Playing golf is fun but also extremely challenging if you are unaware of the best golf tips for beginners. While you get to experience new holes, new greens, and maybe some awesome views, it’s not easy to make tons of birdies on a new course, especially for beginners.
The one bad thing about teeing it up on a new course is that a lot of times you have no clue how to play each hole. Oftentimes, when you’re relaxing on the 19th hole, you look back and think about what it could have been.
But before you beat yourself up too much, understand that very few golfers play their best round on a brand-new course. It’s pretty difficult to shoot low scores if you don’t know your way around the track. Plus, if it’s a course with blind shots, elevation, or tricky greens, scoring is even harder than normal.
While you probably don’t have enough time to always play another 18 and get your revenge, I have some tips to help you play better than normal on a new course.
Keep reading to learn the ten best golf tips for beginners to enjoy a golfing experience. We’re confident if you use these strategies, you will have less regret after the round and hopefully, a much lower score as well.
Best Golf Tips for Beginners to Shoot Lower Scores
Here are 10 easy-to-follow rules to shoot lower scores to enjoy the best-golfing experience.
1. Create a Game Plan for the Course
Before you even get to the course, spend 10-15 minutes researching the course online. We recommend using Google, YouTube, forums, and the course website to do a little research ahead of time.
Check the course website to find a scorecard and see if there are any photo galleries to preview the track. Following some of the best golf tips for beginners help you get a feel for the type, of course, you get to play.
Plus, a lot of courses now have hole by hole flyovers on the website so you can check out each hole ahead of time. While it might take away some of the suspense of playing a new course, we know it can help you create a better course strategy as well.
Lastly, make sure to confirm how long it will take you to get the course and ensure they have practice facilities so you have time to warm up before the round. You can also contact them to know if shorts are allowed, the dress code, and hours of operation.
2. Get Your Golf GPS Ready
Whether you have a golf GPS or golf watch, make sure to double-check that the course is uploaded to your device before going to the course. While most devices come with 40,000+ golf courses, you need to ensure it’s downloaded to your device. This will save your battery life as well.
You also want to make sure it’s fully charged or bring a cable or portable charging unit so you don’t get stuck playing blind. There’s nothing worse than having your battery die mid-round and having to make educated guesses on a tough new golf course.
3. Get There 30-60 Minutes Early
If you want to play great golf on any course, it rarely happens when you arrive for your tee time 15 minutes before the round. Not only does it make it harder to play well, but it’s also rude to the course to keep everyone on time. So instead of hitting a few balls on the range and running to the first tee, make sure to get there early enough.
As part of our best golf tips for beginners, we recommend at least 30 minutes but prefer one hour for your swing. This will allow you plenty of time to check in, grab a snack, and have plenty of time for a good warmup. This way you have time to, get loose on the range and spend plenty of time on putting green.
One of the biggest reasons that most golfers don’t score well at a new course the first time they play is because of the greens. While it’s more exciting to hit golf balls on the range, make sure to spend an adequate amount of time on putting green.
Make sure every moment you spend on the green is intentional too. Grab a few balls and practise long putts, mid-range putts, fringe putts, and short putts to get acquainted with the speed and breaks.
Also, don’t forget to hit some chips, sand shots and pitches to see how much the greens roll out. Even if you’re swing isn’t great that day, a solid short game can cover up a bad day of ball striking. Get a good feel for the green before heading to the first tee box.
4. Find Help Before Teeing Off
Let’s face it, while we all love golf I think we also realize it’s the hardest sport in the world. When you add in a new golf course you’ve never seen before, the game gets even harder. Use one or several best golf tips for beginners to get some extra assistance before teeing off.
The first way to get extra help on a new golf course is to hire a caddy. While this isn’t an option in 90% of courses, it’s worth mentioning if the option presents itself. Anytime I’ve had a local caddie at a new course, he always seems to save me and my partners a few strokes.
