As a golfer who loves to go tear up the course (literally, I have to replace more divots than the sod guys do when they put in a new yard) every once in a while, I remember the time I first walked out on the course. I thought to myself, “why do these guys spend all this money to whack a little ball into a hole a couple hundred yards away?”
Seemed to me at the time that this was just a matter of practicing until you got it all down and then once you did, what would the challenge be… You would just repeat your strokes and always get the same score.
Then I Swung My First Club
I felt like a cave man going after my first girl, I missed the ball way too many times, sent it 3 feet in front of me and one time straight into a patch of poison oak! I didn’t realize it was poison oak until the next day when I was covered from my wrists to my stomach with itchy red welts that felt like my skin was boiling.
My putting was even worse. I sent the ball careening into sand traps (why do we have beaches next to a green?) or slowly crawling 2 feet short of the hole. I now understood those curse words my father had uttered so many times while I drove the golf cart. What kind of cruel joke had the inventors of this sick game played on the future of mankind?
Golf Lessons For Beginners
If you are just starting out, do not be like me and hack your way around for the first couple of years! I waited way too long to get training, so that once I finally did, it was like trying to quit smoking, habits I didn’t know I had were keeping me from doing things the right way!
Suddenly the PGA tournaments actually meant something to me, when I would see Jack Nicklaus knocking one in that seemed almost impossible to do, I understood that he had spent years on those courses, tested every possible stroke, iron, driver and putter until he had come up with a system that worked for him!
Find local courses with golf pros to do one on one tutoring, to help you beat bad habits before you develop them. Watch golf DVD’s that show you how to putt without sending the ball into the next tee. Read books to teach you the strategies that the pros use to beat their previous scores or their opponent’s.
Meet Your Toughest Opponent!
You will be your toughest opponent for the first 10 years. Each time you hit the course, you will be trying to beat your previous scores. Some days it will be easy… other times you will have the toughest time staying close to your previous high score. It is all in the conditions.
That was the thing that I did not get until it was too late and I had already become hooked (even though I slice more than I hook) on this devilish game. I would use the same swing, with the same follow through using the same driver on three different days and would hit the ball to three different spots depending on the day. I could not fathom why that could happen. I would buy $50 golf balls and they would still fly out into the alligator pit whenever the wind blew from the south…
My Advice For Beginning Golfers
Don’t despair. Sure, you got hooked into a more addictive game than pin the crack on the junky. You now think of the stinking game 24 hours a day. You wake up in a cold sweat screaming “I should have chipped!” Or maybe you wake up in a cold sweat wondering what is chipping? In either case, stick with me, because I will help you get through this cold, hard sport (even in 97 degree 87% humidity weather, it is a cold game). Don’t give up, resist the urge to throw the pitching wedge into the alligator pit with the ball you just lost! You will need it in case the alligator comes out looking for the mommy that laid those really hard eggs.
Alvin Dartmoor is a golfing addict who plays too much with very little to show for it. You will find him on Twitter and at LastMasters.com writing about the curse that keeps him busy every morning. Need putting help? Check out Breakthrough Putting.