How to Play Golf for Beginners: 2020 Ultimate Tips

Golf is an increasingly popular sport, but it can be a bit intimidating for those of us stepping on the green for the first time. For people that first time playing golf, they always have this question in mind: How to Play Golf for Beginners? Are there any tips or guidelines?

From the intricacies of swing technique to the large variety of clubs and a host of unique terminology, golf can easily become overwhelming.

However, with some basic knowledge and handy tips, golf can quickly become accessible for anyone interested in trying out the sport.

The beginning golfer has a lot of information to tackle. Besides knowing the rules and having the necessary equipment, a newbie golfer also needs to understand the basics of swing technique, how to tackle problems they are likely to encounter, and what they should work on if they hope to improve.

The following guide does its best to synthesize the enormous amount of information facing someone new to golf into a condensed and hopefully manageable format.

While these tips certainly don't cover every detail you may encounter when starting with golf, they will allow you to get a grasp of both the game and the skills required to play it. Want to try your hand at golf? 

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The Golf Course

Golf course

Stepping out of the golf course for the first time, a lot of comfort can be found in simply knowing what is around you. Here is a list of places you will find on your average course.

Teeing Box: A flat area with closely mown grass. This is where the hole starts and where, as the name suggests, you tee your ball. Many courses have more than one tee box per hole for players of varying skill.

Fairway: The short grass between the tee box and the green. This is where you want your ball to land while getting to the green because it is easier to hit the ball on the shorter grass.

Rough: Longer grass surrounding the fairway. You don't want your ball here if you can help it because the long grass makes it harder to hit.

Green: The area surrounding the hole with the shortest grass. This is where you will use your putter to sink the ball into the cup.

Hazards: Areas of the course marked with red or yellow stakes. They are often bodies of water. If your ball ends up in a hazard, you can still play it; however, if the ball proves unplayable, you must take a penalty stroke and either re-hit or drop a new ball near the hazard.

Bunker: A pit or depression filled with sand that can either be on the fairway or greenside (adjacent to the green). These are designed to test your ability. You must play your ball as normally if it ends up in a bunker.


The Golf Rules

Gofl Rule

Before we get into the skills needed, we must answer the question: how do you play golf?

Here is a quick look at the basic rules you'll need to know to get started.

However, it should be known that golf has a lot of rules, and the below guidelines do not begin to cover all of them.


1. Golf Scoring

golf scoring

Your score is determined by how many strokes it takes to get the ball in the hole. A stroke refers to every time the club makes contact with the ball.

However, strokes can also be added to a player's score for penalties and for swings (not practice swings) that completely miss the ball.

Every hole on a golf course will have a par rating. The par is how many strokes, on average, a golfer requires to get the ball in the cup. Par ratings are another way a golfer can refer to their score. A score is referred to as being under or over par.

Something else that concerns par is hitting the green in regulation. This means that you can get your ball on the green with two strokes remaining in par to sink the ball.

For example, if a hole is par-5 to get on the green in relation would require 3 or fewer hits. Hitting the green in regulation assumes you will take two putts to sink the ball and still achieve par.

There are some specific terms that go with the par ratings. A score of 1 over par on a hole is referred to as a bogey, and two over is a double bogey.

A score of 1 under par is a birdie, two under is an eagle, and three under is a double eagle/albatross. A hole in one is referred to as an ace.


2. The Basics Golfing Guideline

Golf Guideline

2.1 - Play your tee within the boundaries marked. Although holes will have different tee boxes for different players, make sure that your ball is within the boundaries when you tee.

2.2 - You are allowed a maximum of 14 clubs. You can play with less but never more.

2.3 - You must play the ball where it lies. You cannot move it. Unplayable balls and the rules concerning them will be discussed in the next section.

2.4 - Once on the green, you may pick up your ball to clean it or get it out of another player's putt line, but you must place a marker such as a coin or a disc and replace it in the exact same spot.

2.5 - Don't play someone else's ball. While this seems obvious, it can become difficult on a crowded golf course. Consider marking your balls in some way to avoid mistakes.

2.6 - You must strike the ball. You cannot scoop it or flick it no matter what its position is.

