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Whether you're looking for a lifetime hobby, a new challenge, or just trying to keep up with the coworkers, learning to golf can be challenging starting out.
As a former D1 collegiate golfer, here are my top recommendations on where to start.
The two places you can start are:
- In-person lessons
- Online golf instruction
The former can be expensive, but is the quickest way to get started. The latter is cheap, but can be challenging to get started with because you'll have so many questions when you're first starting!
Finding in-person golf lessons can be challenging because you need to balance a few factors:
- Quality of the instructor
- Price of lessons
- Proximity to your house
In my opinion, the best way to find lessons near you is to visit several golf courses and driving ranges and ask about their instruction packages in person. Unfortunately, most golf instructors do not have a great online presence, so there are lots of excellent instructors that you won't find online!
On average, you can expect to spend between $75 - $150 per hour for golf lessons. Typically, an instructor will offer 1x per week lessons, so this comes out to about $300 - $600 per month.
If you are looking to save some money, you can also look into group golf lessons, which are often a bit cheaper with the added benefit of having a small group of other beginner golfers to learn with.
Oftentimes, you might see group lessons called "Basics of Golf for Adults - Group Lesson" or something similar offered by an instructor. These will generally be 1/2 to 1/4 the price of a 1:1 in-person lesson. In general, you can expect to spend $100-300 for an in-person, group lesson package (several weeks of lessons). This comes out to less than $50 per lesson usually!
Nearly every golf course will have at least two teaching professionals:
- PGA Head Professional
- PGA Assistant Professional
These pros have PGA certifications and are generally in charge of not only the teaching programs at that golf course, but also making sure that the course runs smoothly as well.
In 95% of cases, you can purchase individual lessons or lesson packages from either of these professionals.
All you have to do is walk in the pro shop and ask about what lesson packages they offer. This is a super common way to find a great instructor near you!
Some of the best instructors are head golf professionals at private country clubs. Not all country clubs allow the public to come take lessons, but on some occasions, they do.
Your best bet here is to just call the country club's pro shop and ask if they sell golf lessons to the public.
While this is not as common, you may have a standalone driving range near your residence that has in-house PGA teaching professionals. These professionals will rent space at the driving range and will use that range for their coaching business.
I am a former collegiate golfer and I find my personal swing coach at a local driving range!
If you can afford it and enjoy the instructor you are working with, there is no reason to ever stop taking lessons. Even professional golfers take lessons on a daily or weekly basis because as a golfer, your swing is constantly evolving and you can easily fall into bad habits if you're not monitoring your swing.
For those of you who are just looking for a "quickstart", I would recommend buying a "lesson package" from a local golf instructor. Most instructors offer these and they will generally last a few months. This can be a way to save a little money and get that "jumpstart" you need as a beginner. The first couple months of learning golf can be super challenging, so having someone to guide you is a huge benefit.
Once you start feeling a bit more comfortable, you can stop taking so many lessons and start practicing at the driving range or course on your own.
There are many websites out there (including this one) that teach golf for free, online.
While this is generally best for self-motivated golfers who are driven to improve their games without much assistance, online golf instruction can be one of the most effective ways to learn.
Here are a few resources on my site that will get you started on your journey!
You can also check out one of my video training courses:
Golf for Beginners
Golf for Beginners is a course that will give you a comprehensive introduction to the game of golf including how to swing, what equipment to buy, and more.
There are three common places you can practice your game.
- Playing at a golf course
- Practicing at a driving range
- Practicing indoors on either a simulator or a DIY practice area
When you're just starting out as a beginner, I generally recommend that you spend at least a few weeks at a driving range before hitting the course. This is mainly because when playing on a course, you will likely be playing at the same time as other golfers who expect you to keep up a good "pace of play" (on average, a single hole should not take you more than 15 minutes).
This can be a lot of pressure for new golfers trying to learn the golf swing, which is why I think starting at a driving range is your best bet.
Once you start hitting the ball a bit more consistently, it's time to play your first round of golf!
To do this, you'll need to make a "tee time", which is a fancy way of saying "reservation" in the golf world. You can book a tee time online, but starting out, I recommend just giving the golf course a call and asking what times they have available and for what price.
It's important to highlight—you cannot schedule a tee time at a private country club without becoming a member. This may be obvious to some, but I wanted to mention it just in case. You should be able to tell whether a course is public or private by their website, or even just their name. Usually, private clubs have "Country Club" somewhere in their name.
Unless you live in a remote location, chances are, you will have several public driving ranges near you that you can go to practice your golf swing. Generally, these driving ranges will charge you $5-20 for a bucket of golf balls, depending on the size of the bucket.
Most public golf courses also have driving ranges that you can practice at. Generally, a dedicated driving range (without a golf course) will be cheaper, but practicing at a golf course's driving range can be nice because golf courses will also have a practice putting green nearby that you can use to practice your putting skills.
If you're looking to get the most out of your driving range practice, check out these posts I wrote on this topic:
Practicing indoors can be tricky and is not my favorite method, but if you live in a cold place, you may not have an option.
Luckily, most big cities will have a handful of locations that offer golf simulators, which can be fun to practice at because you'll get a semi-realistic experience of playing a real golf course without battling cold weather!
If you are looking for better ways to practice indoors, I have written a few posts that might help you out!