Golf For Beginners: Top 10 Mistakes

As a part of our Golf For Beginners series, I decided to write a post about what I believe are some of the top mistakes a beginner golfer can make. Look when beginning there are a lot of factors to consider and it’s not always easy to prioritize what should come first or what to work on first. I remember when I started I just wanted to go to the range and hit golf balls, I literally hit hundreds of balls a day and because I thought I was sort of athletic I didn’t see the need for any I got stuck with a my “natural” swing which was pretty awkward to say the least; and it really took a lot of effort to correct later on. So this list serves as basically what I wish I knew before jumping in head over heals..

1.  Listening to every single piece of advice you hear..

Listening to advice is often beneficial to your continual journey of improvement. However, trying to listen to all the advice you may hear will end up confusing you more than you can ever imagine, so take what you hear with a grain of salt and instead focus on your training from a specific source.

2.  Heading to the range without taking lessons

This is probably my biggest mistakes I made, golf lessons are without doubt the most important aspect when starting out in golf and your best investment early on. It helps you avoid getting into bad habits which then take much longer to correct when you do decide to see a professional. So best catch those bad habits early on and build a correct swing from the get go..

Golf lessons can be expensive, so it is important to get as much value from these lessons as possible; I wrote about golf practice mats and golf hitting nets in previous posts and makes practicing at home that much easier..

3. Starting with the full swing

Even those of us that head to a professionals from the start, still suffer with the urge to head straight into the full swing.

You need to learn the game from close to the hole.

The first area of the game you should begin to learn is putting. It will serve you well if you gain confidence in this area.

A great idea is to begin with the “Compass drill”:

Set up 3 balls, spaced at 1-foot intervals on each point of the compass. Starting with the balls closest to the hole, hole each ball and then move to the next “range” of balls.

A seemingly “laborious” task, but becoming proficient in holing short putts will provide you with a huge advantage on the golf course.

4. Buying equipment in the wrong order

This may seem like a stupid point, but I have seen so many want to-be golfers purchase a set of clubs and head to their first range or lesson session with a huge Cheshire cat grin on their face.

It is my belief, through experience, that you should purchase a pair of quality golf shoes as your first major purchase.

Wearing a pair of good golf shoes, compared to trainers, makes a huge difference.

So hold on to those hand me down clubs you got from your uncle’s cousin’s brother..for now

5. Joining a club

Don’t go out and pay for an expensive membership before you have actually played golf for a few months..

I mean, spending a few thousand dollars on a membership and then giving up the game is just plain crazy.

Go and spend some time on the range with a pro, then head to the course with some friends and see how you take to the game.

Once you know that you are hooked, then look for the best club for your requirements.

6. Avoiding tournaments.

Many golfers that are new to the game, avoid playing competitions because they feel they are not ready to test their newly gained skills against more accomplished golfers.

I say rubbish, as soon as you are able to participate in tournaments do it. You will regret it if you don´t and I can promise you will love it if you do..

7. Purchasing the best that money can buy

Much like the thought of joining a golf club, you do not want to spend a huge amount on golf equipment until you are 100% sure you are going to challenge yourself to improve and continue on your journey.

Golf equipment can be expensive, but there is not a huge amount of difference between the very, very best and the budget range of golf clubs available. I am talking on the beginners level here, you will not as a beginner gain anything from having a set of clubs worth 2000$ against a set of clubs that cost you 500$.

8. Start to play golf because your partner or friends want you to

Perhaps an obvious statement, but the number of people that begin playing golf under obligation is growing.

Golf is a sport that requires a dedication to improvement, if you feel obliged to play the game then it is not the game for you.

You have to want to play the game, and unlike many other pastimes, if you don´t “want” to do it golf is very difficult to appreciate.

9. Trying to hit the ball too hard

This is a typical error made by beginners, the thought process is simple, swing harder and hit it further. Unfortunately this is so far from the truth that golfers are seemingly bamboozled by the very idea of hitting the ball less aggressively to achieve more distance.


Try the following drill;

Play ten balls with your “normal” swing and record the distances you reached. Take the lowest and highest figures away and work out the average.

Now, do the same thing, but with a swing that you feel is only 70% of your “normal” swing. Take the average in the same way and see what the difference is…I think you may be surprised

10. Believing the biggest myth in golf..

I have mentioned you want to avoid trying to listen to all the advice you get, but there is one thing above all that you should ignore.

“You lifted your head” or “you looked to see where you hit it before you hit it”

This is absolute codswallop.

You cannot lift your head.

Instead you make a movement with the body that creates the “image” that you are lifting your head.

Please, do not listen to this advice. You will do more damage to your game trying to “keep your head down” or to “keep looking at the ball”.

Starting out in golf is not an easy road, but it can be extremely rewarding.

Enjoy yourself and remember that golf is a game and we play games to have fun.

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Peter Jones Author

Hi There! I'm a husband and father and love a good game of golf over the weekends..when I get time. I like playing and not taking the game too seriously; after all it's there for us to have fun. Although it does seem to be more fun when you're breaking 90.. :)