2.7 - Keep up with your score. Make sure to tally your scorecard and sign after finishing each hole.


3. Golf Etiquette

Golf also has rules about how you should interact with other players.

Some of the basics include:

1. Don't ask other players for help. Don't even ask what clubs they would use for a specific hole.

2. Don't walk over other player's putt line on the green. You can leave indents in the green, which will affect the player's putt.

3. Keep up the pace of play. There are other groups on the golf course, and if your group is taking forever, it holds everybody back. Just remember to be courteous and don't dawdle.


4. What If I Can't Play My Ball Where It Lies?

Golf tips

While the key rule of golf is to play your ball wherever it ends up, sometimes that's just not possible. Especially for beginners, sometimes your ball ends up either out of bounds, lost, or just completely unplayable.

Here are some basic guidelines for when that happens.

1. Out-of-Bounds/Lost:

If your ball goes outside of the course or you simply cannot find it, you will have to play again from the previous spot while incurring a penalty stroke. You have three minutes to find a ball before declaring it lost.

In casual play, you can use the local rule. This rule states that you can drop a new ball on the nearest fairway edge to where the ball was lost or went out of bounds. This drop incurs a two penalty stroke.

If you already suspect that your ball is lost or out-of-bounds after the strike, you can play a provisional ball to save time. Then if you can't find your original ball, the provisional ball becomes your ball with one penalty stroke added.

2. Unplayable: 

A player can choose to call their ball unplayable. This would be done if the ball is in a tree, under a bush, etc. In this case, there are three options for moving the ball, all of which come with a penalty stroke.

1. Stroke-and-Distance Relief: The player can play either a new ball or the original from the same place as the previous stroke.

2. Back-on-the-Line Relief: Considering a straight line running from the hole and through the spot of the unplayable ball, a player may move the ball back on this line and within one club-length of the line. There is no limit to how far back he can go.

3. Lateral Relief: The player may move the ball to any spot from the unplayable spot up to two club-lengths away. However, the player must not move the ball closer to the hole when doing this.


Golf Equipment

Golf Equipment

Of course, before you can start hitting balls, you will need something to swing and something to hit.

Any golfer needs a set of clubs and balls, but with such a large variety, where should the beginner start with the essentials?

1. Club Types

Woods: 

This category includes the driver. These clubs have the largest heads and are usually hollow. They are swung the fastest and are used for the longest shots.

Irons: 

These clubs are numbered, typically from 3 to 9. They have smaller heads than the woods and are used for long shots. As the numbers go up on irons, their loft increases.

Wedges: 

These could technically be considered a type of iron but with much more severe loft. They are used to get out of traps and shorter shots.

Putters: 

Putters come in a huge variety. They are the club used for the final few shots on the green (actually getting the ball in the hole). Putter choice comes down to personal preference, as there are many different kinds of heads and lengths.


2. Golf Club Types for Starting Beginner

While a full set of golf clubs contains 14 individual clubs, there is little reason for a beginner to spend the money on a full set to start. We recommends beginners start with a basic five club set.

Driver

Driver (1-Wood) the longest club found in a golf bag and also sports the biggest head of any club. Its goal is to get the ball as far as possible towards the green.

7-Iron

This is a mid-iron that can be used for many different types of shots. It is known to be a good club to use for growing comfortable with hitting.

9-Iron

This is one of the short irons. It is good for distances shorter than what the 7 iron can manage.

Gap Wedge

This club allows you to get some distance while still having a high enough loft to allow the ball to land softly, giving you greater accuracy.

Sand Wedge

As its name suggests, this club is a must-have for getting out of sand. It can also be used for other types of soft ground, such as mud or soggy grass.

Putter

Once the ball is actually on the green, this club will provide you with the accuracy over short distances to get the ball in the hole.

These five starting clubs offer a solid range to get any beginner through a game of golf. As you play, more you can adjust your club collection to best fit your own play style.


3. Other Factors for Selecting Clubs

Once you have determined what type of clubs you want, there are still some other factors in picking your personal set. When shopping, you want to find the correct shaft flex and club head for you.

