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Getting newbies on the course

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

If you want to train for a marathon you don't run 26.2 miles on the first dayYou also don't take a newbie out on an 18 hole course!

 

I'm pretty new to this forum and in pouring over lots of posts I've noticed what seems to be a common sentiment.  It's about trying to get newbies(kids, wife or friends) into the game when they seem to meet with rudeness or discourtesy by other players on the course. 

 

I am no expert but I was introduced to golf about 40yrs ago by my father and grandfather.  I remember how I was taught and have since introduced my wife to the game.  My children have had no interest at all and I'm ok with that.

 

I think some of us need a reality check when it comes to ability and expectations on a golf course.  First of all, courtesy is a 2 way street.  I am all about people teaching others the game but there is a time and place for it.  When I'm paying good money for green fees I do have expectations about a basic pace of play.  I play fast but don't expect others to do the same.  But when it's 10am on a Saturday morning any my foursome is held up by a twosome that's punching the ball 30-50yrds a shot while they try to learn the game, that's not the best time or place.  When it gets to the point that there are open holes ahead of them I will get irritated.  Golf is about rhythm and you are messing with mine now. 

 

Now don't get me wrong.  I won't be rude and hit into them or yell at them.  But I have in the past very diplomatically driven ahead and explained that they are holding us up and asked to play through.  I've met with mixed responses from apologies to near fist fights with insecure parents that think the world revolves around their kids.  Now I just suck it up and call the pro-shop and have them take care of it.  I feel like a weenie for doing that but it's not worth the conflict these days.

 

Ideas to help teach newbies(I'm done whining).

 

My first golf swing was on a driving range.  Shown the basics of grip etc.  But I never hit more than 20 balls to make sure I didn't get too bored(I was about 8 yrs old).  It was about contact and not direction or distance.  Most of my time was focused to the putting green and turned into a game with my dad.

 

After some time I began making consistent contact and worked on direction.  That was a pretty quick transition.  Still kept it limited to about 20 balls a session.  Fatigue is both a mental and physical condition that is counterproductive.  Don't push it.

 

My first time ever on a course was at 7pm with an 8 pm sunset.  First tee box is empty.  Dad tees off.  He hits #2 shot and we drive to the 100yrd marker where he drops my ball.  I finished out the hole with him.  Same for the next 4 holes.  Then its dark.  That was pretty much my golf for most of the season. 

 

When I was getting good enough to use 3 wood from the tees we'd go out at the same time of day.  No one in the world in our way or us in their way.  Lots of times my grandfather would let me only bring a 5i, 9i and putter and play from tees.  Amazing how well you can do with just 3 clubs.

 

When it was time to go out with dad on a Saturday I'd only tee off on the 9 easiest holes.  He played all 18.  Courses were much busier then.  If time permitted I'd drop to chip and put on the holes I didn't tee from.  This kept our pace of play just fine.

 

Eventually at about age 12 I began to play full rounds with dad from the senior tees.  Then I worked back from there but began to lose interest to other hobbies.  BUT I was given the fundamentals to come back to later in life.

 

So now it's time to teach my wife.  Guess what?  Same principals apply.  Keep initial range time short to avoid fatigue and frustration.  Focus on fundamentals but keep it fun.  Most time needs to be around putting green and keep it fun and play games.

 

When ready to hit a course, go to the pro and ask if you can just walk 4-5 holes an hour before sunset for a very reduced rate.  You'd be surprise but about 50% of the time they will just let you go for free or 1/2 of a 9 hole walking rate.  I started her on the tees because she was pretty decent with her woods but she's also athletic with good coordination.  Otherwise drop them at the hundred and just caddy for them not playing yourself.  Any more than 4-5 holes and fatigue will set in fast.  New muscles getting used in new ways...don't push it.  You'll be sorry and they will end on a bad note of frustration again.

 

Just like me as a kid, when I took her out on a "big boy" course on a Saturday we paid for her to play 9 and I played 18.  I picked the 9 easiest holes for her.  Just explain to the pro shop what you are doing and they will be fine with it.  If they aren't, find a more friendly course.  I will never forget how excited she was to be on a "real" course that was beautiful with views and great conditions.  She didn't care she only played 9 and frankly that was all her mental endurance would allow anyway.

 

Now a year later we can play a full 18 together and I've moved her up from my moms hand me down Lady Cobras to new Pings.  The next hurdle was playing with strangers.  Started with a really good friend that she was comfortable with.  Then complete strangers where we could catch a 2 some by 5-6 holes and then finish out them.  She was pissed at first when I did that as she was hoping to play through, but was thankful in the long run. 

