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mikeblas

Advice for getting started

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Hi!

I've been thinking about starting to golf.

I must say that I'm completely overwhelmed by my next step. Equipment selection is terrifying; there seem to be lots of crazy gimmicks, and clubs seem to go out of style. I don't need any of that crap, though I don't want to buy anything that makes me feel frustrated.

I think I'd be thrilled to buy some used clubs -- whatever was top of the line three or five years ago should be more than adequate and pretty cheap for me. The selection on CraigsList around here seems pretty crummy; lots of junk. The used sites on the internet seem to price things quite expensively, with less of a discount than I'd expected for last years' gear. Where are good places to look for used or out-dated equipment?

I'm also a little surprised at not being able to find beginners' resources. I've found some advice about choosing clubs. I've read that I want high-loft and regular flex, for example. (Do I have it right?)

Should I start with lessons, or just go to the range and hit? Should I get fitted at a shop, or just buy used? Do I have any business trying clubs out at "demo days" at the shops?

Most importantly, what are good resources for doing my own reading?

Thanks for your help.

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Welcome, golf can be pretty overwhelming...be prepared to drink from a firehose once you commit to learning how to play.  If you've never tried to golf, it would be a good idea to borrow some clubs or buy a really cheap set and get some lessons immediately so you know if you like it or not.  It will be difficult to know what the best loft or shaft flex is for you until you develop a swing and can be fitted.  It's probably safe to go with higher loft and regular flex if you have to buy a set now.

There are some good resources for pre-owned clubs - Callaway and TaylorMade both have pre-owned sites where you can buy used clubs that are guaranteed and offer trade-in options for when you decide to buy a set that is better fitted to your game.  Ideally you'd want to start with Super Game Improvement (SGI) type clubs which are the most forgiving and easiest to get the ball in the air with.

As for learning the game, most bookstores will have books on the Rules of Golf, some like the one published by the USGA are just the rules, while others are a little more explanatory and easier to read.  You might even want to start out with Golf for Dummies to get familiar with the game in a fun less technical way.

This is a great place to ask questions and learn as you go.  Enjoy

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Thanks! :)

I've spent time with borrowed clubs at the driving range a few times -- from junk clubs at the range to friends clubs that I borrowed from their bags. I really enjoy hitting, and that's good I think because I realize that the best way to be good at golf is to practice.

I've not spent much time on the course. I've only played once with some friends at a short par 3 nine-hole course. It was lots of fun and very informal, but I learned a lot and did quite well.

I'm thinking of buying a used driver, then a couple of used irons. If I don't spend much, I can take these to the range and get used to them and try to develop some consistency. If I find I don't have the time or interest, I can bail out without having spent too much.

My main worry is developing bad habits without instruction. Should that be a concern? I figure if I'm comfortable with a swing and haven't spent a lot of time at it, then a good instructor should be able to help me change it.


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Originally Posted by mikeblas

Thanks! :)

I've spent time with borrowed clubs at the driving range a few times -- from junk clubs at the range to friends clubs that I borrowed from their bags. I really enjoy hitting, and that's good I think because I realize that the best way to be good at golf is to practice.

I've not spent much time on the course. I've only played once with some friends at a short par 3 nine-hole course. It was lots of fun and very informal, but I learned a lot and did quite well.

I'm thinking of buying a used driver, then a couple of used irons. If I don't spend much, I can take these to the range and get used to them and try to develop some consistency. If I find I don't have the time or interest, I can bail out without having spent too much.

My main worry is developing bad habits without instruction. Should that be a concern? I figure if I'm comfortable with a swing and haven't spent a lot of time at it, then a good instructor should be able to help me change it.

As an instructor myself, here is my honest advice.

If you can afford it, take a few lessons. Not sure what area you are from, so the price will depend on that mostly. Taking a lesson or two before you actually start to practice/play will save you months of frustration. No book, can teach golf the same way another set of trained eyes can.

As for clubs. Do not get fitted right away. Just buy some used clubs (or borrow from a friend if you can!) for now. If the pro tries to fit you and sell you a 700 dollar set of clubs, just respectively decline. You want to make sure you enjoy golf first and are going to continue to play before shelling out tons of money on things. It can be a very exspensive sport.