Shaft Flex

With the club types, shaft flex, club head, and shaft length determined, you can purchase a beginner set designed to get you into the game as smoothly as possible. For the best experience with your golf clubs, consider asking a professional for help with selection and make sure to get new grips if you buy used clubs.
Golf Shaft

This refers to the amount of bend in the shaft of the club during a swing.

There are five types of flex: extra stiff (X), stiff (S), regular (R), senior (A), and ladies (L). The amount of flex depends on how fast you swing.

The faster you swing, the stiffer, you will want your shaft flex. Ask a professional and take a few swings with a club before buying to determine what shaft flex you prefer.


Club Head: 

clubhead

For the beginner, the best clubhead by far is the cavity-back. This head style is forgiving, meaning they have a larger sweet-spot with which to strike the ball.

Blade club heads have a small margin for error, which is why most players today prefer the cavity-back.


Shaft Length: 

While this might seem evident when selecting golf clubs, remember that your height should be taken into account. A golfer that is 5 feet tall will not need club shafts as long as someone who is 6 feet tall.


Golf Club Recommendation

1. Iron Set Recommendation 

1.1 Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set 

Cleveland Launcher HB Iron

These irons are designed to be extremely forgiving with large sweet spots and excellent precision.

Made with high-quality material, these are designed to last. What's more, this set comes with everything you need. 

The only downside is the excellent quality is reflected in the price. These may be a bit expensive for those just getting into the game.

Click here to find out more about the Cleveland Launcher HB Iron Set  

Check The Price On Amazon.


1.2 TaylorMade M3 Iron Set  

TaylorMade M3 Irons

This set is especially good for newbies.

These irons will help you better your game. Using these clubs can improve shot distance, not to mention that they shoot straight and are durable and suitable for lots of practice.

Click here to find out more about the TaylorMade M3 Iron Set

Check The Price On Amazon


1.3 Callaway Rogue Iron Set  

Callaway Rouge Iron

This quality set is suitable for golfers of all levels, including beginners.

They have great distance and are balanced well to create an easy swing. Plus, this set is a bit more manageable price-wise.

Click here to find out more about the Callaway Rogue Iron Set   

Check The Price On Amazon.


2. Golf Drivers

2.1 Callaway Epic Flash 

Callaway Epic Flash

This driver was designed by AI and offers some wonderful innovations. It has "flash face technology," which results in a lot of speed on the ball and great control.

In addition, the face is also designed to be extremely forgiving, making it a good choice for beginners.

Check The Price On Amazon.


2.2 TaylorMade M2 

TaylorMade M2 Driver

In terms of a solid driver that is great for any golfer, this is one of the best. This is a driver that is forgiving but also performs well with great distance.

Click here to find out more about the TaylorMade M2 

Check The Price On Amazon.


2.3 Callaway XR 16 

Callaway XR

This driver is fast. With it, you can expect to get some long shots while still maintaining a level of forgivability, and also have one of the faster drivers around.

Check The Price On Amazon.


3. Golf Balls Suggestions

All golf balls are the same, right? Actually no.

There is quite a difference between high-end and low-end golf balls. So as a beginner, should you splurge on quality golf balls?

Probably not. 

Not only is the cost a deterrent for beginners, but low-end golf balls are often better for the beginner's game as well. High-end golf balls have high spin, which can make them harder to hit straight. They are also softer, making them less durable, which requires them to be replaced more often.

Cheaper golf balls are easier to hit straight, last longer, and since you are probably going to lose some when starting out, the price is an advantage. Find what works for you, and don't feel pressure to break the bank when getting your balls.

3.1 Callaway Supersoft 

Callaway Supersoft

With both fairly high performance and a reasonable price, these balls are great for beginners. They are accurate, and the soft feel is great for those just starting with the game.

Click here to find out more about the Callaway Supersoft Golf Balls

Or You Can Check The Price On Amazon.


3.2 Titleist Pro V1 

Titleist Pro V1

If you want premium quality, these are undoubtedly the way to go. But beware that quality will cost you. These balls are great, but they may prove more than what a beginner wants to spend.

Check The Price On Amazon.



