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Pretzel

How to proceed?

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I have a friend who is interested in learning how to golf, but lessons are off the table due to budget constraints. My question is how can I get the friend started on the correct path to enjoy the game without them taking lessons? I'm honestly not sure what to tell the person who's a complete beginner, just because their swings are all completely different from each other. Do I take them to the range first so they can make contact with the ball, or do I go on the course with them first to get them excited about the game (with, obviously, at least a short range session to get some basics). Should they focus on any specific aspect of the game, or just work on them all? It sends to me like chipping practice would be beneficial just for the practice of making solid contact, but I could be way off bade. Any advice is appreciated.

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Basics, grip, posture, one piece takeaway and tempo.

Have him hit only two clubs for a month. Have him swing everyday, p-wedge and 9 iron, a minimum of five minutes.

Have him only use 3/4 swings. Putting practice only at first.

Then pitch and chip shots after he demonstrates decent swings with the wedge.

Then progress to the 8 & 7. Another month of practice with the four clubs.

Demonstrate various stances on unevenly surfaces.

If he commits to practicing, then introduce him to a par 3 course.

Teach him rules and etiquette as you go. Have him read and watch videos.

After a couple of months, he should be ready to progress to longer clubs and woods.

By then, he will either be hooked or find out he may not be interested.

Club Rat

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I have a friend who is interested in learning how to golf, but lessons are off the table due to budget constraints. My question is how can I get the friend started on the correct path to enjoy the game without them taking lessons? I'm honestly not sure what to tell the person who's a complete beginner, just because their swings are all completely different from each other. Do I take them to the range first so they can make contact with the ball, or do I go on the course with them first to get them excited about the game (with, obviously, at least a short range session to get some basics). Should they focus on any specific aspect of the game, or just work on them all? It sends to me like chipping practice would be beneficial just for the practice of making solid contact, but I could be way off bade.

Any advice is appreciated.

I would start easy shortened back swing swings at the range so they can get the feel of a good centered back swing and then the weight shift on the downswing. Start them with 50% max swings and at most 3/4 length back swing even stopping at each position to give them an idea of where they should be.

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Take him out on a course early evening and play from 50 yards in each hole. PW SW and putter. He can experience how the ball comes off the club, roll out, putting.  And you can teach a good bit of etiquette right off the start. To me not as boring as the range when you're new.

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I have a friend who is interested in learning how to golf, but lessons are off the table due to budget constraints. My question is how can I get the friend started on the correct path to enjoy the game without them taking lessons? I'm honestly not sure what to tell the person who's a complete beginner, just because their swings are all completely different from each other. Do I take them to the range first so they can make contact with the ball, or do I go on the course with them first to get them excited about the game (with, obviously, at least a short range session to get some basics). Should they focus on any specific aspect of the game, or just work on them all? It sends to me like chipping practice would be beneficial just for the practice of making solid contact, but I could be way off bade.

Any advice is appreciated.

Has your friend ever golfed before?  That's an important question because if he hasn't really played before @Club Rat's sug gestion is a good way to make sure he never does.  I started golfing because my dad suggested we play a round when I went to visit him.  I took a few lessons beforehand then we went out to a quiet course, let everyone play through, and I just whacked the ball around as well as I could.  That got me hooked.  Spending months at the range before playing on a course?  I would have never done that.

In my opinion, you should take them to the range first to show him some fundamentals (grip, stance, basic swing)  Let them hit some balls in a pressure-free situation.  Don't fill his head with a hundred suggestions.  Adjust his stance and grip if necessary and then maybe focus on one other thing such as keeping his body down on the swing.  Then go out to a quiet course, maybe play 9 at the end of the day when the course is quiet.  Don't inundate him with rules and etiquette if he isn't violating it and focus on having fun.

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I'd take them to the range first a couple times then maybe an executive course. I understand how people think that lessons are important for some but Bubba Watson never took a lesson and look how good he is. I've never taken a lesson myself but I spent many of hours watching videos on the internet and many golf fix/lesson tee live shows on the golf channel. Just try to express to them that at first they won't be that good so they won't get too upset. I have a friend who just started playing not too long ago and hes always expecting to have great shots so he gets very upset when he doesn't but he never practices so you have to prepare people that it takes a good amount of time just to be not horrible.

