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Six mistakes most beginner golfers make

As with any other sport, warming up and stretching are important when you’re playing golf.

A golf game can be a lovely morning filled with fresh air, sportsmanship, and a nail-bitingly close score. A golf game can also be a stressful affair that leaves you worrying about irritating all the players behind you and feeling frustrated with your skills. There are a few things that golfers often do when they’re starting that tilt their game in one direction or the other. The following will break down six of the more common mistakes that beginner golfers make.

1. Not warming up or stretching
As with any other sport, warming up and stretching are important when you’re playing golf. Not only will this reduce the risk of you experiencing an injury, but it can help you play better. When your muscles are tight or rigid, your full range of motion will be limited, and your swing could suffer as a result. Besides reducing the risk of injury, and improving your game, stretching is good for you. If you want to maximize the benefits, make sure to take in a deep steady breath and release it slowly as you hold each stretch.

2. Not focusing on your grip
In a precision-based sport like golf, often it is the little things that make a big difference in your play. Learning how to grip a golf club properly can make all the difference when you’re just starting. Not only will it protect your wrists from the unnecessary strain which can cause injury, but it will also help you get the ball where you want it to go. Especially if you’re new to golf, it is important to develop good habits early on, so that you don’t have to worry about unlearning poor techniques later on.

3. Ignoring the mental component
Nearly everything in life has a mental side to it and golf is no exception. Especially at higher levels, the mindset you have when playing golf is going to have a direct impact on how well you play. This is in part why golf has become such a popular activity to perform amid business negotiations and deals. Someone’s golf game is a good indication of their mental fortitude. When you’re just starting, it is important to get your mindset right if you want to improve quickly and get the most out of your practice time. In golf, calm, mindful attention is as important as the positioning of your feet.

4. Not caring for your clubs
At first, this might not seem like something too important, but it is. Keeping your clubs clean will prevent mud and dirt from influencing the spin and the direction of the ball. If you skip this step, the feedback you’re getting from each shot that you’re using to correct your technique is going to be inaccurate. Without clean clubs, you might unknowingly be practicing bad habits.

5. Not learning the rules of etiquette
Because many people will be using a golf course at the same time, there is a strict culture that has evolved to make sure that everyone can enjoy the game. It’s worth your while to learn about the different rules (both officially enforced by the course, and those unspoken rules everyone follows without thinking about them). You don’t want to be annoying the people around you, as this sort of thing has a way of sneaking back up on you (especially on a golf course).

6. Expecting improvement to be consistent
Whenever you learn anything new, there’s not one direct, straight line from newcomer to expert. You need to open yourself up to the possibility of reaching a plateau from time to time. You need to be aware that some aspects of the game are going to take ages for you to master, while others are going to feel natural and “click” fairly early on. At its core, golf is a game. This means it’s supposed to be fun. As it turns out, people learn better when they’re enjoying themselves. Anytime you find yourself so frustrated with your progress that you’re not enjoying yourself, you need to take a step back and take a deep breath.

Of course, every person is different, and so every person’s golfing skill trajectory is going to look a little different. If you find yourself unsure of how you could be improving, it is a great idea to book a private lesson with an instructor or have a friend film you on your phone so you can compare your form and technique with videos of professionals online. You might also want to book some time at the driving range where you can work on certain aspects of your game repeatedly, to help build muscle memory of good form.

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