Golf for beginners
From toddler to seniors and played on your own or with others, golf really is a game that can be enjoyed by everyone whatever your standard or physical capabilitie says PGA pro Neil Plimmer.
Over the last few years golf has certainly become a game for all. One of the greatest parts of my job as a golf coach is introducing people to the game of golf. I thoroughly enjoy guiding people through their first experiences of the game and setting foundations in place that will enable them to enjoy the game for a lifetime.
Mistaken perceptions of golf
Getting into the game of golf has traditionally been difficult due to the perception that it is expensive, for old men and it takes too long. The reality is that this is not the case; it can be expensive if you choose to purchase the top equipment. Older men do play it but we also have many youngsters and families playing the game. Pitch and putt, par three and nine hole courses make a game of golf a manageable amount of time, you do not always have to play eighteen holes on a full sized course.
Learn to Play – Play to Learn
My approach to coaching beginners is slightly different to the normal way. I am conscious that golf is a game that we play on the golf course and I like my novice players to learn and develop skills that will get them out playing on the golf course as soon as they can.
Traditionally, beginners would be given an iron on a driving range and shown how to grip, stand and swing with very little attention paid to a specific target and the skills of playing the game. My beginner coaching starts with putting, I work from the hole and move backwards controlling what the ball does relative to a specific target, the hole.
Here are a few of the rules and principles that I coach to beginner golfers
The size of the swing controls how far the ball goes
There are two things that control how far the ball travels, the club you use and the size of the motion. If we think about putting to begin with, most people always comment on how hard they have hit the ball. If it goes too far it is too hard and if it is short of the target it is too soft. I have found it virtually impossible to control how hard you hit the ball. However it is possible to control the size of the motion and this is also something that can be practiced and learnt.
Hit the ground underneath and after the ball to send the ball in the air
Many players who play for the first time feel like they have to lift the ball in the air. The club is well designed to get the ball in the air because of the way it is designed, it has loft and it is vital to understand that if you bruise the ground underneath the ball then the loft will be used, the ball will be hit from the centre of the club and the ball will go up.
Slowly introduce variety to the game of golf
After understanding how to control how far the balls goes and hitting some putts I will show beginners how to hit shots from just off the side of the green. This is the time we will start to introduce the variety of clubs that can be used. For a beginner I will introduce four clubs, the putter, a wood (long club), seven iron (medium) and sand iron (short) In the beginning I will only use four clubs so that you are able see the difference between all of the clubs. The maximum number of clubs you can carry in a bag is fourteen, but in the beginning it is extremely difficult to see a need for that many clubs. By using the four I have suggested you will find it easier to see what they can do and what differences they will each have.
During your golf lessons we will now be moving further away from the green and will now be starting to swing the club a little further around your body. This is where your balance, coordination and special awareness are vital.
Keep it simple and build confidence
Many golf lessons are now starting to add a lot of technical input about how to swing the club correctly. I still like to keep things nice and simple, still concentrating on the skills that it will take to get your golf ball around the golf course. The majority of my golf coaching takes place on the golf course, as I mentioned earlier on “Learn to Play – Play to Learn”
Learn about the golf course too
It is now down to you to make yourself familiar with the areas of the golf course and the skills it will take to manage your game as you play around the course. Chipping, bunkers, hitting from the rough, irons from the fairway, tee shots and much more. As suggested above I would highly recommend having your golf lessons on the golf course where your coach can show you how to negotiate these scenarios and many more as they come up. One thing to remember is that golfers have adaptable and transferable skills and this is because no golf shot is ever the same. The environment is always changing and so the sooner you experience the different shots the quicker your scores will lower.
Once you have been out on the golf course you are now a 'player' and the coaching that you should receive will change slightly. It is important now that you have goals to work towards.
By learning to play the game of golf you will give yourself a tremendous opportunity to play a game for life. It is very much a game for anyone – male or female and young or old. I love to teach the game I love.
Page created on May 25th, 2011
Page updated on May 25th, 2011