The game of golf is booming!
According to Golf Digest, 2020 was a “Tiger Woods” good year for the growth of golf.
Golf Digest found, “The NGF count showed 24.8 million golfers in the U.S. in 2020, an increase of 500,000 and 2 percent over 2019. It is the largest net increase in 17 years. New players (both beginners playing their first round and lapsed golfers coming back to the game for the first time in years) numbered 6.2 million, the highest that number has ever been.”
Needless to say, thanks to the events of the last few years, more people from all around the world want to learn about this game. If you’re like most people you might wonder, “How do I learn to golf for the first time?”
It’s a good question because golf is a little intimidating to new players. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with golf club selection, proper golf attire, etiquette, the golf swing itself, how scoring works, choosing the right golf ball and the many rules of golf.
But today we’ll break it down so it’s easy to understand and get started on the right foot.
How Do I Start Golfing?
Use these strategies to start playing golf and having fun in the process. Hopefully, you will catch the “golf bug” and play this awesome sport the rest of your life.
Find a Friend
As you will learn, golf isn’t the easiest sport to learn. Trying to play golf solo and figure it out is like trying to learn a new language with a basic textbook.
Instead, find a friend who plays golf and ask them to take you out to the golf course and/or driving range. They might have some old golf clubs or a backup set that you can learn with as well before buying a set of your own.
Hit the Driving Range
Once you find someone to help you get started in your golf journey, head to the driving range, not the golf course. Your focus should be to learn to hit the ball and make golf swings.
You need to learn how to hit the golf ball consistently (and not whiff it) before heading to the actual golf course. This will save you money and a lot of frustration for everyone else on the golf course. Think about it like this, you need to “graduate” from the driving range to the golf course.
But learning golf at the driving range takes some time so here are some of our best pieces of advice. You want to master the golf swing basics below.
Get a Grip
Only one part of your body guides the club through the swing and actually touches the club – your hands. Needless to say, your grip plays a pivotal role in hitting golf balls with consistency.
The sooner you can build a reliable grip, the sooner you can become a consistent golfer. Learn more about the golf grip here.
Once you get a good grip on the golf club, next up is your setup. As you’ll learn in your golf journey, building a strong setup position is key to avoiding common swing issues and playing golf consistently.
Alignment is another fundamental part of the golf swing. Almost all swing issues are a result of poor alignment so don’t skip this step either.
Stop Caring About Others
Whether you’re a brand-new golfer or have been playing for 20 years, it’s easy to compare your swing to others. This is a bad idea!
Everyone has their own unique swing based on age, height, flexibility, sports experience, and natural tendencies. While it’s okay to learn from others, don’t compare your swing to others.
Instead, only compare yourself to your previous swings as you progress in your golf journey. You need to learn to swing your own swing.
Also, don’t worry about others watching you or judging you for being a new player. Everyone had to start somewhere and golfers especially know the steep learning curve involved with the full swing.
Laugh Off Bad Swings
As you start hitting the golf ball, make sure to have the right attitude.
Chances are you’ll get frustrated and/or embarrassed at times but it’s important to laugh it off. Getting mad won’t help and might turn you away from the game before you see all the good things.
Make sure to laugh off bad shots, take notes on good shots, and learn from everything.
Get Golf Lessons
As you can tell from the basics above, there are a lot of moving parts in the golf swing. While there are endless videos of YouTube content, sometimes you might want to hire a PGA professional.
Signing up for a golf clinic, group lessons, or individual lessons is a great way to build a strong foundation. Check out your local golf courses and driving ranges to learn more about the options for beginner golfers.
A few lessons with golf tips from a certified instructor can help you develop good habits instead of bad habits!
Visit Top Golf
Top Golf has taken the golf world by storm the past five years as it’s a great way to play golf and have fun with a group of people.
Unlike most driving ranges, Top Golf is catered toward beginning players. It’s part driving range, part bowling alley atmosphere, and part restaurant/bar. Needless to say, it’s a great time for everyone – even if you don’t consider yourself a golfer yet.
