What are the most common issues you encounter with beginning golfers?
Be Better at the Basics
The most common issues I encounter with beginning golfers are faulty grip, poor posture and bad sense of alignment. It is not that they are not good with the basics, but most newer golfers are either unaware of the proper check points or have been misguided by a friend or family member.
With newer golfers, I always explain the importance of starting with proper fundamentals. I stress that starting off with good principals will allow them to achieve success and enjoy the game. It’s like Vince Lombardi used to say to his players ” …concentrate on becoming brilliant at the basics”.
Golf's a Target Game
The biggest issue I am asking most all my clients to work on and make as perfect as possible is their aim and alignment to their intended target. With all shots!
Golf is a game of targets. And if you’re not aimed properly to your target, you significantly reduce your ability to hit your target. Being aimed just 3° off your intended target at 150yds can cause your ball to land as much as 8 yards off target. This will cause your brain to program a “compensation” within your swing. Why? To accommodate the poor aim. Because every swing your brain knows the bottom line is to get the white ball to the intended target, regardless of where you’re aimed.
Check out this simple video to understand how to properly aim for all shots.
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Fix your takeaway for a better swing
The most common issue I find for beginning golfers is not the set up or even rotation. It is how to start the golf swing and take the club away properly. Without a proper takeaway we have no chance at a great golf swing.
We want to feel connected with the golf club as we take it back and to the top. No rolling of the wrist or lifting of the club and our body.
At the halfway point of your backswing you should be able to take your trail arm hand off the club without moving the club and shake someone’s hand.
Below is a link on a short video showing you how to fix that takeaway.
A Couple Big Common Issues
Here are the 2 most common problems I see with beginner golfers.
The first is the slice. It is a common problem amongst many beginners because most beginner golfers don’t usually know how to grip the club properly, which has a direct affect on club face angle through impact and side spin.
The second most common problem I’ve seen with beginner golfers is topping the ball. This is a really common problem with beginners (maybe even more common than the slice) simply because they just haven’t developed the hand-eye coordination skills yet to deliver the club head into the ball first and then the ground with each and every swing, except for the driver.
I strongly recommend if you’re picking up the game for the first time that you take lessons right away with an experienced and trained teaching professional in your area (with several good reviews) to avoid having to deal with these two very common issues that many beginners have to face. It should make golf more enjoyable, speed up your progress and greatly reduce your struggles towards playing better golf. Good luck and may you also go low!
Educate and Welcome Beginners
Beginners need two things: First to be welcomed at facilities and made to feel comfortable. Second, they need to educated as to some basics of the game if wanting to go play. For example know the importance of playing without delay, searching for balls, putting out and picking up. They also need to know the they don’t have to play by the traditional rules. The only rule should be to have fun and be courteous to other players (mainly by playing at a quick pace).
Most beginners I see will do the right thing if they are just taught to do so. We need to seek them out, thank them for wanting to participate in this great game and take the time to share with them. That includes recommending professional instruction – a great opportunity to grow business and the game!
It all starts with a solid foundation
I have never given a first time lesson (especially to a beginning golfer) and not addressed a grip and or posture issue. Beginning golfers try all the time to keep their heads still or down (which is total nonsense). Most beginning golfers also try to keep their arms very straight (which leads to very rigid stiff arms). By getting someone into good posture and a grip that is more into the fingers and not in the palms we fix both of the above issues and it is amazing how quickly the ball gets into the air and flies straight. Teach a beginning golfer how to put hook spin on a golf ball and they will have a lot of fun and you will have a student for life. You cannot hit it straight until you learn to put hook spin on a ball first.
Reboot Your "Computer"
Too often, the beginning golfer comes to the lesson tee overloaded with bad information and the idea that a golf swing is a series of “must” positions to achieve that they’ve learned from well meaning friends/spouses. It would serve most quite well to accept the adage, “Everything you know is wrong!” when it comes to well-intentioned, but wrong advice friends tell them about golf. The golf swing is NOT a “paint by numbers” proposition for the beginning to advanced player. It is a motion. As Bobby Jones wrote, “one flowing motion”. Teach motion first. We’ll have significantly fewer details to work out later if the basic swing motion is learned first.
Most amateurs who’ve had a taste of golf get sucked into the thought that there’s a perfect way to swing to club. I try to impress on amateurs interested in improving that often the one piece of the swing they neglect is to take advantage of the skills they already possess, rather than trying to fit into a certain mold of motion. You could have a student with great flexibility that tries to box themselves into a restricted positions. You could have a student with exceptional hand-eye coordination that tries to robotically achieve static positions rather than feel the weight of the club as it moves.
Great teachers, whether in golf or the classroom, try to find what students are good at and modify their instruction methods to students to get the best out of each individual by how they learn, and what they’re already good at. If you’re an amateur taking a lesson and the teacher doesn’t take these things into consideration, there are teachers out there who will. Oftentimes, your gut instinct can be more productive than an instructors’ philosophy. There’s so many great golf instructors in the world, find one who fits you, and cares about your success more than their success.
Where am I and where am I going?
The biggest issue I encounter with beginners is how uncomfortable and uninviting a golf course atmosphere can be. Not knowing where the golf shop, practice facilities, first tee, and most importantly bathrooms can be a huge issue. Please know that all golf professionals want and need business so any questions that lead to you being more comfortable and more likely to return to the facility are more than welcomed.
One of the most common issues I see with beginners and also higher handicap players is proper lower body movement.
I believe the lower body movement is very similar to the motion of throwing a ball. Hogan described it as skipping a stone, or I would say throwing side arm. To many players either don’t use the lower body at all or they use it in reverse. They lean forward on the backswing then rock backwards on the forward swing.
In a proper weight shift the weight will load onto the trail leg on the backswing and move towards the lead leg on the forward swing.
Poor concepts of how a golf swing is suppose to get a ball in the air and moving at a target is the greatest hinderance to good results. They believe the ball is “lifted” into the air by the club in a scooping motion. They also believe the ball should fly straight. They need to learn that the low point of a swing is in front of the ball and the shaft has forward lean at impact causing the ground to act as a launching pad for the ball.
Keep it simple
Most beginners swing with their arms, instead of rotating to shift their weight. (Back to the target and belt to the target.) That brings us to #2…They think more about the backswing than the delivery. You see some great players with unusual backswings but they swing to the target line and finish in balance.
I don't have golf clubs
With Covid 19 and more people taking golf lessons people are showing up with no clubs. As a fitter too I recommend the box set to get people get off the ground. If working with someone for 2 years guide the client to an upgrade.