Advice for First Time Golfers: How to Get Started
Golf is a great way to exercise while enjoying the fresh air. Swinging the club and walking the course instead of driving a cart will keep your muscles and mind in good shape! Want to be the next Tiger Woods (sans all of the off-course drama, presumably), or just looking for a new fun way to exercise but aren’t quite sure what all you need to get out there on the greens? If you are anything like me and have only played around on a miniature golf course or driving range a few times, you might be a bit overwhelmed walking into a pro shop for the first time. Here are some things that I have found to be essential for a newbie golfer, as well as a few tips and tricks to get you started.
First of all, while this might seem a bit obvious; you will need clubs. This can be quite the daunting task for a beginner. There are so many different brands, numerous different materials, and quite an array of different types of clubs, so just start with the basics: a wood, a few irons, a wedge, and a putter. Many sporting goods stores and pro shops offer starter sets that include the fundamental clubs you need. You can carry up to 14 clubs in your bag on the course, but when you are just starting out you will not need that many. You don’t need to spend a bundle on clubs, either. A lot of beginner’s sets are on the cheaper side, and if you want to save a little more money, you could check out your local pawn shops or resale stores. Also, it never hurts to ask questions. Go to the sporting goods store or pro shop and talk to the associates there. They could help point you in the right direction, even if you don’t buy the clubs from their store. If you aren’t comfortable buying a set right off the bat, ask at the golf course or driving range if they rent out clubs.
Okay, so you have clubs now, what next? Well, you need something to hit with those clubs. There are quite a few different golf balls from which to choose. Since you are new, my guess is you will lose quite a few balls, so my suggestion would be to check out the used balls at the pro shop or even at garage sales. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on balls you might not even recover. Other options for cheap balls include closeout, refurbished and defective or X-Out balls which you can usually find at your regular sporting goods store. Find some cheap tees while you are at it. I would highly suggest spending a lot of time out at your local driving range, and purchasing bucket after bucket of their golf balls to swing away at, too.
If you have a bit of extra money to spend, getting a few lessons could never hurt. Many driving ranges and golf courses have professionals that offer lessons. Having someone observe and evaluate your stance and swing is always a good thing. Even just a handful of lessons could make a significant difference! If you don’t have the funds to splurge on a pro, ask a friend who already plays (and hopefully plays well) to go with you to the driving range.
Last but definitely not least, you will need patience. You will not become a pro overnight. It takes hours and hours of practice and repetition to hone in on those Tiger-esque skills. Just go out there and have fun! Don’t fuss over every slice and hook. Concentrate on hitting the ball, and the rest will follow.