How Many Years Does It Take to Get Good at Golf?
Like any skill, mastering golf takes practice—a lot of it. Many people make the mistake of believing that golf is a more leisurely sport to pick up than most, due to its slower pace and lack of immediate 'opponent.' Unlike most team sports, adrenaline does not play a central role in golf. It doesn't mean it can't be exciting, but it does affect how the game is perceived.
However, this slower pace requires absolute precision and skill. The idea that attaining a hole in one, or even a hole in three, can be achieved without significant practice is nonsensical.
But just how long will it take for you to become a certified expert? Well, that's precisely what we hope to explain in this guide.
How Long Does It Take to Get Good at Golf?
The amount of time it takes to become proficient or expert largely depends on your starting level.
If you're hoping to immediately get out onto the course and start swinging with ease from day one, you might be in for a nasty surprise. It can take up to six months for a beginner to even master hitting the ball the right way. Yes, you read correctly, six months. The reason is that hand-eye coordination required for golf is severely underrated.
The second biggest factor determining how long it will take you to 'get good' is how you define good. Are you referring to pro-level or simply an enthusiast? Do you want to play in competitions, or do you just want to boss the course with your buddies? Depending on what you think good looks like significantly alters how long it will take for you to meet that target.
Remember, the best players are often the ones who aren't obsessed with being the best but rather just love the game.
Regardless of your goal, you should expect that it will take years for you to get good at golf. Don't be discouraged by this. While researchers have debunked the 10,000-hour rule for quite some time now, there's still no denying the fact that commitment and hard work are the only ways to achieve solid results. There's no life hack for learning golf—you just need to start playing!
With that said, various things could contribute to how hard you need to work to reach your goal. Let's discuss them.
Factors That Determine if You Will Be Good at Golf
No player swings, putts, or otherwise plays the same. It's essential to consider whether you have already been playing for quite some time or you're entirely new to the sport.
However, this doesn't mean only one particular style will make the best golfer. Almost anyone can play golf, and golfers can fine-tune many of these factors with some good old-fashioned practice. Let's go into more detail.
As we mentioned before, hand-eye coordination is critical in golf. The balls you use on the course aren't particularly big, and your club needs to make contact with it at just the right point to send it in the direction you want it to go.
We said it takes six months for beginner players just to learn how to hit, and we meant it. Don't feel discouraged if you mess up frequently in the beginning. It's completely normal, and your coordination will only improve from there.
How Much Time You Have to Practice
The old saying 'practice makes perfect' may be somewhat of a cliche, but it holds a lot of truth. The more time you can provide yourself to practice, whether it's out on the course or through other methods (see further below), the more significant improvements you will start to notice.
You don't need to obsess over it. In fact, that could lead to injury, which would only hinder your abilities. However, staying committed is integral to the process. Carve out a reasonable schedule for yourself and stick to it. The results will come.
We spoke before about misconceptions surrounding golf, given that it isn't exactly high-octane in terms of energy output like basketball or football might be. The apparent leisureliness of the sport once led to the belief that physical strength wasn't an essential factor when playing golf, but we now know this isn't true.
Strength is usually most important for that first swing, where most players will want to cover as much distance as possible. Sometimes, that little extra force is the decider between a successful shot and a total dud.
Last but by no means least is your mindset. Psychology plays an enormous role in developing a new skill.
Without commitment and motivation, it won't matter how often you practice or how physically inclined you are for the sport—you won't see progress. You will likely burn out too quickly or give up because you don't see results fast enough.
Try to enjoy the process. Presumably, you want to 'get good at golf because you love the sport, so let that be your motivator. The results you desire will come later. Stay focused.
Where Are the Best Places to Learn Golf?
So, now we've covered what will contribute to your practice, you need to know where you should be practicing. Listed below are some of our best suggestions, ranging from the obvious to the unconventional. Don't be afraid to open your mind when it comes to practice, as a multi-faceted approach can often provide the most considerable benefits.
