Dustin Johnson shares his best advice for beginner golfers

Dustin Johnson's simple mentality is one you can incorporate into your own game.

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I often wonder how people end up becoming avid golfers, considering how difficult the game is for beginners. The rules, the etiquette, the swing, the simple act of hitting a golf ball; it’s all very intimidating for newcomers. There must simply be something so inherently fun about watching a good shot soar into the air that keeps golfers coming back, generation after generation.

Dustin Johnson, with his Zen-like calm, doesn’t seem like he worries about any of that, though. And according to Rory McIlroy, that’s by design:

“He’s smarter than you think,” Rory said at the 2020 Masters. “He’s switched on.”

Fast-forward to this week when, speaking ahead of the Saudi Invitational, DJ was asked about his advice for beginner golfers. His response was simple but undeniably useful, so if you’re a newbie golfer out there reading this, take note.

DJ’s advice: Don’t stress bad shots

It’s really that simple, according to DJ:

“I’m the best player in the world, I hit some of the worst shots you’ve ever seen. But I go find it and hit it again. Obviously not all of them are bad but I do hit bad shots. It’s managing those shots and not letting it bother you and going and hitting the next one good.”

I can vouch for that one personally; I remember back at the 2018 Hero World Challenge, when DJ hit a wedge so thin he couldn’t even keep hold of the club…

But in all seriousness, it’s an important point. Golf is a difficult game regardless of your skill level. You’re going to hit a lot of bad shots at first, and even though you’ll eventually improve, you’ll never stop hitting bad shots entirely.

The goal, as DJ says, is to shake that mindset, and instead try to stop your bad shots from becoming frustrating shots. There’ll be times when you’ll be annoyed, but accepting them and moving on will help you accept that golf — as it’s often said — is a game of misses.

“Obviously I love the game but it is very frustrating at times, and that’s part of it. I think that’s one of the reasons I love it. You’re never going to perfect the game but there’s always — no matter how good you are — an area where you could be better.”

So listen to DJ, know that you’ll be frustrated at times without dwelling on it, and if you’re a beginner, accept that it’s all part of the game.

New to the game and want to invest in your first set? Schedule a fitting with the experts at our sister company, True Spec Golf.


Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.