Is Golf Hard To Learn? Tips for Beginners

If you’ve ever watched golf, you might think that it looks like a difficult sport. After all, the main objective is to hit a tiny ball hundreds of yards into a 4 ½ inch cup!

So is golf a hard sport to learn?

The combined requirements of coordination, balance, speed, power, and mental focus make golf a difficult sport to learn. However, new golfers can pick up the sport relatively quickly if they go about it the right way.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why many consider golf a very hard sport to learn and provide some tips for beginners looking to learn to play golf. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Why Is Golf Considered Hard To Learn?

Golf is considered hard to learn because it involves so many different mental and physical faculties. For example, to excel at golf, you’ll need great balance, flexibility, coordination, power, speed, and mental focus.

If just one of these areas is neglected, it could have an adverse effect on your golf game.

How Long Does it Take To Learn To Play Golf?

The time it takes to learn to play golf varies by player, depending on how much time you’re willing to spend on the pursuit. The average player practicing one time per week can expect to learn to play golf at a passable level in about 6 to 12 months. Increase the frequency to two practice sessions per week, and you’ll have passable golf skills within 4 months or less. 

Of course, someone who commits to practicing every day can learn to play golf relatively quickly while someone who only plays every other week may take months to get a handle on the sport.

Your initial physical abilities will also play a role in determining how long it will take to learn to play golf.

Many athletes from other sports can pick up the sport much quicker than the average person. For example, former baseball and hockey players are known to excel at the sport. This is likely due to athletic skills like coordination, balance, and power that translate from their initial sport to the golf course.

How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Golf?

If you’re wondering how long it takes you to learn to play golf, you might also be curious about how long it will take to get good at golf.

Before we can figure this out, first we need to clarify your definition of “good.” For some, that might be playing scratch golf (shooting par). For others that might mean just getting the ball off the tee box!

According to Golfweek, the average score on 18 holes is 100. So for the purpose of this article, we’ll consider “good” to mean consistently shooting less than 100.

With that in mind, how long does it take to get good at golf?

In general, it will take at least a year for a new player to get good at golf, however, in most cases, much longer. The amount of time it will take you to get good at golf will depend on your initial athletic ability and how consistent you are with your practice routine. 

What Is The Hardest Part Of Golf?

The hardest part of golf will be different for every player. You might struggle with putting on the greens, while your friend might have a difficult time hitting off the tee. Here are a few areas where new golfers tend to struggle:


Many players have trouble hitting the golf ball off the tee. This is, in part, due to the fact that everyone usually tries to swing harder at tee shots and also partly because it’s more difficult to control direction with the driver compared to other clubs.

Long Irons

Long irons are some of the most difficult clubs in the bag to hit because of their low loft. Most amateurs first learning the sport will have difficulty even getting long irons off the ground!


Chipping around the greens requires a delicate touch, something that new golfers haven’t yet developed. If you’re new to the game, your focus with chipping should be to get the ball rolling as soon as possible on the greens.

This usually means selecting a lower-lofted club and playing a bump-and-run.


Out of all the aspects of the game, putting is arguably the most important. After all, you’ll hit more putts than any other type of shot throughout the course of a round of golf. Because putting requires such a soft touch, many new players consider it to be the hardest part of golf.

Mental Game

Finally, the sport of golf requires a certain mental fortitude. Just like any other club in your bag, your mental game needs to be developed over time. This involves controlling your emotions on the course and making strategic decisions.

Is Golf The Hardest Sport To Play?

Golf is one of the hardest sports to play because it involves so many different moving parts. 

In most other sports, you’re in direct contact with the object being acted on. For example, a basketball player physically touches the basketball as they shoot. However, in golf, you’re using a tool (golf club) to propel the ball towards the hole. The fact that you are never in direct contact with the golf ball itself adds an element of difficulty to the sport.

The speed at which the golf swing happens is another reason why many consider golf to be the hardest sport to play. Pro golfers swing the club at speeds over 115 MPH. This means you need incredible timing to produce a straight golf shot.

In the end, there’s no way to quantifiably determine which sport is the hardest. Many people claim golf is the hardest sport to play because of its technical requirements. Others feel that golf isn’t the hardest because of its lack of physical contact.

Can I Teach Myself To Play Golf?

Yes, it is possible to teach yourself to play golf, however, it will be much easier if you have some help along the way. This help can be in the form of a coach, online video, blog post, friend, or really anything that gives you a deeper perspective of the game.

So while it’s not necessary to have a golf coach or instructor, it’s a good idea to frequently use online resources or ask for advice from friends to make sure you’re on the right track.

What’s the Best Way To Learn Golf?

The best way to learn golf will differ from player to player. That said, there is one thing that must be consistent if you’re going to learn to play this game – practice. Because it is such a technical sport, golf requires hours and hours of practice on the driving range and putting green.

So whatever method of learning you select, be sure to create a practice schedule and stick to it!

Here are a few of the best ways to learn golf:

Free Golf Content Online

There are millions of words and hours of video content on the sport of golf. The vast majority of this content is instructional, meaning you can use it to help improve your game.

Spending time on blogs like this one or youtube channels like Me and My Golf can give you the skills you need to rapidly improve your game.

Online Golf Lessons

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach specific to your swing without paying the full price of an in-person lesson, I’d recommend choosing an online golf lesson.

Technology has come a long way in the last 5-10 years.

For example, some of my favorite online golf instructors are Piers Ward and Andy Proudman of Me and My Golf. Together they’ve created a series of courses that players can purchase and work through in their own time.

The nice thing about each course is that it’s based on a specific goal. For example, here are a few of the courses they offer:

  • Total Driving
  • Break 100
  • Break 90
  • Break 80
  • Ultimate Irons
  • Complete Putting

If you’re interested in a step-by-step approach to help improve certain aspects of your game, without paying hundreds (even thousands) of dollars for a golf instructor, this is the way to go!

You can see the full list of courses from Me and My Golf here. Or, feel free to check out our list of the 4 best online golf instructors that can help improve your game.

Tag Along With A Friend

Another great way to learn golf is by simply tagging along with a friend who already knows a thing or two about the sport. They would be more than happy to teach you a few basics of the golf swing to get you started.

Not only will this relieve some of the nerves you might be feeling – because you’re with a friend – but it’ll also be more enjoyable!

Take Lessons With Your Local Pro

Finally, another great option for learning how to golf is by taking lessons from your local pro. You can find your local pro at the golf courses or driving ranges in your city.

Keep in mind, golf lessons can be expensive ($50+/hour). If you’re looking to save some money, it’s best to try a group lesson.

This is where the golf instructor will host small training sessions with 2-4 golfers. Because there are more paying customers, the instructor can afford to charge less per customer, helping everybody save!

If you choose this option, you can round up a group of friends interested in learning how to golf, or, you will be paired up with golfers of a similar skill level as you!

The Takeaway – Is Golf Hard To Learn?

There’s no denying it, golf can be a difficult sport to learn. The combined requirements of coordination, balance, power, speed, and mental focus make it one of the trickiest sports out there. However, as long as you go about it the right way, anyone can learn to play golf. And, if you put in the time and effort, you’ll be able to get pretty good, too!

If you are new to the sport, we recommend getting started with one of the following options:

  • Free Golf Content Online
  • Online Golf Lessons
  • Tag Along With A Friend
  • Take Lessons With Your Local Pro

Hopefully, this article has helped you decide if pursuing golf as a hobby will be worth it for you!

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