Golf Mistakes Made by Amateurs

Published on 27th April 2018 by Dan Thomson

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Learning to play golf for the first time (heck – even the second or third time) can be a demoralising experience. There’s good reason that many have been playing golf all their life, it’s a sport that you can never truly master and there’s always something to learn. For amateurs arriving at the tee for the first time ever, the anticipation and anxiety of what is simply trying to hit a ball with a club, can be too much. For some amateurs it is the opposite entirely as false confidence takes control – what could be easier than hitting a ball down some grass after all?

With that in mind, we’ve compiled some of the most common mistakes new golfers are culpable of making in the hope that they make the sport more enjoyable.

Not taking lessons

Golf is the perfect measure of practice, fitness and skill. No one has ever turned up to a golf course for the first time and played the perfect game. Driving, pitching, putting, course management, psychology – there is so much that goes on in a round of golf to consider. The worst mistakes most rookies make is simply turning up and starting without any knowledge. 18 holes is a long time to be struggling for so make sure you take a few lessons before making your way onto the greens. Lessons at your local course or driving range will help you get the basics right – stance, swing, grip and the basic laws of the game.

Buying all the gear with no idea

For many new golfers the attraction of buying a whole bag of golf clubs, all the waterproofs and looking the part can be too much. Golf isn’t a cheap sport when you add up all the equipment that you might need. However, it doesn’t mean you need to be a millionaire to play. If you’re new to the sport, consider buying second hand clubs and equipment. That way if you find it’s really not for you, you haven’t lost out several hundred pounds of something that will sit in your garage for the rest of time.

Going for the Happy Gilmore drive

Many amateur first-time golfers have only ever seen golf on the TV where a professional can make a drive from the tee look simple. That’s the reason they are professionals! Avoid the temptation to just get up there and whack the ball as hard as you can. The chances are you’ll only miss the ball and potentially may do some damage to your back. Even if you do hit the ball, a lack of a proper swing or stance is likely to see your ball slice off into the distance never to be found again. Instead, don’t worry about distance or height or power – keep your swing short and slow and get the ball moving in the right direction. The rest will come later.

Playing impossible shots

Course management is a huge part of the game. For many new golfers the temptation is to hit the ball to the flag as directly and as quickly as possible. If you’re new to the game (or even very experienced) you’re very likely to have an off ball that ends up in some trees. For many, it looks too easy to just belt the ball through the 10 or 11 trees in the way and hope it makes it through. Instead, think clearly and sensibly. A chip shot out to the side or even backwards will get you back onto the fairway with a better visibility of the hole. The former is likely to see you taking 3 or 4 shots to get right.

Rushing through their swing

As we’ve already mentioned about driving, new golfers don’t need to be emulating Rory or Tiger. A slow and short swing is more controlled and is more likely to get you up and down the course with less effort and more accuracy. As a new golfer you shouldn’t be expecting to achieve par, instead focus on getting your swing right and getting used to being able to pick the right club for the right distance.

Not wearing the right footwear

Golf shoes can be expensive additions but in many ways they are one of the most important items you can buy. They keep your feet warm and dry in bad weather and they will make sure you don’t get blisters, especially if you’re not used to walking the 6 or 7 miles the average 18 hole course is. More importantly, they provide grip. It is this grip that ensures when you set up your stance and go to swing at the ball, your feet aren’t sliding on the grass and causing your swing to adjust. For many beginners, good golf shoes are often ignored and they attempt to play in a pair of trainers or a cheap shoe.

Not letting go of bad shots

Above all else, golf is a game where you’re supposed to have fun. If you’re not having fun then why bother? Golf is the most brilliant game for highs and lows. For every great shot you hit you can expect you’ll hit one really badly at some point. The only person you’re ever playing is yourself, so ensuring that you don’t let bad shots get you down too much will mean you can move on with the rest of your game. Dwelling or worrying about them is likely to make you stress and affect the rest of your round.

About the author

Dan ThomsonDan Thomson
Managing Director

Dan is the owner of The Golf Travel People and has many years of experience in golf travel

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