Get Started: Getting into the swing of golfing

Kim Tobin has a beginner's lesson to end our series

Get Started: Golfing

BEND, Ore. - One of the many attractions in Central Oregon, especially in the summer, is golfing. In the last edition of our 'Getting Started' series, we stopped by Tetherow Golf Club to learn how beginners can start playing the sport.

General manager and golf pro Chris Van Der Velde teaches lessons so people can learn the basics of the swing.

"Even after all these years of playing tournaments, I still always check my balance," Van Der Velde said. "The four fundamentals I consider in the golf swing are grip, aim, setup and posture."

Starting with the grip, I set my thumbs up with the lines on the club.

"We're going to get your hand right in that index," Van Der Velde said.

The pros say it's important to perfect your stance, keeping your spine very straight.

"Go down, bending from the hips and the waist," Van Der Velde said.

Experts say beginners are usually afraid to hit the ground with their golf club, but they should practice stroking the grass first.

After a few whiffs, Van Der Velde shows me that my problem is looking out onto the course, so I instead focus on the ground below the ball.

After a few tries, Van Der Velde applauds my golf swing and hit.

"People get intimidated by golf sometimes, but you really don't need to," Van Der Velde said. "I consider it similar to almost any other sport you do. If you take an athletic stance and you make some basic fundamental movements the right way, it should be pretty simple."

After practice at the driving range, we move onto the putting course.

"I call it the three C's of putting," Van Der Velde said. "You keep it consistent, you work on your concentration, and that will build confidence."

Pros say keeping your arms loose is key.

"A big part of putting is feel," Van Der Velde said. "If you don't have feeling in your fingers, it's because you're gripping it too tight, and you're not going to get a good feel."

After a few misses, I finally sink a putt.

"In the beginning, make it easier for yourself," Van Der Velde said. "Make sure you have some chances to put balls in the air and have some success. Because if you have some success, success breeds success. The more comfortable you feel doing it, the better off you are."

Another tip for beginners: You can try a beginners clinic and learn with a group. Van Der Velde says the most important tip: It's a game -- so make sure to have fun.

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