12 Best Golf Tips For Beginners That Actually Work

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golf tips for beginners

Playing golf is one thing, but knowing where to start is another, like is it better to take golf lessons now or save that money to buy better equipment and learn how to play yourself instead? Should you buy a new set of golf clubs or settle with a set of used ones? 

To help you out, we’ve prepared a list of 15 best golf tips for beginners that’ll give you tips on why we recommend taking golf lessons, how to choose your first golf clubs, how to improve your swing, how you should be practicing, how you should play in a golf course, golf strategies, important golf rules, and so on.

Trust us, the worst thing you can do is practice for days with the wrong concepts, drills, and equipment. You’ll end up picking up bad golf habits you’ll regret spending lots of time and money to unlearn.

Our goal is to help you have fun and stay motivated while progressing quickly and properly. With that in mind, let’s begin!

1. $500 Worth Of Lessons Will Go Further Than $500 Worth Of Equipment

Good equipment does not make a good golfer, good technique does. If you truly want to enjoy and be good at the game, invest in a professional PGA golf coach first before you invest in a new set of golf clubs. 

Good coaches can provide excellent golf swing tips and improve your swing significantly and provide you with adequate strategies to play to course effectively. If you’re lucky, they’ll allocate sessions to become your personal caddie for a round of 9 to have you shadow them. I’ve seen many students playing golf with their coach long term after that making their game improve rapidly.

2. Practice With The Right Equipment

Your second priority as a beginner is to get the right golf clubs. Notice we said ‘right’ not new or used. You can get the newest golf clubs made for a pro and still end up never hitting the golf ball properly. Starting off, fInding the perfect set of clubs that, used or new, is key to golf success.

Buy beginner-friendly Golf clubs 

Beginner-friendly golf clubs are those that have more “forgiveness” than your average golf clubs. In golf, “forgiveness” refers to the construction and design of a golf club that lessens the consequences of a bad golf swing and poor ball contact. With that said, the higher a golfer’s handicap, the more forgiving clubs they should get.

You can visit your local PGA store to have them recommend you a more forgiving set of golf clubs or check out the beginner sets we recommend! Generally speaking, you can differentiate a more forgiving golf club from its larger clubhead and clubface, and it’ll have more weight located deeper down at the bottom edge of the clubhead. 

You may be tempted to get the newest set of golf clubs you see on TV, but as a beginner, those clubs are expensive and are hard to hit. Remember, at the end of the day, what matters most for beginners are not the clubs they have, but the progress they can make with their swing and the score they can improve at the golf course. Starting with forgiving clubs will help them with both.

Bad clubs will make bad swing habits

Practicing with unsuitable golf clubs can slow down your learning progress even with the right golf lessons. Here’s how:

Most of the time, you’ll be practicing alone at the range. With clubs that don’t fit you, it’s hard to effectively execute what you learned, especially when your coach is not beside you. Everything will just feel clunky and uncomfortable and you’ll start changing your swing unknowingly. 

Of course, we don’t want this to happen, that’s why if you can also invest in decent clubs besides just your lessons, that’ll be great. They don’t need to be the best clubs for you just yet, but at least they should be beginner-friendly.

Where To Buy Your First Golf Set

If you know which clubs you want, you can try looking for high-quality but used clubs available on certain golf sites like globalgolf.com. If you want to try this site out, look for clubs in ‘Mint’ condition! Trust us, you’d be amazed by how new they come!

Finally, if you are shorter than 5’6 or taller than 6’1, you may need golf clubs outside of the standard club length. Feel free to ask your golf coach if the clubs you’re looking to buy online are good for you to start with.

3. Focus On One Swing Thought At A Time

Haven’t you noticed that your best golf shots are those you think least about? We all know that feeling, while in your golf set-up rehearsing all the things you need to do to make the perfect golf swing just to end up shanking the ball 2 minutes later. 

If that’s you, then you’re thinking too much before and during your golf swing. Instead, discipline yourself to practice just one technique at a time and move on only when that technique becomes natural to your swing. We’ve tried this with many golfers and it always leads to a better progression and a smoother golf swing.

You should also do this at the golf course! Before you’re about to hit your shot, clear your mind and don’t have more than one swing thought at a time.

If you’re still struggling with thinking too much try our 10-Second Drill.

The 10-Second Drill

  1. Place your ball on the mat and step off.
  2. Revise that one technique you want to focus on during your swing.
  3. Start counting down from 10 seconds.
  4. Once you start counting, you’ll have just 10 seconds to aim at your target and hit the ball.
  5. Don’t cheat yourself! 

4. Playing Your Miss

To become a better golfer, you need to learn to play your misses. This means to play according to your tendencies when necessary. For example, if you’ve been slicing the ball all day, instead of aiming straight at the target, aim left to play the slice.

Of course, to play your miss goes beyond just a golf slice, it also applies to pulls, pushes, draws, fades, hooks, you name it. However, if you’re able to understand the nature of your tendencies and play them effectively, why not? 

