How To Play Golf: Beginners Tips & Fundamentals

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Nobody is perfect at golf from their first shot. Everybody has to start somewhere. Even the greatest golfers of all time were beginners once so don’t feel overwhelmed if you’re new to the game!

To help you tee off right, I’ll share some golf tips, fundamentals, and basic instructions.

In this article, we’ll be looking at:

  • How to prepare your mindset for golf.
  • How to seek and find the right help to learn to play golf. 
  • Learning golf’s basic rules and etiquette
  • How to prepare yourself in the right way 
  • How to plan your day at the golf course 
  • Proper techniques to try and play with
  • How to take care of your health

Prepare Your Mindset for Golf

a Golfers Who're Trying To Prepare their Mindsets For Golf sport

Before you pick up a club and get going physically, the first thing you need to do is prepare yourself mentally. It might sound odd, but having the right mindset is fundamental to golf.

Golf Mindset

To play like the best, you need to think like the best. Here are five key factors that can affect your mindset and ultimately, affect your golfing performance and capabilities.

1. Lack Of Confidence

If you doubt your potential to play well, it can reflect in your performance and you won’t play well. Think positively and have confidence in yourself—you can do it!

2. Excessive Anxiety Levels

To begin with, focus on the process rather than the outcome. Don’t think about what happens ten steps ahead. Instead, focus on the present and on the shot you are about to take. Adjusting your thinking can help lower your anxiety levels.

3. Over-Analyzing Your Gameplay.

You’re a beginner, so stop comparing yourself to the professionals and stop over-analyzing your game! The more you overthink, the more your muscles tighten, which may affect your swing performance.

4. Distractions

If you’re distracted by something, it’s going to affect the way you play. Free your mind before you step onto the course, and focus on your performance and getting that ball successfully into the hole.

5. Negative Emotions.

We all get a little down sometimes. But did you know that if you’re feeling negative before you even start playing, it can filter through to your performance? Negative emotions may impact physical aspects such as muscle tension and shortness of breath. Try to stay positive and focus on what’s important.

Determine Your Reasons and Your Goals

Ask yourself these two fundamental questions:

  • Why do you want to learn how to play golf?
  • What do you want to achieve from learning how to play golf? 

Your answers say a lot about your golfing aspirations. And what you said will also determine how much time and energy you need to put in.

If you want to learn on a social level, engage with others, and enjoy a new hobby then you won’t need to dedicate too much time. But if you want to compete at a professional level, challenge others, and compete in tournaments, you’ll need to put in some serious effort.

Learning to Play Golf 101: Seeking and Finding the Right Help

a Kids Golfers Trying To Learn How To Play Golf 101, Seeking And Finding The Right Help

Get out there and engage with people. Find other golfing enthusiasts among people you socialize with and share experiences.

If you don’t know any golf friends, don’t despair, the instructions below will help you connect with the right people.

Ask in the Pro Shop

Pro shops are full of people who love golf and are keen to offer you support, guidance, and golf tips.

They can give you valuable advice, help you select equipment, give you instructions and just generally point you in the right direction.

Join a Club or Golf League 

Why not join a group of golfers? Then you can meet up and play golf regularly.

You can also join a club and play with people at the same level as you, so you won’t feel out of place as a beginner among experienced golfers.

You’ll be able to learn from each other and pick up handy pointers and instructions that improve your game.

Talk About Golf

Find people who have a keen interest in golf and talk to them. People love to talk about things they enjoy and it’s a great way to build a network of golf-loving buddies you can practice with.

Make Sure You Have Fun While Playing

With every new hobby we choose, we get involved because it’s fun and we find pleasure and enjoyment in it. Remember that if you start to feel too focused on your par scores.

Making Friends

The more you engage with people over golf, whether it be on or off-course, you increase your chances of making new friends. With any luck, your new pals will impart some golf tips and offer to play a round with you.

Golfing is more than just hitting a ball, it’s a social sport. Engaging with others and getting to know people are fundamentals.

Love the Game

Fall in love with golf, like all golfers have done! It’s fair to say that we play golf simply because we love it. It gives us joy, freedom, and something to focus on and look forward to.

If you aren’t enjoying it, then it’s probably not the best game for you. Or it doesn’t suit you as much as you thought it would.

Learning the Basic Rules and Etiquette 

There are a few golf fundamentals you need to know before you get started. With that in mind, allow me to walk you through the basics.

Rules

These are the basic rules and knowledge every golfer expects you to know before stepping foot on the course:

Learn the Object of the Game

It’s pretty simple—get the ball in the hole with as few shots as possible! If you have a sense of humor, have a look at what the late, great Robin Williams had to say about it:


Standard golf courses have 18 holes. Each one has a ‘par’ rating, which designates the average number of shots it takes to sink the ball.

Respect the Order of the Holes

The holes are numbered for a reason, so no, you can’t skip from hole three to hole five and you can’t go around the course backward either. Respect the order, and you’ll get along with your fellow golfers just fine!

Don’t Move Your Ball and Stick With It

You have to play your ball as you find it. If it’s stuck in a sandpit, then you’re going to have to find a way to hit it out. Here’s a hint: you need a wedge.

If your ball lands in the water, you can take it out and place it on solid ground but it will cost you penalty points.

Take Your Turn in the Group

Stick to the player order and take your turn when it comes. Don’t unnecessarily hold other players up. Keep focused on the game and take your shot in a timely manner.

Keep Score for Each Hole

By doing so, you’ll have a fair record of who is winning and by how much. It’s also a great way to keep track of your own performance and where you need to improve.