3.3 Srixon Soft Feel Golf Balls 

Srixon Soft Feel Golf Balls

In terms of pricing, these are the best option, and they have that soft feel, which is good for beginners. This ball may lack sophistication, but those new to the sport will likely find little of which to complain.

Check The Price On Amazon.


4. Clothing

While your choice of attire may not affect your score as much as your club and ball choices, it is still worth paying attention to what you wear if you want to enjoy the game to the fullest.

First of all, some courses and clubs do have dress codes. Make sure to check this out before you play a new course. Lots of places require collared shirts and only allow shorts for a limited time.

Secondly, golf is a game. It's supposed to be fun, and it's hard to have fun when you are uncomfortable. Invest in golf shoes. Playing golf involves a lot of walking, and aching feet will put a damper on any game.

Also, remember that golf games last for several hours, so you will likely want a shirt that will reduce sweating. Being comfortable can go a long way in ensuring that you enjoy your round of golf!


Working on Your Swing

Now that you have all the stuff you will need, it's time to start hitting the ball! The best way to develop proper swing technique is to get help from a mentor.

They can help you with discovering what exactly works for you with things like grip, stance, distance from the ball, and more. However, there are some general tips that can help anyone improve their swing.

1. Each club is different

The ball is not going to do the same thing when you hit it with a 7-iron and a putter. In fact, it's not even going to be the same between a 7-iron and a 9-iron. Knowing how far you can hit the ball with each club, how accurate you tend to be with different clubs, and what type of clubs to use on different ground types is essential once you are out on the course. There are general suggestions for each club, but individuals will always have different preferences and tendencies. Practice your swing with various clubs until you know the differences.

2. Have a target line. 

The target line is simply an imaginary line that runs from the ball to wherever you want the ball to go. Visualizing, this is key to planning your shot. The target line determines the position your club should be in for a successful shot.

3. Develop a pre-shot routine. 

At no point will you be able to hit the ball without some prior planning and visualization. Coming up with a pre-shot routine will help make such planning part of the natural process. For beginners, it can help to take a few practice swings, and for everyone visualizing where you want the ball to go is critical.

4. Bend from the waist. 

This helps maintain your balance. Your back should be straight (no curves), and your feet shoulder-width apart.

5. Position your feet. 

Most beginners simply don't realize that the position of your feet in relation to the ball matters. If your feet are elevated higher than the ball, you are likely to fade (ball goes to the right of where you want), and if your feet are lower than the ball, you will likely draw (ball goes to the left). Knowing this will allow you to adjust your target line to compensate for different feet positions.

6. Ball positioning matters. 

Where you put the ball relative to the rest of your body and stance will affect the outcome of your swing. For example, Jordan Fuller says that the best position when using an iron is slightly ahead of the center of the sternum. In general, though, the best way to make this aspect work for you is experimentation. Simply be aware and find what works best.

Parts of the Swing

Who knew you could break the action of hitting a ball into so many different parts? While this might seem tedious, knowing these terms will give you small areas to work on as you practice rather than trying to perfect your entire swing all at once.

The following sections go into detail about the dos and don'ts of the various parts of the swing. Don't worry about trying everything at once! The details will simply give you small chunks on which to focus and improve.

1. Address

This is the step before you begin the swing. Address is about assuming the proper stance and getting the golf club in the proper position before beginning the motion of the swing.

There are a lot of small details for a good golf stance, but below is a list of general tips for the address (these tips assume a straight shot; you will need to vary clubface position and feet position for other types of shots).

Tips:

  • Let the club rest flat on the ground behind the ball
  • Your weight should be split evenly between your feet, and you should be on your balls rather than settling back into your heels
  • Tilt your upper body forward while keeping it straight (bend from the waist)
  • Feet should be parallel to the target line
  • The clubface should be at a right angle (perpendicular) to the ball
  • The club shaft is angled forward slightly rather than being perfectly vertical


2. Takeaway 

The beginning of the swing. It occurs from when the club begins to swing back to when the club shaft is parallel to the ground (the first half of the upward swing).

