I have been an LPGA teaching professional for over 40 years and I am always asked about tips that can help beginners with their golf game. I have compiled here some of the most frequently discussed topics. I hope they will help you become a better golfer.
1. Learn. Take lessons from a qualified LPGA or PGA professional. Interview a couple of teachers before signing up for lessons to make sure you are a good fit. It is important that they teach beginners and use a variety of teaching aides. Ask if they give notes and practice ideas.
2. Clubs. Do not start learning golf with hand-me-down clubs unless they are the correct shaft and length for you. Go to one of our great golf stores and hit on their simulator to find out your club head speed.
This is typically a free service. The store’s staff can help you purchase a good beginner set that you can use for your first few years of golfing.
3. Grip. Practice holding a golf club daily even when you’re not playing. There are three ways to hold a club and a lot depends on the size of your hands. The grip is one of the most important fundamentals since it is your only physical contact with the club. Make sure the grip is in your fingers and not the palms.
4. Posture. The worst advice given to beginners is to “keep your head down.” When you do this, your shoulders are rounded forward and there is no way you can turn your shoulders under your chin. Instead think chin-up and chest-up.
5. Aim and Alignment. This is one of the most important fundamentals. You need to have a pre-shot routine in order to do this correctly.
Always start your aim from behind the ball with your eyes level. Pick an intermediate target close to you on your target line. Walk to a spot that is perpendicular to the ball and align your feet, knees, hips and shoulders parallel to the target line.
6. Putter. Putting is the most important shot to learn. Choosing the correct putter is key. Go to a golf shop and practice with a variety of putters.
Practice distance control first and then practice accuracy after you can control the distance. Practice putting every time you go to the golf course.
7. Wedge. Learn the game with lofted clubs. Become a wedge wizard. Get a set that has both a sand wedge and pitching wedge. Learn how to chip with both clubs and know where you should use the chip shot. Learn a variety of pitch swings.
8. Driver. Make the driver the last club you learn to hit. Even though we all want to hit the ball far, you would do much better using a fairway wood to start the hole off the tee.
The drive for beginners typically should have a loft of 12 to 14 degrees and it is difficult for beginners to get much loft from a driver. Using a 5 wood with 18 degrees loft and a shorter shaft makes it easier to get the ball airborne.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com