Only Take Three Minutes to Look for a Lost Ball

If you can’t find the ball after three minutes, then consider it gone for good. You have to start from the place of your last hit while also incurring a penalty point.

Understand the Rules of the Penalty Areas

Penalty areas are marked on the course in red or yellow. Land your ball there and you may incur additional points on your score. Penalty areas can include woodlands, sandpits, and lakes.

For a detailed explanation, see this helpful video:


Etiquette

There are a few general etiquette rules you need to know so you don’t offend fellow golfers or step on any toes. Here are some general instructions:

Don’t Lag Behind

You may be slower than other golfers, especially as a beginner, and that’s ok. You shouldn’t ever feel rushed to play, but try to avoid causing a huge build-up behind you.

Instead, allow the faster golfers to go ahead of you. Then you can continue at your own pace without feeling the need to hurry up because of a queue.

Wait Your Turn

If you’re playing in a group, wait until it’s your turn to play. The golfer farthest away from the hole should always take their shot first in each turn.

Yell “Fore!”

If you hit a ball and it rockets off in close proximity to a group of golfers, yell out “fore.” Doing so alerts your fellow golfers and allows them to take cover, meaning they’re less likely to be hit on the head from your incoming ball!

Take Care of the Course

If you accidentally whack a chunk out of the grass, pat it down with your feet. If you’re splashing around in the sandpit, kick the sand back in once you’re out.

Golfers follow a common courtesy of keeping the grounds in good shape for themselves and each other. Don’t be known among the group as the messy one!

Know Where to Stand

Don’t get in the way of other players or be the reason their ball rolls off course. If a player is putting, never stand within the green. They won’t be very happy if their ball misses the hole and you’re to blame.

Prepare Yourself the Right Way

a Golfer who's Preparing Herself The Right Way For Her Golf Game

You want to hit the course well prepared and oozing with grace and confidence. Therefore, you should ensure you have the right equipment and have fully prepared yourself before you tackle those holes. Here are our top preparing for golf tips:

Choosing the Right Equipment

Determine the clubs you need as a beginner and only take what you need. Consider borrowing a friend’s set to get a feel for different clubs before you go ahead and purchase your own.

Also, make sure you pick the right ball. Ideally, you want a golf ball that is soft and holds a straight shot. You’re going to lose a few, so don’t spend too much on balls in the beginning.

Choose tees with wide diameters on top that hold the ball comfortably. This will also give you more control during your shot.

Get yourself a golf bag so you can carry your equipment around with ease. There are a lot of bags to choose from, but pick one that’s easy for you to carry and has enough space for your gear.

Planning Your Day at the Course

a woman Golfer Who She's Trying To Plan her Day At The Golf Course

Have a plan so you’re as prepared as possible before you hit the course.

Start Small

Don’t take on too much at once, you might end up overwhelmed. Start with a par-3 course and considers playing just a few holes. In much the same way that we have to walk before we run, start off at a simple pace and gradually build up your skills and confidence.

Warmup

Be sure to stretch the right muscles before playing golf. Not only will it stop you from aching afterward, but it can enhance your golfing performance.

Attire

Some courses ask you to adhere to a dress code. Check this before you arrive.

Otherwise, standard golfing attire is a collared short-sleeved shirt and khakis for comfort. At first, you’ll be more comfortable in sneakers—there’s no need to rush out and buy dedicated golf shoes.

If the weather is warm, protect yourself from the sun. There is minimal sun protection on golf courses so don’t forget to pack sunglasses and sunblock.

Hydration and Food

Keep yourself well hydrated by taking a full bottle of water. If you plan on spending a number of hours on the course, consider taking a packed lunch or check if there’s a cafeteria on the course itself. Keep your energy levels up to play at your best.

Prepare Your Pre-Shot Routine

Focus on how you will walk into the ball and how you will swing the club. Take practice swings before the real thing.

Walk Smart, Play Smart

The best golfers are those who visualize the ball’s trajectory. Walk up to the ball, visualize your shot and play that swing perfectly.

Win

Have the lowest score at the end of the game and you’re the winner. Okay, it probably won’t happen in your first few games, but remember, to be a winner you have to think like a winner.

Try to Play With the Proper Techniques

There are a few techniques that will help you start out well and see you hitting that ball with skill and confidence. Try to play with these techniques to better improve your game.

In order to build your swing, you’ll need to consider the following golf tips. I have included video instructions in this section so you can see the correct form.

  • Set up your posture and stand:

  • Set up your alignment:

  • Master your grip:

  • Conduct your takeaway:

  • Complete your backswing correctly:

  • Perfect your transition to the downswing:

  • Release the golf club for a proper swing:

Take Care of Your Health

For sure, golf is about having fun and enjoying yourself. But it is a sport, and while you are challenging yourself to do better you are exercising.

Remember to stretch regularly before and after you play golf, just as you would if going to the gym. Golf is a medium intensity workout for the body, so look after it to ensure you can carry on playing safely.

Most importantly, protect your mental health by maintaining a sense of humor. Golf shouldn’t cause you stress and shouldn’t result in you becoming angry or upset.

It can be frustrating at times (just like any sport) but have fun and take enjoyment from it. If golf causes you regular and ongoing stress, then it’s probably the wrong sport for you.

Final Tips

Don’t be concerned by your level when you’re a brand new golfer. Remember, every pro golfer started out just like you once upon a time! Practice makes perfect and the more you put into golf, the more you will get out of it.

Follow our handy list of golf tips and instructions and you’ll be teeing off like a pro before you know it.

If you found our golf fundamentals for beginners useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends!

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