Beginners get too many tips. As a beginner, it’s a really smart idea to consider the source of your tips. Believe it or not, one bad one could leave you in a mess, that takes you weeks to recover from. I’m going to give you all the best golf tips for beginners and let you know exactly where to start.

Where should a beginner start golf?

All beginners should start golfing away from the golf course. The practice range, your own backyard, or even an indoor hitting facility are great places to start the game of golf. When you head right to the course, the game will challenge you a bit too much and potentially make you think twice about coming back.

image of golf practice range - AEC Info

Too many beginners put pressure on themselves to be great golfers right from the start. Even when you start playing, don’t keep score, and don’t worry that your friends are better players.

To get started practicing at a driving range or in your yard, all you need is a club. Some practice balls and a hitting net can be a great addition, but you can learn the grip, stance, and golf posture all without even hitting a golf shot.

How should a beginner learn golf?

When you teach a kid to ride a bike, you don’t just put them on a two-wheeler and set them on their way. Instead, you complete this process in steps. The same can be said for a beginner golfer.

Learning to hit the golf ball is not even the first step in the process!

1. Get your hands in the right position

To get a perfect golf grip, ensure the club is more in the fingers of your hands and that you have a neutral positioning of the hands. The proper beginner grip can be interlock, overlap, or a 10 finger golf grip.

2. Set the feet

Feet should be shoulder width apart. Any wider than this, and you make the golf swing larger than it needs to be. Putting your feet too close together can cause you to lose some balance.

3. Ball position centered (for now)

New golfers should start with something like a pitching wedge or an 8-iron to start to learn the game. Place the ball directly in the middle of your Golf stance. Make sure your arms are not reaching too far to get to the ball, over extending the arms at setup is a bad habit.

4. Stay centered

When you swing the golf club for the first time, the tendency is to make a big turn away from the ball, and sometimes even take your entire eye off of it.

Try to avoid this entirely and instead make more of a pivot. Focus on your head staying over the ball while you take some practice swings. Experienced golfers look very stable and even still in some of the shots they hit.

5. Find the top of the backswing

Never take the club back past parallel. I know you have seen John Daly and his massive backswing, but this will not help your golf game. Learn that when your left shoulder (for the right-handed player) gets under your chin, it’s time to make a turn down and through the ball.

6. Make contact with grass

Even though the grass at the golf course looks perfect, you are still supposed to make contact with it. Most beginners think that they need to pick or lift the ball up off the ground. This is not true! Great golf shots happen when players hit down and through the golf ball and compress it.

See what your Golf divots can tell you about your swing.

7. Learn the clubs and what they are for

You should do some research to understand the difference between a sand wedge and a driver and when to use each one. Sometimes a bad shot happens simply because you are using the wrong club.

8. Start to understand yardage

Yardage on a tee shot, or even an approach to a green, is going to be inconsistent for quite some time. However, you should find one club you are hitting somewhat consistently and base yardages off of that. For instance, if you hit a 7 iron about 120 yards, the 8 iron will go 110 and the 6 iron 130.

9. Find a favorite club

Many beginners find a fairway wood or a hybrid is the club they gravitate towards in their practice sessions. You have to find a club that helps you feel like you are hitting actual golf shots that go up in the air, and you can repeat with some consistency. This will pay off when you take your game to the golf course.

10. Learn to make solid contact on your chip shots

The clubs you use for chipping are the Gap wedge, sand wedge, pitching wedge, lob wedge and in some instances a Chipper golf club. In your golf journey, you will hit a lot of chip shots. Find one of these clubs you are comfortable with and learn how to hit a basic chip; doing so will save your scores.

11. Putting is not as easy as it looks

Many beginners assume they can putt just like Tiger Woods; after all, it’s just rolling a ball across the greens. This is, unfortunately, not the case. Learn the basic rules of putting including the Proper putting grip and how to take a controlled and consistent stroke using a pendulum motion.

As you gain more experience, you may want to experiment with different putting strokes including Claw grip putting as well as Pencil grip putting.

12. Go in the sand trap before you hit the course

At first, the sand trap feels a little like a joke. You get in there, and it takes you three or four shots to get out. Even those who became professional golfers struggled with sand at some point in their careers.

image of female golfer in bunker - AEC Info

Get to a practice bunker (or even the beach) and learn how to hit a sand shot. You have to hit slightly behind the ball so that the sand carries the ball out of the shot. Practice this shot on a regular basis, and it will significantly improve your scoring.

