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FireDragon76

new to golf and I need advice

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Hi.  I'm 38 years old and I've never played a real game of golf in my life.   I'd like to learn but I'm not sure where to start.   I've played PC/video game versions of golf for years (JNSE, Golden Bear Challenge, and later Tiger Woods series and finally, the Golf Club on Steam) on PC and the Wii (though its currently at my parents house), but never in real life.  My dad played a lot of golf in the past but as he's gotten older and retired from the military, its been less and less.  He never really encouraged any of his kids to take up golfing, though I can remember as a kid being very interested in it (I had plastic toy golf clubs I'd hit tennis balls around with).

10 years ago I tried to get into golfing and my dad tried to teach me a little bit about swinging but I never managed to play an actual game and my swing was horrible.  I live in Orlando, Florida and its way too hot in the summer to play, so it felt very seasonal and I lost interest.  I'd like to try again, with the plan of playing in the summer on indoor simulators, and maybe playing on real courses during the rest of the year.

I see a few obstacles, though.  My eyesight is not very good.  I have congenital nystagmus and I see about 20/40 or so, and sometimes I get eyestrain: I don't drive (I had my license taken away a few years ago).  I've got fibromyalgia and my back is not as strong as it used to be and I'm out of shape.   I've gone mini-golfing with family and sometimes my back feels worn out afterwards from all the putting, and I tend to slouch way too much sitting in front of the computer.   I've read golfing can cause back problems so I'd like to find an instructor that can show me a safe, repeatable way to swing.

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I would talk to your doctor about it first, fibromyalgia is no fun at all and he may not want you doing anything that may cause an injury, of course seeing an instructor that understands your limitations is going to be most important.

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Go online and check out some videos on the golf swing. Get in front of a mirror and see if you can emulate some swings. Get out on the range and beat some balls around. Do not try to hit the ball as hard as you can. Work on making good contact. Then go to some par 3 courses and beat some balls around. Don't worry about sucking. Take every hole as a chance to get better. Is the 20/40 eyesight after correction? My eyesight before correction is 20/1600 in my good eye and 20/3200 in my bad eye. Thank heaven for modern lenses or I would be wearing the proverbial coke glasses.

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20/40 eyesight is after correction, yeah.   I'm not sure I'll be able to see the ball.  The few times in the past I was out at the range, I saw the ball, but I was never hitting over 100 yards.   I tended to slice the ball a bit.

Is learning pitching a good place to start?  I was struggling to make good consistent contact trying to do fuller swings.   The full swing just seemed so complicated to learn.  Which club should I focus on?

I have fibro but it doesn't really increase my chances of injury, mostly it just means I feel pain more, and things can be sore and ache for no particular reason.  And I can get exhausted faster (it has some things in common with chronic fatigue).  The fibromyalgia may be related to chronic stress I had years ago.  But I have no particular exercise restrictions, in fact my physical therapist would probably thrilled if I did anything that got me out of couch potato mode.   But dealing with the endurance might be an issue- I might want to find a way to avoid too much walking around a course carrying a bag around.

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I never carry a bag anymore. Pull or push carts are made for that. It certainly is easier to get into golf when you have someone to play with. Maybe it's your dad or a coworker or significant other. Chipping and putting are a good way to start. Gets you outside and working on a vital part of the game. Eventually, you're going to have to learn how to swing a club though if you're going to play. You can find group lessons that are pretty cheap. Search the web. Go to your local course or driving range and ask. If you have the cash, you can do individual lessons. With group lessons you may be able to find some golfing partners of similar caliber and strike up some friendships. Don't invest a lot of money in equipment at first (unless you're loaded). Sounds like you already have some clubs. You can hit wiffle balls in your yard (if you have a yard). I used to do that for hours when I was younger. A 7 iron is a good iron to start with. If you start playing a par 3 course, you may be able to just take a few clubs in a Sunday bag. A Sunday bag is a very light weight carry bag, often made of canvas, to carry just the essential clubs, balls and tees you may need. Do a Google and see what Sunday bags are. Here's a video to start off with... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JG73Jah-O9U

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My brother-in-law is legally blind.  But he is a 17 handicap.  Why?  Because the most important thing is developing consistency in your swing.  Kind of like shooting free throws.  Do it the same way every time.  All he has to do is make sure the ball is in front of his club at address and he's good to go.  You don't really make solid contact by seeing the impact anyway.  Impact happens in a few thousandths of a second and then the ball is gone.