Here is a scenario:

The hole you’re about to play has the fairway straight ahead and a water hazard to your right. Going back to the example earlier, you’ve been slicing the ball all day and you don’t know why. What would you do? Here’s what an experienced golfer would consider:

  1. Am I more likely to hit the ball straight or hit a slice?
    • A slice.
  2. If I were to aim straight, what would be the worst and best-case scenario?
    • Worst case, I’ll be in the water if I slice it again and get a stroke and distance relief. Best case, I’ll be lucky and hit it straight this time and end up on the fairway.
  3. What if I were to aim more left but not pass the out of bounce marker? What would be the worst and best-case scenario?
    • Worst case, you hit it straight into the trees, but you’re still in play with no stroke penalty. Best case, you’ll more likely slice the ball and it curves back onto the fairway.

Disclaimer: Some may argue that aiming more left to compensate for a slice will make the slice even worse. In some cases, that is true, but it really depends on the type of golfer you are. There are plenty of golfers, including some of us at The Golf Leap Blog, who have benefitted from playing the slice. Even some of the best golfers, like Bubba Watson and Tiger Woods, have played the golf slice to their advantage! 

5. Swing in Tempo

An advantage to hitting farther with a driver is a great follow-up golf shot with some of our preferred mid-irons like the 7- and 8-iron. Yet, to hit farther, we often need a faster clubhead speed. 

A common mistake golfers make to generate more clubhead speed is by unknowingly rushing their golf swing. This makes them swing uncontrollably leading to poorer ball contact and at times, less clubhead speed. To fix this, golfer’s should learn to swing in tempo.

Instead of a “1, 2” swing tempo, which most golfers have. Slow it down to a “1 and 2” tempo: “1” being your backswing, “and” when you’re on top of your swing during the transition, and “2” being your downswing. Finally, don’t rush your downswing with your arms, and let your body rotation do the downswing for you. 

6. Warm-Up With Your Wedges

A great round of golf starts with a great warm-up. Though everyone has their preferred warming-up golf club, our pick is to start with a 52-degree wedge or sand wedge. We want our warm-ups to focus on getting the feel of the clubhead and our body rotation during the golf swing. 

With a wedge, you’re more able to focus on actually warming up by loosening your body with a few half-swings rather than ripping the ball with a full golf swing. If you’re a beginner who doesn’t have a developed golf swing, then you should definitely do this!

Here’s What A Good Warm-Up Looks Like

Take your 52-degree wedge or your chipper and start with a few half swings to a target roughly 40-yards away. Focus on feeling the rotation of your body and the control of your clubface through impact. After roughly 7 balls, start hitting a few more balls farther to the 80- and 100-yard targets.

7. Know Your Golf Club Distances

When practicing at the golf range, our goal is to apply all the techniques and information we learned in each session to the golf course. Sadly, we can’t do that if we don’t even know how far we can hit with each club.

To be a good golfer, the first step is to know your golf club distances. This means you’re fully aware of how far you can hit with each golf club in your bag.

When you know your club distances, you’ll be more capable of predicting the outcome for each shot you make instead of wondering if you’re going to hit the ball too short or too far. As a result, you’ll start to make fewer mistakes and see your golf handicap improve significantly!

With that said, the next time you’re at a golf course, make sure to keep an eye out for the yardage markers located at the sides of the fairway. Most courses today have yardage markers that will have the distances written on them. If the marker uses stripes then know this:

Stripe CountYardage
1 Stripe100 Yards
2 Stripes 150 Yards
3 Stripes200 Yards
4 Stripes 250 Yards

8. Experience The Golf Course ASAP

Most beginners spend too much time practicing at the range before booking their first round at the golf course. The problem with this is that they would never know the purpose of golf unless they’ve experienced their first round of golf at the course. Knowing the purpose of golf will show you what to prioritize during your practices instead of blindly hitting balls for no reason. 

What does the golf course teach us?

The golf course is the first wake-up call for every beginner. You’ll first notice that hitting on grass is very different from hitting on the mat. You’ll also notice that there are different surfaces like taller grass (rough), slopes, bunkers, wet grass, and etc. 

However, the most important lesson you’ll learn in the golf course is the importance of accuracy. You can hit as consistently and as far as you want, but if you can’t efficiently get your ball on the green and into the hole, you’ll end with a bad round even with an amazing golf swing.

Are You Ready For Your First Round of golf?

A safe way to tell if you’re ready to play your first round of golf is when you:

  1. Can hit your driver at least 200 yards somewhat consistently.
  2. Are consistent with your 7-iron and your short game.
  3. Are familiar with the most common etiquettes and rules (we’ll cover this later).

Golf Course Hack

If you don’t want to play 18-holes just yet, most golf courses offer a 9- and sometimes a 6-hole session. If that’s still too much, try checking if your golf course offers a discounted rate an hour before sundown. If you’re lucky, you’ll sometimes have the whole course to yourself (particularly on weekdays), and can finish at least 3-holes without renting a golf cart!

