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Basic beginner questions  

15 members have voted

  1. 1. What should I prioritize?

    • Lessons
      14
    • Time at the driving range
      1
    • Instructional videos
      0
    • Rounds of golf
      0
  2. 2. When should I consider a club fitting?

    • Right away
      2
    • After a few lessons
      2
    • After a few lessons and a few rounds of golf
      3
    • After a few lessons/rounds of golf and reaching a certain handicap
      8
  3. 3. When do I dare venture out and play a round of golf?

    • Right away
      4
    • After a few practice sessions at the driving range
      3
    • After a few practice sessions at the driving range and a few lessons
      6
    • After several practice sessions at the driving range and several lessons
      2


23 posts / 1814 viewsLast Reply

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Hi everyone,

Newbie here. I just started getting serious about improving my golf game and getting course ready. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the information out there and was hoping to get some insight and thoughts and answers to some basic questions that I have. I've been practicing on the driving range at least twice a week for the past month now and I'm taking my first one hour lesson with a pro today after work. I have also been watching countless hours of instructional videos on youtube which I feel have helped a good amount. The last few times at the range I have started hitting the ball pretty consistently and I'm feeling very optimistic. I really want to hit the golf course as soon as possible and start actually playing the game but I'm still feeling a bit uneasy about actually going out there for the first time. I don't feel that I have enough experience under my belt and am struggling to determine when is a good time to pull the trigger. Anyways, I posted a few of my questions to the poll which I hope can get some dialogue going.

-Andres

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I appreciate these questions, but… I can't really answer them.

If I were you, and your equipment is even reasonably close to the right fit, I'd take a lesson or two to get some basics down, visit the range enough that you feel comfortable, and then go on the course with an experienced player/friend who can take you at a non-busy time to show you the ropes.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I appreciate these questions, but… I can't really answer them.

If I were you, and your equipment is even reasonably close to the right fit, I'd take a lesson or two to get some basics down, visit the range enough that you feel comfortable, and then go on the course with an experienced player/friend who can take you at a non-busy time to show you the ropes.

Absolutely agree. Have a friend or shop staff get you clubs that are reasonable (no blades and woods from the 70 with rust and bad grips). Take a few lessons and get the basics down. Figure out what kind of golfer you are (driven, fun, social) and get some form of swing in place. After that figure out the next steps. Don't spend $1000+ only to figure out that you aren't going to stick with it...unless you have cash to burn.

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Thank you guys for your responses. Very helpful. There is no doubt in my mind that I am in it for the long run, but I do want to make sure I am prioritizing correctly and have a plan in order that makes sense. Really looking forward to my lesson tonight. I am also planning on possibly playing a practice round this Friday at my local course. I want to get accustomed to the golf course and fully immerse myself in the game as soon as possible. One thing I am hoping to avoid is practicing and taking lessons for too long only to be wildly disappointed and have the wind sucked out of me the first time out on a golf course.

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3 minutes ago, aaguirr said:

Thank you guys for your responses. Very helpful. There is no doubt in my mind that I am in it for the long run, but I do want to make sure I am prioritizing correctly and have a plan in order that makes sense. Really looking forward to my lesson tonight. I am also planning on possibly playing a practice round this Friday at my local course. I want to get accustomed to the golf course and fully immerse myself in the game as soon as possible. One thing I am hoping to avoid is practicing and taking lessons for too long only to be wildly disappointed and have the wind sucked out of me the first time out on a golf course.

Definitely agree with @iacas with emphasis on going out with an experienced golfer.

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Would you say it is a bad idea to do a few practice rounds alone? I can't say that any of my friends who would be able to play with me are experienced golfers so it might take some time before I can find some good partners. I was hoping to start getting a few practice rounds in at my local course in the next couple of days.

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18 minutes ago, aaguirr said:

One thing I am hoping to avoid is practicing and taking lessons for too long only to be wildly disappointed and have the wind sucked out of me the first time out on a golf course.

No matter when you play your first round the wind will be sucked out of you.  Though you will hit a few magnificent shots that will bring you back.  On your 201st round you will have the wind sucked out of you.

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2 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

No matter when you play your first round the wind will be sucked out of you.  Though you will hit a few magnificent shots that will bring you back.  On your 201st round you will have the wind sucked out of you.

I am sure you are absolutely right about that! I guess the point I am trying to make is that I want to get my first beating out of the way as soon as possible and while my expectations are still somewhat realistic!

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2 minutes ago, aaguirr said:

I am sure you are absolutely right about that! I guess the point I am trying to make is that I want to get my first beating out of the way as soon as possible and while my expectations are still somewhat realistic!

In general, practice at the range. Play (not practice) on the course. The course should be fun, even if we’re not playing well.

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5 minutes ago, aaguirr said:

I am sure you are absolutely right about that! I guess the point I am trying to make is that I want to get my first beating out of the way as soon as possible and while my expectations are still somewhat realistic!

Then you should do it sooner rather than later.  I understand.  But go online and read all you can about etiquette and pace of play before venturing out.

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It has been my experience (albeit limited compared to some around here) that simply going to the range to practice has a ceiling in terms of value.  To be sure, muscle memory is of high importance - and the range is good at helping with that.  But you absolutely must have a plan.  Plan on learning the top 20 things wrong with your swing.  Plan on ironing out those issues ONE AT A TIME until each of them is part of that muscle memory.  Plan on spending patience, money, and time - much more than any other sport.  You are going to score over 100 for awhile.  Plan on figuring out what you can do to reduce that number outside the realm of striking the ball correctly (this is a big zone with plenty of details). Plan on setting lots of incremental and realistic goals to aim for.  Then execute these plans methodically.

