There are parts of golf that will elude you your entire life, but certain fundamentals are essential. You have to be able to hit a driver off the tee with a fair amount of confidence. You have to be able to hit an iron off the ground, and get out of a greenside bunker. You have to know a few basic short shots around the green, and be able to keep your cool when things get ugly. Start with the tips below:
1. Know when to chip and when to pitch: When you have a short shot to the green, you're going to hit either a chip or a pitch. What's the difference between the two? A chip shot stays low and runs along the ground, and a pitch flies higher and doesn't roll as much. Use a chip when you don't have to carry the ball over an obstacle, like deep rough or a bunker, and you have a lot of green between you and the hole. Use a pitch when you have to carry over something or need to stop the ball faster. The extra height on a pitch shot causes the ball to land softer and stop faster.
2. Get out of a bunker every time: The greenside bunker shot is the one shot in golf where you don't actually hit the ball: You swing the clubhead into the sand behind the ball, and the sand pushes it out. For that reason, you have to swing quite a bit harder than you might expect; the sand really slows down the clubhead. Here's the basic technique: Using your sand wedge, stand so the ball is even with your front instep, twist your feet in for stability, and focus on a spot about two inches behind the ball. Swing the club back about halfway then down and through that spot behind the ball. Keep turning your body so your chest faces the target at the finish.
3. Use your athleticism: Beginning golfers often get so tied up in the instructions for making the swing that they lose their athletic instincts. Golf might be more mental than other sports, but the swing is still a dynamic, athletic movement. At address, stand like a defender in basketball, with your legs lively and your weight balanced left to right and front to back. On the backswing, think of a quarterback rearing back to make a pass: Arm stretched back and body coiled from top to bottom. And on the downswing, be like a hockey player hitting a slap shot, with your wrists staying firm and your hands leading the clubhead into the ball.
5. Don't fear the big dog: You might think the driver is more than you can handle right now: It's the longest club in your bag, and the head is gigantic. The truth is, built into that big clubhead is more forgiveness for mis-hits than you get with any other club. Have a few driver keys to rely on. First, tee the ball nice and high. Second, take the club back smoothly and make a full body turn, getting your back to face the target. Third, swing through the ball; just let it get in the way of the clubhead through impact. Last, hold your finish. If you can finish in balance, you've swung at a speed you can control.
6. Lost your way? Go back to chipping: Learning golf can at times be overwhelming. When you feel frustrated, go back to hitting short chip shots. The chipping swing is the basis of the entire swing; it's the full swing in miniature. And with the chipping motion being so short and slow, you can more easily understand what's happening. To play a chip, position the ball back in your stance, put more weight on your left foot, and swing equal lengths back and through without hinging your wrists on either side. Once you get a feel for the chip, swing a little longer by hinging the club upward with your wrists and letting your weight shift back and through. In no time you'll build a feel for the full swing
Source: Golf Digest