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Take a ball, swing it as hard as you can, and repeat until it goes down a hole. These three steps make up the entire premise of golf. As easy as this sounds, though, it’s anything but.

If pros throwing tantrums on the course mean anything, it’s that you don’t always get your way in golf. You can be in perfect form, but the ball refuses to leave the tee or flies shorter than you expect. Sometimes, the weather and terrain can screw your attempts at a birdie or par. Have you ever tried getting a ball to take off from a sand trap? It’s an experience that frustrates even pros.

However, just because the odds are stacked against you doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get better in the sport. Sure, there’s little anyone can do to make the weather and terrain more favorable to them. The next best thing is training as much as possible. Consider the following tips on getting better at this challenging sport.

1.Learn to Keep a Cool Head

The most crucial thing to keep in mind about golf is that it’s as much of a mental sport as it’s physical. Ironically, a sport that’s supposed to help you unwind after a rough day or week has ways to frustrate you to no end. The resulting tantrum or meltdown can affect you for the rest of your game, perhaps later deciding not to play golf again.

If you made a bad swing, particularly a shank, don’t mind it too much; it happens to amateurs and pros. Trust in the hours you put into training and make the next swing count. To quote one article on the subject: ‘If you’re having a strong reaction to one golf shot, whether it’s a great one or a terrible one, you’ve already lost.’ (1)

A cool head is also vital in making good judgment calls, especially when covering the last yards to the hole. You can improve your putting with these tips, which include estimating the distance, assessing the terrain, and taking the proper stance.

2. Grasp the Basics First

Johnny Miller, a golf Hall-of-Famer, once taught the sport to his children by having them swing balls into a pond. There wasn’t any in-depth discussion on deep swing theory or other technical stuff; he just let the kids play. (2)

Most people think that every successful pro has some secret sauce for scoring birdies or hole-in-ones. But for most of the time, it’s all a matter of getting the basics right. Swinging your club a hundred times every day can get repetitive, but it helps develop the connection you need to make the best hits. Once you master it, refining the technique will come naturally. (2)

Practicing simple movements also helps identify areas where you’re having problems, such as the correct stance. Golf is a matter of consistency, and winning involves maintaining it as much as possible. Consider practicing at least six hours a day, even better with a good coach. (3)

3. Invest in the Right Equipment

As financially painful as it sounds, golf is an expensive sport. One round (playing on 18 holes) can cost on average over USD$60, excluding amenities such as golf cart and club rentals. Be prepared to spend more if you’re considering making golf into a full-time career. (4)

Nevertheless, proper gear is essential in playing the sport, from distance finders to divot tools. If you want to know what’s the most necessary, it’s likely the putter. The right one for you depends on your stance and play style, so there’s no one-size-fits-all putter. 

There’s no need to buy everything in a golfer’s laundry list right away. Prioritize getting the best clubs to get started.

4. You’re Never Too Old

If you happen to be pushing 40 or 50 while reading this and think it’s impossible, here’s some good news for you. At 50 years old, Phil Mickelson has become the oldest golfer to win a major, specifically the recently-concluded PGA Championship. Liked by fellow golfers and fans alike, Mickelson is proof that enjoying golf has no age limit. (5)

Of course, winning a major requires one to start young. With the proper diet and fitness routine, anyone can swing strokes and leave feeling like a winner.

Conclusion

These secrets may not sound like secrets at all, but many players tend to forget the basics. Golf has one of the steepest learning curves among the other sports. While it won’t eliminate the sources of frustration on the course, taking these tips to heart can mitigate how much they can affect your game. 

Sources:

  1. “Emotional Rescue: Learning how to use — not lose — your mind on the course,” https://golf.com/news/will-leitch-dont-lose-mind-course/ 
  2. “A Beginner’s Golf Guide: What every new golfer should know when picking up the game,” https://www.golfdigest.com/story/the-complete-beginner-s-guide-to-golf 
  3. “Is Golf Hard to Play? Well … it’s Complicated,” https://golfingfocus.com/playing-golf-how-hard-can-it-be/ 
  4. “How much does it cost to play golf? Here are average green fees in America,” https://thegolfnewsnet.com/golfnewsnetteam/2020/11/05/how-much-does-it-cost-to-play-golf-here-are-average-green-fees-in-america-121143/ 
  5. “Some of the world’s best golfers waited at the final hole of the PGA Championship to congratulate Phil Mickelson after his historic win,” https://www.insider.com/video-phil-mickelson-pga-championship-walk-2021-5
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