Here is what you want to look for in an instructor;

How long have they been teaching? (longer is not always better, some of the young guns really know the stuff)

How much is it? And how long are lessons?

Do they use video? (IMO I can't believe some instructors still teach without it)

Ask if they have any begginers clinics coming up. Shouldn't cost you much money and a great way to get a head start into learning.

Any kind of instructor will be better than nothing at all. PGA professional, or someone who is just a 'teaching professional'. Just make sure you do some research on who it is you will be taking lessons from.

No matter what you do, just enjoy yourself! Welcome to golf! ;)

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Aren't starter sets with a full set of irons and woods more economical? Sometimes they come with a bag too. You can buy a set of used irons cheap, but you still have to buy used woods separately.

I'd start with small swings - chips and pitches.

The first fundamental theorem of golf (according to me, ha ha ) is hit the ball first. The divot, the grass you take when you hit the ground, comes after the ball.

Know that practicing on range mats is much different than real grass.

I'd do some reading - The Stack and Tile Golf Swing, Hogan's 5 Fundamentals, Golf My Way.

Watch YouTube - lots of pro swings and free lessons. Keep in your minds eye what good swings (pros and top amateurs, some teachers) look like.

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Originally Posted by nevets88

Aren't starter sets with a full set of irons and woods more economical? Sometimes they come with a bag too. You can buy a set of used irons cheap, but you still have to buy used woods separately.

I'd start with small swings - chips and pitches.

The first fundamental theorem of golf (according to me, ha ha ) is hit the ball first. The divot, the grass you take when you hit the ground, comes after the ball.

Know that practicing on range mats is much different than real grass.

I'd do some reading - The Stack and Tile Golf Swing, Hogan's 5 Fundamentals, Golf My Way.

Watch YouTube - lots of pro swings and free lessons. Keep in your minds eye what good swings (pros and top amateurs, some teachers) look like.


Depending on what you buy. I think a starter set, or used clubs would probably be close in price.

I second what was said above. If your going to start learning alone, start with putting, than chipping, and lastly full swing.

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Also:

Get lessons. It's not easy finding a good pro that you're compatible with. If you can, watch pros you might want to take lessons from teach. Golf schools are one massive information dump for someone just starting out. If you have the disposable income, go for it. If you want to get more value for your money, take lessons every week or so.

Watch your swing on video. Don't put this off. Don't go crazy over analyzing your swing either.

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If your going for a first set, go to a pro and ask if he has any trade ins, there usually good shape and at a good price..

But lessons first, club's second.

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^^^Holy Crizzap at the quad post above!^^^

I was in very similar situation to the op about 3 years ago when I first started. I started off borrowing my dads set from like the early 80's and learned that borrowing clubs can be testy, after the head of his driver flew about 150ft into a lake the firs time I brought it onto the course rather than the range.

I would researching SGI and GI irons at reasonable prices which lead me to resale outlets like 3ballsgolf.com (not advertising them just saying). Bought a set of 4 year old Callaway Big Bertha Irons a Big Bertha 3wood and a Big Bertha driver (still use them all). Wound up about 350$ in the hole with a Bag and Putter included. They still serve my purporse great and im not hitting at a level above my irons yet, although I do plan to upgrade next year. (Ping g15 or even Titlest AP1 seem like where ill be heading next).

For me I joined a 1x a month scramble during the summer that has been my drive to improve. I probably practice 2-3x a week and more than that in the week before my scramble's. I think finding a constant league like this really drove me to improve by competing for small amounts of $ and to be better than the other guys in the scramble. Also its alot of fun.

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Right now, Costco has a set of Taylormade clubs that appears to retail for about $1000 on sale for $600, including a bag. I'm not sure about the club selection, though it seems like it's otherwise a great bargain. There are new Adams Golf sets that seem reasonable for about $400 direct from the Adams Golf website.

I'm wary of borrowing clubs because I think that success at golf has to do with consistency. It'll be hard to be consistent if my foundation is changing at all times.