Tips:

  • The club shaft should be in line with your target line
  • The clubface should be angled slightly downward
  • Your wrists should still be straight (not cocked)
  • Your upper body needs to rotate to maintain the triangle formed by your shoulders and handle of the club.


3. Backswing

The part of the swing from the takeaway until the club reaches the top of its arc and changes direction.

Tips:

  • Keep the left arm straight
  • The left heel stays on the ground
  • Don't lock your right knee
  • Have your left knee pointed at the ball
  • Rotate your hips without tilting to one side
  • Keep your head relatively still
  • Move your weight onto the right foot
  • The backswing should be slower than your downswing

In general, the idea is to keep your spine angle the same throughout and build up power for a strong downswing while maintaining accuracy.


4. Top of the Swing

As the name suggests, this is the moment when the club reaches the top of its path and changes direction to begin the downswing.

Tips:

  • Make sure your left wrist is flat, meaning it is in line with your forearm rather than bent
  • Just like in the takeaway, your club shaft should be in line with your target line and almost parallel to the ground at the top of the swing
  • Your back should be facing the target, which should occur naturally if you rotated your hips during the upswing
  • Unlike with takeaway at the top of the swing, your wrists should be hinged (cocked) rather than straight


5. Downswing

This is the part of the swing in which you bring the club down towards the ball.

Tips:

  • Your wrists should still be hinged throughout this movement
  • The downswing is faster than the upswing
  • When rotating forward during this move, begin with your hips and then rotate your arms and shoulders
  • Don't tilt your hips (no swaying)
  • Your weight should transfer back to your left foot
  • The clubhead should travel inside-square-inside (this refers to where the clubhead is in relation to the target line, as the downswing progresses, the clubhead should be inside the target line, then square with the target line at impact, and inside the target line again on the follow-through)


6. Impact

The moment when you finally hit the ball!

Tips:

  • Hands should be in front of the club
  • Your left knee should still be slightly bent at this point
  • Your hips should point toward the target, if you don't open your hips enough when uncoiling, they will point to the right, and your ball will likely go that way
  • Maintain your spine angle (don't stand up)
  • Resist the urge to look up early, keep your head down at impact
  • When using an iron, you will hit down on the ball (this means making impact when the club is still in a downward arc)
  • When using a wood, you will hit up on the ball (make impact when the club is an upward arc, achieved by moving the ball forward in the stance)


7. Follow Through

The rest of the swing after impact. Remember that your club is going to keep moving after you have hit the ball.

Tips:

  • Let your hands release (as you swing the club from the right side of your body to the left, your hands will naturally change their grip, allow this to happen naturally)
  • Make sure to finish the inside-square-inside (the club should be traveling inside on the follow-through, circling around your body rather than to the outside of the target line)
  • Your hips should still be square with the target (don't over-rotate to the left)
  • Do the follow-through (don't stop your swing immediately after impact)
  • When you finish, your weight should be almost entirely over your left foot


A Helpful Golf Guide

ben hogan

Feeling overwhelmed? 

No worries. Although there can be a lot to the golf swing, there's no reason to get stressed. Check out The Ben Hogan Swing: Stress-Free Golf SwingThis online guide will teach you a simple and effective swing step by step.

The program has great reviews, and it's designed to help improve your golfing without rigorous and time-consuming practice.

If you want to avoid the frustration that many beginning golfers face before they can truly get into the game, seeking some professional help like this guide is a wonderful idea.


8 Common Mistakes with the Swing

As beginners, we expect to run into some problems when learning our swing. Luckily golfers had identified many of the common issues and, even better, developed ways to fix them.

1. Over the Top

What Is It:

This error occurs when the clubhead is outside of the target line on the downswing, causing the club to have to veer inwards to hit the ball. It is called over the top because the clubhead often ends up directly over the target line at the top of the downswing.

Effects:

This makes it difficult to get a straight shot and will result in mishits such as pulls and slices. It also interrupts the force causing a less powerful hit.

Approaches for Improvement:

Be careful how you begin. If the clubhead starts outside on the takeaway instead of square, you will likely end up with an over the top.

If your takeaway and upswing are fine, focus on bringing the clubhead down the same way it went up. Resist the urge to turn your head and shoulders on the downswing.