9. Simulate A Golf Game During Practice

Similar to tip 11, a great way to practice is to simulate the shots you hit at the practice range as if they were at the golf course. This will make your practices more efficient and relevant to what you’ll encounter on a golf course. 

Here are two of our favorites:

  • Taking your time between each shot: When playing on the golf course, there’s always a time gap between each shot. Therefore, we’d want to simulate that on the mat. After your first shot, step off the mat and give yourself some time to aim and re-address before hitting the next one. Doing this ensures that your body does not remain static for too long, resulting in better quality shots while eliminating any shots to be unrealistic. The 10-second drill works well here!
  • Focus on Accuracy: Unless you are practicing your driver, generally speaking, you’d want to focus on accuracy rather than distance. Therefore, you should always have a target in mind for each shot you hit at the practice range.

10. Bad Shots Are Apart of Golf, Learn To Accept Them

“We all know that out here, everyone’s good is good. But how good is your bad? That’s the difference.”

– Tiger Woods

Bad golf shots are a part of golf. Even Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer of all time, believes that the good golfers focus on improving their worst shots rather than trying to avoid them.

Most of the time, golfers give up a hole too quickly when they hit a bad shot. The worst is when they let their emotions take over and ruin everyone else’s time at the golf course. 

As a beginner, you’ll encounter the rough or the bunker frequently. Shots from here are not easy and getting frustrated in these situations will just make things worse. Instead, keep your thoughts to a minimum and focus on finishing the hole on a bogey rather than a par.

One last thing, if you already have a decent golf swing, don’t change how you swing just because you hit a bad shot. Like we said, bad shots are a part of golf and you probably just need to practice more on hitting the ball consistently with your golf swing.

11. Tee It Forward

As a beginner, don’t feel embarrassed to play each hole from the red or white tee box. In most cases, people would appreciate it when golfers are self-aware and play within their limitations.

At the end of the day, you’ll end up with a better score, more motivation to keep practicing, and a happier group because you managed to play on pace! If, however, you want to challenge yourself or think the red and white tee boxes are too easy, feel free to go back and try the blue tee box!

12. Know these 8 Golf Rules and Etiquettes Before You Play At a Golf Course

Golf rules and etiquette go almost hand-in-hand. Here are some of the ones you’ll need most before booking your first round at the golf course:

  1. Stay quiet when others are hitting:
    • Don’t make any noise when other’s are playing and keep your phones in check.
  1. Be aware of where you’re standing:
    • Don’t stand in front, directly behind, or beside someone when they’re swinging. If you step into their swing zone, you’re going to get clubbed. Try standing at least 10 to 12 feet away from them.
  1. No buggies, bags, or driving carts on the green:
    • Get those things out of the green. They will damage the green and you can be fined heavily or even banned from the course! 
  1. Obey the cart path rules:
    • The golf course is hard to maintain. Be a responsible driver and drive within the cart path or you’ll ruin the grass people work hard to maintain. Don’t risk getting kicked out or fined!
  1. Dress appropriately for the course:
    • You don’t need golf shoes for most courses, but a collared shirt is almost always a must. Don’t wear collared shirts with inappropriate or childish logos and/or phrases on them. Stick with the classy plain colors or something that is not distracting.
    • For pants, you can wear long or short golf taper track pants or khakis.
  1. Know your turn:
    • Based on the ‘honor system’ the person with the lowest gross score in the previous hole tees off first in the next hole.
    • The person furthest from the hole always hits first. Even if you’re on the green but farther from the hole than your friend who is off the green, you still go first.
    • When everyone is on the green, the person closest to the flag removes the flag and the furthest ball from the flag hits first.
    • If the farthest person away is in the bunker, leave the flag in the hole for them to see where the hole is on the green.
  1. Always yell FORE!
    • Yell “FORE right!” if you’re ball flies right towards a group of golfers. If left, then yell “FORE left!”. Getting hit by a golf ball is dangerous and almost getting hit by one without warning can infuriate some golfers.
  1. Play on pace
    • The golf course can only fit so many groups of players at a time. As a beginner, chances are you will spend a lot more time per hole than those behind you. For that, you should be aware that you may be slowing down your group and the group behind. 
    • If you’re slowing your group down, bring extra balls so you won’t spend too much time looking for a lost ball. If the group behind you has caught up to you, let them pass so you won’t slow down the pace of the golf course.

What Next?

Starting off with the right concepts is the best way to progress in golf. The worst thing that can happen to any beginner is learning bad golf habits they can’t unlearn!

If you found these golf tips helpful, you should also check out our how to play golf and golf exercise articles. They’re great resources to really bring your golf game to the next level!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask us. We’re happy to help!

Photo of author
Mark has been an avid golfer for more than 15 years and has reviewed golf clubs since 2015. He is also the founder of the Golf Leap Blog site.

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