There are a number of ways you can become involved in golf and start playing. A driving range is a great place to start to learn how to hit a ball and develop your swing. North Weald Golf Course has a great practice facility for all parts of your game. A Pitch and Putt / Par 3 Course is a short course where you can learn how to putt and play short shots. North Weald Par 3 is a good course to start on. You could also visit a public course, where anyone can play but check the difficulty first as you may not want to venture straight onto a full course as a beginner.
Courses which would suit a new golfer include Epping Golf Course, Theydon Bois Golf Club and Hobbs Cross Golf Centre. For more experienced players North Weald Golf Club, Loughton Golf Club and Woolston Manor in Chigwell are good choices. If you are a beginner look for your local Get into Golf Centre which offers low cost beginner group lessons.
Whether you are learning the game from scratch, coming back to the game, or simply want to improve; the best and quickest way to achieve your goals is to find a coach. This will save you a lot of time and endless frustration as golf is a difficult game to learn. In golf it is essential that you learn the correct fundamentals of the game from the beginning due to the mechanical complexities of the golf swing. This will mean that you can ingrain good habits rather than bad ones. It will be much harder to correct your bad habits after you have played for a while.
Make sure the coach is PGA qualified - The PGA is the governing body of Professional Golfers in Great Britain, Ireland and around the world. A PGA qualified professional will have had a high level of training in all parts of the game.
Have an introductory session - Most coaches will offer a discounted introductory lesson where you will meet with them and identify a plan of improvement. This will give you the opportunity to make sure their style of coaching suits you and you will both be able to get to know each other to discuss how best to proceed.
Learning as a beginner - As a beginner your aim will be to learn good fundamentals in all areas of the game. You will want to learn the basics of the set-up, how to make good contact, getting a good finish position, how to putt, etc.
Improving as an experienced player - As an experienced player you will want to identify your strengths and weaknesses so that you can understand why your game has not been improving as you would have liked. You will then need to understand why these issues are not helping your game and what the process is to correct the problem. Work on one thing at a time - Don’t feel as if you have to get everything correct straight away. If you get better at doing one thing at a time this will add up over time and result in great progress. Once you have mastered one thing you can move onto the next.
Be patient - Whether learning the game or making improvements remember golf can be a difficult game at times. Be atient when working to acquire a new move or skill. It will take time for the changes to become ingrained and for a time you may not see the results you would like. Remain committed to the process and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Ask Questions - If there is something that you do not understand or you are not seeing the result that you are looking for, ask your coach for a different view and give them your feedback.
By Matt Stables
PGA Qualified Golf Professional