2. Casting

What Is It:

Casting occurs when a golfer unhinges their wrists early in the downswing.

Effects:

Casting will cause a lot of energy to be lost during the downswing, lessening the impact on the ball.

Approaches for Improvement:

Basically, don't release the hinge in your wrists too early. Your wrists should stay in the position from the top of the swing as long as possible during the downswing.

Thinking about hitting down on the ball can aid in resisting the temptation to unhinge. In addition, one way to tell that you are maintaining the hinge is that your hands should be slightly ahead of the club shaft at the moment of impact.


3. All Arms Swing

What Is It:

Swinging the club with your arms exclusively by failing to engage your hips and shoulders in the movement.

Effects:

This error will greatly limit your power, which in turn will decrease the distance you are able to hit the ball. Failing to use your hips can also interrupt the rhythm of the swing, making it difficult to time your shots exactly and lowering accuracy.

Approaches for Improvement:

Be conscious of your upper body. You need to rotate your entire upper body and not just your arms. To ensure that your hips are being engaged, focus on transferring your weight.

You will only be able to transfer your weight to your right foot on the backswing and then back to the left as the swing progress if you are rotating your hips.


4. Swaying

What Is It:

Swaying is when your hips move side to side during the swing rather than simply rotating on a central axis. This can often be seen in your head moving side to side as well.

Effects:

Swaying throws off your balance. It will result in a lack of consistency with your shots. When you sway, you move your spine, destroying the central position on which your swing depends, making it significantly harder to actually hit the ball.

A golf swing rotates around your spine rather than back and forth on the target line, which is why swaying is so bad. You are also more likely to do an all arms swing because you are swaying rather than rotating your hips.

Approaches for Improvement:

When transferring your weight on the backswing, aim for the inside rather than the outside of your foot. If you don't push your weight to the edge of your foot, your hips will be less likely to move on a horizontal line.

You can also lean your right knee in slightly at the start. This position will act as a barrier forcing your hips to rotate instead of swaying.


5. Reverse Pivot

What Is It:

This occurs when you transfer the weight to the opposite foot. This would mean putting your weight in your left foot (front foot) on the backswing or transferring the weight to your right foot (back foot) during the downswing and follow-through.

Effects:

If you lean back on your back foot during the downswing, the arc of the club will be moved backwards as well, causing you to make impact later in your swing. This will prevent you from making full contact with the clubface.

Approaches for Improvement:

Check your weight transfer at other points in the swing. Make sure you are moving to the back foot on the upswing and see if you are ending with your weight almost fully on the front foot.

Also, remember that there is no need to scoop the ball. You should be hitting down at the ball rather than trying to get under and hit it up.


6. Blocking Shots

What Is It:

A blocked shot is one that travels to the right (for right-handed golfers). It happens when the club path is inside-out rather than inside-inside.

The clubface will also be facing the right rather than square with the target line.

Effects:

With the ball going to the right, it becomes hard to be accurate. Straight shots are quite difficult, and you are more prone to various mishits such as hooking and pushing.

Approaches for Improvement:

First of all, check to make sure the problem is not simply right alignment. Ensure you are lined up straight with the target with your feet and body parallel to the target line.

The best fix for a blocked shot is to correct your swing path to be inside-square-inside.

 However, if this proves difficult, you can close your clubface a little to compensate for your swing path. Blocked shots can also be caused by failing to fully rotate your hips and shoulders. Work on completing this rotation to improve your blocked shots.


7. Locking Knees

What Is It:

Locking either one of your knees leads to problems with your hip angle.

Effects:

Locking your right knee will cause an inside-out club path while locking your left knee will result in the opposite: an outside-inside club path.

Approaches for Improvement:

If you find yourself locking your right knee, lean in the right knee, some to prevent this. For the left knee, focus on keeping your head still. You will need to maintain some bend in your left knee to accomplish this.


8. Standing up at Impact

What Is It:

Besides being exactly what it sounds like, standing up at impact refers to changing your spine angle during the swing. This most often occurs at the moment of impact.

Effects:

If you stand up at impact, you will raise the club, making it harder to hit the ball and especially difficult to hit it fully with the clubface.

