If you are looking to get into golf or you have just taken up the sport, you are entering into a new world that can sometimes seem very daunting. But don’t be put off; it’s actually much easier to understand the fundamentals of golf.
The following guide will walk you through the basics of your swing, how to understand your clubs, and how to master your first courses.
The first thing you need to develop is your swing. This is the fundamental skill that lies at the heart of your game. More importantly, you won’t know what specific skills you need to develop until you gain an understanding of your swing. So, the first tip every golfer needs to know is that your swing is all about your body – not your club.
A common mistake is to focus so hard on making the head of the club connect with the ball that players forget the importance of their posture. Your body is what provides power to your swing, so if your posture is wrong then you will be losing power and accuracy on your swing. Focus on your knees and keeping the distance between them constant. When you swing your club, there is a natural inclination to bring your knees together. However, if you can resist this then you will maintain the power and accuracy you want.
This is the best place to start with developing your swing. Once you have this down, you can then focus on correct foot placement.
Naturally, golf clubs are important to the game of golf. This can often seem like one of the most daunting aspects of learning about golf for a beginner. However, it isn’t nearly as difficult or complicated as it might seem from the outside. A complete golf set consists of five different types of clubs.
The Woods: This is the longest club in the set and is, therefore, the hardest one to control. This type of club includes both the fairway woods and the driver. Their name comes from the fact that they were once made of wood. The head of a wood is usually hollow, although it is larger than the head of other clubs. The hollow head allows for a fast swing and they are, therefore, reserved for the longest shots. Power is the name of the game here.
The Irons: Irons have smaller heads than woods do and are preferred for short-range and chip shots (where the ball goes high rather than far). Irons are numbered from 3 to 9, the 9 is sometimes known as a pitching wedge. It’s important to learn proper chipping technique because if you find yourself stuck in a sand trap or bunker, this is usually how you will dig your way out (not literally, that would take ages). The heads of irons are usually solid, although hollow variations do exist.
Hybrids: Hybrid golf clubs are the newest addition to the lineup, having only gone mainstream around the early 2000s. They had been in use for a long time before that, but it is only around the turn of the Millennium that they became mainstream. They are called hybrid because the head is designed as a cross between the iron and the wood. However, they are generally considered as a replacement for the iron and are accordingly numbered in the same way that irons are.
Wedges: Wedges are a subset of irons, something we touched on earlier. However, you will find them sold as their own category under terms like ‘lob wedge’, ‘pitch wedge’, and others. They are designed to produce lift rather than power and distance.
Putter: The putter is the most specialized type of golf club and is the one that generally takes the longest to master. Putters are used on flat ground, generally over relatively short distances but not always. There are a number of variations on the putter, with a variety of clubheads and lengths. You can find more detailed information about putter variations here.
When it comes to buying clubs, you have lots of options open to you. You’ll find golf clubs on sale in sporting goods stores, and occasionally at Target or Walmart. If you want to get serious about your game, it is worth spending the money to get some high-quality clubs. Good clubs will last you for many years. Manufacturers like PXG offer high-quality golf clubs at a range of price points – you can pay as little as $225, or more than $500, it depends what you’re looking for.
Playing Out the Sand Trap
For playing out of the sand trap, you will usually want to use a wedge. When you’re in a sand trap, your options are limited. Essentially, you need to get the ball as high as possible, and preferably out of the trap. In order to achieve this, make sure that you follow through with your shots. A common mistake is to stop the swing when the ball is hit. Following through can push the ball through dense sand and give it an impressive lift if you follow through.
Tee Off With Your Best Club
Most players will have a particular type of club that they find they are able to use more proficiently than the others. For some, this is a wood, rather than the conventional driver. Experiment with teeing off using different clubs and stick with whatever works for you.
Find the Sweet Spot
For each club, there will be a sweet spot. If you can strike the ball reliably at the lowest point in the arc of your swing, you will be able to feel the difference in your shot. You will also find that you are able to cover a far greater distance in a single shot.
Learning to play golf proficiently takes time, but anyone can take it up at any age. Of course, the best way to improve your golf game is to keep playing. If you have the opportunity to play with more experienced players who can teach you the ropes, you should jump at the opportunity.