So, now that you've made the commitment to play golf, here are some suggestions on what to do next.
It would be very helpful for you to develop a good practice routine. Plan your time wisely.
Let's say you have five hours a week to devote to practicing. You should spend at least 60 percent of that time on the short game, which is chipping, pitching, sand bunker work and putting.
This is the area that will allow you to shoot lower scores. Also, you will have more success in hitting good shots, which will build your confidence. This is the scoring area, and no matter what level of skill you achieve in golf, it will always be of great benefit to be efficient around the greens.
The other 40 percent of your time should be divided between the tee shot and the fairway shots.
Golf is one of those games that should be taught from the hole back to the tee, but most of us don't do it that way. If you go to any golf course or practice facility, you will see the majority of the people whaling away at drivers. Don't fall into this trap. Yes, it is true, you need to be able to drive the ball in play and with some length, but ultimately, you score with the wedge and the putter.
Feel is a big part of the game also, and I believe it is easier to develop feel working on the short shots. The swing is softer and slower, so you get more feedback. You hit more solid shots and you can carry this feel over into the long game. During a round of golf, you probably won't hit every shot perfectly or hit every green in regulation, so you will have to rely on your shot game for help. Learn it and practice it right from the beginning, and you will never be sorry.
Even the tour players who are the best players in the world rely on their short game to score. I think that is what sets them apart. They seem to have the uncanny ability to turn a five into a four, instead of turning it into a six. Although you may never reach their level of ability from tee to green, we all can certainly learn to chip, pitch, put and score!
Tim Peightal is a PGA Pro, general manager and director of golf at Pelican Bay Country Club - north and south courses in Daytona Beach. He also owns Summit Driving Range in Port Orange. Mr. Peightal can be reached by sending an e-mail to GypsyPro12@ aol.com.