I assume most on this forum are serious and better than average golfers. (At least they are on the internet
Speaking as someone that is new to the game, hitting every ball as it lies, marking down every stroke, etc. etc. can be so frustrating it is demoralizing.
I wound up playing through the front 9 with what I would consider a very good golfer last summer when I had been playing golf for less than 2 months. Of the 7 holes we played together, he had a couple of birdies, one or two boggies, and pared the rest. Didn't see the first 2 holes b/c he caught up with me waiting on a foursome in front of us, but expect he was no worse than one over for nine.
After seeing me hacking at the ball a bit, he politely asked if I would mind if he gave me a few pointers. Made a few suggestions that helped immediately
After asking how long I had been playing, he smiled and gave me the best advise of the day. Don't try to hit something you know you can't hit. Move it out of the deep rough, away from the tree, back from the lip of the bunker, etc. If playing a practice round, ( isn't that every round when you get started?) learning to hit an easy shot has to be a starting point and will better your game more than trying to hit something that you know you have no chance of hitting.
As my game has slightly improved, I have done less of this. Still suck, but I now try to hit and even shape more shots that not long ago I would not have even attempted.
I sliced a tee shot on a 200 yard par 3 today and wound up on the adjacent fairway a good 60-70 yards from the pin. A line of trees between me and 80% of the green. I used a 6 iron and punched a low shot between 2 trees, under fairly low branches, into the side of a mound by the green, bouncing the ball over and onto the back corner so the ball could roll out down to the hole to my left.
The greens on this course are very slow, so the ball only rolled 15 feet of the 40 or more I needed. With the faster greens of the other courses I play, the ball would have been very close to the hole. As it was, I missed my putt for par a few inches left and tapped in about a foot back for boggie. Maybe routine or bad for some, but one of the best holes I have ever played considering how bad my tee shot was.
Six or nine months ago, I wouldn't have even seen this shot, let alone tried it. Doubt I would hit it again if I tried it 5 more times, but I hit it today.
So those saying you have to hit hard shots to learn to hit them are right. After a point. First you have to be able to hit a shot period. I don't know that hacking at a bunch of balls a foot above or below your feet in 2 inches or more of grass is really going to help. Or trying to thread a needle. Sometimes a mulligan or a foot wedge will help improve your game. There is a limit to what you can do without getting discouraged.
But then my handicap, if I had one, would be higher than my oldest son's age, so what do I know.