How to Get Started - Golf for Newbies

Bangkok Golf

A good place to start is to find out about the right equipment. Once you've spent a few thousand baht on a set that doesn't suit your style, you're stuck with it or might find a buyer for it if you're lucky - but at a likely loss. If you really want your own clubs starting off, get a half set, generally comprising five irons and perhaps two woods and a putter. Normally the irons are the odd numbers 3, 5, 7, 9 and a wedge. These clubs are more than enough to get you started. Since most driving ranges will have clubs for hire, a better alternative is to try out a few different ones first. Or consider borrowing one or two clubs from your friends. The shortest iron (nine iron) or a wedge are the best clubs to start and practice with. It will give you the feeling of hitting the ball in the air and should be fairly straightforward.

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Getting a club

There are second-hand clubs for sale in most Pro shops and at driving ranges. Moreover, being a newbie, you can rely on very helpful advice from shop assistants as they would gladly let you try out some clubs. Nearly all driving ranges will have clubs for hire if you want to have a go at it without committing to a set until you get the hang of it. Ask other people at the driving range too.

You will soon find out that many might even have another set of clubs at home because they have possibly made the same mistake as mentioned above. Make sure you 'try before you buy'. If they fit your style you can often get them at a steal. Bottomline, you need to have a basic understanding on which club suits you reasonably well before you buy. Do not buy expensive brands at this stage.

Ready to tee off?

Technically, golf is quite demanding, and without at least some basic training you'll definitely end up frustrated. So don't push yourself too hard or have unrealistic expectations. You've seen top players on television losing their cool in frustration, and that after many years of practice and experience.

Imagine how you will feel if not a single shot goes where you want it to go, and the frustration of other people on the course who have to wait for you. As a beginner learning the great game of golf, start off at a driving range, take at least four or five lessons, learn the fundamentals, progress to a 9-hole course and eventually venture out into the great unknown of an 18-hole golf course.

Get some lessons

For those on a tight budget, you don't have to be a member of a club to get a lesson from a Pro. The two best places to get golf lessons are at driving ranges and golf clubs itself. You will meet plenty of people at the range who will share with you the 'innermost secrets' of the game and give you some useful tips. And chances are good that many of them have started playing not long before you. Taking advise from the 'know-it-all' people at the range is not always the best way to learn though, and it can take a long time to correct your mistakes later. A good way around this is to get advice from different people and then form an objective, collective opinion.

But, if your budget allows for lessons, the best way to learn quickly and the right way is to go to a professional coach. Even the world's top players still use coaches and get lessons regularly. Certified Golf Professionals are the only people qualified to teach you how to play the game properly. These lessons might be expensive, but it is the best investment you'll ever make.

Do your homework

Books and videos are an invaluable source of information to come to grips with the basics. To build a sound golf swing, you will need to focus on the three fundamentals: Grip, stance and posture. There are some very good books and videos on the market that can help with this. You can also watch the Pro's on television or, better still, video them and play it back in slow motion. You'll be amazed at how much you can learn this way. Don't be blinded or intimidated by too much science, you're still a beginner. Stick to grip, stance and posture and you'll be on your way.

Summary

1. Don't waste your money on expensive clubs until you have reached a basic level of competency.
2. Don't go near a Golf Course until you have reached a basic level.
3. Get lessons from a qualified professional.
4. Learn the three fundamentals.
5. Watch the Pro's.
6. Practice.
7. Learn the rules of golf and basic golf etiquette.

These suggestions will hopefully help you to avoid the costly mistakes many people make. Follow the above basics and you are on your way to all the fun (and frustration) golf can offer. Enjoy!

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