Approaches for Improvement:

Again, focusing on keeping your head still is a good way to keep the other parts of your body from moving.

Standing up at impact will raise the level of your head, and thus if you think about maintaining your head's position, it will prevent many other unwanted movements.


9 Common Trouble Shots

Although developing a consistent swing can be tough, we can learn from the mistakes of others. Here are some common shot problems and ways to correct them.

It should be noted that the suggested causes and fixes for each mishit is not an exhaustive list but gives you plenty of ideas to begin trying to fix any issues you may have.

1. Fat Shots

What is It: A shot that penetrates the ground before hitting the ball. Hitting the ground first will reduce the club speed causing the ball to travel for much less distance.

Causes:

Fat shots occur when impact is made at the wrong time in the club's arc. The ball should be hit slightly before the club reaches the bottom of its arc, but in a fat shot, impact happens after the bottom of the arc.

A fat shot can also be caused by the bottom of the arc being vertically low so that it is actually in the ground. This will result in the club digging into the ground.

How to Fix It:

You may simply need to change where you set up the ball by moving it back so that the bottom of your swing arc is ahead of the ball.


You should also ensure that you are not swaying your hips (see above section for fixes) and that you always maintain a constant spine angle all the way through impact.



2. Thin Shots

What Is It:

A shot that hits the ball below its equator. This often causes the ball to be hit with the leading edge of the club rather than with the clubface. Thin shots tend to not go as high, and the ball will roll more.

Causes:

Similar to the fat shot, thin shots are caused by issues with the arc of the club in relation to the ball. In a thin shot, the bottom of the club arc is either too high or well in front of the ball. Just like the fat shot impact happens after the bottom of the arc instead of slightly before it.

How to Fix It:

Similar to fat shots, you may need to move back the ball's starting position. Again you should check to see that you are maintaining a constant spine angle as raising your spine will raise the bottom of the arc.

Standing up at impact will cause the same problem. You should also check for swaying and ensure that your hands remain slightly ahead of the clubhead at impact.


3. Topping the Ball

What Is It:

A shot that hits the ball above its equator. Like the thin shots, this will cause the ball to be hit with the edge rather than the face of the clubhead. Topping the ball will make the ball travel very low.

Causes:

Again, this is caused by mistakes in where the bottom of the club arc is located. The bottom of the arc could be either too high, before the ball, or too far after the ball.

How to Fix It:

Similar to fat shots and thin shots, if you think you are topping the ball, try adjusting your initial ball position.

Also, make sure to maintain your spine angle and check for swaying. Check for a reverse pivot as transferring the weight to the wrong foot can move your club arc.


4. Sky Shots

What Is It:

A shot that hits near the bottom of the tee. A sky shot sends the ball high but with little forward progress.

Causes:

Sky shots are essentially caused by the bottom of the club arc being too low. This can be caused simply by the ball being too high on the tee or lying on the rough in an area where fluff allows it to sit up off the ground.

How to Fix It:

If this occurs while teeing, you can simply just push the tee further into the ground. You can also grip your club further down to effectively shorten the club and raise the bottom of the arc.

When using your driver or wood, remember to hit up rather than down as this will also cause a sky shot. And again, maintain a consistent spine angle throughout the swing.


5. Shanking

What Is It:

A shank occurs when the ball is hit with the heel or hosel of the club rather than the clubface. It will result in a shot that is low and flies sharply to the right (for right-handed golfers).

Causes:

Hitting with the heel of the club often occurs because we have simply set up too close to the ball. It can also be caused by leaning too much into your toes or heels, causing the clubface to move away from the ball. It is also caused by an over the top swing error (see above section).

How to Fix It:

Ensure that your weight is balanced at the start, and the ball is in the ideal position. If that does not fix the issue, check for the over-the-top error and apply the remedies from the above section.


6. Push

What is It:

A push is when the ball starts to the right of the target and then continues in a straight line. Basically, this is a straight shot but to the right.

Causes:

A push occurs when the clubface is open at impact, resulting in no spin, but square to the club path. Both the clubface and the direction of the swing are pointed to the right of the target line. A push occurs when your swing path is inside-outside.