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A slow and leisurely pace at a local par 3 course or just playing 9 holes at a time might be doable for you... like Vangator mentioned, a push cart could make things easy for you. I've seen that those 3 wheeled push carts look easy to use and some have adjustable handles that you could set up for your comfort.

Couple that with some high visibility yellow golf balls and you might not have trouble seeing the ball.

I've seen where a 3-9 swing is recommended for practice drills... take the club on your backswing to the 9 o'clock position just above your knees with the shaft parallel to the ground and swing through to the 3 o'clock position with the shaft parallel to the ground.

There are several golfers that don't have an overly exaggerated or long backswing and they're still able to drive the ball a good ways down the fairway.

If you play from the forward tees, then the distance won't be as great for you. the red tees aren't just for ladies and kids. They're for golfers that don't drive the ball that far and are meant to give them a sporting chance playing the course.

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I went to a driving range tonight and I hit about 60 balls with a 3 wood and 5 iron.  I was just focused on making solid contact with the ball.  My hitting gradually started improving and I started getting a little more distance and the shots were mostly straight.   I was doing what looked like pitching (in PC golf sims anyways), just pulling the club back to about 8-9 o' clock and hitting the ball, not trying to get any power out of it.

I have some clubs though I think a few of them needs some new grips, which I may have to do myself.  Some of my older clubs I regripped years ago.  My clubs are a mongrel collection of different types (some are blades, others have hollowed backs) I got from thrift stores and used sporting goods stores, with one new titanium driver from K-mart and a hybrid club (I think its equivalent to a 5-7 wood).

I live in an apartment complex down in southeast Orlando (in a rougher neighborhood) and while there is some open space, I'm not sure how the managers would feel about hitting around a golf club.  I do have one of those plastic balls on a stake to tether to the ground, so you can practice swinging.  I also have some plastic practice balls that don't fly far.

As far as money goes I can't blow too much money on a hobby, I'm basically disabled and unemployed (and my S.O. I live with is legally blind and doesn't make much money either), so I'm looking to play on the cheap . I thought 9 bucks for 65 balls was a bit steep, but maybe I am comparing that to what I used to pay ten years ago (it was only a few dollars).   The price of lessons at the local driving range also seem out of my league.

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I was just focused on making solid contact with the ball.  My hitting gradually started improving and I started getting a little more distance and the shots were mostly straight.   I was doing what looked like pitching (in PC golf sims anyways), just pulling the club back to about 8-9 o' clock and hitting the ball, not trying to get any power out of it.

Yes, do you remember playing the Tiger Woods franchise games? They call it a punch shot and this shot will be perfect for your eyes and your current game. Play the half swing punch shot a lot right now, and then gradually increase your back swing when you feel comfortable. I honestly wouldn't even worry about your woods right now....or anything more than a 5 iron.

I have some clubs though I think a few of them needs some new grips, which I may have to do myself.  Some of my older clubs I regripped years ago.  My clubs are a mongrel collection of different types (some are blades, others have hollowed backs) I got from thrift stores and used sporting goods stores, with one new titanium driver from K-mart and a hybrid club (I think its equivalent to a 5-7 wood).

Go to garage sales if you have the time. You'll find a nice set of clubs quite often, if they aren't the right price for you, ask if they can bring it down a bit. I own a $300 Taylormade SLDR driver that I bought at a garage sale for $1....it had a tiny...TINY crack in it and the dude wanted to just by a new one. It works just fine for me. Granted you may not see a deal like that, but keep your eyes peeled.