Since most people don’t bring their own clubs, you can use theirs to test out your swing and play fun games. Click here to learn more about how to play Top Golf now.
Chances are you’ve been mini-golfing before and know a little bit about putting. But here’s something you probably didn’t know… Tiger Woods (arguably the best golfer ever) learned golf from the green back to the tee.
Needless to say, his dad Earl Woods knew the importance of putting and taught his son how to dominate on the greens. As the old golf saying goes, “Drive for show, putt for dough.”
One of the biggest mistakes most golfers make is ignoring the putting green in favor of the driving range. Don’t get me wrong, it’s more fun to hit drivers on the range but creating a great short game is how you actually get good at golf.
Every time you practice golf, make sure to spend the first part of your session on the putting green. By going through putting practice first, it’ll ensure you don’t skip it after practice when you’re worn down from hitting golf balls.
Here are a few putting posts that will help your golf game tremendously.
To become a great golfer (or at least get better every round) you need a good short game. A chipping swing is simple, easy to do, and can become one of the most reliable shots in your game.
The sooner you can master the pitch shot and chipping shot, you can speed up the learning curve greatly. Click here to learn the basic bump and run golf shot.
Buy a Basic Set of Golf Clubs
After a few visits to the driving range you can usually tell if you’re liking the challenge or don’t think it’s right for you. If you do start to catch the “golf bug” and want to hit the range more consistently to eventually play golf, buy a beginner set of golf clubs.
As you will learn, your golf equipment plays a big role in making the game easier or more difficult. A beginner golf club set has clubs that are much lighter, easier to hit, and ideal for players just picking up the sport.
Beginner golfers will also want more fairway woods than long irons, a pitching wedge, maybe a sand wedge, and two or three clubs such as irons or hybrids. New golfers don’t need a full set of clubs yet!
You will also want to buy a pair of golf shoes, a golf bag, ball mark, and other supplies like tees, balls, and divot tools. Check your local golf shop or Amazon to find a few clubs and other supplies.
Start With Par 3 Courses
Once you have your own set of clubs, you can celebrate your “golf graduation” at a short, par 3 golf course (also known as executive courses). These tracks are much shorter than normal, full-length actual golf courses and are ideal for beginner golfers.
Learn About Golf
Before moving from short courses to full-length golf courses, it’s a good idea to learn more about etiquette, common terms, and rules. Luckily, we have an article for each to help you understand the complexities of golf much quicker.
- Golf Terms: Every golfer needs to know these basic rules.
- Golf Etiquette: Learn the right ways to dress and act on the golf course with proper golf etiquette.
- Rules of Golf: Learn some of the most common rules to avoid any issues on the golf course.
Avoid Common Golf Mistakes
Golf is a game of trial and error. But to help you hit better golf shots, make sure you check out the most common golf mistakes.
Watch Golf on TV
Anytime you’re learning a new sport or skill, it’s always best to learn from the masters of their craft. You can do this anytime by watching the PGA Tour on TV, highlights on YouTube, or LIV Golf. As Tony Robbins once said, “Success always leaves clues.”
When you watch the best golfers in the world, you can learn so much about routines, mindset, swing tips, how to hit different clubs, and short game tips. Click here to learn more watching and learning professional golf.
Read Some Golf Books
Did you know that golf has been played since the 1800s? It’s hard to believe but people have been trying to master this game for centuries.
The good news is that people continue to write tons of books on all parts of the sport. Whether you want to learn about bucket list courses, upgrade your mindset, build a more consistent swing, or learn about the history of golf, there are plenty of options.
Watch Golf Movies
If you’re the type of person who prefers movies to reading, there are some decent golf movies out there too. Throw on one of these classics to get educated on the game and hopefully start playing better too.
