Putting

Putting is the most important part of golf. This is where novice golfers can easily save strokes and shoot lower scores. No matter how the golfer hits the ball on any given day, putting can save them from total collapse. There are different ways novice golfers can get better at putting. Usually, the more someone putts the better they get. One drill I like to do is a lag putting drill called the “Ladder” as it helps with speed control on longer putts. First, set up tees from 5 feet, 10 feet, 15 feet, and so on till 30 feet in a straight line. Next, put either an alignment stick or a golf club 4 feet directly behind the hole. Putt 3 balls and putt from each of the tees starting at the 5 foot tee. The game is to have all 3 balls either in or past the hole to move on but not past the alignment stick. If left short of the hole or hit it past the alignment stick you must start over from the start. It’s called the ladder drill as the golfer goes from 5 feet to 30 feet then all the way back down to 5 feet. Another drill I like to do is called “Around the World” which works on both speed control and alignment. First, set up 6 tees around the hole from 3 feet, 4 feet, and 5 feet. Next, try to make all the 3 foot putts and then pick up those six tees. Then, move to the 4 foot putts and then the 5 footers. If a putt is missed, start over on the section the novice golfer began on. Doing these drills has improved my putting significantly as I have dropped my average putts for 18 holes from 30 to 26. Doing these drills gives both novice golfers the perfect practice of speed control and helps read greens.

 

 

 

“Ladder”:                                                                                  

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“Around the World”:                                             img_0013

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Basic Rules

The rules of golf are long and complicated and it is hard to know the exact rule most of the time. Most novice golfers do not know the correct rules and will often just make them up as they go. This post will contain simple rules needed to play an official round of golf following the rules of the United States Golf Association (USGA). First, the golfer cannot have more than 14 clubs in his or her bag. This rule does not state what kind of clubs they are as each golfer can have totally different clubs. Next, when a golfer tees his or her ball up on the tee box, it must be even to or behind the tee markers or it will cause the golfer to add a 2 stroke penalty. The golfer will also have to re-hit his or her shot from behind the tee markers. Another rule most novice golfers run into on the course is what to do if they hit it in the water. First, the golfer should check and see if there is a drop zone. If there is, the golfer may drop their ball in the drop zone with a 1 stroke penalty. Also, the golfer may take 2 club lengths from the red or yellow line and then drop the ball with a 1 stroke penalty. If there is not, the golfer’s only options are to take two club lengths, re-hit their shot adding a 1 stroke penalty, or to hit a shot on a straight line with where the ball went into the water and the flag with a 1 stroke penalty. Probably the most common relief needed to be taken during a round of golf is relief from the cart path. This can only be given if the ball is resting on or near the path to where the golfer is standing on it or where the golfer’s intended swing will hit the cart path. The relief given is a free, no penalty, drop a club length from the nearest point. If a golfer loses a ball, by ways of out of bounds or on the course, the relief is a 1 stroke penalty and the golfer replays his or her shot from where they last hit it. These rules are needed to govern all golfers and to establish how to play an official round.

Drop Zone:

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Cart Path Drop:

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Equipment

There is a lot of equipment needed to play golf. This includes golf balls, clubs, tees, ball markers, and other things. It is hard for novice golfers to know what they should bring to the golf course. The rules of golf say that one must only have 14 golf clubs in their bag at a time. Usually, a golfer will carry 1 driver, 1 putter, 1 wood, either a hybrid or 3 iron, irons 4- 9, a gap and pitching wedge, and then 2 wedges. Some golfers will switch the clubs around if they feel the need to carry 2 similar clubs, but for the most part this set up remains the same. Golf clubs vary in prices depending on condition and if it was pre-owned or brand new. A new driver costs around $300- $400, irons cost $1,000 for a set, a putter could cost anywhere from $100- $400, and a wedge usually costs $100. As anyone can see, golf is an expensive game to play. The reason most people do not play golf is the cost. Next, golfers should carry tees to hit drivers, woods, and irons off of holes to get the ball in the fairway. The golfer tees up either his driver or woods on par 4s and 5s and usually tees up irons on par 3s. Carrying a golf glove is important so ones hand pressure remains the same on the club and does not slip from their hands. The golfer should carry a ball marker, or any type of coin, to mark their ball on the green for when another golfer has to putt. A novice golfer should always bring an abundance of balls to the course that ensures that he or she will finish the round. One thing that I have learned is that a golfer can never have too many golf balls. Another thing a golfer should bring to the course is spiked golf shoes. The spikes are used to ensure the golfers feet do not slip during the swing. If a golfer slips during his or her swing, the results could be disastrous. To practice, it costs $8 for about 100 range balls at Robert Trent Jones. Paying this fee every time is another reason novice golfers do not play golf. Golf is a complex sport where a lot of expensive equipment is needed to play. Without the proper equipment, a novice golfer cannot play efficiently.