On the Course
Let's just get the most obvious answer out of the way first. Yes, one of the best places to learn golf will be out on the course. It's arguably the only place you can get a real feel for the game and react to environmental factors such as weather and landscape in real-time.
It isn't always possible to get on the course, depending on how many responsibilities you already juggle in your day-to-day life. Still, you should take the opportunity as much as you can if you're looking to improve.
In a Simulator
As we just said, actually getting out onto the course can prove tricky. The wonderful world of VR and various simulators can genuinely help you improve your game.
Of course, it doesn't provide the same level of practice as the real thing, but it is undoubtedly superior to skipping practice entirely. You can still practice your form and swing with a simulator, as neither necessarily rely on environmental factors. Also, some simulators are just genuinely fun, which is its own reward!
At a Driving Range
If you can't actually play the game or want to practice your form and swing in a controlled environment, a driving range is a perfect solution.
There is a lot a the driving range can't account for, such as how navigating different course terrain can affect your game, but it still makes for good practice. Standing and swinging hundreds of balls for a couple of hours may seem unnecessarily repetitive, but it all works towards improving your strength, alignment, and aim. It can also prove to be very therapeutic.
While practical experience can teach you a lot in any sport, sometimes you need your mental game to be up to par too. This is precisely what YouTube tutorials can provide you.
Tips and tricks from amateurs to professionals alike can help your game next time you're out on the course. You might be surprised by how much you can learn from a simple visual example from another player. You might just find your new favorite tactic to land the perfect swing. Don't underestimate the resources out there.
Lessons may not be an option for everyone, depending on your budget and any tutors near you. Still, it's a valuable idea, as paying out for practical lessons gives you time with an actual expert who can help to refine your technique.
Practicing at driving ranges or out at the course are both very effective ways to hone your skills, but you might be ignoring some glaring mistakes. A professional instructor can zero in on what you're missing simply by providing another perspective.
Lastly, and similarly to the benefits of YouTube videos, there are countless websites dedicated to golfing techniques. Don't ignore what's out there because you think practical experience is all that matters. Sure, getting out there and playing is core to your overall improvement, but reading about the game has its own distinct set of benefits.
You must already believe that a little bit, or you wouldn't be reading this guide! Golfing theory might not sound the most riveting at first, but it can improve your technique.
How Often Should You Play Golf to Improve?
The key here is balance. You don't want to practice too much, so you end up getting burnt out and hating the sport, but you also don't want to practice so little that you don't notice any improvement months down the line.
We would personally recommend practicing on the course or at a driving range a maximum of four times per week. It may be difficult to fit around your life responsibilities, and that's fine! We offer it as a maximum.
Three times or even just once a week is still acceptable, as long as you're putting in the effort!
Is There a Quick Way to Get Good at Golf?
You might not want to hear this, but no, there isn't. As we said towards the beginning of this guide, there is no quick life-hack that will speedrun you to golfing greatness. As with any skill, you need to put in the work to see the gains.
Luckily, if you want to improve your game, you likely enjoy the sport, so practice shouldn't feel like too much of a chore. Regardless of how long it takes to meet your target, make sure you enjoy the process. Getting 'good' isn't everything, and most professionals would tell you that they still challenge themselves every day.
Is There Such Thing as Too Much Practice?
Yes, there is. Though it might sound like the best idea in the world to throw yourself into practice to improve your game, the opposite might happen. Burnout is real, and you won't be exempt from it fueled by passion alone.
Slow and steady wins the race, as the old saying goes, but it holds a lot of truth. Aside from burnout from physical exhaustion, you also run the risk of coming to resent the sport if you don't see enough improvements when you expect them. Take it easy. The rewards will come later.
Mastering any skill takes a significant amount of time, which holds true for golf. Whether you're new to the game or a veteran, you need to be kind to your body and mental state while practicing. We can't stress it enough, enjoy the process!
If you're looking for some excellent equipment to keep you going while you do it, browse our selection at Stitch Golf. We have everything you need to take your game to the next level, from gear to bags and everything in between.