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Anyone who is truly motivated to learn can find plenty of information online to get going, YouTube and TST especially, it's all there, so go find the best videos you think a beginner should work on tell them- "here, study, drill, driving range, get back to me in a few weeks and show me a 9i"

Then do him a favor and video his swing and offer to post it here for comments, it's really the next best thing to instruction, because it is pretty much just that.

The only question is- how motivated are they? how interested? because it takes a real commitment, casual is not for golf.

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Basics, grip, posture, one piece takeaway and tempo.

Have him hit only two clubs for a month. Have him swing everyday, p-wedge and 9 iron, a minimum of five minutes.

Have him only use 3/4 swings. Putting practice only at first.

Then pitch and chip shots after he demonstrates decent swings with the wedge.

Then progress to the 8 & 7. Another month of practice with the four clubs.

Demonstrate various stances on unevenly surfaces.

If he commits to practicing, then introduce him to a par 3 course.

Teach him rules and etiquette as you go. Have him read and watch videos.

After a couple of months, he should be ready to progress to longer clubs and woods.

By then, he will either be hooked or find out he may not be interested.

Club Rat

This regimen would discourage 99% of golfer wannabes.  Why not just require that he first earn a BA degree in golf?

It will also probably lose the OP a friend.

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I have a friend who is interested in learning how to golf, but lessons are off the table due to budget constraints. My question is how can I get the friend started on the correct path to enjoy the game without them taking lessons? I'm honestly not sure what to tell the person who's a complete beginner, just because their swings are all completely different from each other. Do I take them to the range first so they can make contact with the ball, or do I go on the course with them first to get them excited about the game (with, obviously, at least a short range session to get some basics). Should they focus on any specific aspect of the game, or just work on them all? It sends to me like chipping practice would be beneficial just for the practice of making solid contact, but I could be way off bade.

Any advice is appreciated.

I think your idea to take him/her to a chipping/practice and/or putting green first is spot on. Let your friend see the ball go near the hole, in the hole. Give them a decent grip and show them a chipping swing to imitate and see what happens. They may just say this is hard and lose interest. Or the whole thrill about watching the ball go into the hole might captivate them right away.

After that, trust your intuition. It will depend on how athletic and coordinated (or not) your friend is, how interested they are (like would they want to look at the pictures in Five Lessons or something and then try to imitate it), can they transfer what they see you do into their own motion, etc. If your friend is really athletic, they might pick up the game astoundingly fast.

And I have to say it depends on how old they are too, younger folks can imitate you, or try to swing like a picture in a book, while older folks are too analytic and aren't as good at imitation. And I'm an older folk now :-)

Good luck!

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For me personally, what got me hooked on golf was hitting the ball in the air a decent distance. I would take him to the range, hand him a pitching wedge, and then teach him the basics with the goal of getting the ball in the air. I'd say make this a short session - 30 minutes to an hour at the most. I think this would be a good way to try to get him interested without boring him or overwhelming him.

Then, I'd take him out to the local par 3 or executive course. Sometime when it's not busy to ease the pressure on him. And play a round. Take it from there.

Another idea is to ask him why he wants to play golf. What interests him about it. And then try to get it so that you are doing that thing that interests him. Could be really long putts, sand shots, or whatever.

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From experience with a lot of my mates that are just getting started:

Take them to the range a couple of times when it's less busy so they don't feel nervous. Let them try a 5 wood, 7,PW and SW(ie don't get them started on the 2 iron). Then have a go at a par 3 course and some cheap 9 hole muni tracks. I wouldn't bother taking them on a "decent" 18 hole course until they're going to score 120 at the very most (I would say more like 105).

With regards to technique I wouldn't go too heavy at first, if you have them thinking about the 50 things to do in the golf swing they will just get confused, cock it up, get mad and quit. Just get them to hit down on the ball.

With regards to grip, let them do it how they want (probably baseball grip), whatever feels comfortable to them. It's easy enough to change this down the line. Don't bother teaching putting or chipping past a very basic level, they can sort that later.

I would try to get them to not collapse (keep straight left arm) in the backswing as I've found this extremely hard to get out of. Keep them to 3/4 swings.

Alternatively put them on a "get into golf" course, loads of instructors do these and they're used to teaching absolute beginners all the time.

