Are you new to the golf world? If the only experience you’ve had playing golf was on the mini-golf club, you have a lot to learn. While some of the principles are the same—obviously both require you to hold a club and hit a ball into a hole, and the lowest score wins—playing on a real golf course requires skill level and concentration that you simply don’t need while playing on a fun mini-putt course. Check out these beginner golf tips to get you started.

Start Basic: Clubs

You may be tempted to go out and buy the newest equipment, but you’ll want to refrain. Buying the latest equipment will not only set you back quite a bit of money, but it isn’t necessary as a beginner. You only really need a few clubs to get started (think: the driver, a sand wedge, and a putter) and you can get these for a decent price at a sporting goods store on a discount rack. As you improve in skill, you can start adding more specialized clubs to your bag. Some clubs are designed for beginners, such as hybrids or irons with wider, forgiving soles.

Start Basic: Balls

The same can be said for golf balls as can be said for golf clubs: you don’t need to buy the most expensive golf balls. Chances are, you’ll be losing a lot of balls as a beginner, so you’ll want to spend less when you start out. As you improve, you can invest in more expensive golf balls. When you’re buying, see if you can putt a few in the store to see how they feel.

Master your Short Shot

Most of the time, you’re going to be swinging within 50 yards of the cup. That means that you’ll want to get good at your short shot with your wedge and your putter. You can practice this at home.

Start Basic: Shots

In addition to mastering your short shot, you should know about the more basic shots and when to use them. This is fundamental to the game. A chip shot is great when you have to get over a low obstacle and you need the ball to cover some distance. A pitch is a higher shot and doesn’t roll as far.  A greenside bunker shot is when you hit your club into the sand behind your ball, and the sand propels your ball out of the obstacle.

Start on an Easier Course

Golf can be overwhelming; start on an easier course with holes that are all par 3s. Play only a few holes, rather than playing a full 18-hole game. If you can, choose a nine-hole course. If you start to get frustrated or overwhelmed after a few holes, go back the next day. Try to choose unpopular tee times so that you can take your time and don’t feel rushed when you’re playing. And if you want to tee off from a shorter distance, go for it.

Take Golf Lessons

If you’re really looking to get good at golf, invest in lessons or find a good teacher. Your teacher should not only be competent at the game of golf, but they should be a good personality fit, too. It’ll be easiest to learn from someone you trust. At Blackberry Ridge, we offer both group and individual golf lessons taught by PGA Professional, Brock Swanson, and teaching professional, Michael Whitlock.