 

So, back to my original point......if you are having trouble with people on a course while you are trying to teach others to golf, don't throw them into a marathon, take your time and train them into it.  You and they will appreciate it that much more.  Now when I have to work a Saturday my wife will go walk 18 alone and often end up playing with another group.  It's a win win.  The courses that let us teach her this way now get nearly double the green fees from this family than they used to.

 

Sorry for the post......

 

post #2 of 15

Thank you for this!

post #3 of 15

One of the great things about my home course complex in Denver is that we have 3 courses.  A 9 hole par 3 course, with a couple of water hazards and bunkers - everything you need for a full playing experience, and holes from 80 yards to 195 yards.  

 

Our next level is a 9 hole Executive course which has 5 par 3 holes and 4 par 4 holes, par 31.  

 

Then we have the 18 hole championship course, up to 6940 yards, par 72.  

 

Also a practice range with 50 or more grass hitting stations, a chipping green, a putting green, and a separate lesson area.  

 

We offer something for just about every type of player at every level.

post #4 of 15
I enjoyed the posts flintcreek. My soon to be stepdaughter who is 7 now has expressed interest in the game. I brought her to the course I learned at and we putted on the practice greens. She seemed to enjoy it but I think I kept her out there a bit too long. I like the 20 ball practice routine. I did take her on a tour of the course via cart one late sunday afternoon. She really enjoyed that ha ha. Next step driving range and if she really enjoys a small golf lesson package. Untill she can hit the ball at least 50 plus yards no course.
post #5 of 15

Way back when I taught my wife to golf I used a progression.  First we went to the local schoolyard and she just hit wiffle balls.  We progressed to the driving range and real balls.  Then some par 3 courses and then some of the lower end local courses.  Course time started out later in the day - afternoons when courses were pretty much empty.  This way we not only didn't infringe on more experienced golfers but she didn't feel pressured to be moving faster than she was capable of.  Worked out very nice for us. 

 

When my DOD (around 10 yo) wanted to learn we put her into clinics at our club.  Then we'd go as a family later on Sundays - my wife and I would play from our tees, DOD would tee off from the 150 marker and DYD would drive the cart (some good stories THERE).  Again, worked well - we'd make our way around without interference or pressure and then have snacks afterward. 

 

Noted at my club that there are markers in the fairway for USGA Family Tees (or something like that) - basically different tees for different levels of beginner golfers.  Saw them used mostly for member's kids and seemed to work fine.  Overall my experience at this club was that members were VERY good at allowing faster players to play through - let me get around quickly or even had several times were, if the group in front wasn't four to join them. 

 

I was fortunate to grow up on a very nice private course (thanks Dad!) but junior members were well advised to keep pace of play at a brisk pace under threat of a golf shoe up the a**.  Not sure if that ever was applied but this was in the days before soft spikes so the threat was treated seriously!  There were also strict rules concerning when juniors could play as well - after 2 pm on the weekends for example so most likely the only persons impacted were other juniors.  All in all worked well.

post #6 of 15
Very nice post, I agree 100%. Another problem I see with people getting new people started, is when when they take them to the range or the course is there want to coach them. Talking about hand position, spine angle, grip, swing plane, etc. I am a firm believer that you should let them swing natural and just give them a few pointers. To much info confuses them and get there mind racing while swinging.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jspangler View Post

Very nice post, I agree 100%. Another problem I see with people getting new people started, is when when they take them to the range or the course is there want to coach them. Talking about hand position, spine angle, grip, swing plane, etc. I am a firm believer that you should let them swing natural and just give them a few pointers. To much info confuses them and get there mind racing while swinging.

 

If you show them nothing else, teach them a good grip, assuming that you know what that is.  If not find someone who can show them that.  If they start out with a poor connection to the club, the rest of the experience is probably going to be much more difficult.  Just grabbing the club in a way that seems comfortable is not the best start to a good golf swing.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

If you show them nothing else, teach them a good grip, assuming that you know what that is.  If not find someone who can show them that.  If they start out with a poor connection to the club, the rest of the experience is probably going to be much more difficult.  Just grabbing the club in a way that seems comfortable is not the best start to a good golf swing.

I agree slightly with that statement, there are proper grips I do agree. I am a firm believer that grip needs to feel comfortable. If it feels awkard that is what you are thinking about in your swing. I started with a baseball grip went to an interlock, to an overlap, then back to a baseball grip because that's what felt the best and worked the best for me. There is no universal grip out there, I believe I just saw Scott Piercy uses a baseball grip, Tiger uses an interlock grip, and Furyk uses a double overlap grip, if I remember correctly. They are all very successful at the game and all use a different grips.
post #9 of 15

Reply to "jmanbooyaa":

 

At age 11 my daughter, Kelly, began to show an interest and here is what I did:

1) Enrolled her in a community college group for young golfers. Basically, it was lessons in groups of 10 that was very economical.

