Blog: My top tips for golfing beginners
As the golfing season quickly approaches, I’ve been trying to get to the range more and keep up the momentum in my mission to learn to play golf.
So as I persevere with trying to get to grips with this ridiculous yet addictive sport, here are my top tips for any fellow beginner golfers who are also just starting out…
1) Get your own clubs fitted
Having to beg, borrow and steal clubs every time I wanted to go and practise really wasn’t ideal. It meant that I had a new club to get used to every time I played, and that I was pretty much never using one that was correctly fitted to me.
So eventually I got fitted with the new Ping G Le range, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s already made the world of difference. They feel great and I swear I play better with them. Plus it probably helps that they are so pretty and fancy looking. Like you feel excited about going to the gym when you’ve bought some new workout clothes, I’m much more likely to go to the range now I have my own lovely clubs to use.
— Harriet Shephard (@harrirat) February 17, 2017
2) Be realistic
If, like me, you know people who have been playing for forever and are annoying good, it’s not a good idea to decide that you want to be just as good as they are.
You’ll just end up feeling upset and frustrated that after months of lessons, you’re barely any closer to looking as slick as they do when you’re hitting a ball.
My aim is simply to be able to play a round of golf in an acceptable fashion and not embarrass myself. Once I’ve done this I can think about getting a handicap and getting it down. The patronising phrase, ‘don’t run before you can walk’ is definitely appropriate in golf.
3) Don’t compare yourself
Although it’s definitely helpful to learn from people who are more experienced, you shouldn’t freak yourself out by comparing your performance to everyone else’s on the driving range. Maybe they are hitting it a lot further than you are, but don’t think about that, it will just put you off and make you flustered. When you’re in this state you’ll have no chance of striking the ball correctly. Just pretend nobody else is there and concentrate on what you’re doing.
4) Have regular lessons
It’s easy enough to recognise that you’re doing something wrong, but knowing exactly what that is and how to fix it is something else. Since starting lessons with Ryan Rastall at Howley Hall in Leeds, my swing has improved tremendously.
When you have someone telling you what you’re doing wrong, with video footage to demonstrate, it’s so much easier to correct yourself. It’s way better than going to the range and hitting duff shot after duff shot with no idea why it’s all going so badly. That’s no fun at all.
5) Find somebody to practise with
Like going to the gym, having a study session, or going for a jog, it’s always a lot harder to back out of something when you’ve committed to doing it with someone else. Plus, going to the range is always a lot more fun when you have someone to chat to and laugh at yourself with.
Golf is in some ways a solo sport, but it’s the people you play with who will have the biggest effect on how much you enjoy yourself. If you can find fellow beginners to practise with you’ll be able to encourage and support each other. Or if you practise with someone who’s really good, you’ve got someone there to advise and help you. Either way having someone with you will help keep your spirits up when you’re having a bad golf day.