The good news is that many people start golfing successfully as adults without ever having hit a driver before. “It’s one of the few sports you can start at any age,” says Charlie Carswell, PGA, owner of Carswell Golf in Waynesville, North Carolina. “It doesn’t matter if you’re five or 55, golf is a game that doesn’t have as many physical limitations as other sports.”
Also, while golf is a game you can choose to play against opponents, it is really an individual sport. “Sure, you can play with other players, but the way you play doesn’t affect them,” says Carswell. “You can have fun with it and compete only with yourself.” Translation: Don’t worry about whether the grass is greener on someone else’s fairway, just focus on yourself and developing new skills.
What are the benefits of golf?
The benefits of playing golf go beyond having fun and enjoying the outdoors. “From the physical side, walking the course is a great way to start the day,” says Dustin Irwin, PGA, club director at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego, adding that carrying your golf bag and clubs around you further increases your energy expenditure. “Mentally, the quality time you spend in nature and with friends and family is priceless.”
Do you have to be in shape to play golf?
In a word, no. Golf is a relatively low-impact sport that is not particularly taxing on your cardiorespiratory system. That said, mobility and strength will make playing golf easier and more fun, so working on increasing your range of motion, speed, and strength can help you move forward.
But if you’re just beginning your fitness journey, or if you have physical limitations, there are ways to make the game of golf more accessible and less physically demanding. For example, you can ride a golf cart instead of walking the course, and you can play nine holes instead of 18. “If your health is not optimal and you need some adaptations, you can opt for a golf cart instead of walk or tee shot closer to the hole,” adds Carswell.
“Ultimately, you get to decide how much energy you exert and how you physically hit the ball,” he says. “Unlike other sports where you need high endurance to perform optimally, you can start where you are and get fitter as you practice and progress. Golf can actually be a really fun way to kickstart your fitness journey.”
Exercises to improve your golf game
While you don’t need to be in shape to play golf, focusing on flexibility, mobility, and strengthening exercises will go a long way toward reducing your risk of injury and improving your golf swing. “There are plenty of exercises you can do that don’t require a gym membership or any equipment,” explains Irwin. “Push-ups, medicine ball core rotations, incline dumbbell or cable rows, and handstands are some that can be done from the comfort of your own home.”
For more guidance, you can start with this quick full-body mobility exercise:
Carswell also suggests looking into golf training programs like Orange Whip, emphasizing the importance of stretching before teeing off. “A simple triceps stretch, doing lower back twists, and using the club on your upper back and shoulders while stretching your hamstrings are great, low-key stretches to do on the course,” he says. the.
Common mistakes beginners make when playing golf
1. Swinging clubs too hard
Carswell says this is a common mistake new golfers make in thinking that power will improve their performance. “That will make it harder to play golf and it’s a good way to get injured,” he explains. “All beginners have to do is have a nice smooth rhythm and the ball will go that far.”
2. Using sticks that are too stiff
A looser shaft would be better, but this is a hard mistake to spot when you’re new and still figuring out your flow and shape, says Carswell. “Unfortunately, it’s kind of like a trap 22, because while it has a huge impact on the swing, when you’re new to the game, you don’t really know who’s to blame, you just know you’re hitting it. wrong,” he explains. So if all else seems correct, consider your clubs.
3. Taking your eyes off the ball too soon
It seems obvious, but Carswell says a lot of people watch where the ball is going before hitting it. “Instead, golfers should keep their heads down until just after contact,” he says.
4. Not sticking to beginner courses
It can be tempting to want to level up faster than your skill set allows, and Irwin says he sees a lot of new golfers trying to play advanced courses and distances that aren’t appropriate for beginners. “If you’re new to skiing, chances are you won’t hit the black diamond trail in your first run, same thought process for golf. Crawl, walk, jog, run,” he advises.
Golf tips for beginners to improve your form
When it comes to improving your golf game, Irwin says his best advice is to “see your local PGA pro to familiarize yourself with the game and etiquette to ensure you start off on the right foot.” One of the first things that he will probably teach him is the importance of the BPGA acronym if he wants to become a better golfer. What represents:
Longer sticks are played closer to your front foot and work towards the middle of your stance for shorter sticks. The use of alignment rods can help.
Slightly tilt your hips, bend your knees slightly, and let your arms hang naturally.
“The only part of your body that touches the club is your hands, so the grip is very important,” explains Irwin. “I recommend a slightly tighter grip (for a right-handed golfer) to help square the clubface.”
“You can hit a perfect shot, but if your alignment is wrong, you won’t hit the target,” says Irwin. “Use alignment rods to help with your aim and ball position.”
Another thing that’s important for beginning golfers to keep in mind, according to Carswell, is to start closer to the hole and then work back as you feel you’re improving. “When I teach first-time golfers, we start to learn the basics of putting and chipping. Then as they get into that part of the game, we get further away from the hole at 50 yards, then 100 yards, then 125 yards, and so on,” he explains. “The reason to start close and work your way back is that nearly 70 percent of your score comes from 100 yards or closer to the hole.”
Food to go
Golf is one of the most popular sports in the US and part of that reason is that anyone, at any age, can start playing. It’s a low-impact physical activity that you don’t need to be fit to start playing, although walking will likely help you improve your fitness.
In terms of golf tips for beginners: “Have fun and go in with the right expectations,” says Carswell. “You are not Tiger Woods…yet. Join a beginner golf clinic to get the basics of a golf swing, then join a nine-hole league to meet new people and put your skills to work. As in everything, practice makes [you] better, and playing golf is a great way to get outside, get your body moving, learn something new, and connect with others.”
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