Driving lesson

5 ways to keep a new golfer engaged at the driving range

There are many ways to support a new golfer.

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Do you have someone in your life who recently took up golf? Do you want to help them in their new sport? Wondering what you can do to keep them engaged and interested in golf?

So many new golfers have come from the 2020 pandemic and started a journey into a game that involves 14 clubs of different lengths (all of which have different lofts), some of which are designed to drive a ball off the ground, others on a tee and some along the ground, and they all have different numbers and letters that mean different things. And that’s just the equipment!

In other words, this game is really not that easy for a newcomer! And then there’s the intimidation factor of being hampered by an apparent lack of skill at the driving range. No wonder it can be difficult to make the game last!

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As a professional instructor, it is my job to help my students enjoy the game in every way possible, but there is also much you can do as a friend or family member to encourage new golfers in your life.

Here are some helpful ways to support your new golfer at the range.

1. Use a tee for every shot

It’s normal to relax the rules for a real beginner. Let them use a tee whenever they struggle. If they try to three-hit the ball and it’s still there or has only moved 10 feet, give them a tee and show them how to set it up. They don’t need to “dig it in the dirt” at this stage of their golf course.

2. Give them some privacy

Accompany your new player to an unpopulated area of ​​the driving range – ideally a quiet place or away from people. Putting your new player on stage is terrifying! And let them stop when they get frustrated or overwhelmed. Encourage them to watch other golfers on the range to observe what they are doing as they practice.

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3. Encourage divots

Explain to them that touching the ground is A-OK! They have to do it to get the ball in the air and they’re probably uncomfortable doing damage or taking part of the field. You may need to do a demo – here’s a quick refresher on how it’s done!

4. Choose the right training club

Choose a club that will be easier for them to hit. The rusty iron from the 1940s in the garage is not the best tool for learning. Find a club that matches their strength as well as their size.

And if you run out of options, check online! You can find an 8 iron in most bends and lengths. Be sure to err on the lighter side when it comes to weight, based on their ability to swing. If they’ve never played a sport or are still building strength, a lightweight, more flexible shaft is a great option.

5. Resist the urge to coach

It’s a big problem ! Engage your player in a lesson from a golf professional or coach who works with new golfers. There is so much information available for all skill levels that it can be overwhelming for a beginner. Do your best to find someone who specializes in breaking down the game for new players.

If you can’t find a teacher in your area, you can find an online program dedicated to helping new players and sign them up instead. Then enjoy the journey together!

Sarah Stone, PGA, is one of the 2021-22 GOLF Teachers to Watch and is the Director of Education at the Chevy Chase Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

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