The unwritten rules of golf for beginners
Most importantly, have fun!
So, you want to start playing golf. You let it be known to a colleague, friend, family member or worse, a significant other. The next thing you know you are being bombarded with information.
“Keep your head down,” “keep your left arm straight,” “bend your knees,” “don’t bend your knees that much,” “hinge your wrist,” “you are swinging too hard,” “you are not swinging hard enough,” and anything else that they just picked up from their weekend viewing of the Golf Channel.
You leave the driving range, possibly minus a friend, or worse yet, contemplating a break-up. You certainly leave wondering how anyone enjoys playing this stupid game.
Please forgive them. They mean well and their excitement of getting you hooked on a game that they are passionate about, will lead the most well-intentioned individuals to shower you with unsolicited advice.
Now, this advice is not just unsolicited, but for the most part, it’s just bad advice. (Yes, I’m talking to you “keep your head down” crowd! You are single handedly ruining more golf swings and lower backs then you could ever imagine.)
Let’s put aside the bad advice that is out there. Quite frankly, I don’t have enough space in this article to cover it.
Instead, I would like to focus on the one piece of advice you should be getting: Have fun! You know, the thing you thought you would have when you decided to pick up this game.
You have read this far so I’m assuming at this point, the rules I’m about to give you on having fun while golfing are accepted.
Rule #1 – Keep your expectation levels low
The lower your expectation level, the higher your fun level will be. This is really advice for every golfer, not just the beginner golfer. I can’t tell you how many amazing golf experiences I have seen ruined by someone thinking they are better at golf than they actually are.
“Hey Buddy, you just threw your $400.00 driver in the pond because you hit a bad shot. Your face is redder than my pal that didn’t know his limit at the all-inclusive and passed out on the beach. It doesn’t look like you are enjoying yourself.”
It’s important for everyone to know that golf is a game of managing your miss-hits. The better you get, the better your miss-hits will be, but you will always have bad shots. The key is knowing, and more importantly accepting, that this is a reality, better yet an inevitability.
Rule #2 – Play with people who you have fun with
This one sounds easy, right? Wrong. Let’s say your parents are strict rule followers and they say things like “The Facebooks.” They just invited you to go play golf. Look, I love my parents, but the thought of being saddled next to them for four hours while they negatively tell me about “the way the world is these days” would drive me to drink. Which would be fine, except the third time I flag down the beverage cart, my mom starts asking me if “I have a problem.”
Do you see my point? If you are someone that is going out to play golf for fun, you need to seek out others that want to do the same.
On the flip side, if you are extremely competitive and interested in going out and playing the game by the rulebook, you should find like-minded people to play with. Whatever your interpretation is of “fun” is, make sure you are surrounding yourself with golfers that represent that.
Rule #3 – Don’t be afraid to break the rules and do things differently
When I am teaching beginners, I always have them start with the ball on a tee. Do you know why? It’s easier. It’s more fun to see a ball go up in the air. It’s less fun to constantly hit the ball and watch it roll on the ground. I tell my beginners to always use a tee. Yes, always. Even when they are out on the course playing. Use a tee on the tee box. Use a tee on the fairway. Use a tee when you are in the sand.
As you get better and your miss-hits get better, start to lower the tee. Continue to do this until the tee is so low you are basically hitting off the ground.
If the people you are playing with don’t like it and tell you it’s wrong, refer to Rule #2. Play from the correct tee box or starting place on holes. Play from the front tee box or start a hole wherever you feel the most comfortable (maybe the 150 yd marker). Far too often I see people start on tee boxes they shouldn’t. These people are letting their ego get in the way of how much fun they are going to have. Don’t be these people.
Rule #4 – Find a group of beginners to learn with
There are programs out there that are designed to not only get you started learning the game, but also designed to help build golf relationships with “like minded” beginner golfers.
Denver Golf has one such program called Come Learn Play. This program gives you six group lessons that are based on learning golf through fun activities and games with other beginners. It comes with rounds of golf, range balls and entrance into beginner golf social groups.
These social groups are designed to give you a group that is willing to follow all the above “unwritten rules” so that you can start your golf journey the right way: having fun!
Nick Johnson is the Director of Programming at The First Tee of The Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The Denver Golf portfolio includes eight diverse and distinctive locations scattered throughout the Denver Metro area. We offer everything from urban golf settings to a true Colorado mountain golf experience at affordable prices. In addition to outstanding course conditions, our friendly and helpful guest service ambassadors will provide you with an enjoyable customer experience. No matter where you live in Denver, you will find one of our outstanding courses close to you. For more information about our courses and programs, visit www.cityofdenvergolf.com. Come home to play…Denver Golf is your neighborhood course!
(This sponsored content is provided by Denver Golf)