Whist we are fascinated by the Professional of the various PGA tour events as they weave their magic, drawing the ball or creating a fantastic hook shots as Tiger did in a game recently – to the amazement of his fellow players, the novice to the game should start with the basics.
Many a beginner at the game and most of the high handicap golfers have felt frustrated at not being able to “shape” the ball and have put in poor cards because they are desperately trying to emulate the shots they see on television.
For anyone just starting to get into this wonderful game and who are just beginning to feel these pangs of frustration with their shot making we need to put these “shape” shots into perspective with the game as a whole.
What is the object of golf? I think most would agree it is to get the ball from tee to cup with the minimum of number of shots.
OK – let us analyse that statement – how many hits with the driver – 12 on most courses. How many long fairway shots are there with wood, iron or hybrid – 12-15; depending on how many par five holes on the course.
How many pitch shots, chip shots, bunker shots (if you are unlucky enough to get into them) and finally puts?
The math works out that we need that long shape shot probably 24 times in a game – give or take one or two, which leaves 48 shots on a par 72 course for the short game. Twice as many as the long shots, so where should the learning experience be concentrated.
A low handicapper or novice golf player will start off completing a round in 100-110 shots after some basic coaching, and it would be reasonably sure to include a quite a few miss hit drives and fairway strokes trying to emulate the greats of golf.
I recently played with a 70 year old golfer who comfortably went round a 72 hole course with me scoring a creditable 86 and he never used a driver of the tee, mostly he used a mid iron but he was a master at the short game and do not have any three puts on any green.
He put it in perspective for me that the game is won on the short game around the green and the way to start people off playing golf should be with the shots that matter most – around the green.
What can be done whilst you are starting golf to minimize the frustrations most people experience – often for years on end because of the emphasis on shaping shots.
Any professional coach will start the novice off with the basics of stance, grip, body rotation and so on.
Once you have that base understanding of the swing mechanics burned into your muscle memory then resist the urge to go for the shape shots until you have a handicap of 20 – yes 20.