golf is a popular sport – nearly 25 million Americans practiced it in 2020, an all-time high – and a great way to get some fresh air while being physically active. Still, taking on the slack can be daunting for those who haven’t played before – deciphering which clubs to use when, navigating more than nine holes, and assuming proper etiquette is standard for the course.

The good news is that many people start playing golf successfully as adults, having never used a driver before. “It’s one of the only 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 5 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 truly an individual sport. “You can have fun with it and compete only with yourself.” Translation: don’t worry if the grass is greener on someone else’s fairway, just focus on yourself and learn new skills.

What are the benefits of golf?

The benefits of playing golf go beyond just having fun and enjoying the fresh air. “From a physical perspective, walking the course is a great way to take your first steps for the day,” says Dustin Irwin, PGA, Club Manager of Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in San Diego, who adds that carrying your golf bag and clubs around further increases your energy expenditure. “From a mental perspective, the quality time you spend in nature, with your friends and family is priceless.”

Do you have to be in good shape to play golf?

In a word, no. Golf is a relatively low-impact sport that does not particularly tax your cardiorespiratory system. That said, mobility and strength will make golf easier and more fun, so working on increasing your range of motion, speed and strength can help you progress.

But if you’re just beginning your fitness journey or have physical limitations, there are ways to make the game of golf more accessible and less physically demanding. For example, you can ride in a golf cart instead of walking on the course, and you can play nine holes instead of 18. play closer to the hole,” adds Carswell.

“At the end of the day, you decide how much energy you exert and how you physically swing towards 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 super fun way to propel you through your fitness journey.

Exercises to improve your golf game

Although you don’t need to be in great shape to play golf, focusing on flexibility, mobility, and strengthening exercises will go a long way to reducing injury risk and improving your golf swing. “There are plenty of exercises you can do that don’t require a gym membership or equipment,” says Irwin. “Pushups, medicine ball core rotations, bent over rows using dumbbells or cables, and hand walks are a few that can be done from the comfort of your home.”

For more tips, you can start with this quick full-body mobility workout:

Carswell also suggests looking at golf training programs like Orange Whip and stresses the importance of stretching before you start. “A simple tricep stretch, lower back twists, and using the golf club on your upper back and shoulders while doing hamstring stretches are all great low-key stretches to do on the course. “, he says.

Common Mistakes Beginners Make While Playing Golf

1. Swinging clubs too hard

Carswell says it’s a common mistake new golfers make, thinking power will improve their performance. “It will make it more difficult to play golf and it’s a good way to get injured,” he explains. “All beginners need to do is get a good flowing rhythm and the ball will go that far.”

2. Using clubs that are too stiff

A more flexible shaft would be better, but that’s a tricky mistake to remember when you’re new and still figuring out your flow and shape, says Carswell. “Unfortunately it’s a bit of a 22 hitch because although it has a big impact on the swing, when you’re new to the game you don’t really know it’s the culprit – you just know you’re the culprit. hit bad,” he explains. So if everything else looks okay, consider your clubs.

3. Taking your eyes off the ball too soon

It sounds obvious, but Carswell says a lot of people watch where the ball is going before they hit it. “Instead, golfers should keep their heads down right after making contact,” he says.

4. Not Sticking to Beginner Classes

It can be tempting to want to level up faster than your skills allow, and Irwin says he sees many new golfers trying to play advanced courses and distances that aren’t suitable for beginners. “If you’re new to skiing, you’re probably not going to hit the black diamond run on your first run. Same thought process for golf. Crawl, walk, run, 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 “seek out 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 they’ll probably teach you is the importance of the acronym BPGA if you want to become a better golfer. This means:

ball stance

Longer clubs are played closer to your front foot and work towards the middle of your stance for shorter clubs. Using alignment rods can help.


Hinge slightly at the hips, bend your knees a little and let your arms hang down naturally.

To input

“The only part of your body that touches the club are your hands, so grip is very important,” says Irwin. “I recommend a slightly stronger grip (for a right-handed golfer) to help adjust the clubface.”


“You can get a perfect shot, but if your alignment is wrong, you won’t hit the target,” says Irwin. “Use alignment rods to help you aim and position the ball.”

Another important thing for beginner golfers to keep in mind, according to Carswell, is to start closer to the hole and then back off as you feel you are improving. “When I teach beginner golfers, we start learning the basics of putting and chipping. Then as they complete that part of the game, we move away from the hole 50 yards, then 100 yards, then 125 yards, and so on,” he explains. “The reason for starting close and going back is that almost 70% of your score comes from 100 yards or more of the hole.

The take-out sale

Golf is one of the most popular sports in the United States and part of that reason is that anyone at any age can start playing. It’s a low-impact physical activity and one that you don’t need to be in good shape to start playing, although the walking it involves will likely help improve your fitness.

In terms of golf advice for beginners: “Have fun and meet the right expectations,” says Carswell. “You’re not Tiger Woods…yet. Join a beginner golf clinic to learn the basics of a golf swing, then join a nine-hole league to meet new people and put your skills to good use. As with everything, practice makes [you] better, and playing golf is a great way to get outside, move your body, learn something new, and connect with others.

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