My Golf Bag:

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Course Management

Course management is an important part of the golf game for novice golfers. A golfer should not always hit driver on every hole. If the hole is tight with water, bunkers, or trees, the golfer may want to hit a club they know they can hit in the fairway. The professional golfers usually do this as they know it is more important to hit it in the fairway than to hit a drive 300 yards. Most golfers play a practice round before a tournament to figure out which clubs they should hit off each tee. A common misconception is that professional golfers hit every shot perfect. That is wrong. Professional golfers know they will not hit every shot perfect and instead play for their miss. This allows the golfer to not hit their shot into trouble and make a bad score that could ruin their entire round. Another good thing that most good golfers do is they lay up to the perfect yardage. On a par 5, they usually hit a club on their second shot that gives them their “perfect number.” This allows the golfer to be able to hit their ball on the green close to the hole. A novice golfer should try to not make any score worse than a bogey in any round of golf. This will allow the golfer to try and make one birdie which will cancel out the bogey. This allows the golfer to shoot close to par. Limiting the damage is probably the most important aspect of golf. Lag putting is a good tool to have as you can easy save strokes by hitting only 2 putts on every green. The golfer should try to envision a 5 foot ring circling the hole and to try and hit it inside this. The golfer thinking his or her way around the golf course can save strokes and make them shoot a better score.

3 wood off of a tee:

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Sand Bunkers

Hitting shots out of sand bunkers scares the majority of novice golfers. It is what most golfers tend to practice the least. It is a difficult part of the golf game, but golfers see them on almost every golf hole. The most important thing to know when dealing with the bunker is the rules. First, the golfer cannot make contact with the sand or touch the sand with their club until they hit their shot. If the golfer makes a practice swing, they must not touch any sand with their club. If they do this and touch the sand, a 2 stroke penalty will be added to their score. Bunker shots are typically the hardest shot for novice golfers as they do not know the proper technique. Many try to set up just like a full shot which is incorrect and can cause them to not be able to get the ball out of the bunker. In a bunker, golfers should have their feet and hips open to the target while having their face open too. They then swing along their feet line with the open face and this allows the ball to come out in the middle of the two which should be at the intended target. The combination of open feet and club allows the ball to get high in the air while also having the correct distance.

One drill I like to do is called the “V Drill.” I put the ball in the bunker and in front of the ball draw a line in the sand of where I want the ball to go. Then, I make a line that is open to the right and to the left. I must make sure these lines are equidistant from the center line for this drill to work. Next, I set up my feet on the line going left, my club face on the line to the right, and then swing on the line to the left. This will cause the shot to go down the center line towards the hole. Doing this drill will allow novice golfers to become more consistent out of the bunker.

 

“V Drill”:

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Chipping

A crucial part of golf is to be able to limit the damage and fix mistakes when a golfer messes up. Chipping plays a crucial role in that. If someone hits the ball awful on any given day, they are still able to shoot a good score if they can chip well. Chipping can either save someone’s round or cause it to explode in their face. The ability to chip and to have different types of shots is a great thing. It frees up a golfer’s swing as they know they can hit the ball anywhere but still be able to get up and down. It frees up their putting as they are able to have many looks at birdie and par. There are many different drills novice golfers can do to improve their chipping. A drill I like to do is called “Pin Point.” What the golfer does is they find a hole they like, sit a couple of balls off the green, and then put a tee where they want to land the ball to allow it to roll out to the pin. The position of this tee can be changed based on how high or low they are trying to hit the shot or if they realize they put it in the wrong place. I like to hit 5 balls at 10 different pins using this drill and keep score. If a ball lands close to the tee it’s 3 points, within 3 feet 2 points, and outside 7 feet 1 point. The total score one can make on the game is 150 points. Usually, a good score on this game is around 90. Another drill I like to do is a game for 3 people. The game is called “21.” First, decide who will pick the first shot and then everyone hits it from the same spot. The closest to the hole gets 3 points, second closest 2 points, and last gets 1 point. The winner of the hole picks a new spot and different hole and this continues until someone gets to 21 points. Being comfortable around the greens gives novice golfers confidence in every aspect of golf and allows them to shoot lower scores.

“Pin Point”:

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Hitting

Hitting is the best part of golf. Golfers can hit the little white ball as hard as they want and watch it sail into the sky. Nothing beats the feeling novice golfers get when they hit a great shot. Hitting a shot like that under pressure, and not just on the driving range, takes a lot of practice and commitment. On the days when golfers are hitting the ball well, they feel as though they cannot miss a shot. Inversely, when they have a bad ball striking day it feels like nothing can go their way. It begins to feed into their mental mindset and starts to negatively affect their chipping and putting. There are different ways to improve ball striking and one of those is to just hit balls every day. Like anything else, people cannot improve at it unless they do it a lot. The more repetition, the better. The problem most novice golfers run into is that they want to hit driver a lot. It goes the farthest and is the most fun to hit. Hitting drivers actually does nothing for their golf game as is the hardest club to hit. Most novice golfers should start with a 7 iron and learn the basics before moving to longer clubs. What separates good and bad ball strikers is consistency. The good ball strikers always have the same ball placement and stance width. This allows good ball strikers to be able to repeat their golf swings more often than not. A drill I do a lot that works on consistent ball placement and stance width is called the “T Drill.” What the golfer does is set up an alignment stick pointing to where they want to hit the ball. Next, the golfer adds an additional alignment stick perpendicular to the other one. This alignment stick is used for ball position. The golfer puts the ball at the end of the alignment stick and then spreads his or her feet to where the alignment stick corresponds to the correct ball placement. I like to use a 7 iron as the alignment stick would be in the middle of the stance. This drill allows novice golfers to get comfortable in the correct set-up.

 

“T Drill”:

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