2) Took her to par 3 golf courses to play (where I had a hole in one that impressed the heck out of her)

3) By age 12 Kelly was ready for the big course, but here is how we played... a) First, we went to a 9 hole executive course during a time when few people played, (I am fortunate to be a school teacher, and we would go in the late morning or early afternoon to avoid crowds.); b) We both hit tee shots; c) I hit Kelly's tee shot, and she hit my tee shot.  Since the 9 hole course that we played had a lot of par 3 holes and short par 4's, we were both on or near the green after two shots; d) My daughter got to pick which ball she wanted to play into the hole.

4) Once she started hitting the ball longer distances, we both played our own balls on the executive course.

5) Finally, the big step and playing a regulation course.

 

By age 13 we were competing in local husband-wife events, but since my wife didn't play, they allowed Kelly to participate. By age 14 she was driving the ball 100 yards past most of the ladies in the husband-wife tournaments, so we were banned.  She then went on to letter for 4 years on her high school team, and won her section title as a senior. Even though she didn't play in college, I know that golf will be a life-long sport.

 

Note: when my wife saw how much fun Kelly and I had at the club, she wanted to start the game, and I did the same thing for her as I did for my daughter. Instead of a community college class, I found a beginners class for women from a local lady pro.  It took a couple of years, but now she is in a ladies golf league, and we play with several golfing couples on a regular basis. I do have to say, though, that my wife's philosophy is "9 hoes and dinner", and that is okay by me.

post #10 of 15

I have a 9 year old at home who is interested in golf.  When I take him to my course we usually spend our time on the chipping and bunker range, putting green, and eating free popcorn and chips and salsa.  If we do go out on the course, we play until he wants to leave.  I play from the whites and I have him tee up his ball at the 150 marker.  If it's a par 3 he tee's up from the red tees.  Before I was a member of my country club, I would take him to a 9 hole par 3 course. 

 

My buddies sometimes bring their little ones along when we play our usual round, which is weird in my opinion.  So these kids either ride in the cart or walk 18 with us.  I'm all for spending time with daddy, but when the kids look like their bored to death after 3 holes, I don't think that is going to inspire them to play in the future, all they remember is how boring it is. 

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jspangler View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

If you show them nothing else, teach them a good grip, assuming that you know what that is.  If not find someone who can show them that.  If they start out with a poor connection to the club, the rest of the experience is probably going to be much more difficult.  Just grabbing the club in a way that seems comfortable is not the best start to a good golf swing.

I agree slightly with that statement, there are proper grips I do agree. I am a firm believer that grip needs to feel comfortable. If it feels awkard that is what you are thinking about in your swing. I started with a baseball grip went to an interlock, to an overlap, then back to a baseball grip because that's what felt the best and worked the best for me. There is no universal grip out there, I believe I just saw Scott Piercy uses a baseball grip, Tiger uses an interlock grip, and Furyk uses a double overlap grip, if I remember correctly. They are all very successful at the game and all use a different grips.

 

However, it's possible that a weird swing like Furyk's may have begun with a poor grip - certainly not a good example.  No one in his right mind would ever consider teaching that swing to a new player.  

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

However, it's possible that a weird swing like Furyk's may have begun with a poor grip - certainly not a good example.  No one in his right mind would ever consider teaching that swing to a new player.  

I never once said look at Furyk, that's how you should swing, nor was I even talking about how those 3 players swung the club. I was simply stating that all 3 players grip the club differently and all 3 players achieve the same thing. If there was a cleat cut best way to grip the club then everyone would do it that way but there isn't every person has to find what's best for them.
post #13 of 15

I think this is a really interesting and helpful post.  Thanks!

post #14 of 15

What's worse is the foursome in front of you, two guys and two girls, all of them obvious noobs, all 4 hitting from the ladies tees.....TWICE, then when they get out to the fairway that they hit their balls 50 yards, start goofing around, picking up each others balls and tossing them, chasing each other with the carts, taking drops and mulligans all the time, I saw one of them put a tee down in the fairway and hit off that.......... Yeah, that was the group my son and I were behind last week....after 4 holes of watching this behavior, we just skipped ahead of them, didn't ask or anything.    

 

I get that golf is supposed to be fun and have a good time with friends, but when your holding people up behind you and it's getting dark, let the faster players through.

post #15 of 15

Really no reason to take an unskilled beginner on to a longer course until they're ready. When I started golfing back in the 70's the junior golfers and the adult beginners spent time on the par 3 course until they progressed beyond it. Just getting the ball in the air is tough in the beginning, even for the physically gifted. When I started playing again last spring after more than a decade away that's where I spent time tuning up my swing and putting. There were adult beginners out there, some with instructors. Most had trouble getting the ball to a green 50 yards away in less than 4-5 shots. I can't imagine how intimidating it would be to expect someone at that level to do that for 400 yards.

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