Teaching Golf

By Steve Silverman

Teaching Golf. Teaching the game of golf is a great exercise. Not in athleticism or as a test of golfing ability, but it is a test of an individual's communication, coordination and patience. Like the game itself, teaching golf to a beginner is either on

Teaching the game of golf is a great exercise. Not in athleticism or as a test of golfing ability, but it is a test of an individual's communication, coordination and patience. Like the game itself, teaching golf to a beginner is either one of the most difficult tasks a golfer can attempt but it can also be one of the most rewarding. While having excellent golfing skills will make the teaching easier, having those abilities alone will not make you a good teacher. You have to be able to get your point across with clarity or your student will have a tough time understanding what you are trying to say.

Step 1: Teach your student the proper way to hold the club. There are two basic types of grips—overlapping and interlocking—and you should teach the one that you are most comfortable with. Make your student aware of the other grip but don't attempt to teach it if you are not familiar with it. Show your student the grip and then have him demonstrate it back to you. Make adjustments if it is not done correctly.

Step 2: Show your student the correct way to address the ball. Her weight should be evenly distributed with her feet planted on either side of the ball equidistant from each other. Many beginners will try to stand behind the ball thinking this will help get it in the air. Prevent your student from making this mistake.

Step 3: Demonstrate the swing in a slow and deliberate manner. First show your student how you swing by doing it at normal speed. Then explain all the key parts of the swing such as the takeaway, the backswing, the downward approach and the follow-through. Let him know why each piece is important. Then demonstrate your swing again in slow motion and talk your student through each part. "This is the takeaway, notice how the knees are bent and the left arm is straight … " Continue to talk your way through each part and then ask your student to give it a try. If he has a question or two, answer them quickly and then have him demonstrate.

Step 4: Make a few basic observations after the student's first two or three practice swings. Then it's time to hit the ball. Remember you are trying to teach your student the skills of a game that she wants to enjoy for a lifetime. Don't expect too much too soon. You are not trying to build a professional golfer. You are trying to help her learn a very pleasant and enjoyable hobby. Accentuate the positive while addressing the flaws.

Step 5: Make sure you teach your student about putting. This is the easiest part of the game to understand but one of the most difficult to master. Putting is all about balance and feel. An easy backswing is followed by acceleration through the ball and then an easy follow-through. Set a ball down on the practice green and demonstrate. Remember to make sure he understands that he must follow through after contact and not stop.


After the lesson, give your student a book or a magazine article that talks about the basics of the game. This will help beginners learn away from the course and help them cultivate an interest.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.


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