New Golfers - Start Here

New Golfers Golf Swing Advice

This is the first post, and therefore the first piece of advice on the New Golfers blog. This site is primarily for new golfers just starting out and also for more experienced golfers trying to learn about golf and about different ways of correcting golf swing faults and learning the basics of golf, the most wonderful game in the world.

I live in the West Coast of Ireland, but was born and raised in the West Coast of Scotland. I am not a professional golfer and never have been, just an enthusiastic amateur golfer who has been where you are now and struggled for years to understand the vagaries of playing golf.

Golf Advice

There are a lot of myths surrounding golf that has a tendency to confuse new golfers, and in particular, the cures for many of the various faults that new and experienced golfers alike pick up along the way. Everyone, it seems, has helpful advice for you. Whether the advice works or not is a moot point. If it works then isn't your friend a golfing genius? If it does not work, then, obviously, you are applying it wrong, or not trying hard enough, or some other mundane excuse. Whatever the reason, it's your fault, it's never the advice that's wrong.

The truth is, we are all different, different golf swings, different builds, different strengths and weaknesses, different golf equipment, we also think differently. It should be no surprise to find that our golf swing faults may require different solutions too.

Here's a strange thing I've noticed...

...most golfers describe their game in terms of their faults:

"I usually...
golf slice
golf hook
golf push shot
golf pull shot
golf fade
golf draw
golf lack of consistency
golf top the ball shot".

or "I have...

golf fat shots
golf thin shots
golf weak shots
golf shanks
golf sky shots
golf no distance.

Isn't this strange?

This, of course, is the wrong way to think of your game. Focusing on your faults tends to make them worse, Golf is a mental game more than anything else, our head is our greatest asset or our greatest enemy, doubts and concerns robs us of our ability to concentrate on our golf swing, ball flight, athletic golf stance, and a multitude of other things, the very things that we should be thinking of (at least, according to the pros.)

The real point is, whatever golf fault you have, try not to dwell on it, it never helps.

Happily, almost all golf faults are fairly easily cured, more on the cure later.

Sadly, this is not the impression you get when you ask for advice. How many times is golf equipment mentioned as well as your golf swing?

Golf Basics

Let me ask you a question. What do you think is the most common mistake that most golfers make?

You can argue with me all you want, most golfers do, but it doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of new golfers fail to do just one thing.

Learn the basics! Especially the basic golf swing.

Oh, I know, a lot of you started out by taking lessons from the local pro, or friend, or relative, whatever. I've yet to find anyone that was taught the simple basics of the golf swing.

The basic golf swing is the fundamental swing that works, it is not optimized in any way, it does not produce any astounding results and does not give you a professional looking golf swing or golf score. What it does give you, is confidence, a swing that you can always reproduce, one that gives you a straight, repeatable and consistent shot, a basic golf swing that

Every new golfer's swing, in fact everyone's swing, gets out of kilter at some time, even the tour pros have trouble at times (although, for different reasons than ours,) and being able to switch to our basic golf swing when we run into difficulties is a real confidence builder, remember golf is a head game and confidence is essential.

It's not difficult, and it's not rocket science either, but new golfers fail to get to grips with the basics and then wonder why they have no consistency, lack distance, mysteriously get a golf slice or hook, or any of the other golf swing faults mentioned above. Indeed, they go on to struggle for years, trying to get golf tips to fix their golf swing, buying the latest and greatest golf equipment, taking golf lessons, when all they need is a grounding in the basic golf swing. The basics, in anything, is what is used to build on, to improve and optimize, the golf swing is no different.

Golf Swing Faults

Most golf swing faults happen when we are trying to achieve something we are not yet ready for, the worst offender is trying to increase distance well beyond our current capabilities, but trying to reproduce the golf swing that our favorite tour pro has, probably Tiger Woods or Ernie Els, is a close second for wrecking our golf swing and we need something basic to return to when this happens, unfortunately, most of us just keep struggling on trying to tweak this new swing into something miraculous.

One of the problems, and it should never be underestimated, is that we don't have the golf swing we think we have. We imagine that we have the same swing as the pros, but the reality is that we don't come close to the pros, we don't even have the movements and coordination that we imagine we have. Don't feel too bad, even the pros have this failing, you can see that in action when they teach you to do something that they themselves do, but when you watch them, they clearly don't do what they teach.

Told you, it's a head game, and this is just another aspect of it.

Golf Swing Coach

This is also one of the reasons that the pros have golf swing coaches, they can't see themselves and need these coaches to help them achieve the desired swing. We don't have that luxury, so when someone tells us what we should be doing, we happily go off and try it, at least in our heads we imagine that is what we are doing. So even if the instruction is correct, the chance of following it as described is pretty slim. "How to correct my golf swing" is one of the most sought-after tutorials in golf, the very top one is "How to cure my golf slice." In most cases the fundamental cause is over-hitting, as simple as that.

The golf swing is about control, and not power.

It starts with a proper stance, and then the golf grip before you ever get to the golf swing itself, and that can be broken down into several different facets. Another often overlooked, but fundamental, problem is balance, you will never have a working golf swing without it and it can't be stressed enough.

Oops, this post is getting a bit long now, I'll get into more specific information for new golfers in the next post. Have a look at Golfers Biggest Mistake.

To your golfing success and enjoyment.