Beginner Golf Tips: Common Errors

By: Savannah Durbin

Learning how to golf can no doubt be a difficult task. Even if you have played other sports throughout your life, golf is different. For instance, in soccer, it is easy to go out on a field and kick a ball around without any prior experience, even if you are not very good. With a little luck, you could even score a goal. In golf on the other hand, very few players can step out onto the golf course their first time and make a par (except of course Alex Ovechkin, who happened to get a hole in one; but that is extreme luck). Bottom line; it's going to take some practice and a lot of determination. Take a look at some of these tips, and try not to make the same errors as many before you.

Some common errors that beginners make:

1.)Trying to crush the ball

Many new golfers step up to the tee box and think, "I have got to crush this ball as far as I can!" Do not make that mistake! If you take the biggest, most powerful swing you can, I will make a bet; one, that the ball probably will not go straight, and two, that it will not travel nearly as far as it would have, if you would have taken a swing with half as much power. If the swing is kept nice and relaxed, your club will stay on the proper swing path, and your swing will have much more rhythm. If you have a problem with trying to kill the ball, step up to the tee box, and think "nice easy swing." Also, it may help to take a three-quarters length swing. On the takeaway, only go back three-quarters as far as you normally would.

2.)"Scooping" the ball

When hitting iron and chip shots, you may think that in order for the ball to go in the air, the club must hit up on the ball. Many beginners attempt to help the ball in the air by "scooping" it. In reality, hitting DOWN on the ball, not up, is what actually carries the ball into the air. The loft of the clubface will do this for you, if you just hit down on the ball. In order to hit down on it, your hands should be ahead of the clubface when contact is made with the ball. The club should also hit the ball first, and the ground second.

3.)"Going for it"

Imagine, you are on a par 5. You hit a nice drive straight down the middle. You are 200 yards from the green, but there is a pond surrounding the green. You can SOMETIMES hit an accurate shot 200 yards. What do you do? Lay-up, or go for it?

Beginner golfers lose so many strokes when trying to "go for it." It is so tempting. "If I make it on the green, I'll have an eagle putt!" But that's being greedy. The smart choice to make, if you are not confident in hitting the green, is to lay up! In the situation I just described, if you lay up and hit the green on your 3rd shot, there is still a good chance for a birdie, and an even greater chance for a par. Don't get greedy; play it safe, because there is nothing wrong with a par.

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