Usually, they can help with the following:
- Green reading
- Course strategy
- Learning local rules
- Check your aim and swing
- Find your golf ball after each shot
All of this should help improve your score. Depending on where you’re playing, this could be $50 or could be two or three times that amount.
But if you are playing a thrilling new golf course and can afford it, we always suggest getting a caddy. It’s also exciting to learn about the history of the course and have someone else tote your bag.
Before leaving the pro shop after paying for the round, we recommend checking if they have a yardage book. If it’s a high-quality course, they might even have two yardage books. One is a more general beginners’ book for everyday golfers and another book is an advanced one that shows even more features of the course.
Unless you’re breaking 80, we recommend sticking with the beginner’s yardage book. These books will generally show you an overview of the hole, tees, distance to hazards, local rules, and a brief summary of the greens. These are usually between $10-$15 and well worth every penny.
During the round, you can also notate clubs, distances, and other stuff so you’re more prepared for future rounds too. The more advanced books require more work on your end but have a ton of great information.
They usually have the distance for each sprinkler head, carry distances on bunkers, and some even include a topographical layout of the greens. These can help you find breaks that you might not see on your first go-round.
Cart With GPS
If they don’t have any yardage books or caddies, check to see if each cart has GPS features built-in. These are very similar to handheld golf GPS devices and help you create a game plan for every hole.
Unfortunately, fewer courses have these in each cart as handheld devices and laser rangefinders are becoming more popular. But if each golf cart is equipped with them, it’s worth the extra $20 or so to ride and learn more about the golf course.
Plus, if you’ve never played the course, it might be challenging to walk as well. Make your life easier and more comfortable by taking a cart on your first time out.
5. Tee It Forward
Unless you’re a scratch golfer who always plays the back tees, teeing it forward if it’s your first-time laying eyes on the course. Playing the right tees will make the course shorter and allow you to have fewer hybrids and fairway woods in the green. Not only will you score better, but you’ll probably enjoy yourself more based on the right set of tees.
As you become more familiar with the track using the best golf tips for beginners, you can always go a tee back or play a combination of split tees. Plus, teeing it forward will probably help you play faster and keep the group behind you happy with the pace of play.
Don’t make the game harder than it already is by playing a course that exceeds your current ability. This can lead to a frustrating round that isn’t nearly as enjoyable for playing partners and is bad etiquette.
Finally, playing the right tees means fewer rules questions, fewer lost golf balls, and a better experience for beginners.
6. Have a Strategy for Every Shot
Hopefully, you have a yardage book, golf GPS, a cart with a GPS or someone who’s played the course before. If you have one or several of these options, you can create a plan for each hole on the tee box.
Check your yardage book or GPS before each swing. To give yourself the best odds to shoot low scores, we suggest creating a game plan from these best golf tips for beginners in each shot.
Tee Box Strategy
Before grabbing your driver on every par 4 or par 5, make sure to go to the tee box and think about the best way to play the hole. When you’re on the box, notice if there are fairway bunkers, water hazards or spots that can make your life more difficult.
Then, figure out where the best spot is to hit your tee ball and the right club. This doesn’t always have to be a driver!
Once you find the ideal tee shot, think about the swing you need for your shot. Next, you really want to hone in on your target.
Remember, aim small, miss small.
Don’t just say the target is the left or right side of the fairway. Instead, pick a tree, powerline or other feature in the distance to set your sights on. I feel this will help your mind set up and swing correctly to get the ball toward the target.
Approach Shot Strategy
After you hit your tee shot, next up is figuring out the best approach shot strategy. Similar to the tee box, you want to make sure and survey the green by grabbing a club. Find the distance to the flag and then figure out the best spot to miss and the worst spot.
When finding the best aiming, remember that in general, most greens slope from back to front. This means that ending up a few yards short of the pin generally leaves an uphill putt. While this isn’t always true, having more uphill putts than downhill putts can help lower your score.