BTW, don't get fitted yet.  Get the basics of your stroke down first.  That said, if you have money to burn, some guys get fitted quite often since your swing can change for lots of reasons.

 

Good luck.

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I have a decent full set of clubs that my step father handed down to me many years ago that should help get me on my way for the time being. Right now my plan is to start taking lessons (tonight being my first one), hear the instructor out and see what he recommends and follow that plan and practice at the driving range a few times a week, working on feedback received during my lesson. One of my short term goals is to establish a handicap and for that I need a playing partner, hopefully somebody that can show me the ropes. Does anyone do practice rounds alone? I wanted to work some of those in to my plan as well. Planning on taking Friday afternoon off from work and getting a practice round in hopefully while there aren't too many people on the course to get in the way of.

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14 minutes ago, aaguirr said:

Does anyone do practice rounds alone? I wanted to work some of those in to my plan as well. Planning on taking Friday afternoon off from work and getting a practice round in hopefully while there aren't too many people on the course to get in the way of.

Absolutely.   Don't be afraid to play alone, or with others.   You'll find most golfers to be friendly and helpful (sometimes too much) to a newbie.   Don't be intimidated because you are beginning.   Everyone started somewhere.

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2 hours ago, aaguirr said:

I really want to hit the golf course as soon as possible and start actually playing the game but I'm still feeling a bit uneasy about actually going out there for the first time.

If you are dying to get out for a round then you are ready.  The only advice I'd have for someone at your stage is to maintain balance.  Probably want to have at least 2-4 range sessions between each lesson, otherwise you likely won't get as much out of the lesson.  Depending on how much time you have to devote to your game, probably want to play every 1-3 practice sessions - there are some things you can only learn / understand by playing.  This is just my thoughts for the early stages - it may change quickly for you.  

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I'm currently at the stage of overcoming one of the biggest obstacles that has kept me away from the game which is being able to hit a driver straight. My step father recommended I change my grip after he saw one of my swing videos. Apparently, it was on the weaker side and my right thumb (I'm a righty) was pointing towards the outside (right) of the club and I was constantly rotating my forearms/wrists during my swing resulting in hooks and nasty slices. I'm finally able to hit my driver straight and that has really encouraged me to take my game to the next level. I feel that I'm at a point where I can start translating what I've picked up at the driving range onto the golf course. One thing I am hoping for is that I get some reassurance from my instructor tonight that I am doing SOMETHING right as opposed to having to completely change everything around which could be a setback to getting on to the golf course.

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Hi Aaguirr,

I'm new to this site.  I've played over 20 years now and had the same struggles/questions when I started playing.  My advice is:

1. Don't try to learn too much at once.  It's very easy to to get overloaded with info, and often you'll get conflicting advice.  Work on 1-2 parts of your game at a time. Realize, it's a long process (although some players progress much faster than others).

2. Get lessons early on.  I made the mistake of trying to self teach for the first 5 yrs.  As a result, I developed several bad habits that took a lot of time and work to correct.  If you can find an instructor who is patient, can identify your weaknesses/strengths, and will give you progressive lessons, that's a good start.  Avoid getting pointers from other players. They may have good intentions but chances are they can't see the whole picture as well as someone who's been trained on what to look for and how to guide you to improve.

3. Wait to get fitted until you've played a while. That way you'll see if you're going to stick with it. Also, after you get a little experience and improve your swing will be consistent enough for fitting to be worthwhile.

4. Find some guys to play with regularly.  You can push each other when you play and/or practice.

5. Practice with a purpose, practice with pressure.  Instead of just mindlessly hitting balls down a wide open range, aim at targets. see how many times you can achieve your target out of 10 shots, and keep trying to get better.

6.  Most importantly. have fun!!! Enjoy the process.

Hope this helps.  Also, read Hogan's 5 Fundamentals of Golf.

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1 minute ago, aaguirr said:

I'm currently at the stage of overcoming one of the biggest obstacles that has kept me away from the game which is being able to hit a driver straight. My step father recommended I change my grip after he saw one of my swing videos. Apparently, it was on the weaker side and my right thumb (I'm a righty) was pointing towards the outside (right) of the club and I was constantly rotating my forearms/wrists during my swing resulting in hooks and nasty slices. I'm finally able to hit my driver straight and that has really encouraged me to take my game to the next level. I feel that I'm at a point where I can start translating what I've picked up at the driving range onto the golf course. One thing I am hoping for is that I get some reassurance from my instructor tonight that I am doing SOMETHING right as opposed to having to completely change everything around which could be a setback to getting on to the golf course.

My advice is to take lessons with a good pro that gives you measurable results.  Once you buy into a good pro's teaching, do NOT listen to other Joe Pros or friends, despite their well intentions.  Stick to what you have paid for and are working on.  They don't know the particulars of your swing and what you are working on, so clear out the noise.  

As far as playing, take some lessons, hit some balls, and get out there after learning the rules and etiquette.  Most good players will be fine to play with you if you're a nice person and can play quickly; they don't care so much about your game as they are wanting to play well themselves.  Mind your matters and be good company and people will want to play with you even if you're starting out.

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