Training Aids for the Beginner Golfer
By Bradley Turner MBA, PGA
Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction
The experienced golfer often forgets the challenges of learning the game of golf. When they have a chance to share golf advice with a beginner golfer, the result is often a data dump of information that overwhelms the golfer they intend to help. New golfers are in much better hands with an experienced professional instructor who can provide the essential information consistent with each player’s development. I have included a few of my favorite training aids to help not only beginners but all golfers in understanding some important golf concepts. The training aids are easy to use, inexpensive to purchase and pack a powerful punch in improving your golf game.
Understand Basic Alignment
Head on over to your favorite hardware store, and you will be able to find a pair of 48” reflective rods that you can use as alignment sticks. I recommend using these to start any practice session in chipping, pitching, or the full swing. To use these properly, simply set them down parallel to each other with enough width between them (6”-12”). Wherever the alignment sticks are pointed, that is the directional target to send the golf ball. The professional tour players use these alignment sticks all the time. You will see them in their golf bags and being used on the practice range. If a professional needs assistance in alignment, it is easy to assume that a beginner needs help, too!
Improve Your Putting Stroke
While you are at the hardware store, pick up a 2” x 4” piece of wood about 2-3 feet in length. You can use this indoors on the carpet to help develop a good putting stroke. To use the board, put the toe of the putter against the middle of the board. Without a ball, bring the putter back slowly and keep the toe on the board and then move forward, always keeping the toe of the putter on the board. Next, use the heel of the putter the same way. Once you get a feeling of this movement, start hitting putts with a ball using the board the same way. Do your best to keep the clubface pointing to the target (90 degrees to the board) at impact. This is a simple and effective way for a beginner to understand three important mechanical aspects of putting. First, hitting the ball in the center of the putter face. Second, developing a putter path that is toward the target. And third is the awareness of the face angle and the influence it will have on hitting a putt at the intended target.
Hit it on the Sweet Spot
In learning any motor skill, the new student must understand the difference between too much and not enough of any particular skill. Athletes need to make continual adjustments to improve their skills. The feedback they receive can be from coaches and trainers, but a large part of their improvement is in their self-awareness of the mistakes they make and the successes they enjoy.
Many beginner golfers are completely unaware of where the golf ball contacts the clubface. A simple training aid to help match up the feel of impact with the actual position on the clubface is to spray a powdery substance on the clubface. The imprint of impact will be evident on the clubface, and the beginner can begin to relate a toe hit to the feel of impact. For an experienced golfer, it is easy to feel the impact and make adjustments to hit the ball in the center of the clubface, or what is often referred to as the sweet spot. However, many beginners are unable to make this important connection. An inexpensive foot powder spray will communicate effectively to any golfer regardless of skill level.
Coaches are always emphasizing the importance of quality practice. With these three easy to use and low-cost training aids, the beginner can begin to make any practice session more effective.
If you’d like to study with Bradley Turner and other PGA Master Professionals, contact the College of Golf today.