Once you have all of these variables figured out, select an iron that will give you the best chance for a birdie putt. As I’ll show in the next point, the middle (or fat part) of the green is almost always the best place to aim.
7. Aim for The Middle of the Green
Some golf coaches would ask a kid or teen who’s just starting to play golf to practice without the pins. This would make sure we don’t go pin hunting all the time and instead hit toward the fat part of the green. Probably, most of the time as a team they will score better by simply aiming at the middle of the green.
This is a simple principle that you should use for your game, especially when you’re playing a brand-new golf course. Unless you’re breaking 80 regularly, we suggest taking a more conservative approach instead of going after every flag. While some shots will warrant it, like a wedge, especially if the pin isn’t tucked, too many people go after each flag.
The problem with flag hunting 18 times during the round, is that you will end up short-sided a lot more often. While you might get a few closer birdie putts, you might get more bogeys or even doubles as well. If you’re playing a new golf course, the odds increase even more.
Instead, play it safer and hit toward the centre of the green. This will give you more birdie putts, fewer lost balls, and more chances for a tap in par. Not to mention, fewer tough chips, pitches, and flop shots over bunkers.
Plus, you will likely avoid rules questions and keep up the pace of play. Remember, par is always a great score.
8. Stay Patient During the Round
If you’re like most golfers, you always want to shoot your best round every time you tee it up. While it’s awesome to play new golf courses, you should also give yourself some forgiveness if you don’t’ card your best round of the year.
Instead, make a concerted effort to stay patient during the entire round. You might hit a shot that you think is perfect but it ends up in some nasty rough or even OB because you’ve never played the course before. Sometimes the golf gods don’t always reward a good swing.
If something like this happens, you can’t get mad at yourself. This will only make it harder to have the right attitude over every shot.
9. Keep the Round Casual
As we’ve mentioned, playing a new golf course is exciting but it’s usually challenging as well. Here are a few of the best golf tips for beginners to keep it casual so you can enjoy the round.
Skip the Scorecard
While this might be hard for a lot of you competitive golfers reading this, don’t feel like you have to always keep score. If you’re playing a new course that has a reputation for being notoriously difficult, maybe play for the experience and enjoy your first time out.
Choose Match Play
If you’re too competitive of a player and can’t imagine not keeping score, another strategy is to do a matchplay format with a buddy.
With match play rules, you don’t have to finish the hole out if things are going south. This match format is helpful when you’re going to make a snowman or already lost a sleeve of balls and are ready to move on.
A match play is a good way for players to experience a course and still have a great time the first time out. Plus, it allows you to play more aggressive and take more risks as you can only lose by one shot on every hole.
10. Enjoy the Round
Remember, playing a new golf course is supposed to be fun.
Even if you don’t play your best round, make sure that it’s still a great experience with friends and family. There’s nothing worse than having playing partners who get mad and accept Tiger-like miracles during the first round on a brand-new course.
And if you’re planning to play a tournament or competitive match at a new course, we always recommend reviewing the best golf tips for beginners and getting a practice round in. It makes it a lot easier to shoot lower scores as you will already have a game plan for each hole.
Wrapping Up the Best Golf Tips for Beginners
Start using these ten best golf tips for beginners to set yourself up for success the next time to get to play a new set of links.
Don’t get me wrong, even the golf coaches love playing new golf courses but we understand that it won’t always be easy. There’s something special about seeing a brand-new course and seeing how your game matches the layout and difficulty. But having the right attitude before you ever hit a shot is crucial to playing your best golf.
In most cases, I find that I’m much more focused than a normal round of golf at a course I play regularly. A little extra focus will help you find the best strategy for each hole and ensure you go through your entire pre-shot routine as well.
Most importantly, have a great time! Golf is still a game, even though we all want to shoot our best round yet. We’re confident these best golf tips for beginners for success will help you look like a course pro even if it is your first time out.