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10 Practical and Timeless Golf Tips for Beginners

Posted byBy John Barton

You have probably heard your fair share of golf tips as a golfer.

Some contain golf wisdom that improves your game.

At the same time, too many bad tips will confuse you, especially when new to the game.

These golfing tips are practical and timeless. They will help you improve and help you break your target scores consistently. Many come from legendary players and teachers. 

Most of all, they will help you enjoy your golf more.

1. Grip – Everything Starts Here

As the legendary teacher Harvey Penick said in his Little Red Book, “if you have a bad grip, you don’t want a good swing.” Get the grip right from the beginning. Your palms should face down the target line, and you should grip the club in your fingers rather than in your palms. If you can, have it checked by a professional teacher. Once you have mastered it, keep practicing until it becomes second nature. Have a club around while you watch TV and practice taking and retaking the grip. Many golfers find it hard to change their grip once they have gotten used to it. So, get it right from the start.

2. Setup, Setup, Setup

If you have ever been to the practice range at a professional tournament, you will notice something interesting. The world’s best players use alignment sticks, accessories, and various drills to solidify their basic setup. This includes making sure they are aiming correctly. The magic four fundamentals are grip (mentioned above), posture, alignment and ball position. It seems so obvious but is forgotten by so many. You remove a huge obstacle to becoming a better player if you focus on and master the set-up.

3. Putting Has A Massive Impact

Without exception, all golfers will lower their scores if they improve their putting. All golfers hate three-putting, but how many golfers practice the art of the flat stick? Hardly any. The best drill you may ever come across and used by the best putters in the world is the clock drill. Drop six balls around the hole a foot from the hole and drain them all. Do this again from 2 feet, 3 feet and even 4 feet. You can add pressure (an ever-present element of golf) by having a rule that you must complete a set of putts without missing, or you have to start over. If you want to go deep, try Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible. Be warned – it is nearly 400 pages long!

4. Short Game

It is said that 70% of all golf shots are from inside 100 yards. You must make a point of practicing both pitch shots and chips. Tom Watson used to throw balls around a green and then try to get every single one up and down using a variety of shots. His short game is one of the best ever. You could also play a par three course if you are lucky enough to have one near where you live.

5. Don’t Neglect Your Body

Your body is central to your golf swing. Whether you want more consistency, more length, more resilience from injury, or stamina, any work you can do on your body will pay huge dividends. In particular, flexibility training relating to the turn and strength training for the core will pay off. It probably started with Tiger, but all the best players now pay attention to fitness. All golfers should acknowledge this part of the game.

6. Play To Your Strengths And Your Natural Tendencies

Jack Nicklaus said that he used to take one side of the golf course out of play. He was a natural fader of the ball. Rather than trying to fight this tendency, he embraced it. All golfers develop a tendency to hit one way or the other. Don’t fight it.

7. Equipment – Get Clubs That Fit You

Buying golf  equipment can be a minefield. There is an enormous range available but the good news is that it has never been easier to get clubs that suit you and your swing. It is worth getting the best and best-fitted equipment you can. There are thousands of videos and articles reviewing every product on the market. The site MyGolfSpy is a great source of independent reviews. It is also worth paying attention to technology. A rule of thumb is that a significant and noticeable improvement in club technology occurs around every five years. Pay attention to these developments and time your purchases well. Spend the money you save on lessons.

8. Practice And Get Lucky

Gary Player famously said, “the more I practice, the luckier I get.” If you are serious about improving your golf, you need to balance your playing time on courses and practice time. You also need to make the practice time count. Don’t aimlessly hit balls – have a goal and try to make the practice resemble the conditions on the golf course as much as possible. Put yourself under some pressure – one good idea is to play a golf course you know well in your mind on the range. Some practice can be deceptively simple. When recently asked about his son’s practice routine, Tiger Woods replied that they were focusing on hitting the ball out of the middle of the club. Whatever you do, have an objective and don’t just try to smash drivers over the back fence of the range as most do.

9. Think About The Miss – Course Management

You will hear high-level players talk about where to miss a particular shot. This way of looking at a golf hole can be helpful for players of all levels. On every shot on the course, assess what you have in front of you and decide where you must not go – long, short, right or left. There will generally be a safer place to end up. Don’t follow a bad shot with a stupid shot If you get out of position on the course. Chip it out and try to get up and down.

10. Enjoy It

A round of golf is like a mini journey through life with its continuous ups and downs. It is often worth pausing during a round and reflecting on how lucky you are to be out there. Primarily, have fun with it and be sporting. Think about Jack Nicklaus with his arm around Tom Watson leaving the 18th at Turnberry after losing the Duel in the Sun in 1977. It is not life and death at any level. The quest for improvement is an ever-ending quest. Golf can be exhilarating and the most frustrating thing you have ever done. Don’t let the inevitable frustrations boil over in a round. A wise man once said, “the main aim of a game of golf is to get invited back to play again.” Be one of those people.

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