Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Best Golf Courses for Beginners

When starting out in your golfing career, what type of golf courses should you play? This was an area that at first I never gave a great deal of thought to, but it is actually very important. It is reasonable to say that the majority of beginner golfers will simply go to their nearest course or driving range and make their start there. I know that is what I did and many of my golfing partners did the same.

Playing the same course however can get really dull and boring and the truth is, that it may actually be doing you harm. My own local course is a Par 70 and is a course with a lot of hills on it. There is one Par 5 hole that is straight up a very steep hill and is a nightmare for even the most seasoned golfers. It also has a stream that runs across it at about 200 yards, out of bounds on the left, and the green is surrounded by deep bunkers. Can you imagine what that looks like for a beginner who is just starting out.
Best Golf Course for Beginners
Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia

What Makes The Best Golf Course For Beginners?

Some experts say that beginners should start out on a Par 9 course or a pitch and putt type course. Others say that you should play a variety of courses and some say you should stick to one course. Clearly opinion is divided so the only thing I can do is offer you my experience in this. My wife and two daughters have recently started playing golf. They all go to our local club and we have all played different courses together. Here is a list of issues that they came across which makes interesting reading:

  • Playing the same course is boring
  • Finding your way around a new course is difficult
  • A course with a lot of water hazards is a nightmare
  • You can learn different shots on different courses
  • Links golf courses are deadly

They have all been playing for about 6 months to a year and have slightly different experiences. They all started out at the local driving range and then played at our local course initially. However when they went out to try different courses their experience was different to what they had imagined.

The one thing they all agreed on was that playing the same course is just boring. It is good for practise and it is always good to get out for a round. It does however do little to understand course management and they agreed that familiarity breeds contempt.

Playing New Golf Courses for Beginners

This was a daunting experience for them in many ways. The first couple of times I played with them. That was a lot easier for them as I know how to follow course layouts. I also know my distances pretty well and was able to advise them. However, when they went on their own, that became more difficult. Something as simple as finding the next tee box sounds easy, but when you are new to golf, that is not always the case.

Also trying to work out distances, reading the pace of greens and having to play blind shots all became a whole new learning experience for them. It was a little bit out of their comfort zone, but that said, all of them now say it has made them much better golfers.

I believe as a beginner golfer you do have to try new courses and what I would suggest is to play them initially with someone who knows their way around them. It just takes care of the practical elements of knowing your way around a new course and also creates a new challenge.

Taking On Tough Courses When Beginning

I would recommend that beginners should avoid these at the start. We have a course about 50 miles from where I live. 13 of the 18 holes have water hazards and trust me it is one tough course to play. One Par 3 has a straight hit of 200 yards to clear the water with out of bounds on the left. It takes a great shot to hit the green and a good shot just to clear the water.

Playing a course like that as a beginner could put you off for life. Not only will you lose any number of balls, but it will just make you feel inadequate. My wife and daughters have vowed never to play that course again. I am sure they will some day but not for the foreseeable future.

A beginner needs a course that they can play and have a chance of playing well. Nice open fairways, a few hazards and slow greens is ideal when starting out. As they gain experience they can then start to take on the slightly tougher courses.

Links Courses For Beginners

Again I would avoid these if you can when starting out. The main reason for this is the rough is very unforgiving. When you start to play golf the reality is that you will not hit that many fairways. On a normal course, in most cases, you still have a chance of getting out of light rough.

On a links course it is more likely you will be knee deep in grass. That is one tough shot to have to play.

The fairways on these types of courses are generally faster and that is especially true in the summer. It requires a different type of stroke and as a beginner you just won't have the experience or knowledge to master this.

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