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Fitness Try These 6 Expert Tips to Improve Your Golf Game When You’re Just Getting Started

Here’s how to break down the fundamentals and get your game up to par.

Best tips for beginner golfers: male beginner golfer learning how to put from a pro or coach

In a mid-pandemic era, new golfers have been flocking to the links in herds. In fact, 500,000 new golfers joined the game in 2020 compared to 2019, the largest increase seen in the sport since 2003, according to a report by the National Golf Foundation. And while adding the outdoor activity to your list of hobbies is an effective way to increase exercise and reduce stress, the game and its required equipment can feel overwhelming before you even step up to a tee box. 

That’s why it’s important to break down the basic fundamentals and focus on a few simple aspects of the game rather than too many changes all at once, says Ali Gilbert, CSCS, a Titleist Performance Institute Level 3 Fitness Coach and Level 2 Power Coach based in Jupiter Florida. Here, golf pros and experts share their top tips for beginner golfers who are new to the green. Read on to give yourself the best shot at playing this game for life.

Best Tips for Beginner Golfers

1. Remember P.G.A: Posture, Grip, Alignment

It’s important that beginners start by learning the fundamentals of golf. This includes grip, stance, posture, and ball

It’s important for beginners to start by learning the fundamentals of golf like grip, stance, posture, and ball position, says Frederick Moore, PGA member and director of instruction at Game On Golf Center in White Plains, NY. 

“PGA stands for Professional Golfers Association, but when I teach a beginner, those letters stand for posture, grip, and alignment,” he says. “Those three items are a great start for any beginner to learn from day one.” 

The best way to perfect these basics is to consider taking a lesson. “I believe that everyone needs to take lessons, but especially beginner golfers who have never touched a club or tried to learn how to swing the golf club correctly.”

2. Focus on Proper Form

While practice usually makes perfect, proper practice is essential for rookie golfers. Continuing to do the same incorrect movement over and over will only get you better at perfecting that incorrect movement pattern. 

“I generally suggest that a beginner try and tag along with an experienced golfer to watch him or her actually play the game first,” says Moore. Developing your golf swing with sound fundamentals will help you excel quicker by acquiring a repeatable golf swing that you can trust.” 

Moore also recommends a minimum of three to four hours of practice time at the driving range for every one hour of instruction to reinforce the basics. That way, you can lock in the proper movement patterns you picked up during the lesson.

3. Add Variety to Your Practice

“Golf is one of those sports that involves a lot of precision with biomechanics mastery,” says Gilbert, which is why many beginners find golf difficult to enjoy at first. But once everything starts clicking, that’s when the fun begins. 

To form good habits, Moore recommends two types of practice: block practice and random practice. “Block practice is just working on your technique in front of a mirror or through the use of video,” he explains. “Random practice is hitting golf balls at various targets at various distances to get a feel for how far the ball goes and the effort involved with hitting it the desired distance.” Going slow in the beginning to allow the brain to learn the proper move is critical to forming muscle memory required to play well long term. 

4. Work With What You Have, Upgrade Later

Don’t make the rookie mistake of spending a fortune on a new set of clubs before you ever even swing one. “Starting with a high-lofted iron, like a pitching wedge, an 8-iron, or a 9-iron, with a molded training grip is a great way to learn how to start hitting the golf ball,” says Moore. “Once you’ve learned the fundamentals, which generally takes about five lessons or so, I would suggest getting professionally fit for a set of irons and woods if golf is something you’ve committed to and plan on playing for an extended amount of time.” 

Colored balls can also be helpful for beginners, as they’re easier to locate, especially in the rough, and a  golf glove will help prevent blisters and allow you to maintain proper grip through your swing. But the most important tool you need when it comes to learning golf is patience. “Remember, golf is a skill game,” Moore says. Building those skills takes time and practice, but sticking with it will pay off over time.

5. Prioritize Strength Training

While Tiger Woods was one of the first to popularize strength training among golfers by mixing in weight room sessions with his time on the course, golf fitness has exploded in popularity as of late. “Players are showing up fitter and more resilient than ever,” says Gilbert. “Getting get in two to three training sessions a week for golf fitness will make a big impact.”No trainer? No problem.

Tonal offers real-time form feedback and includes a Spotter Mode feature, so you don’t need to fear strength training alone. “Plus you can implement so many of the important lifts like squats and deadlifts into Tonal programming, as well as the necessary cable exercises for core strength,” says Gilbert.

6. Start where you are 

The easiest way to quit golf as a beginner is to set unrealistic expectations. If you’ve rarely or never played before, it’s unreasonable to expect to be good on day one. “Lower your expectations in the beginning, especially when you decide to go out on the golf course and try to score,” says Moore. “When expectations are high and skill level is low, that’s a recipe for a lot of frustration that could lead to giving up the game entirely, and we certainly don’t want that.”

Moore recommends seeking the help of a certified PGA golf pro who can not only help you learn how to swing the golf club properly but also play the game and acquire the necessary skill to be competent in all the shots including putting, chipping, pitching, bunker play, irons, driver and fairway wood shots.  “Keep your chin up and try to play with a positive attitude, learning from your mistakes and enjoying the struggle of learning how to play this great game,” he says.