The game of golf is one of the most mentally and physically challenging sports you can play. If you want to improve your game and lower your handicap, you will need to identify your weaknesses and strive to improve them. In this article, we cover some of the common beginner golf problems and how to identify them.
Your Putting Game
Putting is probably the part of your game that you need to concentrate on the most. It is imperative that you learn how to read the greens effectively and make a good solid stroke each time you putt.
If you can do these two things and keep a positive mindset, you will improve on the dance floor.
Reading the Green
One of the most basic parts of reading greens is to notice the contours of the green. You will need to practice to get used to how many breaks you need to play in order to get as close to the cup as possible and maybe make the putt.
If you have a downhill putt, you will need to consider the fact that the ball will roll faster, so you really have to have a good line to avoid going far beyond the hole. If you hit the ball a little softer, the ball may have a tendency to break more.
Some players like the ball to drop into the hole and others try to get it no more than three feet beyond. You will have to figure out how you like to play each putt before proceeding.
For uphill putts, you will need to make sure you get the ball to the hole. One of the cardinal sins in golf is to leave a birdie or eagle putt short. You cannot get the ball into the cup if you don’t hit it hard enough.
Make sure to consider the break because the firmness of your putt will depend on it.
The actual conditions of the greens themselves also play a big role in the success of your short game. If the greens are wet, the ball will typically roll slower. When it has been a hot stretch of weather, the greens may be very slick.
You could begin the front nine early in the morning and need to be a little firmer but have to back off when you hit the back nine. Greens that are typically covered by shade also tend to be a little slower.
Hit the Putt
You should get a good pre-shot routine down. Once everything is lined up after you read the greens, prepare to hit. A good putting stroke may resemble the pendulum of a clock.
You may want to have the ball in the middle of your stance if you are a beginner golfer and move the location of the ball as you feel more comfortable.
Chipping & Wedges
It is important to be able to chip the ball as close to the hole as possible. Before chipping, take the time to read the greens again. In most instances, you will want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
Experiment by using many different clubs around the greens. Some beginning golfers rely on a wedge around the green all the time, but it may help to use one of your shorter irons as well.
In The Bunker
Greenside bunkers can cause trouble, but they can also be helpful. A good tip to get out of the bunker is to judge how far you have to hit the ball. If you have a longer shot, try to make a stroke that resembles the capital letter “U”.
This will allow you to sweep through the ball and give it a chance to roll. For shorter bunker shots, try to make a swing that resembles a capital “V”. This angle will cut through the sand and land softer.
For greenside and other bunkers, you can begin by taking your normal stance. It may be to your advantage to dig your spikes into the sand to give you a firm base to swing from. As with most shots in golf, remember to follow through and finish the swing.
Go Long – Your Driver Game
Hitting long drives can be a great asset to your game as long as the drives are giving you the chance to make a good second shot. You should consult a professional to find the right type of shafts for your swing. Faster swingers usually require a stiffer shaft than golfers with lower swing speeds.
To hit the ball as far as you can, think about putting the ball in line with the heel of your front foot. This gives you the chance to generate as much swing speed as possible.
Be sure to move fluidly throughout the swing and stay in the shot the entire time. You also need to stay in the shot. It is good practice to keep your head as still as possible and count to three after you have hit the shot before watching where it goes.
Get a Grip
You should do some research on how to hold the club properly to fit your game and your swing style. There are many types of grips to choose from, so talk with your local pro or get online to get some ideas.
Remember that your hands are the only thing touching the golf club, so they need to be in the right position to hit the ball your best.
Make sure to hit the right clubs at the right times. If there is danger lurking and you are in between clubs, choose the one that will most likely keep you out of trouble. A few penalty strokes can really put a damper on a good round.
The Mental Game of Golf
You must be able to remember the good shots and forget the bad ones while out on the course. If you step up to the ball with a negative thought in your head, you will be doomed before you even start to swing the club.
This is one of the main beginner problems. You cannot expect to be a great golfer without a strong mental game.
Whenever possible, choose the club that will give you the best chance to achieve your goals. Trying to muscle a club farther than you can hit it will typically produce a poor shot.
Play the Course
You want to hit shots that will give you the chance to hit the clubs that you succeed with the most. If you can hit a great 7-iron but struggle to hit a solid wedge, it is okay to lay up to hit the seven next. Play to your strengths and be prepared to handle adversity if it strikes.
You’re in Trouble
When you find yourself in a precarious situation, play safely. As a new golfer, you cannot expect to hit the shots that you see the pros play on Sundays. You need to play and stay in your game. You should always consider the possibility of playing the ball in any direction.
Your smartest shot may be playing up the opposite fairway or even hitting the ball back toward the tee. Minimize damage to improve scores quickly.
Beginner problems can be solved with patience and thoughtfulness. A new golfer can fall in love with the game almost instantly. It is an amazing feeling to be outdoors for an extended period of time with a challenge facing you.
Remember to follow the rules of the game to avoid unnecessary penalties. Always be courteous to other golfers because it is the right thing to do, and they may be the only ones who see where your shot landed that cannoned off a tree.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.