I live in an apartment complex down in southeast Orlando (in a rougher neighborhood) and while there is some open space, I'm not sure how the managers would feel about hitting around a golf club.  I do have one of those plastic balls on a stake to tether to the ground, so you can practice swinging.  I also have some plastic practice balls that don't fly far.

I'd just practice pitch/chip shots at home. Leave the punch/full shots for the range or course. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to look for a putting mat, preferably one that DOES NOT go uphill at the end. Just practice your 2 - 10 footers at home. The main thing is to use your "outside time" right now for your swing, and making good contact.

As far as money goes I can't blow too much money on a hobby, I'm basically disabled and unemployed (and my S.O. I live with is legally blind and doesn't make much money either), so I'm looking to play on the cheap . I thought 9 bucks for 65 balls was a bit steep, but maybe I am comparing that to what I used to pay ten years ago (it was only a few dollars).   The price of lessons at the local driving range also seem out of my league.

This is probably against most golfer's status quo, but forget lessons right now. You can't afford them.... and 1 or 2 random one hour lessons will tell you things that can be found all over this site for free. Lessons haven't done me any good, I've made leaps and bounds this year by simply working diligently on getting myself on plane, and using Dr. Scholl's footspray to see where exactly i'm hitting the ball on the face of the club.

You need to work on 5 key things.

This thread i'm posting next has very good tips and things you can work on.

http://thesandtrap.com/t/61376/5sk-video-thread

Also...Play par 3 courses or executive courses! The internet is your friend, use Golfnow.com or simply find the small courses in your area and find out if they have any deals. I agree that 9 bucks for 65 balls is steep. You're better off getting on the course during a time when it's not busy...and playing multiple balls. Just don't hold anyone up if you decide to play more than one.

One last thing, golf is hard, you are going to suck a lot, if something is really bothering you, post your questions here. The best way for us to help you is if you post a video of your swing, however, if you can't do that than do your best to describe what's happening and sandtrappers will do their best to steer you in the right direction :)

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Crim pretty much covered a lot of what I was going to say, but as someone who pinches pennies myself, Golfnow is pretty good. Just looked up Orlando and it looks like you have some alternatives.

It would probably help you a lot to find someone to play with. Preferably it's someone with a little more experience but not so much that your matches aren't entertaining.

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Yes, do you remember playing the Tiger Woods franchise games? They call it a punch shot and this shot will be perfect for your eyes and your current game. Play the half swing punch shot a lot right now, and then gradually increase your back swing when you feel comfortable. I honestly wouldn't even worry about your woods right now....or anything more than a 5 iron.   [/quote]

I had not thought about it but that is exactly what the ball was doing, especially with the 3 wood.  Very little loft, running just above the ground.  I guess I rarely think of punch shots because in computer golf I rarely play them (I've tended towards draws and fades around trees).

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I had not thought about it but that is exactly what the ball was doing, especially with the 3 wood.  Very little loft, running just above the ground.  I guess I rarely think of punch shots because in computer golf I rarely play them (I've tended towards draws and fades around trees).

Do yourself a favor and leave the 3 wood at home. If you're comfortable with it off the tee box than play it there, but forget about it on the fairway for a while. I'd be willing to bet that you hit your 5 wood or your hybrid just as far as your 3 wood and those clubs are much easier to hit. But once again, play inexpensive par 3 courses, play multiple shots when you can. Find a short consistent swing and build on that. Earlier this year I went through a slicing phase and I had to play a full month of half swings. Just being honest....it was pretty lame, it's always more fun to take that full swing. But I needed to build into a better one.

Hell, one day at a par 3 course I played all 7 iron. It was actually kind of a fun learning experience.

