Image: Andy Hiseman
If you're new to the game of golf, then the idea of leaving the safety of the driving range and heading out onto the course might seem a bit daunting.
But really, there's nothing to worry about.
In fact, you'll soon come to realise that being on the course and playing actual holes is the best bit about about golf.
Don't believe us?
Well PGA pro Joanne Taylor has provided her top tips for how to make your first round as stress-free as possible.
"Those of us who have played golf for years can often forget just how intimidating it can be to step out on the golf course for the first time.
From arriving at the club and finding the pro shop, to finding the often hidden ladies locker rooms, golf clubs can be very daunting places to a new golfer.
One thing to remember when you step out onto the course for the first time is that you are not alone, every golfer feels nervous the first time they tee it up.
If you are a new golfer who has predominantly only had lessons on the driving range, the golf course presents a very different challenge.
Gone is the flat and consistent lie, suddenly we find ourselves in a big open space with uneven lies and long grass. It is perfectly normal to find things like alignment and club selection tricky.
Your first experience of the golf course should be all about getting comfortable in the environment. Avoid added stress like feeling pressure to do things ‘properly’ or to keep score. As a beginner it really doesn’t matter if you go through the proper procedure to take a drop or if you complete every hole.
What’s important is that you have fun, so if you hit it into the bushes throw it out, or after two or three attempts at a bunker shot don’t feel bad if you throw the ball onto the green. It doesn’t matter either if you struggle to hit from the fairway and opt to tee the ball up. Your first round should be a confidence builder and if teeing the ball up means you have more fun then that’s the most important thing.
Its common to feel as though everyone is watching you when you step onto the first tee. Standing alone as you tee up your ball can feel very exposing.
But believe it or not most people standing around the tee or putting green will be focussed on what they are doing, they won’t be paying any attention to you. Try not to rush, take your time over each shot and if you feel uncomfortable having a group right behind you just let them play through.
What can help is having others around you who are also new to the game. There are coaching initiatives out there that introduce on-course coaching right from session one which can be a huge confidence booster. Feeling supported by other women and by a PGA coach while you take your first steps onto the course can make your first round much less intimidating.
Finally, remember everyone feels nervous, and focus on having fun out on the course!"
About the author
Joanne Taylor is a PGA Professional based at Tyrrells Wood Golf Club in Surrey.
She graduated from the University of Birmingham with BA (Hons) Applied Golf Management Studies in 2011 and an MSc in Sports Coaching in 2019. She is an ASQ Level 3 Golf Coach and hopes to start a Doctorate in Sport & Exercise Science this autumn.
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