Golf can be complicated for new golfers, or those trying to sculpt a 'good' golf swing, and it's very easy to become overwhelmed. What's the best way to improve? How should you practice?
Check out our list of great golf tips for beginner golfers and high-handicappers to help smooth the journey to better golf.
Hit the Range
The range is your friend. It's a safe space for you to get used to hitting golf balls for the first time. It's also a great place to wile away the stresses of the day.
When you've a bit of experience behind you, the range can help you work through possible changes to your swing. You'll quickly learn that fiddling around with your swing on the golf course should be kept to a minimum, so time spent on the range will be more and more important as you become a better and more dedicated golfer.
Work on Your Grip
One of the most important checkpoints on the way to a good golf swing is learning how to grip the golf club. Finding a golf grip that is both comfortable and - importantly - correct will help you hit better golf shots more often.
Work on Your Balance and Posture
Learning how to stand over the ball correctly with great balance is the best way to ensure you've given yourself the platform to swing the golf club efficiently. To achieve the correct posture:
- Stand upright with your legs straight.
- Keep your arms relaxed and comfortably straight.
- Hold the club at waist height.
- Tilt forward from your hips, keep your back straight until the club touches the ground.
When you've got that nailed down, check out some tips below to help you improve your balance.
It's quite easy to stubbornly refuse to seek the advice of a professional, and perhaps you would rather work things out on your own. The problem with that approach is that until you know what you're doing wrong, you will struggle to piece together a consistent, repeatable golf swing.
Finding a golf pro to help you work through the flaws in your current swing could be the single most important thing you do.
Short Game Practice is a Must
Time on the range is all well and good, but the benefit of short game practice can't be underestimated. Your ability to get up-and-down around the greens will have a far greater impact on your overall score than finding an extra 25 yards off the tee.
If you can hit different style chip shots, and learn to play out of the bunkers with ease, you'll develop a multi-dimensional short game that will stand you in good stead as you move through your golfing career.
Ignore Unsolicited Advice
When you're playing with friends and generally golfers with a lower handicap, they may be inclined to give you well-intentioned advice on any one of your swing flaws. Unless that friend - or playing partner - also happens to be the local golf pro, treat each and every piece of advice they have given you with a great deal of scepticism.
What one golfer does (or thinks they do) in their golf swing is not always transferrable to the next. Oh, and if a pal churns out the classic line "you lifted your head" - it's time to stop listening.
Use Your Most Reliable Clubs
There's no need to hit driver off the tee if you're far more reliable with a hybrid or long iron. Similarly, don't get encouraged to go for the green when the yardage is right on the limit of your longest club.
When you're on the course and still trying to break 90 or break 100, a lot of your success will come down to making intelligent decisions and not pulling the wrong club at the wrong time.
Don't Neglect Your Putting
It's been said many times, but there's real truth in the old saying: "drive for show, putt for dough". Developing a consistent putting stroke and learning to put a good roll on the ball will help drive your scores down.
From nailing those knee-knockers, to learning to lag it close from 50ft, there's a lot to master. It all comes down to the time you can dedicate to the practice green. To help you along, Chris Ryan has some great putting tips below.
Go Easy on Yourself
Remember, golf is far from easy. It's equally as frustrating as it is rewarding and there'll be many times when joy can give way to disappointment. When you're learning the game (and let's be honest, we all are) it's important to allow yourself to mess up from time to time.
Creating realistic expectations based upon your current skill level is key to having an enjoyable round. Much of golf is in the mind and if you can shake off a bad shot you'll find your way to an impressive golf swing quicker than the golfer who can't let it go.
Finally... Enjoy Golf
Life can be a hard slog at times so when you make it to the golf course don't forget to take a look around and appreciate the often beautiful surroundings. Enjoy good company, laugh at the bad shots, and revel in your great shots.
The course is no place for bad vibes; approaching the game in as stress-free a manner as possible is the perfect way to play better golf.