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I have a theory that many might not agree with but in my life experiences in other sports it has worked wonders for people I have helped. Bowling was my specialty when it came to these types of technical sports early on in my life. People would take lesson after lesson, practicing the perfect form, and could not get the ball to hook. What I would do is have them walk up to the line and actually take the ball and then twist their wrists without an approach just to see how the ball turns and hooks. Athletic ability and hand eye coordination go a long way in golf. I have never had a lesson and I have golfed on and off and took a ten year break. I came back and immediately shot in the 80's. I think people need to actually spend a few months at the driving range and par 3's learning to just hit the damn ball before getting serious into form and lessons. I never had a problem making contact with the ball from my very first swing as a teen but I just took someone to the range the other day that missed the ball on 80% of his swings. He needs to get the hand eye coordination down to actually make contact before he gets into swing mechanics IMO. I can't count how many times I have seen what appeared to be beautiful swings where someone has obviously worked for many months with a pro where I think they are probably a 10 handicap and then that person spends an entire range session never getting the ball into the air. This one lady I saw the other day had been working with her instructor for six months and her swing looked decent. Yet she would be shokting 200 if she went out right now and tried golfing on an average course. The point to this long winded post is that I think a person needs to at least be able to hit a ball at the driving range before they start worrying about weight shifting or "coming over the top," etc.

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Very good questions. I used take a lot of new people out on the course for our pro. I have a lot of patience as a loooooong time batting coach, player, manager, and other abused designators. The golf swing was a little different of course but I employ similar positive principles. Try and make contact with the ball. Try and hit it where i aim. Try and hit it with controlled power. Encouragement all the way. They always want to do it in reverse, see how much power they have, where they can aim it, and if they can hit it. Look at the similarities: how many people think they can hit it out of the park or hit a 300 yard drive? When actually its a 250 foot fly and a 240 yard drive. First things first. I sometimes just make them sweep leaves off the grass just to see where the arc bottoms out. Then use a short iron in the rough close to the green with me playing a simple chipping game. Putting too. This doesn't work for my wife though!

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Nothing beats a nice little par-3 course for a beginner.

A range session or two beforehand to get some very basic concepts is important, but you can't really expect a newbie to work away on a range for weeks on end without even playing a round. If you can get a wide-open course with holes between 70 and 200 yards, that's the best. Your guy can start getting an idea of club selection. Somewhere in the course of 18 holes, he'll probably have a taste of success. That little taste of success, maybe just a single solid shot or a single putt made) is what makes someone a golfer for life.

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As I have posted before, I am 72 years old getting back to the game after a long layoff due to back surgery and significant club modification.  I am taking lessons and will continue after I get over a current bout with vertigo.  Getting old is not for the faint of heart.  I was wondering if since we are approaching winter and I don't play in 50 degree weather, if the zepp swing analyzer would be a good investment to monitor my swing when not on the course. I don't expect to get back to consistent 80s but I do want to play in the 90s with an occasional ease into the 80s.  I realize the candle can only burn for so long but I love the game and wouldn't mind going out on a fairway somewhere.  Ha Ha .Comments appreciated

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On 7/21/2015 at 8:33 PM, Pretzel said:

I have a friend who is interested in learning how to golf, but lessons are off the table due to budget constraints. My question is how can I get the friend started on the correct path to enjoy the game without them taking lessons? ... 

What type of budget constraints does your friend have?

PGA sponsors a program called Get Golf Ready. A person gets five basic lessons for $99.

Also, your friend might look for a spring golf clinic - beginners learning together. Some golf facilities don't charge a lot for clinics, as they try to build interest in the game.

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On 7/21/2015 at 9:33 PM, Pretzel said:

I have a friend who is interested in learning how to golf, but lessons are off the table due to budget constraints. My question is how can I get the friend started on the correct path to enjoy the game without them taking lessons? 

There are plenty of instructional videos available on the internet. A beginner only needs to watch these videos, then practice the tips he/she learned in the video. The beginning golfer will quickly learn which of those videos were helpful when they notice positive results. Not all videos will be helpful, but many of them are, and the beginner will soon learn which ones have helped and which ones have not.

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8 minutes ago, 9wood said:

There are plenty of instructional videos available on the internet. A beginner only needs to watch these videos, then practice the tips he/she learned in the video. The beginning golfer will quickly learn which of those videos were helpful when they notice positive results. Not all videos will be helpful, but many of them are, and the beginner will soon learn which ones have helped and which ones have not.

I don't agree with this idea at all. There are lot of "band-aid" fixes out there that may yield positives results at first but end up hurting the golfer long term. A beginner also won't know if they are properly implementing what they learned without already having an understanding of the fundamentals and be able to analyze themselves on video. 

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Note: This thread is 1762 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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