Golf is a sport you can start at any age, and is easy to learn with practice. I started at the age of 6, and I’m now in my sixties!
The basic mechanics of swinging a club to hit a ball through the air is fairly easy. It becomes more difficult when you need to hit the ball several hundreds of yards into a hole 4 1/4 inches in diameter, in the fewest amount of shots!
With the passing years, you learn that golf can be frustrating and a pleasure. When you’ve lost your ball in the the long grass, or your putt runs 10 feet past the hole. You could say that the game isn’t easy.
The game becomes easier with time and practice, and you become more confident in your abilities. Like with anything in life, practice makes perfect, that’s almost true in golf!
I’ve learnt that to become a better golfer takes time and patience. I wouldn’t say I’m a great golfer, but over the years my handicap has reduced.
When I started playing golf, I only had a few old used clubs. You only need a 4 or 5 golf clubs to start as a beginner. I would recommend a 7 & 9 iron a pitching wedge and putter. These clubs will help you start with the basics.
Fun fact: The great Seve Ballesteros, played on the beaches of his hometown in Spain, using a homemade 3 iron golf club.
Time spent on the driving range has improved my game, and most golf clubs have these and putting greens where you can begin to learn the skills to become a golfer.
The driving range is a great place to start to learn, but it can feel intimidating if you’re a beginner.
A great way to golf practice by yourself is with a practice net in the backyard or open space.
These nets are inexpensive, and you can practice at anywhere and anytime.
How difficult is it to play golf?
Golf is not a difficult sport to learn when you start, it just takes time to improve. Just start with the basics and have fun practicing.
For some, a few weeks will be all it takes to pick up the basics, where for other’s it can take months or years to get to a good standard. Tiger Woods and other top professionals not only started when they were young, they also had some natural ability.
A good idea, if you’re finding the golf difficult is to have a few lessons from a qualified instructor will speed up your skills. They will help build your game from the ground up.
A good instructor will help you with your stance, grip, swing, and other parts of your game.
It was only when I started to take lessons, that my game improved. It takes a golf instructor to correct any mistakes your making. After a few lessons, I could hit the ball straighter and further.
TIP: One of the most common mistakes beginners make when starting golf is to look up too soon when taking their shot. Always keep your head still even after your follow through.
Most golfers find consistency the hardest part of the game. If you can hit the ball to the same spot nearly every time, your game and your handicap will improve.
You’ll also need to have an understanding of the rules of golf. You don’t need to be an expert, although it will help when you go out on the course. Visit the USPGA website to keep up to date with the rules of golf.
How do you become consistent in golf?
Consistency in golf is the difference between a beginner and an advanced golfer.
5 key points to become more consistent in golf
- Build up your body strength
- Improve your mental skill
- Take lessons
- Better quality equipment
Practice… Practice… Practice… is key when you want to improve your golf game. Your golf swing is the most important part of playing. You want to get to the stage when you don’t have to think about how you will swing the club. It needs to become second nature.
Body strength, will help you hit the ball further, consistently. By strengthen your shoulders, arms, and legs, you’ll find it much easier to hit the ball further and straighter.
Golf is played in the head as much as it is a physical skill. Having the right mindset every time you step onto the course will help you improve. After you have hit the ball, start to focus on the next shot, and don’t get distracted. This mindset will help you become more consistent.
Most golf clubs will have a golf instructor with many years of experience to help you start off correctly, and give you confidence. They can correct your mistakes, and help you improve your all round game.
Having the correct equipment also contributes to you consistent play. Playing with better quality clubs will help you hit longer and straighter. It’s always advisable to get the best advice from golf pros or knowledgeable staff. Weight, balance and grip are important factors when choosing golf clubs.
Can anyone play golf?
If you can hold a golf club, you can play golf! Children as young as two or someone in their nighties can enjoy playing. Many of the great players of today started in their early years, and those on the senior tour, are playing well into their old age.
The oldest golfer to win the PGA Championship was American golfer Julius Boros who was nearly 50 years old when he became champion.
You can be tall or short, slim or large, left or right-handed, there is a golf club for you. The great Tiger Woods is right-handed and Phil Mickelson left-handed.
With it’s unique handicap system golf allows you to play against each other no matter what your ability or disability. Golf can be played by disabled people too.
Golf Playing Numbers In 2019
- 108 Million played golf (on-course or off-course), watched the sport or read about it
- 5.6 million female golfers
- 2.5 Million Juniors
Source: NGF (National Golf Foundation)
The beauty of the sport is that you can play anywhere you have a piece of grass, or backyard. Get yourself a golf net to practice with your driver or irons.
If you love the outdoors and walking, this is the sport for you. You could be playing in the desert one minute and the next be teeing off next to the coast.
A full round of golf can take up to 4-5 hours, or a couple of hours if you prefer to play 9 holes.
If that seems like too long you can always hit the driving range, and let rip with your driver.
Golf is also great exercise, and you can play with family and friends, or just by yourself.
Golfing handicap explained
Golf has a handicap system designed for players of all abilities to play against each other.
It works based on a shots per round. For men handicaps start at 28 and for women 36. The lower the handicap the better the player.
For example if you score a round of 90 (gross) and your handicap is 20 (net) then your final score would be 70.
If your opponent’s round was 82 (gross) and their handicap was 7 (net) then their final score would be 75, making you the winner!
There are many other scoring formats in golf, but the handicap format is the most popular.
Scoring in golf for beginners
Each shot in golf counts as your score, and each hole will have been allocated an average number of shots by the golf course.
- Par – the allocated number of shots for each hole
- Birdie – scoring one less than par
- Eagle – scoring two less than par
- Bogey – scoring one over par
- Double Bogey – scoring two over par
For example a Par 3 should take you 3 shots to complete. If you take 2 shots to complete the hole, then you would have scored a birdie, and be 1 under par for that particular hole.
If you play a Par 4 hole and complete the hole in 2 shots then you would have scored an eagle and be 2 under par.
Alternatively, if you took 5 shots on the Par 4 hole, you would have scored a bogey and be 1 over par.
By using a scorecard you note how many shots you have taken for each hole, and at the end of your round you total the scores. The total will be your final score.
If you have a handicap, you then deduct that number, giving you a final score.
When I started playing at the age of six, I just loved hitting the ball, and having fun with my dad. I’ve now played golf for nearly sixty years, but when I started I was just like everyone else. I look back now and think that golf was easy to learn, just more difficult to master, and you never stop learning.