning can entirely change your course as a player and give you a chance to actually enjoy the game.
Let’s face it, to start playing golf; you need a little bit of a budget, use your green fees money in the beginning to pay for lessons. it’s well worth it.
2. Buy or Subscribe to an Online Course Membership from a Reputable PGA Pro
If in-person lessons aren’t your thing, or you can’t find any to fit your budget, look at online options. There are many excellent choices.
Some online pros will help direct you toward videos and reading material that will help your game, others will give you in-depth analysis of your actual swing.
3. The Golf Stance is Different than Other Sports
Let’s not pretend like a baseball ready stance, a football ready stance, and a golf ready stance are all the same thing. They aren’t.
Get your feet shoulder-width apart, balance your weight, and feel like you’re sitting on a stool – or about to..
Don’t bend the knees like you do in other sports.
4. Use All The Clubs you Have
Use all the clubs in your bag, or take them out.
If you have a 3 wood you can’t hit, take it out of the bag.
I encourage you to spend some time at the range with each of your clubs and ensure that you can use all of them. The more clubs you can use, the easier it is for you to diversify the shots you hit.
No two golf shots are the same, and having a range of tools is helpful.
5. Equipment Does Matter
Have you heard the idea that you are just a beginner, so equipment doesn’t matter? This is not true. Ensure the equipment you use is properly-suited to your clubhead speed and physical features and characteristics.
This doesn’t mean you need to break the bank, but there is a difference when using equipment that suits your game.
6. Chipping Is The First Shot to Master
I like to start with the chip. The chip is like a miniature version of the full swing. If you can start chipping well, your takeaway is going to be better in your full swing, and you will quickly understand what it takes to get a golf ball up in the air.
7. You Can’t Skip Aiming
As a beginner, you will hit golf shots that go left, right, up, down, etc. However, one of the main reasons beginner golfers struggle with their game is that they do not take the time to aim.
You must learn how to aim your shots to tell whether your swing is actually working. I recommend laying some alignment sticks down on the driving range so you have an idea of what square looks like.
8. Pay Attention To The Tee Height
The tee height should be low (so the ball is just above the ground) for the irons. For the driver tee height is higher, with about half of the ball over the top of the driver’s face.
If you tee it too high with your irons, you will miss the sweet spot. The same thing happens if you tee it too low with your driver.
9. Become More Aware Of Your Surroundings
Great golfers are detail-oriented. They notice things like slopes, weather conditions, other players’ actions, and more. If you can become just a little more detail-oriented each time you play, you will become a better golfer at a much faster rate.
Take, for instance, a green that slopes almost entirely from left to right. Learn to hit your chip a little to the left so it will roll down toward the hole.
10. Don’t Listen To All The Advice
When you are out on the course with your friends, and your game goes south; you will get A LOT of advice.
Do the best you can to be careful about this advice. Some players (scratch golfers and professionals) may be able to fix your swing; others are not much better than you are!
Just be smart about who you are taking advice from and what they actually know about how to help you. Playing golf and teaching golf are two entirely different things.
11. Watch Golf On Television
Watching golf on television can teach you a lot about what to do and what not to do on the golf course. The pros have great pre-shot routines, some have really good habits around the green, and you can see how they finish their golf swings in balance and control.
Golf on television teaches golf course management and proper etiquette; it’s a great way to learn.
12. Start To Tally Up Your Misses
As a beginner, what you shoot really doesn’t matter.
However, you do want to start to tally up where you are missing, how you are missing, and whether or not it can be avoided.
For instance, if you are three putting every green, or it took you 6 shots to get out of a bunker, those are important things to know. The misses matter in golf, and you should have a general idea as to if you miss the ball right, left, low, or high.
13. The Mental Game Matters
The better you get at golf, the more the mental game is going to matter. However, even as a beginner, you should be positive on the golf course. It’s easy to get down on yourself because of the inconsistency.
Think positive and work on making solid swings. Put the time in off the course, and it’s easier to have a more positive mental mindset.
14. Keep Your Putter With You All The Time
Keep your putter around.
Have a place set up at your home where you can take a few putts throughout the day. Pick up a putting mat for your office, try to stop a few times daily, and make some putts. Before and after a round, work on your stroke a bit.
The more you get to know your putter, the easier it is to make one and two putts on the course.
The quicker you eliminate three putts as a beginner, the easier it is to score.
15. Experiment With Different Grips
The standard grips are the 10-finger, overlap, and interlock putting grips. You have to find one that works best for you. The 10-finger and the interlock are considered the most common for beginners, but they are not the only ones you can use.
Go to the range, use a 9 iron, and try all three grips, see which gives you the most control of the clubface.
16. Develop A Pre Shot Routine
A pre-shot routine is something that you do before every swing you take. Golf professionals take the same pre-shot routine each time they hit a ball. This routine helps players develop consistency in the shots they take and encourages them to repeat the same swing every single time.
As a beginner, it may take you a little while to develop a pre-shot routine, but you should have something in place.
17. Play From the Correct Tees
Beginner golfers very rarely start from the pro tees. Most times, it’s best to start from a tee box that is much closer to the hole. The chance of getting a par or even a bogey is considerably better, and it’s easier to keep the pace of play moving.
You can always move back as you improve.
18. Just Get It Out Of The Sand
I get it; the sand is scary.
However, it shouldn’t be as bad as golfers make it. Get a good setup, narrow your stance, open your body to the target, and hit a little sand behind the ball.
Simplifying the sand shot and making it feel like a chip you are simply hitting out of a different type of lie will make this much more approachable. Aim to get out in one swing each time; we can work on accuracy and getting it next to the pin later.
19. Play Smart Golf
Last but not least is to play smart golf.
Is it smart to try and hit a 3-wood over the water from 215 yards out, your second time playing golf on the course?
Is it smart to try and cut the corner of a dog’s leg to try and take a few yards off your next shot?
Think about the percentages and your percentage of pulling off a shot. If you can hit a shot 7/10 times, go for it.
If you have literally never attempted the shot, or come remotely close to executing it, keep it in the bag and play smart golf.
Following these, as opposed to the random advice you get on the course, will make your beginner golf experience much more enjoyable.
Did you like my list of the best golf tips for beginners?
Let me know in the comments which tip was your favorite, and don’t forget to share this with your golf buddies.