If you are new to Golf and are starting with golf instruction, do consider the “Success Progression”!

What is the Success Progression? Simply, this is the acquisition of skill for transfer to play, working from the putting green back to the tee. This is simply the best, most logical way to begin to learn the skills from the smallest swing (putter) working towards the biggest swing (driver). This progression ensures a clear understanding of the skill areas in a chronological fashion where the order of movement slowly gets introduced and each new skill area builds on the one before. I like to call this growing the size of the swing or working from grace to power…short game and then the long game. This seems to work for most new golfers and the “success” you will feel from the start will give you a boost of confidence for sure! You will be playing on the golf course in no time!

Consider These Key Points For Your Learning Sessions In The Success Progression


  • Grip/Posture/Set-up/Stroke/Feet in Cement
  • Rhythm/Balance/Timing/Tempo/Tension Awareness
  • Distance and Direction
  • Aim and Alignment
  • Reading Greens
  • Supplementary: Understanding different putters, etiquette on the greens, how to repair ball marks

deb vangellow how to play golf


  • Grip/Clip Grass/Set up/Clubhead Stays Low To The Ground
  • Rhythm/Balance/Timing/Tempo/Tension Awareness
  • Minimize Wrist Action and Movement
  • Chipping is Putting with Lofted Iron
  • Minimum Air Time/Maximum Ground Time
  • Aim and Alignment
  • Image of 747 Touching Down and then Taxi-ing on Runway
  • Idea of Two Targets In Chipping: Touch Down Point And Cup
  • Idea of Changing Clubs Depending On Distance to Flag
  • Supplementary: Understanding chip vs. pitch vs. pitch and run, bump and run shots


  • Swinging vs. Hitting concept/Gravity
  • Rhythm/Balance/Timing/Tempo/Tension Awareness
  • Growing the Swing from a Chipping Motion so movement increases/pivot
  • Letter “L” to Letter “L” to image/demo a larger swing with hinge
  • Image of a helicopter landing on a building downtown
  • Maximum airtime/Minimum Ground Time
  • Which wedges to use where/Also a good place to explain the pitch and run
  • How to vary the distance and trajectory with club/ball position change
  • Supplementary: Differences in Wedges, Explaining how each club loft works incrementally in the set.

Women’s Golf Facebook Group member, Ruth Lakeview with friends at the Golf Club in Meridian, Idaho, USA

Irons/Woods Full Swing

  • Grip/Set-Up/Clipping Grass
  • Rhythm/Balance/Timing/Tempo/Tension Awareness
  • Swinging vs. Hitting Concept even though it is a bigger swing
  • Posture/Pivot/Turn
  • Plane and Path
  • Order of Movement (similar to all throwing and striking skills)
  • Image of not necessarily becoming aggressive with the driver/assertive OK
  • Concept of smooth acceleration and centeredness of contact
  • Supplementary: yardage chart that gives ranges for each club in your set, scoring, etiquette and pace of play, specialty shots, how to hook and slice intentionally

Bunker Shots

  • Grip/Set Up/How to use bounce in club…or not if wet sand/no sand
  • Hitting it “fat” on purpose (Greenside)/Hitting it “thin” on purpose (Fairway)
  • Using pitching swing (L to L) is good image
  • Fuller finish than most believe because sand is pushing ball up and out of bunker
  • Good transfer of energy into finish position (weight shift forward important)
  • Understanding clubface/shaft positioning for this shot (slightly open)
  • Idea of hitting behind ball (divot behind ball) for Greenside Bunker)
  • Idea of picking the ball clean (divot in front of ball OK) for Fairway bunker
  • Turn back/Turn through is good bunker image…clipping sand
  • Supplementary: Bunker care/entering and exiting bunkers/rules and etiquette in bunker

Course Walk

  • Walk #1 from Tee to Green
  • Walk #18 from Green To Tee
  • Demo each area of skill acquisition on each hole
  • Discuss pertinent info on playing the game (rules, etiquette, scoring, cart etiquette, the pace of play, etc.)
  • Supplementary: Equipment, apparel, what to bring with you in your golf bag, etc.


Author Details

As our LPGA Director of Instruction, Deb Vangellow leads the WomensGolf.com team of expert LPGA and PGA qualified instructors.

LPGA Master Professional/PGA Honorary Director Deb Vangellow holds both a BA and a Master Of Science Degree in Health/Physical Education/Coaching and Educational Leadership/Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and Miami (Ohio) respectively.

She currently is the Director Of Instruction at Riverbend Country Club in Houston, Texas.  Deb is the 2012 LPGA National Teacher Of The Year, an LPGA, Golf Digest Woman, and Golf For Women “Top 50” Teacher, a Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine “Top Regional/Best in State” Teacher”, a US KIDS GOLF “Top 50 Master Kids Teacher” a GRAA “Elite Top Growth Of The Game Professional” and a Golf Tips Mag “Top 25 Teachers In The USA”.

Deb is the immediate Past National President of the LPGA Teaching And Club Professionals, the first ever elected LPGA National Vice President,  and was a longtime lead instructor in the LPGA Global Education Program in the U.S. and Asia.  An educator/coach who offers wellness based developmental programming integrated into her “student centered” philosophy; Deb can be reached online at www.debvangellowgolf.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

See all of Deb’s articles on WomensGolf.com