A lot of guys have suggested starting with small swings and working up. (One guy made the suggestion for times, in fact. LOL.) What's the basis for this suggestion? Would a pro start me out that way, too?

I agree that it's hard to find someone I'd mesh with -- not that I'm difficult, just that it's easiest to learn from someone when you've hit it off with them. How do I find pros to interview?

Thanks again for all the tips and suggestions! :)


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I think rockbottomgolf.com is a great resource for new but a couple year old stuff really cheap.

They have just about everything.  I have bought form them 6 or 7 times with no problems.

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Originally Posted by mikeblas

Right now, Costco has a set of Taylormade clubs that appears to retail for about $1000 on sale for $600, including a bag. I'm not sure about the club selection, though it seems like it's otherwise a great bargain. There are new Adams Golf sets that seem reasonable for about $400 direct from the Adams Golf website.

I'm wary of borrowing clubs because I think that success at golf has to do with consistency. It'll be hard to be consistent if my foundation is changing at all times.

A lot of guys have suggested starting with small swings and working up. (One guy made the suggestion for times, in fact. LOL.) What's the basis for this suggestion? Would a pro start me out that way, too?

I agree that it's hard to find someone I'd mesh with -- not that I'm difficult, just that it's easiest to learn from someone when you've hit it off with them. How do I find pros to interview?

Thanks again for all the tips and suggestions! :)



Ha, sorry it posted so many times, no idea what happened!

First; No a pro probably will not start you that way, because they need to justify charging $60.00+ an hour, and most people would be disappointed if this all they did. However that really si the way you should learn.

Second; Just call up local golf coursers, or google for golf instruction in your area. When you call just ask the questions you want. If they seem short on phone with you, it is probably someone you want to avoid.

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Originally Posted by mikeblas

Sure. But why is that?


It is a pretty simple reason actually. Ok here we go;

95% of new players swing the club with their arms/hands. They end flipping at the ball, trying to help it up on the air.

If a player starts with putting, but keeping the wrists/arms/hands quite. It can than me easily transitioned into a big swing, i.e chipping.

If a playing chips the ball correctly, again by hitting slightly down into the ball, not breaking the wrist. This can be moved into a larger swing, i.e pitch shots, half swings, full swings.

Really, it is about not allowing someone to develop bad habits. It is easy to start someone putting, and say.. 'do it like this' it is harder if you try to do that with a full swing.

..Plus didn't anyone ever tell you golf is all about the short game? hehe. :)

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Yep, I've heard that golf is about the short game. And I can understand that -- it's in the short game that accuracy and control matter the most.

That fact doesn't explain why you'd want to learn the short game first, though. Your explanation -- about developing better swing habits -- does.Yep, I've heard that golf is about the short game. And I can understand it -- that's where accuracy matters more than anywhere else. That doesn't explain why you'd want to learn the short game first, though

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There's less to keep track of on a shorter swing and you're not focused on maximixing distance. I think there's a distinction between practing the short game for scoring and practicing the short game and small swings to develop technique although you do both at the same time, for a beginner, I would apply the latter. You can swing harder on small swings to ingrain the correct motion as a gateway to the full swing, just keep that left wrist flat (righty) and fit the ball first. I wish when I first started out, someone would have told me what chrisutpg wrote. Not sure if I would have listened because I was golf stupid back then, but if convinced me, it would have saved me years, literally. My instructors spent time on grip, backswing, transition, stance, posture, they never told me what I was ultimately trying to do - first principles.

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I went to a golf shop and met a very nice pro. He showed me some clubs, answered a ton of questions, and essentially gave me a 20 minute lesson -- I used some clubs at the indoor video driving range, and we talked about the differences in some of the equipment. It was quite a great experience. I found out that I should swing +1 clubs because of my height; they're lots more comfortable.

I'm still a bit baffled at the range of available equipment, though. We looked at three beginner sets -- bag, driver, putter, irons and wedges -- and they ranged in price from $200 to $400. There are single putters that cost $200, and single drivers that cost $400. What's the difference? How can one putter be worth as much as a beginner's set? How can one beginner's set be worth twice another?


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Note: This thread is 3116 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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