Nova Scotia’s golf season got off to its earliest-ever start this year. Thanks to a mild winter and warm spring, Fox Hollow Golf Club in Stewiake opened its greens on March 12, leading many to consider hitting the links for the first time.

Golf instructor Ed Hanczaryk says new golfers can take a day course, two-day course, private lessons or a six-week beginners’ clinic to get to grips with the clubs. “Beginners seem to respond best to others at the same level, so we do a six-week clinic. We have a ladies’ only version and a mixed version,” he says.

Hanczaryk runs Awareness Golf (www.Awarenessgolf.com) and has decades of professional teaching experience. “A lot of the common mistakes are from faulty advice from husbands, spouses and friends,” he says. Learning to drive a golf ball is like learning to drive a car — it’s easy to pick up other people’s bad habits.

One mistake he sees most rookies make is to try and get the ball airborne by angling their hands up on the swing. “That’s the worst thing you can do. We start to train people’s bodies to move properly. More body, less hands, basically,” he says.

Like other golf pros in Halifax, he takes absolute beginners and teaches them enough so that they can tee off with confidence.

“We look at the golf club and the components of this tool that you’re using and how you apply the tool properly,” he says. “We look at the science of what makes the ball go up.”

Green golfers can learn inside in the winter, but in the summer Hanczaryk moves to the Links at Penn Hill. Students start on the driving range before hitting the fairways.

“Some people have the attitude of, ‘I can do this and I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m just going to do it,’ and other people are very timid,” he says.

Whatever the attitude, he quotes Samuel Beckett: “Try again, fail again, fail better.”

He compares it to a musical instrument. Students should not expect to make music the first time they pick it up, but should work toward steady advancement. And after six weeks of improving failure, “I can guarantee that all the confusion about how this should work is gone.”

Other places to learn golf in HRM are the Lake Loon Golf Academy (www.Lakeloongolfacademy.com) and the Goodwood Family Golf Centre (www.Goodwoodgolf.com).

Many courses such as the Links at Montague (www.Thelinksatmontague.com) also offers lessons. For a list of golf courses in HRM, go to www.Golfingns.com/learn.