13. Clubs for beginners are important

If your buddy who is a three handicap has an old set for you, politely decline. Beginner golf clubs have more flexibility in the shaft, allow for more forgiveness, and increase overall success as a beginner. Golf equipment is not what makes the golfer, but it can make the game much harder if you don’t have the right gear.

14. Save the scoring

You may be ready to take your game to the course when you can hit golf shots that get off the ground with some consistency. It will take at least 10 rounds of golf before you feel even remotely comfortable out there.

That’s why I suggest waiting on the scoring.

In the beginning, play each hole until you reach double par, and then pick up or bring the ball up to the hole to try and make a ten-foot putt. The score does not matter; it’s the experience and the practice that matters the most.

15. Learn to pace yourself

Consider this your warning, golf is an addictive sport. Once you get hooked, you will want to play all the time. Make sure you are pacing yourself, learning the fundamentals, and continuing to put the time in on the range, even after you have started playing the course.

What is the most important club for beginner golfers?

There are four clubs that a beginner golfer should use to learn the game: driver, mid-iron, wedge, and putter. The driver allows beginners to get a tee shot in the fairway. The mid iron, preferably a 7 iron, can be used on a par 3 or for an approach to the green. The wedge and the putter are used closer to the green.

Some beginner golf sets only have 6 or 8 golf clubs. If you are brand new to the game, that is completely acceptable. Golf for beginners is challenging, and because of the inconsistency in the contact of the shots, there is not too much variation in distance.

Many beginners find that their 8 iron travels the same distance as their wedge and their 6 iron. This stage won’t last long, but for now, focus more on solid contact than on having a full set with fairway woods, hybrids, several wedges, and more.

What should I learn first in golf swing?

The setup or Golf posture is the most important thing for golfers to learn first. This setup includes the way your feet are positioned, how to grip the golf club, how much to bend your knees and spine, and where to position the golf ball. 

Start with the grip; remember, it’s your only connection with the club. Get your hands into a position that feels comfortable and can keep the clubface square through impact. The interlock grip tends to be an excellent choice for beginners who lack a bit of confidence in their hands.

You can see the difference between the interlock vs overlap grip here.

Next, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, bend just slightly at the hips, and let your arms hang naturally at your sides. Ensure the ball is kept in the middle of your Stance, and don’t let your arms hang down; keeping your chin up improves balance and stability.

What to bring to your first day on the golf course?

As a beginner, you should have spent plenty of time on the range learning to master the fundamentals. If it is now time to head to the golf course, make sure you have these things with you. It’s one thing to be a beginner; it’s another to look like one!

  • Golf shoes: sneakers can work for your first few times out on the course, but if you are going to be putting in practice time at the range and playing, investing in a comfortable pair of shoes with great traction is smart.
  • Collared shirt: some golf courses are kind of relaxed about dress code, but if you want to look like a more experienced player, wear a collared shirt and tuck it in.
  • Golf balls: beginners go through a lot of golf balls, and you would be surprised how many you will lose your first few times; put at least 12 in your bag for your first day on the course. Find the Beginner golf balls here.
  • Tees: although some golf shops give you a few tees when you sign in to play, don’t count on it; make sure you have a few in your bag.
  • Ball marker: a ball marker is used to mark your ball on the green and get it out of another player’s line; sometimes, even a coin can work as a ball marker.
  • Golf glove: those rubber grips can eat away at your hands until you develop some calluses; bring a glove in case you run into an issue.
  • Water: it may sound simple, but golf does burn some calories, and you will be out in the sun for 2 to 5 hours; depending on how many holes you play, stay hydrated.

What should be your first golf lesson?

Your first Golf lesson will be more of a meet and greet where you get to know the professional and explain what your goals are in the game of golf. If you are brand new to the game, your instructor will likely start by teaching you the fundamentals.

Golfers all progress at different rates. Some of the best players in the game took ten years to learn to break 80, and others did it within their first year. A great first lesson will leave you with various things to work on and some ways to improve your swing before the next lesson.

Final Thoughts

If you can hang on through the beginning stages of becoming a golfer, you will find quite a bit of enjoyment in the game. Learning to get into an athletic position and make consistent contact takes a bit of time.

Be patient with yourself and learn the game in steps. Also, as I mentioned early on, be very careful who you listen to; there is a lot of bad advice out there.