How To Self-Teach Golf (Ultimate Beginner’s Guide)

The various rules, golf courses, and clubs can be intimidating when teaching yourself how to play golf. While professional golf lessons are beneficial, they can be very costly and time-consuming. But if you’re like me, you’ll beat the odds and become a better golfer on your own. 

Here’s how to self-teach golf as a beginner:

  1. Pick the right clubs.
  2. Get the right ball.
  3. Learn how to play the game.
  4. Follow the basics.
  5. Use your athletic skills.
  6. Follow golf etiquette.
  7. Follow the key points.
  8. Exercise to get in golf shape.
  9. Wear the right outfit.

Working with a professional golf instructor isn’t for everyone. However, by following the proper instructions, it’s possible to learn the game of golf on your own. This article is designed specifically for self-driven individuals, to whom I present how you can self-teach golf.

1. Pick the Right Clubs

To learn how to play golf, you need to pick the right golf clubs to use. When starting out, you don’t need to carry lots of clubs in your bag. 

Instead, get yourself the following:

  • Driver
  • Sand wedge 
  • Putter
  • Fairway wood
  • 8-iron
  • 6-iron
  • Pitching wedge

I recommend these golf club types because they’re the best as far as getting airborne. While they’re expensive when brand new, you can get all of them for as little as $75 online. 

Before buying any golf gear, ask to try it so you know whether or not it’s the right fit for you. I strongly recommend that you go with a club fitting for better performance. It’ll help you discover what degree of loft is best for you to get your ball more airborne.

2. Get the Right Ball

If you’re brand-new to golf, you may lose a lot of balls, so this isn’t the time to buy the most expensive balls with all of the best features. 

I suggest purchasing balls that cost no more than $20 for a dozen. 

In case you have no idea which brands to shop for, gather a few balls to see how they compare coming off the putter face. As your skills grow, you can try balls that are better suited to your strengths or help to cover up your weaknesses.

3. Learn How To Play the Game

Now that you know the equipment necessary to start learning golf, it’s time to learn how to play. The truth is that learning golf is easy, but the tricky part is getting the courage you need to start. A great place to start learning is by registering

No matter how excited you feel about hitting a golf ball, you need to:

  • Resist the temptation to rip drivers.
  • Warm-up your golf muscles with half swings.
  • Start by hitting one of your short irons.
  • Increase the speed of your swings and length.
  • Hit some balls with the driver and short irons or a wedge.

This practice will enable you to have complete control of both your tempo and tension level while playing.

To become an excellent golf player, consider practicing wherever you are. For example, you can practice golf with wedges and putters at home. To do so, place some buckets and golf balls at various distances in your yard and then pitch balls in these buckets.  

4. Follow the Basics

You can always stick with the basics when confused about the rules. All you need to do is keep your ball position and posture in check and smoothly swing to a full finish. This way, you’ll avoid unnecessary tensions and focus on what’s important—the learning process.

You should also know the difference between chipping and pitching. You hit a chip when the shot stays low and runs across the ground, but a pitch is when the shot flies through the air instead of rolling on the ground.

When to use a chip:

  • When there’s no obstacle such as a bunker.
  • When there’s a lot of green between the hole and you.

When to use a pitch: 

  • When you need to stop the ball faster.
  • When needing to carry the ball over something.

Pitching allows the ball to land softer and stop in no time.

5. Use Your Athletic Skills

Unlike other sports, golf requires a dynamic and athletic movement, given that it’s much more mental than physical. 

Know how to position yourself when wanting to hit the ball: 

  • Your body should be coiled from top to bottom and your arm stretched back. 
  • Your wrists should stay firm, and your hands lead the clubhead into the ball.

How To Deal With the Clubhead 

When dealing with the clubhead, increase your chances of success by doing the following:

  • Tee the ball well and high.
  • Make a full-body turn by taking the club back smoothly and getting your back to face the target.
  • Swing through the ball to let it get in the way of the clubhead.
  • Hold your finish.

What’s difficult, though, is finishing in balance, which means swinging at a controllable speed. As mentioned earlier, if you feel overwhelmed or frustrated while learning, you can go back to hitting short chips shots to stay in control of your body.

The best way to hit the short chip shots is as follows:

  • Place the ball on the green and practice swinging through the ball while applying more weight to your lead foot.
  • Swing equal lengths back and through.
  • Avoid hinging your wrists on both sides as you make contact with the ball.

Then after contact, use your wrists to hinge the club upward a little longer and let your weight shift back and through. 

The video below offers some fantastic tips for new golfers:

6. Follow Golf Etiquette 

After some practice and understanding the basics, you may be invited to participate in a round of golf. Let’s talk about the essential golf etiquette you want to follow to ensure your comfort and success when playing golf with others.

Hit Only When It’s Your Turn

You don’t want to rush or lag behind when wanting to hit the golf ball. Just wait for your turn and get ready to strike. The general rule of thumb is that players take turns to hit the ball based on the best score or distance from the hole.

Yet, there are times when a group decides to allow any member ready to hit.

