Undoubtedly, learning to play golf can lead to a serious passion for this unique and wonderful sport, and while getting the hang of golf can be a bit of a tricky process at first, many individuals who stick to a good practice routine often say that learning more about the sport is a life-changing experience for the better. Here are just a few tips to hone your golfing chops, and why 2020 is a great time to learn more about this historic game.


Don’t Skip the Putting Green and the Driving Range


For most beginners, getting in practice on a driving range and putting green can allow for serious practice sessions that often trump the experience of spending time on a course. On a driving range, for example, you can gain consistency in your swing and in the accuracy of your shots. These are qualities that really count during a match.


The same principle is true of time spent on a good putting green: A great short game can seriously improve your golfing abilities over time. (Even pros sometimes stumble when making puts.) If you spend enough time improving your skills in these practice areas, you’ll really wow your friends during your matches.


Try Playing Nine-Hole Games Before Attempting a Full Match


Most golf courses allow you to opt for a “half game” rather than a full game of 18 holes, and these shorter games are great for familiarizing yourself with a smaller number of obstacles over time. Miss that shot over the pond on your first try at the third fairway? Spend time on the course again and think about what you’ll do differently next time.


Moreover, shorter golf games will also keep you from getting frustrated or tired in the middle of games: Most people need to build up calluses on their hands before playing longer games; taking shots when your hands are sore is not fun!


Try to Work Through the Frustrations


For most beginners, in fact, golf can be a bit of a frustrating experience at first: Shots won’t always go where you want them, and obstacles like sand-traps and ponds are often the bane of even the best players. When the game has got you down, you should try to go easy on yourself.


If you’re stuck in a sand-trap and can’t get out, for example, don’t sweat the notion of giving yourself a break once in a while and shooting from the fairway without missing a point. The important thing in these early stages of the learning process is to have fun: If golfing feels like a chore, you’re probably not getting the best out of the game. Golf is a pastime that gets more and more enjoyable with time, so new players shouldn’t sweat the small stuff when they’re just getting their start.


Don’t Skip the Pro Shop


Yes, many courses make extra money from offering items and lessons for sale to new players, but many top pros also offer lessons at courses that can be truly wonderful experiences. Moreover, playing with a set of clubs that don’t “fit” with your swing or body style can make the game feel pointlessly difficult. If the pro shop helps you enjoy the game more, try making a visit; see if they can recommend equipment that actually makes your game better. It might be the single most important thing you can do at this stage in your development as a golfer.