Beginners Guide to the Driving Range
Golf is Hard and For Most Beginners Feeling Embarrassed Is Normal
As a complete beginner, the game of golf can seem to be an extremely difficult sport, with many believing the sheer technicality of the game to be almost impossible to master. Due to this seemingly unreachable level, many beginners will try to avoid heading to the practice ground or driving range for fear of embarrassing themselves in front of other golfers. This embarrassment is easily felt when they line up next to a golfer that has much more experience and hits ball after ball down the center of the driving range with what appears to be little or no effort at all.
The beginner can often feel inferior and will try to hide away amongst the golfers that frequent the driving range in the search of the secret that is missing from their game. This approach is why so many beginners fall at the very first hurdle. It is however something that can be overcome with some very simple thought processes and the introductory golf lessons, something that I always recommend that a beginner does as soon as possible so that they can get a good grounding for the future. Should you begin your journey in golf alone, then you need to be aware of two very important things:
Two Very Important Things to Remember
- You will be starting a game that requires very good fundamentals, which will take time to learn. Trying to learn these things on your own could be very time consuming, frustrating and detrimental.
- The other golfers on the driving range, of whom you as a complete beginner are embarrassed to be in front of, also began the game at the very same point that you did. They too felt embarrassed and nervous when surrounded by other more experienced golfers. They too missed the ball when they were trying so hard to hit it, they too felt as though they would never be able to get to grips with the technique and the swing that is required to play good golf.
Once you have taken these things into account you are ready to head down to the range for the first time!
Beginners Guide to the Driving Range
- The Ball Machine: At each driving range you will either purchase buckets or baskets of balls from the service counter, or find a ball machine from which you get the required number of balls, the majority of the time these machines function with coins. Some will require a token that you would need to purchase from the professional shop and some will allow the use of a prepaid card, which you would also be able to pick up from the pro shop.
- Put the Basket Under the Chute: One word of advice when you purchase your first basket of balls……Make sure you place the basket under the exit chute, golf balls can bounce everywhere and there is nothing worse than having to run round picking up the balls as other golfers stand by waiting to use the machine.
- Use an Iron First: I would highly recommend that you begin using an iron such as a 7 or an 8 iron, as these are generally considered the easy clubs to learn with. As I mentioned before the fundamentals are key to being able to hit the golf ball and you should look to ensure that you get your body into a good position to give yourself the best chance at hitting the ball.
- Ignore the Tee For Now: You may find it easier hitting from one of the plastic tees that you will find on the range mats, but I strongly suggest that you hit from the mat, until you begin to use the fairway woods and driver. When you progress to these clubs make sure that the height of the tee is correct, for the fairway woods you will need to use the smallest (or shortest) tee that is available and for the driver, especially if it is a modern day driver the largest (or longest) to aid you to get the ball airborne.
- Trying to Hit Too Hard Doesn't Work: the biggest tip I can give you: Do not try to hit the ball too hard, this may sound like a simple thing to say, but it is one of the most common errors that beginners make when they head to the driving range. Men especially will struggle with this as they will try and muscle it as far as they can. Avoid the temptation to do so as it will cause untold problems.
- Move Your Body to Swing the Club: The movement is very similar to that of throwing a ball underarm or a two handed swing with a tennis racket with the body rotating away from the target and back towards the target. The body should in the beginning work as a single unit. You need to remain relaxed throughout and I suggest beginning with half swings. This is a position, from a face on view will create an “L” shape with your target arm (left) and the shaft of the golf club.
- Grip the Club Comfortably: One of the most talked about aspects of golf for beginners is how to hold the club or the grip. In the first instance the only thing that I suggest is that you choose a grip that is comfortable for you, it can be changed at a later date if needed. For a right hander it is imperative that you place your target hand (left) at the top of the grip and you non target hand at the bottom. They should be joined together, either touching as in a baseball grip, with the little finger and index finger interlocked, or the little finger riding piggy back on the index finger. You can choose the most comfortable for you.
- Stand Ready: The posture or position that you need to strive to achieve is similar to that of a goalkeeper attempting to save a penalty or that of a tennis player waiting to receive serve. It is an athletic position that allows for freedom in the movement. You should try to be as relaxed as possible as tension affects your chances of making a good swing.
- Beware of Free Advice: You are more than likely to encounter another golfer that will note your struggles and be willing to offer you advice. This should be taken graciously but not followed as a general rule, as it may not pertain to the needs of your golf swing.
- Lessons Do Help: I do truly believe that all golfers should begin with lessons from a professional who can guide you in the right direction; this doesn’t have to be a long term relationship a couple of lessons should be sufficient to set you on your way to a life time of golf.