There’s nothing quite like striking golf shot 250 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. But that can be a challenging skill to master, and as golf is one of the most frustratingly difficult sports in the world, all players have to spend a bit of time perfecting their swing to get to that stage.
As a general rule, it takes a beginner around six months to learn to hit a golf ball; this includes attending regular lessons to learn the golf swing fundamentals. When starting, it’s all about building confidence in your swing and learning how to strike the ball well.
If you’re a beginner looking to get into golf, you’re probably wondering how long it will take before you can consistently hit bombs down the fairway? In this guide, we’ll be answering that question, and I’ll be sharing my story on how long it took me to learn to hit a golf ball.
I’ll also provide you with some tips and tricks on how you can speed that process up and become more consistent with your iron play.
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How Long Does It Take To Become Decent At Golf?
As a whole, it takes most beginners around six months to become a component golfer. Golf is a marathon, not a sprint. Some might take to the game naturally, and others might take a little longer to get to grips with their swing.
That might seem like a long time, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and as golf is such a technical sport, you’ll find that, even after six months, there is still a lot of room for improvement. I’ve played golf for 16 years, and I am still trying to become a better golfer.
My first piece of advice to any budding golfer is not to be disheartened by the length of time or amount of training you need to put in to become a good golfer. The more work you put in now while you’re new to the sport, the better golfer you will be.
If you’re able to hone in on working on the perfect swing technique when you’re fresh to the sport, you’ll be able to ensure you won’t develop bad habits or bad injuries further down the line.
That’s why as a beginner, it may be beneficial to take a couple of lessons early on so that a PGA coach can help you get an early idea of how to swing through the ball correctly.
Having lessons certainly helped me speed up becoming more confident in my golfing abilities. I advise every golfer, experienced or not, to have at least one lesson to help them improve all aspects of their game, from putting to driving. For more information on how many lessons a beginner golfer should have, check out my guide here.
Many golfers are self-taught, even some pros like Bubba Watson and while self-taught golfers might take a little longer to perfect hitting sweet golf shots, not having lessons will save you a lot of money. As a beginner golfer, you’ve probably already spent a fortune buying clubs, golf clothes, and shoes; the last thing you want to do is spend more money on lessons.
If you’re going down the self-taught route, my top tip is to watch YouTube tutorials and professional tours. Look how pro-golfers swing through the ball, how they putt and chip around the greens, and try to emulate that in your game.
You should also try to play with other golfers, more experienced than yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn from these guys over 18-holes, with most golfers always keen to impart tips as you go through your round. If you’re still stuck on whether to book a lesson or become a self-taught golfer, take a look at my discussion on the pros and cons of each.
Learning To Hit Your Long Irons
One of the most complex parts of becoming a good golfer is learning how to get a good connection on your longer irons. Your long irons, specifically any club above a 7-iron, are one of the least forgiving clubs in your bag. Their high loft and thin heels mean getting the right connection on a long iron can often be challenging, particularly when playing out of the rough.
While I quickly became an accomplished golfer with my short irons, it took me about a year to learn how to strike through my 5-iron consistently. Once I mastered that club, it made hitting a 7-iron 170 yards down the fairway a piece of cake. My top tip for any golfer is to always work harder on your iron play than your driver.
If your irons are long and straight but you have issues with Driver see my guide on how to fix this.
The techniques involved in hitting your long irons are directly transferable to hitting your driver, plus you’ll use your irons a lot more around the course than your driver. For example, with each of your irons, you should strike down onto the golf ball and take a divot after the shot, but with your driver, you need to hit upwards on the ball to give the shot more loft.
The bad news is that this is a tricky skill to master that requires a lot of practice. As Tiger Woods once said, “the harder I practice, the luckier I get.” Practice makes perfect, and the more time you take to perfect your connection on the ball, the easier you’ll find playing with your irons.
Another top piece of advice is to ensure you’re playing with the right clubs for your skill level. Beginners should avoid purchasing more expensive bladed irons and instead buy more forgiving cavity-backed irons. Check out my guide on why beginners should avoid using bladed irons here.
A Beginner Driving Master Class
Learning to hit the ball consistently with my driver took me a lot longer to master than my irons. And between you and I, I still struggle to hit the ball straight off the tee. Many golfers have this problem, and unfortunately, when it comes to driving, most golfers can learn how to hit the ball sweetly in six months, but it may take a little longer to learn how to perfect how to keep your shots on target.
The driver is a longer club than most of your irons, and that requires you to change how you alter how you strike the ball with your driver. One tip I’ve repeatedly been told is to don’t try too hard with your driver. As soon as you try to lash at the golf ball, you start to lift your head and body, and that causes you to slice and chunk the shot.
Always let the club do the work and focus on keeping your head down, the body still, and rotate through the shoulders and hips. If you focus on those things, you’ll progress a lot faster than most other golfers, as you’ll find it easier to get a good connection on the golf ball.
I found booking a lesson to work on my driving with a trackman machine helped me visualize better what I was doing wrong off the tee. Check out my guide on what to expect from a lesson with a trackman and how that lesson can help you.
Get A Good Grip And Let It Rip
Ultimately, my top tip for any budding golfer is patience. Golf is a very frustrating game, and we all know how hard it is when you’re starting. When looking to improve your strike on the golf ball and hit longer shots, remember to let the club do the work, focus on your technique, and try your best not to overpower the shot.
Learning to become a confident golfer over 18-holes should only take you around six months. By then, you should be able to hit your driver, use most of your irons effectively, and chip and put around the greens well. After that, golf gets a lot easier, and you can start to focus more on putting a shape on your shots and improving your accuracy.