Copyright 2006 Matt Canham
Every day more and more people are taking it up for the first time. I was once a beginning golfer myself and I remember the frustrations of learning the swing and playing well. And that was with a Golf Pro Father.
There are a lot of books and other information products available for established golfers, but not a lot for adults who are brand new to the game. Amongst all the tour talk, long drives and 400cc drivers, it seems beginners are left out.
Golf is a great game providing a lifetime of enjoyment and when you finally achieve a certain level of proficiency, a whole new element of the game appears, ensuring there is always a challenge.
Many schools offer an introductory 4 hour class – usually for around $320 – on the basics of golf, but you are better off to work on those yourself, then pay for lessons when you are comfortable with the basic knowledge. You won’t be effective until you have mastered at least the basics, so by doing it at home, by yourself can remove much of the embarrassment that is often felt by beginners.
I’ve also seen beginners made to play rounds of golf way too early in their development. The result is a bad experience that can, in some cases, turn them off golf forever. A much better strategy is – you guessed it – get the basics down first.
Now, there are many opinions on the golf swing but we can agree that without doubt, the most effective, not to mention quickest way to improve is to study, then practise what you have studied.
You’ve heard it all before – there are no short cuts… Well, for golf it is especially true. Study and practise will get you there. Repetition of the skills and the swing will help develop your game, playing will help you develop the magical quality called ‘touch.’
Having the right knowledge is the key.
Just as there is a technique to hitting a ball in tennis, or throwing a football, golf has a correct motion which must be learned. The swing can be broken down into phases to assist with learning where the body should be for each phase of the swing. The sooner you can do this, the sooner you can start to enjoy playing the game of golf.
Here are some of the basics you need to know in order to get started.
The game: etiquette – You need to know about the game and the things you shouldn’t ever do on the golf course. It is a game with rules of conduct. This is listed first, because respecting the traditions of the game is vital.
The swing – The fundamentals of the movement and how to repeat it. Knowing the plane the club should swing on and getting familiar with where things should be at the various stages of the movement.
The grip – The point of contact between the hands and the golf club takes some getting used to – I am yet to meet a person who doesn’t think it feels strange at first.
The address position – How to line up with the ball for both hands and feet.
The back swing – The check points to ensure a correct back swing and proper setup for the Down swing.
The down swing – Knowing how it is initiated and where the club needs to be at impact.
Club and ball positions – Where you should play the ball in your stance for different clubs.
The short game – Handling shots around the green, including basic putting technique.
Difficult lies – The adjustments you need to make for a non-level lies and other tricky situations that exist on the golf course.
Rules of play – The most common encountered rules on the course.
Most people start out in golf with no knowledge whatsoever. They watch the PGA tour and expect to be able to play just as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. It takes knowledge and practise. Lot’s of it.
Having an understanding of all these things is the key to experiencing some early improvement. If you don’t understand the basics, then golf lessons won’t help you. If you do have some knowledge, then you can consciously understand the instructions you’ll be given and will well on the way to getting the basics of golf together so you can start enjoying this wonderful game.