How to Fix It:

Before doing anything else, make sure you are aligning yourself properly with the target. A push could just be from setting up to the right of your target, after checking that you may need to adjust your swing path to be inside-square-inside.

This will change the direction of your swing to be straight rather than to the right. If you are having trouble changing, consider simply aiming a bit to the left to compensate.


7. Pull

What is It:

The opposite of a push. The ball starts to the left and continues straight: a straight shot to the left.

Causes:

A pull occurs when the clubface is closed at impact and square to the club path. The swing path would be outside-inside, causing both the clubface and club path to be pointing to the left of the target.

How to Fix It:

Just like with pushes, check your starting alignment before doing anything else. Then see if you can adjust your swing path to hit that sweet spot inside-square-inside.

Finally, if pulls seem to be a constant with you, consider simply aiming a bit to the right to adjust.


8. Slicing

What Is It:

Slicing is when the ball begins to the left but then curves sharply to the right because of the clockwise spin. For most golfers, this is always unintentional and thus considered to be an error.

Causes:

This occurs when the clubface is closed but still open to the club path. It is the combination of an outside-inside swing path with an open clubface. These factors cause sidespin, which results in sharp curving.

How to Fix It:

Whether or not you fully understand the physics behind slicing, you can take steps to fix it. Begin by checking to make sure your stance is parallel to the ball and target line rather than at an angle.

You can also try using a stronger grip. And again, make sure your swing path is inside-square-inside.


9. Hooking

What Is It:

This is the opposite of a slice. The ball begins to the right and then veers sharply to the left due to counterclockwise spin.

Causes:

Hooks happen when the clubface is open but closed to the club path. This comes from having an inside-outside swing direction with a closed clubface.

How to Fix It:

Again, check to see if your stance is parallel and always pay attention to your swing direction. You are aiming for inside-square-inside. For hooks, you may also want to try loosening your grip.


Golf Beginner Putting

While those impressive long-distance shots are something we all aspire to, the goal in a game of golf is to get the ball into the hole. And to do that, you will need some skills beyond hitting the ball with a beautiful full power swing. One of these skills is putting.

Putting is, as the name suggests, using the putter on the green to finish getting the ball in the hole. So how do you get better at putting?

First of all, you will need to recognize that putting is different. It requires not only a different club (the putter) but also a different grip. There are many different types of putting grips from traditional to cross-handed, split handed, and claw grip.

Bottom line?

You will have to find what works best for you. If you aren't sure how to figure that out, consider consulting a coach.

Another tip for upping your putting game is to remember not to move your head. If you look up too soon to see if you have made it into the hole, you will lose solid impact with the ball.

The most important thing to remember if you want to get better at putting is to practice! Take a break from the long drives and pick up the putter. You don't want to see your scores skyrocketing because you are unable to put the ball into the hole.


Golf Beginner Chipping

Another skill which is vital but which can also be neglected is chipping. Chipping is used to get the ball closer to the green, getting it in range for putting. A chipping shot spends more time rolling on the ground than in the air.

A shot that spends more time in the air but which, like the chip, is designed for shorter distances is called a pitch.

So how do you improve chipping?

One easy way to start is to hold your club with your putting grip while chipping. This will give beginners more control over the club and ball. Beginners often struggle with hitting the ball in the right place for chipping, and so the putting grip allows them to approach impact with a more secure feel.

Chipping can also often be improved by maintaining firm wrists. Keeping your wrist strong throughout the stroke lets the club do the work.

Another tip is to place the ball farther back in your stance. This is done by putting your feet closer than shoulder-width and will cause your hands to push forward at the moment of impact. This makes for easier control.

Much like putting the real key to better chipping is practice. You can shave your score if you perfect your chipping to get your ball into the ideal putting position.


Final Words

Starting golf can be both scary and overwhelming, but just like any new hobby, golf is absolutely accessible to anyone willing to take time to understand the game and what it takes.

Ultimately though, golf is a game, and, if, while keeping everything above in mind, you remember to relax and have fun, you may find that golf is the sport for you.


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