Golf is a difficult game that requires coordination, a keen eye, athleticism, courage and the ability to put mistakes in the past. If you can put all of these factors together, you'll be on your way to mastering the game.
Practice with an emphasis on quality, not quantity. The number of golf balls you hit isn't as important as how you hit them. Rehearse your swing before each shot you hit on the practice range.
Take lessons regularly. Even tour players have coaches to help them keep their games in top shape.
Learn the mental tricks of the game. Focus on the positive and learn from the negative. When your ball is in trouble, focus on the task at hand rather than what you did wrong in your last swing. Picture the shot you want to hit and imagine the ideal result. Never focus on what you don't want to do.
Learn the nuances of the short game. Learn how to put the ball where you want it to go with your 8- and 9-irons along with your wedges -- when to hit a low, running chip and when to hit a high pitch. The short game probably has more to do with putting a good score on the scorecard than any other one single factor.
Learn how to make shots in difficult situation. Most golfers can play fairly well when the ball is sitting high up in the fairway and the lie is ideal. But every once in a while you will find yourself in trouble in the rough, or woods or just with a poor lie. Practice these shots so they will not be unfamiliar to you when you face them. Learn when to swing away and when to simply get out of trouble or hit a layup shot.
Putt the ball with confidence. Golfers who stand over the ball on the green for 15 or 20 seconds after taking three or four practice putting strokes very rarely make their putts. Go up to your ball, read the path it will travel to get to the hole, take one practice stroke and then putt it with a purpose.