Do you consider yourself a new golfer? Fairly new?
If you’re still wet behind the golfing ears, here are six rules for new golfers.
NOTE: some of these may be controversial for the “purists”. They need to get over it and let people enjoy themselves. Golf is, and always will be, about having FUN. If you aren’t having fun, what’s the chances you come back for more? We should be doing what we can to not just get more people out there, but coming back for more!
Let’s dive right in:
#1. Tee the ball up EVERYWHERE
As a new golfer, there’s nothing better than seeing your ball soar through the air. Maybe for you, hitting off the ground might not work out so well in that regard. If that’s the case, tee the ball up everywhere. The two exceptions: the green and bunkers.
When you’re just starting out, there’s no reason to beat yourself up. Tee the ball up, to boost your confidence up. As you improve- meaning, it’s becoming easier and easier to hit towering shots with all your clubs- keep the tee only for the tee box.
#2. Don’t stress about lateral and water hazards.
Yes, they’re different. Yes, each has their own specific set of “rules”. F*ck that. If you want to drop where the ball crosses the OB, fine. If you want to pick a spot somewhere between the tee box and that spot, fine. Do what’s easiest.
We ain’t out here with a $1.4M purse on the line. When you get to the point where you want to play in a serious league or in sanctioned tourneys, you might want to brush up on the rules… but for now, don’t worry about it.
#3. Don’t bother counting every single swing.
Sounds counter-intuitive, but… don’t do it. I’m talking “swings and misses”. Look, you, me, everyone within a three fairway radius knows you’re at that point in your game where breaking 100 is going to be a milestone. What difference is it if you shot a 114 (not counting whiffs) instead of a 130? Who cares? What’s the point of killing the fun of golf by doing that to yourself?
Similar to #2, when you’re in a tourney or league that’s different. But for now, cut yourself some slack.
#4. Don’t listen to every single piece of swing advice you’ll no doubt be getting on the course.
The majority of it will be issued with the best of intentions, but there’s no reason to turn your brain into a clusterf*ck of information.
When you’re just starting out, remember the PGA:
After that, don’t sweat the details. Keep it simple to start with.
#5. Don’t listen to the hecklers… and there will be hecklers.
The shitty thing about golf is, there are those asshats that forgot what it was like to be new to the game. They think they’re Tiger f’ing Woods, and look down on everyone that isn’t as “good” (using the term loosely) as they are.
Some of it will be in that passive-aggressive mumbling. Some might be loud disdain.
Stand your ground. Not having “rabbit ears” is also a good idea. As Teddy Roosevelt used to say:
Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick
Fortunately, there aren’t that many out there. It does seem that there’s always one somewhere, which can make it feel like there are too many people like that. Of course, playing with these kinds of people can be fun, too! Always try to turn a negative into a positive. Some retorts you can use:
- “Have you always had that hitch in your backswing”?
- “Do you always set up to the ball with your shoulders closed”?
- “When do you release the club?”
Get in their head. The only difference between you and them is their experience, and you can always get it. Most of those types can dish out crap… but they can’t take it. Do good, but take no shit. Get them thinking about their swing motion and they’ll soon remember what it’s like to be in your shoes.
Sounds like I’m being an asshole myself, but really, that’s something that many new golfers will face at least once during the course of a season. There’s no room for it in golf, in my opinion, so the quicker you can squash it the better.
If they’re that mean, there’s no reason to subject yourself to that kind of behavior. Maybe you’re stuck with them the rest of the round (or maybe not, if you drove separately), but you don’t have to go back and subject yourself to that again.
#6. ENJOY YOURSELF!
Golf is supposed to be FUN. Realize that, at least for now, you’re limited in all areas. We all know we have to work to improve, and that takes time. If you’re constantly berating yourself for not hitting a good shot this early in your development, that’s going to kill the fun.
To paraphrase the great Bobby Jones: you learn more in defeat than you do in victory. Don’t think of a bad shot or a bad round as something to feel defeated about… learn from it.
The fun should always come first. The rest will take care of itself.