Sports Participation is Good for Kids

Three Golf Course Challenges For The Beginning Golfer To Avoid – The Drink, The Beach And The Rough

by Alexa Hamilton

Three of the most challenging things on more difficult golf courses are water hazards, sand traps and narrow fairways. Each of these situations can present a unique test for any golfer, especially someone just learning to play the game.

Golf jargon refers to each of these using some humorous terms, like in the drink, on the beach, or buried in the rough. But, if you test your golfing merits as a beginner-golfer on a course with too many of these challenges, you may find your afternoon on the links to be anything but funny.

If you are just learning to play the game of golf and would prefer a more enjoyable afternoon with fewer difficult situations, try to book a tee time on a course without this trio of tests of a golfer's skills.

Too Much Drink

Known around the golf community as "the drink", water hazards present problems for all golfers. But, a lot of water on the golf course can be even more problematic for those with less experience.

Not only does hitting your ball in the water automatically add another stroke to your score, just the idea that the water is there can be disturbing to your concentration. Dealing with water hazards can disrupt your focus. The novice golfer will have a tendency to give too much attention to the water.

Too much mental thought when navigating water hazards will mysteriously draw your shots straight into the drink. Picking a golf course with minimal water hazards can help you learn to focus on your shots without the distraction of landing your ball in the drink.

The Beach

Sand traps can frustrate even the best golfer, so imagine how challenging they can be for the beginner. Hitting out of the sand uses a different strategy than hitting the ball off a tee, or even while it's lying on the grass. Sand presents a host of problems that are best avoided as much as possible by a new golfer.

While there are usually at least a few sand traps on about every golf course, those that are placed along the fairways, far from the hole, can be the hardest test. When the sand trap is close to the hole, you will be able to use a sand wedge to at least get the ball up and "off the beach" as they say. Fairway bunkers can multiply your shots for a round of golf very rapidly. 

A golfer must either have experience using a distance iron out of the sand, or basically waste a stroke using the sand wedge to put the ball back on the green grass of the fairway. Either way, for the novice golfer, a course with a larger number of sand traps can make for a less than enjoyable afternoon on the links.

Roughing It

Fairway grass is the second shortest cut of grass on a golf course after the putting surface. It is easier to hit an iron shot off this neatly manicured fairway cut than it is out of the taller and coarser type of grass that borders the fairways.

Narrow fairways will mean hitting more shots out of this tall grass, or even worse, from other places where your ball lands in an unfavorable lie like cart paths, or out of the woods. The narrower the fairway the more accurate you will have to drive the ball. For the beginner golfer, trying to maintain distance on your drives at the risk of accuracy, can be a frustrating lesson to learn.

Driving distance off the tee is a nice thing to brag about back in the clubhouse, but accuracy of your drives is what will bring your golf scores down. By selecting golf courses that offer generous widths on the fairways, will allow you to make fewer mistakes along the way until you develop better accuracy off the tee.

Your early experiences as a new golfer will be challenging enough. Controlling your shots is difficult to learn in the best of situations. Adding too many of this trio of hazards will steal some of the pleasure from your early rounds of golf. Be smart and start out choosing golf courses with less water, fewer traps, and nice wide fairways.