How to Conquer Anxiety on the Golf Course
Whether you’re a total golf newbie or just feeling rusty, stepping onto the golf course can be intimidating.
Golf is a game that’s been called “deceptively simple and endlessly complicated” — and it’s no surprise why. With a language and set of etiquette all of its own, there’s a lot to take in. However, the benefits of moving past that fear are plentiful: From a longer life expectancy to reduced stress, golf is a hole-in-one for your health.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that golf is pretty much the official sport of social distancing. To help you hit the course with greater confidence, we compiled this quick primer on some fundamentals. If you still have questions, feel free to call Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club (410-730-5980) or Fairway Hills Golf Club (410-730-1112) — we’re always happy to talk about all things golf!
Get your gear
How many clubs does a beginner really need, and why are there so many to choose from in the first place? According to Joan Lovelace, head professional and director of player development, the best thing you can do is consult a professional at your local pro shop (hello, Hobbit’s Glen!) to find clubs that fit your size and skill level.
The right golf clubs can make the game easier, and vice versa. Beginners have a more forgiving introduction to the game when using perimeter-weighted, cavity-backed clubs with more loft, which is something a professional can help you with. We put together a blog to help you learn more about picking your first set of clubs. Once you have your first set of clubs, check out our guide on how to know which club to reach for.
Learn the unwritten rules
Because golf is a social game, it’s important to be aware of the other golfers on the course. The good news is, most of these unwritten rules are basic courtesies and will quickly become second nature to you. To help beginners feel as comfortable as possible on CA’s courses, we compiled some “do’s” and “don’ts” for you. Check ’em out here!
Talk the talk
Aces and bogies and chunks, oh my! We get it: Golf terms can be slightly baffling at first. The quicker you begin to understand the lingo, however, the quicker you begin to really pick up the sport (and enjoy yourself!). Take a look at our list of the most common, need-to-know golf terms.
Don’t forget to warm up
As a beginner, you may be eager to get right in the swing of things. However, the most effective way to stay in shape on the course is with a proper warmup — not only does it protect your muscles, tendons and joints, but it also helps loosen you up and improve your game. Check out tips for warming up from CA’s golf pros.
Work on your foundation
Performance anxiety is just as real on the golf course as it is anywhere. If you’re worried about your swing, the best place to start is with your foundation. A balanced, centered stance sets you up for success when you actually make contact with the ball. The four main components to work on are your stance, grip, posture and alignment. Learn more with great video tutorials from Lovelace.
Hone your mental toughness
What you say to yourself triggers a physical response, so developing positive self-talk and reining in your fears leads to a more fluid, confident performance. Check out our tips for feeling more calm and poised on the course, regardless of your skill level.
Develop your short game
Putting represents most of your strokes by far (and 40% of your score), so its importance can’t be overstated. Check out three simple drills for improving your putt and your confidence.
Chipping is another quick way to lower your handicap and save you strokes around the green. We have some fun ideas for improving chipping, too!
Stay strong off the course
Over the few hours it takes to hit an 18-hole course, you need stamina, precision and flexibility to keep yourself going. When you dedicate time to strength and conditioning, you’ll naturally feel more confident on the greens, too. For golfer-specific workout inspiration, read our recent post.
Come play with CA
CA’s two courses, Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club and Fairway Hills Golf Club, offer different experiences and options for play. Both are home to various programs and lessons for all ages and skill levels.
Plus, you don’t have to be a CA member or even live in Columbia to enjoy our state-of-the-art courses. Learn more here.