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New to Golf? Learn From the Pros

For golf beginners, technical tips from every aspect of the sport can be a lot to drink in. But well-meaning pros often give conflicting advice: do you invest in good clubs now, or start with cheap ones? Are strategy and improvisation more valuable than technical skill? The more people you ask, the more confusing the answers get.

Luckily, some tips are universal. When it comes to clubs, for example, most experts agree that quality is a must. Bad clubs can bog down your game enough to discourage you. If cost is an issue, rent a set for the first few games, or buy a used set if you’re more serious. When you’ve gained some experience, you’re in a better position to know which clubs are most worth your money.

The same rule applies to golf aids, such as golf trainers, training mats, and instructional videos. Don’t splurge on high-end stuff just yet; rather, get into the game slowly and get to know your own strengths. You’ll be able to decide what you need later on.

It’s also important to realize, early in your career, that golf is a serious sport. Images of well-off retirees playing golf and private greens in high-end resorts make it seem leisurely next to more high-impact sports, but if you want to excel, you’ll have to put in a proportionate number of hours, just like any athlete.

That being said, the pros agree that you need to take time to relax. You don’t want to take the game so seriously that you see it as work instead of play. Don’t get riled up over a bad shot or when your opponent makes a nice move. It’s good to be competitive, but it shouldn’t get in the way of a good time. Golf should be a test of skill, not of patience.

If you’re in it for the exercise, skip the golf cart and get around on foot. Use golf carts only when the weather’s bad, or if the distances are too demanding. Most courses are very scenic–the perfect spot for a stroll!

Finally, practice good sportsmanship. All the technical prowess money can buy are worth little if you don’t get along with other players. The most successful golfers know that the competition isn’t always obvious, and that it never pays to underestimate others. That other guy may have a funny swing, but he just might give you a run for your money!

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