The Niggle: How can you make golf easier for beginners?

The Scoop

Many beginners say golf is too hard and lose interest. How can it be made easier for them?

We’ve been asking a number of questions over recent months about what can be done to improve participation numbers and help more people enjoy golf.

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When asking beginners about barriers preventing them taking up the sport, the difficulty of golf is often a factor.

So after identifying that many beginners find golf too hard, what can be done to make it easier for them?

Members of the team at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer debate the issue…

James Savage (JS) – I’ve said previously that golf lessons for beginners should be free or a lot cheaper but that’s a slightly different issue.

Beginners need to enjoy themselves out on the course in order to get that golfing bug and want to play again and again.

I think there should be a wider variety of tees, making the course shorter for those who can’t hit it that far.

The difference in distance between yellow and white tees is not comparable to the difference in ability between a 3 and a 28 handicapper.

Or the handicap limit should be raised. To ask a male beginner to go round in anywhere near 28 over par gross is unrealistic. Even 36 could be a tough ask.

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Courses could have beginner open days that allow you to play with similarly terrible players” Alessa Hardwick (AH) – Different tees is a good idea JS. Given that I can barely hit the ball 50 yards (if at all), standing on (even the slightly closer) ladies tee would be terrifying.

I think there needs to be more “beginners courses”, like in skiing where there are green and blue slopes for beginners and then reds and blacks for intermediates and advanced

Perhaps if some courses had larger fairways, shorter holes and kinder greens, that might be a good place to start.

Also I wish driving ranges had beginner days so I could go and get some practise in without getting confused looks from people who are way better than me and can obviously tell that I don’t know what I’m doing…

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Dan Murphy (DM) – The first thing is just to give people the chance to have a go.

Existing golf clubs and facilities need to be way more welcoming and friendly to new golfers. There are exceptions, but too often golf clubs are intimidating, obsessed with rules and actually quite alien environments.

Golf is hard, I agree, but getting started can be the most difficult element.

Damien Wilde (DW) – I’d love lessons, but I can’t justify the costs.

I like that the sport isn’t too easy, otherwise there is no progression and anyone could be brilliant without any experience or practise.

Courses could have beginner open days that allow you to play with similarly terrible players. I’d enjoy that.

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Karl Hansell (KH) – There’s no way to get around it, but golf is an expensive sport DW.

You need a full set of clubs, which is going to set you back £50 even if you pick something up off a car boot sale. Then you at least need to purchase some shoes on top of that.

It’s a sad fact, but I’m not sure a golf course can afford to provide juniors (say a class of 10), with all the equipment, shoes, balls, and free lessons that are required to get loads and loads of people in to the sport. The burden on clubs would become too great.

We can make it cheaper, but due to the inherent costs of playing, golf isn’t for everyone. Maybe we should accept that?

JS – On that bombshell… 

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