How to Play Golf: A Step-by-Step Guide for Every Shot Type

Every year, thousands of individuals take up the game of golf. Excited and ready, these novices hit the links with new clubs only to find out very quickly that they aren’t good. In frustration, they soon cast aside their pricey clubs to the dungeon of the garage where they remain gathering dust.

Beginners fail at loving golf because they don’t take the proper steps to learn the game the right way. From choosing the right equipment to learning how to swing, beginners set themselves up for failure by hitting the gas the moment “golf fever” hits them rather than slowly understanding that the game is rewarded by persistence and patience.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to attack learning the great game of golf.

Step 1: Finding the right equipment

Beginners do not need to go out and purchase a full set of new clubs. Since these amateurs have not developed a swing yet, then there is no need for an expensive collection of clubs. That said, I understand that you will need something to hit the ball with to begin your golfing journey.

In the spirit of starting slow, I encourage all of my students to purchase five clubs. They are a 7-iron, 9-iron, 52-degree gap wedge, 56-degree sand wedge, and a putter. The swing flex on the shafts should be rated at “regular” flex although if you are over the age of 60, then it might be wise to find “senior” flex shafts.

You can find these clubs at any pro shop or superstore that sells second-hand clubs. Don’t be afraid to ask the local professional for help in locating these clubs. They will steer you in the right direction.

After you purchase your clubs, it is essential that you immediately change the grips on them. Second-hand clubs are notorious for having well-worn grips that need updating.

Step 2: Keeping the Right Mindset on the Course

Keeping a positive mindset will be the toughest step to maintain as you go through the ups and downs of learning how to swing. The first, and best, thing you can do when starting your golf journey is to find the right coach to teach you the game. You will want to choose someone who is a patient and energetic teacher.

The next area of focus for putting your mind in the right place is to encourage yourself to always have fun. Two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson grew up with an emphasis on having fun while playing and practicing golf. He challenged himself to hit over and around obstacles, such as trees, to engage himself when the game became mundane.

Finally, your mind will focus better if it is not thinking about 300 hundred things when you approach the golf ball. For that reason, it is vital that you come up with pre-shot routines for full swings and putts. The routine will put your mind on auto-pilot leaving you focused solely on the shot ahead.

Step 3 - Using a Full Swing to Hit Woods and Irons

When building a swing, it is important to remember that everything good comes from having a solid foundation. The golf swing is built from the ground up as the legs feed into the abdomen or core, and that area affects the shoulders and arms as they turn through the backswing and release during the downswing and through the impact with the golf ball.

A great stance over the golf ball begins with a flexible, yet comfortably straight back. A proper stance encourages a full turn away from the golf ball on the backswing. Feet are shoulder width apart directly under the shoulders.

Once you learn a proper grip and stance from a coach, then your focus should always be staying athletic through the swing. Strong legs coupled with a proper shoulder turn on the backswing will put you in a great position to hit the ball long and straight with your clubs, leading you to becoming a mid-handicapper.

Step 4 - Learning to Putt like a Pro

So much of putting is about the grip on the putter. There are many different ways to hold a putter that can bring success, so don’t go looking for a magic style to become a great putter. Instead, find a grip that is comfortable and works for you.

The most popular way to hold the putter is the conventional grip used by golfers like Tiger Woods. The handle of the putter lands along the bottom of the left hand as the right-hand runs parallel to the left. Both thumbs are positioned down the flat center of the actual grip on the club, and the left forefinger lays down the fingers on the right hand to provide a unified connection.

The most important thing when putting is having a calm body through the stroke. This means a still head that locks onto the golf ball and doesn’t move through impact. If you look ahead as the ball rolls off the club, you will sacrifice solid contact on the center of the putter face.

When taking the putting stroke, the shoulders stay level as they swing through the putt. Don’t take a long backswing and make sure you accelerate through the golf ball. This will assure that you don’t leave putts short of the cup.

Step 5 - How to Chip like A Pro

Chipping and putting share similarities that focus on calm bodies and firm wrists. Much like putting, chipping is about finding the right grip. Many pros use a putting-style grip that gives them more control to get the ball moving forward toward the hole.

The most important feature of the chipping stance is where the weight exists in the body. You want the weight to be moved onto the front foot so that your swing encourages contact first with the golf ball and not the ground.

Firm wrists that move the club through the golf ball help keep the club face down and into the ball. This prevents a sweeping-up motion that causes thin chips and weak shots.

Step 6 - Playing the Game the Right Way

There are few things a beginner can do to look like an old pro at the course. Always show up early to warm up on the range and putting green. It is essential to get a feel for your swing and putts heading into a round.

Know what attire is acceptable at the course you are going to play. Different clubs have different rules, and some won’t let you on the links if you are underdressed. Also, make sure you take nutritious snacks onto the course and stay hydrated to keep your energy level high and steady.

Finally, know the rules of the game and always be ready to play when it’s your turn.

If you take these tips into account, then you should slowly build a lifelong love for the great game of golf.