Golf for Beginners – 10 Top Tips to Improve Your Game

golf for beginners
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Golf is one of the most addictive sports in the world. When people catch the “golf bug” it usually has them for the rest of their lives. 

Which is pretty awesome, because you can play this game for a long time and meet amazing people in the process. Some of my best memories have happened on a golf course and I want the same type of experience for you. 

But if you’re just starting out, golf can feel a little overwhelming. All the shots you need to hit, golf jargon, tons of rules, and more. To make it easier for you to understand, here are 10 golf for beginners tips.

Golf For Beginners – 10 Ways to Get Better 

1. Learn About the Swing

The first tip for any beginner in golf is to learn about the swing. Watch YouTube videos, read blogs like these, and learn from your friends who are golfers. 

If you’re brand new, it’s important to understand how the swing works and all the clubs you will hit. If possible, I suggest taking lessons from a professional so you can start out the game with proper technique before developing bad habits. 

2. Understand the Rules and Etiquette of Golf 

One thing you will quickly learn about golf is that there are a ton of rules. While you don’t need to study the USGA rule book tomorrow, get to know the basic rules early on in your journey. This will make it more fun for you and your playing partners. 

Aside from the formal rules, learn the lingo and golf etiquette as well. Some easy tips to remember are: 

  • Play ready golf.
  • Turn your phone on silent mode.  
  • Stay quiet when fellow golfers are hitting. 
  • Don’t walk in peoples line from their ball to the hole. 

3. Nail Your Setup 

80% or more of what happens to your ball happens before you ever swing the golf club. Your setup position plays a major role in helping you hit consistent golf shots.  

The most important things to focus on are:

  • Your grip.
  • Weight distribution. 
  • Alignment (feet, hips, and shoulders).

If you can setup square to your intended target, everything gets so much easier. 

4. Play the Right Equipment

Golf is a hard game to begin with, but if you play the wrong equipment, it’s even more difficult. When you’re first starting out, make sure to play golf clubs that match your game. 

In most cases, you want:

  • Very forgiving clubs.
  • Light, graphite shafts. 
  • Durable, comfortable grips. 
  • Lower cost golf balls made for beginners.
  • A lightweight bag that is easy to transport. 

5. Focus on Distance Not Accuracy 

Golf is becoming more and more of a distance game. 

While accuracy is important to some extent, I’d argue that distance is more important. If you can hit more wedges and short irons into greens (even if you’re in the rough), chances are you will score better.

So in the beginning of your golf career, focus on distance as much as possible. Test out different drivers, different shafts, tee heights, swing speeds, and more to max out your distance. Once you hit it long, then you can work on accuracy.

6. Trust Your First Instinct

Listen to your gut more often than not when playing golf. 

If you get to your shot and instantly think it’s a 9 iron, hit it. I would argue that 90% of the time your first instinct is right when reading greens and picking clubs to hit.

When you trust your first instinct, you have much less doubt when standing over your shot. This usually leads to hitting a better shot or putt as you’re 100% committed and not second guessing yourself. 

7. Have the Right Mindset

If you’re brand new to golf, I want to be the first to say this game is hard… like really hard. But it’s also arguably the most rewarding game as well. 

To shoot lower scores and enjoy the game, have the right mindset when you’re on the course. Focus on being grateful for being there instead of disappointed if you don’t play well or score well. Even the best players in the world have terrible rounds, so don’t beat yourself up.

Instead, whenever you hit a “bad” shot, don’t get mad… get curious. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this” and it’ll be much more useful than getting mad or throwing a golf club. 

Plus, I’ve found the more you enjoy the game, the more the golf Gods seem to reward you too.  

8. Create a Pre-Shot Routine 

If you’re just starting out, chances are you spend most of your time learning to create a consistent swing. While obviously that’s important, a pre-shot routine is a big factor in taking your game from the range to the golf course. 

So many golfers are known as “range players” because they hit it great on the range and awful on the course. One reason this happens is that they don’t have a pre-shot routine to help calm their nerves on the course.  

If you watch the PGA Tour, you’ll see each player has their own routine to help them stay focused and calm. Next time you’re at the driving range, create your own pre-shot routine to help shoot lower rounds on the course. 

9. Practice and Play to Shoot Lower Scores

Shooting lower scores in golf doesn’t happen from just endlessly hitting golf balls on the driving range. The range always has a perfect lie, no rough, no slope, and no specific target. Sure, it’s good to ingrain your swing there, but get out to the course too. 

By playing golf (not just practicing), you can learn a ton about your game. Then, after your round, you can review what went well and what to work on in your next practice session. 

10. Master Your Short Game 

50% or more of all shots happen from inside 100 yards. 

Use these two easy rules to master your short game and shoot lower scores: 

Rule 1: Putt Whenever Possible 

If you think you can putt it, do it! Keeping the ball on the ground will give you a much better chance of getting it closer to the hole. 

Rule 2: Learn the Bump-N-Run

If you can’t putt it, chip it (don’t pitch it). A simple bump and run type golf shot is similar to a putt and one of the easiest shots to develop. Not to mention, it’s super consistent! 

Final Thoughts

The great Jack Nicklaus once said, “Golf is the easiest game in the world to quit. But it’s also the greatest game not to quit. Because when you conquer the game again, when you hit good shots again, golf is an even greater game than it was before.” 

This might be the greatest piece of golf advice ever! 

Even on your worst days, don’t give up. Keep improving, learning, and always, have fun as golf is just a game and one you can play the rest of your life.

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