Learning golf is a rewarding but sometimes frustrating experience. It can sometimes seem like you are doing everything wrong when you are first starting out because there is so much to learn regarding technique, rules, etiquette, and more. Novice golfers tend to make a number of common mistakes that can hurt their game, so here are five to avoid.
1. Warming Up Incorrectly
Golf is hard work physically, and numerous demands are made on the body while you play, especially in the back, arms, and shoulders. Enthusiasm is all well and good, but avoid jumping into a game without doing a full warm-up routine first to get your muscles ready.
Arrive in good time do build this important aspect into your routine. Stretch the main muscles of the body gently, walk around slowly to warm the body, then move onto some putting practice before gradually working up to gentle full swings. Golf Digest provides some great tips on warm ups, so try these out to get yourself ready.
Do this every time you play a round, and it is especially important if a while has passed since you last played. If you pull a muscle, especially in your back, you could be out of action for weeks.
2. Practicing the Wrong Shots
Practice is so essential for every golfer, but many beginners get it wrong. They focus on the wrong shots, and most of the time they dedicate their practice sessions to using the long irons rather than spend time on pitching.
But the truth is that during a round, you will probably use your putter and wedges for a large majority of the strokes, so practicing your putting and pitching should make up a large part of your practice.
3. Getting the Swing Wrong
So many beginners get their swing wrong, and it can have a huge impact on your game. One of the most common mistakes is to use your arms to swing the club and fail to rotate your body. The power and consistency in the swing is generated by rotating the shoulders and chest, and using just the arms prevents you from getting the most from your swing.
Another problem is gripping the club too tightly. A light grip is best for maximum speed, so make sure your grip is only as tight as you need to control it.
These are the sorts of things you will learn when you get professional help with your golf, such as when you go to an academy like BirdGolf.com.
4. Choosing the Wrong Ball
Golf balls can be quite expensive, and you don’t want to go losing them needlessly. But choose the wrong balls and that is exactly what is going to happen, and the cost will add up.
Beginners should use balls that primarily provide distance, and that means choosing a harder ball. The added benefit of these is that they are cheaper in case you lose them.
Once you reach the stage where you can control the ball once it has landed on the green, that is the time to move to a softer, more expensive ball. GolfALot has some great information on the types of balls available if you want to read more.
5. Using an Open Club Face with Wedges
A classic beginner mistake with the wedge is leaving the face open. Wedge shots are usually played from the back of your stance, which makes it easy for the club face to become open. To avoid this, don’t focus on the toe when aligning the club head, and focus instead on the leading edge.
Also be careful about your legs. The legs should be still when using wedges because short swings do not require much work from the legs. Instead focus on using your hands and arms to power wedge swings.
Improve Your Golf Today
Apart from the above mistakes, one of the greatest mistakes a beginner can make is failing to take lessons. Sure, you can learn a lot yourself just through practice, but there is no substitute for professional help, whether you go to a dedicated academy or hire someone at your local club. Try to arrange this as soon as possible because this way you can avoid picking up bad habits that can be hard to get rid of.
Keith Graham is a self-admitted golfing fanatic and avid blogger. When he’s not walking the course, he’s home writing about it to help new golfers learn the game. Look for his posts on a variety of today’s top websites and blogs.