Another thing worth considering is the flagstick, which is removed only by a person close to the hole. You remove the flagstick when everyone else can clearly see the cup. You put the flagstick back only when the team or group leaves the green.

When To Yell “Fore!”

As short as it seems, “Fore!” stands for “Watch out,” usually said when you notice golfers hitting shots astray with the possibility of getting close to another golfer or bystander. If you’re wondering when to use the term, the answer is you can use it as soon as you realize a ball is likely to hit another person.

You can also yell “Fore right” or “Fore left,” depending on the direction in which the golf ball is heading. 

Consider Taking Care of the Course

Out of respect for the course and other players, you should do everything you can to minimize or eliminate any damage you have done to the golf course. 

To do that, you can place grass back in any divot created by a golf swing or even a golf cart. You can then press down firmly on it using your golf club or foot. Ask your team to show you if you don’t know how to fix the divots created by your golf swing.

It’s also important that you rake the sand after hitting the golf ball out of the bunker.

Stay in the Right Spot

Golfers are known for being obsessive about bystanders because they’re concerned with their safety, as getting hit by golf balls or golf clubs can be extremely painful. Aside from that, they don’t want anything to interfere with their concentration.

As a common courtesy, the best thing to do is to stay several yards behind the ball. 

Anytime you find yourself near a player preparing to hit a golf ball, move to the side and make sure you’re a reasonable distance away from those putting on the green.

7. Follow the Key Points 

Again, don’t waste your time pondering about the pesky rules of golf. This sport has so many rules that can fill up 182 pages of a book. While it’s crucial to learn and follow the basic rules, even the most experienced golfer, don’t worry too much about the unnecessary details.

Many golfers forget the rules during the game and sometimes even make them up as they’re playing. 

I’ve put together the key points you need to follow when playing the game to solve this problem:

  • Move the ball on a putting green. You can move the ball only when you realize an obstacle has gotten in the way of your game. If unsure when there’s interference with your play, ask the experienced golfer near you. When you’re on the green where you can lift the ball, be sure to mark its position using a small ball marker before moving the ball.
  • Hit your ball only. While it might feel exciting to hit another golfer’s ball when it’s near you, the best thing you can do is leave that ball. It’s not yours. Hit what’s yours only.
  • Know when to play from another hole. The only time you may play from another hole is when the ball lies in a fairway that’s not within bounds, often indicated by white stakes or lines. Unless these signs are visible, you can play from the hole near you, provided that you don’t interfere with golfers on that hole. 
  • Take turns hitting your ball. Sometimes other players can permit you to go first. Otherwise, let them play when it’s their turn. When you see no out-of-bound markers around your ball, it means you can hit a penalty and another shot from that particular hole.
  • Spend less than five minutes searching for a ball. When you hit the ball further, spend only five minutes looking for it. If you don’t find the ball, take a one-stroke penalty and continue playing within the area you took the first shot. When required to drop the ball, extend your hand at the height of your shoulder over that spot. Then, play from that spot.
  • Play within the tee. This happens when you have hit your ball within the out-of-bounds markers. In this case, you have to play from the spot where you teed off.

8. Exercise To Get in Golf Shape

Most starters fail to accelerate through the ball and are outperformed by a touring pro. If you want to excel in this game, you have to do it like the professionals, including the following: 

  • Strengthen your hip muscles.
  • Make your back stable and hamstrings flexible.

Start paying attention to these areas if you want to become a great golfer. Take care of your muscles by:

  • Walking with clubs in your bag on your back instead of riding in a golf car.
  • Preparing your muscles with dynamic stretches.
  • Swinging a leg back and forth as if you were to kick a ball.
  • Eating healthy foods such as turkey, banana, and all-bran cereal.
  • Keep your body hydrated by drinking lots of water.

When in pain, apply sunblock on the affected area. If necessary, take pain relievers, yet only under your doctor’s prescription. 

9. Wear the Right Outfit 

When learning golf, the first thing that generally comes to mind is how to teach yourself golf. Part of that’s what you need to wear to be appropriate and improve your performance. Some golf courses have strict rules and require a specific dress code. These requirements make it clear that your attire is important.

For this reason, consider getting the right outfit for the right course as indicated below:

  • Collared shirt
  • Khakis
  • Sunglasses that offer complete coverage with the ability to block UVA UVB rays.
  • Basic baseball cap
  • Good rain jacket for wet conditions
  • Dry towel
  • Sneakers that are not made for running.
  • Sunblock with an SPF of at least 30.

With the proper attire, you’ll meet the requirements of any course you’re interested in and have the opportunity to play and learn more about golf. 

Final Thoughts

Golf is a fantastic sport that is challenging, lots of fun, and is a great social activity for people of all ages. There’s no one way that everyone has to learn the game of golf. 

Technology has made learning how to play a much more tangible opportunity for almost everyone in the world. 

Even if you’re just the slightest bit curious about golf, don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to fall in love with this beautiful sport. Use this guide as a great starting point to learning the game, and keep your mind open to whatever the future may hold.  

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