Always Have Fun
While we’ve given you a ton of strategies to start golfing, it’s important to remember the main rule – always have fun. Whether you’re 20 or 70 years old starting this game, don’t forget it’s just that… a game!
The same reason golf is so fun is the same reason many people lose interest in the game – it’s incredibly difficult! You could be great in four other sports but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become a good golfer.
For some, they lose interest once they see the steep learning curve. But for others, they love the challenge and want to learn everything they can to play better and shoot lower scores to beat other golfers.
Whether your goal is to become good enough to play with clients, make it a family activity, play in a member guest tournament or win a club championship, just remember to have fun. Golf is a game you can play for the rest of your life if your health allows it.
Don’t quit from getting overly mad or frustrated too early in the journey! Just remember, even the best golfers in the world still hit bad shots and have bad rounds – that’s part of this crazy game.
FAQs About Learning How to Play Golf (Golf for Beginners)
Do you have more questions about learning the game of golf? If so, keep reading to get answers to your most frequently asked questions.
Can I teach myself golf?
It depends on the type of person you are and your learning style. Some golfers have the ability to create a “homegrown” swing and figure it out as they go. While others get lessons early on to build a foundation of the basic golf swing.
But it’s never been easier to teach yourself how to swing a golf club thanks to social media and YouTube. There is an endless amount of golf content to help you learn how to grip, swing, and learn the ins and outs of golf.
My only advice is to beware of going down the YouTube rabbit hole.
As I’ve found in my own golf journey, golfers tend to always want to improve. While you need that initiative in the beginning, too much learning can lead to overwhelm. This can make it easy to play your golf swing vs. playing golf, something that almost everyone has faced before. It’s key to not carry around a a bunch of swing thoughts.
With so much content online, it’s easy to overdo it. It’s best to pick a coach or one specific person and learn from them to not have too many conflicting swing thoughts. Sometimes less is more when it comes to learning how to swing a golf club. Here’s some tips for how to work with a golf coach.
How hard is it to learn golf?
Golf isn’t the easiest game in the world to learn but it’s incredible once you start to make progress. Golf is such a challenge to learn as it’s not a normal motion and the mechanics are complex.
You’re basically trying to hit a dimpled ball with a crooked stick and make it go straight. All while swinging at a high rate of speed, for 18 holes, and having to figure out the myriad of different shots golf requires.
How hard is golf for beginners?
I won’t lie to you, golf is very difficult for beginners and even seasoned players. Only a handful of the golfing population has a firm grasp on playing consistently.
But before you ever give it a shot – hear me out. Yes, golf is hard for beginners, however once you hit a good shot you might get addicted and love this sport for the rest of your life.
What makes golf so addicting is the fact that no matter how good you get (even as a professional golfer), you can still hit bad shots. It’s not like basketball or football where you rarely hit rookie-like mistakes as a pro.
But as you will learn in golf, anything is possible.
However, when you start to improve, shoot lower scores, and play better, it’s intoxicating (in a good way). It’s almost a form of personal development as you can grow with the game.
Not to mention, you can meet awesome people, make new friends, and have amazing memories on the course. So yes, it’s hard but we think it’s 100% worth it!
How do I get my kids interested in golf?
Golf is a great activity for your kids as they’ll get outside, play a new sport, meet people, and possibly play for life! But it’s important to not force them into the game as they might get frustrated with the challenges before they enjoy it.
To help you learn how to get your kids interested in playing golf, make sure to read the articles below.
Final Thoughts on Learning How to Play Golf
Learning golf isn’t easy but once you hit a good shot, it’s easy to see why people get hooked for life. It’s also easy to see why many people consider it the greatest game ever played. I’ve been playing for 25 years and still feel like I have too much to learn in this amazing game.
Golf is a metaphor for life in a lot of ways and why I encourage everyone to give it a try. As Bobby Jones said, “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots. But you have to play the ball where it lies.”
Buy or borrow clubs and head to your local course to hit range balls, eventually your very first round of golf. For more, read our article on how to get better at golf.