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Once you get your doctor's go ahead, take your time and learn what you can and cannot do.  You will need to practice a fair amount and perhaps an empty field could suffice wtih some a shag bag of gently used balls.  I am 62 and have a back that injures very easily and I have adjusted to it over the years.  I often play with a certain amount of pain but stay within myself.  I gave up my 2 thru 6 irons and replaced them with hybrids.  I try not to take squirrel tail divots with my short irons, and when my back is really bad, I have a 6 hybrid that I have learned to hit from 140 - 110 yards with mostly my arms on approach shots.  My eyes are also just plain old, and I do have trouble seeing the ball at times.  Try to play with someone else and do not spend a fortune on golf balls because you will lose them when you play alone.

I will second the par 3 and executive courses also.  Less pressure on your game and usually 9 holes.  You will find your own speed and  when you are ready you can step up to the larger 18 hole courses.  I will vary from some of the advice and state that there are some excellent used 460cc drivers for under $50.  It does not take much of a swing to poke the ball out 180 - 200 yards sp keep your eyes open and check on ebay.

Good luck to you and I hope you find the enjoyment in the game that many of us have.

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I think the best thing you can do to make practice a lot cheaper is to get a training or learning membership at a driving range or course with a DR. I pay 45 bucks a month and that includes unlimited balls, 18 dollar fee to play after 3 every day and free group lessons each weekend. Different places have different packages, but that will save you a lot of money. One large bucket a week would cost me 48 dollars a month so it really works out well.

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This is probably against most golfer's status quo, but forget lessons right now. You can't afford them.... and 1 or 2 random one hour lessons will tell you things that can be found all over this site for free. Lessons haven't done me any good, I've made leaps and bounds this year by simply working diligently on getting myself on plane, and using Dr. Scholl's footspray to see where exactly i'm hitting the ball on the face of the club.

My driver stinks too but I don't use foot spray. :-) Seriously, the foot spray sounds like a quick efficient way to do that. It doesn't take long to get tired of the tape on the face trick. See those glasses in my avatar? That's what mine kind of look like. The furry white thing is my dog Charlie.

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Best thing you can do is find a PGA pro and get some training once you have your docs ok. The  instructor can correct a lot of your flaws in a few minutes,

instead of spending hours on the range.

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A big part of the issue here is that our guy here has to do it on the cheap. Getting help from pros is probably out of the picture from a cost standpoint.

But ... if anyone knows a pro in Ohio that will work for peanuts, I'd be interested.

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Today I went to a driving range close to my parents house and it was no cheaper (in fact it cost about 2 bucks more for the same amount of balls).  Yellow balls were harder for me to see in the evening sun.   I tried a trick I had read about on a website about swings, however... I held a golf glove in my armpit when I was swinging.  My swinging started improving quite a bit and it felt like my wrists just followed along.  I added about 50 yards and some loft to my swing.    I also realized, comparing my titanium 3 wood (from K-Mart) with my hand-me-down 70's era 3 wood, that there was a significant difference in accuracy and a small difference in length.  Plus its easier to hear a solid hit with the large titanium wood, it makes a completely different sound.

My swing was fairly consistent and I was hitting to about 140-160 yards constantly whether I used a 3 wood or a 5 wood, it didn't really matter.  After about 50 balls I started getting winded, took a short break, and my swing deteriorated quite a bit and I started missing the ball altogether quite a bit.  Thankfully I only had a few left.  However, my swing is getting good enough I could see myself playing on a par 3 course in a few weeks, maybe less.

I've come away with the conclusion the newer equipment really makes a noticeable difference in how easy golf is to play, and this surprised me.   I need to start thinking about what clubs I need.  I'm thinking about forgoing woods altogether and getting a few hybrids and cutting down on the number of irons I carry.  I want to get by with a half dozen clubs or so.  Any thoughts?

I also ended up getting a blister on my right hand from the older woods' grips.  They were old and maybe this contributed to it, I don't know.  Putting the glove on my right hand just made my grip horrible and irons would twist in my hands .  Luckily I only got the blister at the end of the bucket.

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