So you’re serious about picking up this hobby/sport? Well take it from me, as an amateur golfer, there are certainly things that I wish I would have known before I started playing. Here are some “Myths for Beginner Golfers” that I’d like to dispell:
1. You need your own set of Golf Clubs.
While this may seem odd, do not run out and buy a starter set of clubs for few hundred bucks at a Sporting Goods store. As a newbie, you will need to experiment and test out what works best for you. Before going out to the driving range or course for the first few times:
a. Borrow clubs from a family, friend, or neighbor. They’ll be excited at the prospect that you’re interested in picking up the game.
b. Rent clubs from the golf course you’re playing at. This way, if you end up hating the sport, you won’t have a shiny new set of clubs that serve as a reminder of your attempts at golfing glory.
2. If you do buy clubs, you need a new complete set.
After a few times playing, you may get the ‘golfing bug’ and realize that you are serious about this golfing thing. If you are, I would recommend NOT BUYING a new, complete set of clubs. I would recommend instead, to go to your local golf course pro shop, preferably a place that sells USED golf clubs and equipment. I would invest in the following clubs:
– 3 Wood, 5 Wood, 5 Iron, 7 Iron, 9 Iron, a (P) pitching wedge, and a putter to start. These are the clubs you will learn your swing on. Don’t buy a Driver yet, trust me, it will save you a lot of headache. Use your 3 Wood as your “driver”, as it is an easier club to hit.
3. Get the best golf balls you can buy.
Again, you will be tempted to buy those shiny Titleist Pro V1’s or Callaway Tour i’s, but don’t. You are not ready to hit these types of balls, and since you’ll be “losing” balls as you learn the game, that would be a costly choice. See if your local Pro Shop has “used balls”, usually for $1 each, or you can buy them online. Buy 12 to start and continue to just hit used balls until you find yourself losing balls at a much slower rate 🙂 Golfing expos are a great place to get used balls cheap!
4. Practice makes perfect.
When I first started golfing, I would spend every free moment I had going to the driving range and hitting balls. What I knew my whole life was that “practice made perfect”. This is completely false for golf… kind of. What I didn’t realize is that my ‘practice’ was not the type of practice I needed. Essentially, with every driving range session I had, I was reinforcing bad habits and techniques that I ‘thought’ worked. This type of practice made my initial golf game so bad, I almost quit because I wasn’t getting better, only worse.
If you’re serious about being somewhat decent in golf, get a lesson or two from your local professional. Costs may vary, but it is a worth while investment in your game… and sanity! I would prioritize lessons in the following order:
a. “The Anatomy of the Golf Swing”
c. “Hitting Your Irons”
d. “Golf Course Management”
e. “Hitting your Woods (Driver, 3 and 5)”
Practice from professional lessons will make your game better 🙂
5. Success = Par
Do not let “Par” ruin your first few rounds of golf. As a matter of fact, until you get a few rounds of 18 under your belt, don’t even keep score. Allow yourself to swing the golf club, enjoy the scenery, and the people around you. Once you get the hang of the game, then you can start keeping tabs of your total number of strokes. Focus initially on “Breaking 100”, or scoring below 100. Most amateur golfers never achieve this task. After you’ve broken 100 a few times, create a golf “bucket list” of things you want to accomplish while playing the game. Let these be your measurements of success.
Above all, have fun in the process! If you need a recommendation on a “must read” book as you begin your golfing journey, read “Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book”. It is the best book to read for anyone picking up this fantastic game!