just hit bucket after bucket of balls. if you're relatively young, eventually your body will figure out timing, and how to generate power.
AVOID MATS! they don't punish you for all kinds of fuck-ups, and can fuck up your game. practice on real turf if at all possible.
equipment is almost irrelevant, except for shaft stiffness. make sure a pro gets you set up correctly for that. but as a beginner, reg irons are almost surely fine. if you can hit a 3 wood more than 225yds, a stiff shaft would be appropriate for your graphites.
i suppose cavity backs are prob best for beginners. i detest the shit out of them, but its prob just cause i've been playing blades forever.
the bets advice i can offer is to not go around buying new clubs every other year like 90% of the jackasses out there. its the golfer, not the club, and you have an adjustment period to deal with for no gain.
my newest club is about 10 years old (putter), and i got all of them in high school except my 3-wood (middle school).
me:titlest 990s 2-P, cleveland berillium nickel SW, STX putter (light!!! i hate scotty camerons), titanium Taylor made burner 3wood, titleist driver - i forget the type, whatever was normal around 1999-2000, extra stiff shaft.
hit balls, hit balls, hit balls.
oh, and be ready to hit when its your turn.
unforch it appears its hard to get really good once you're older. i was a scratch by high school - after that its like riding a bike. played for the first time this year today, haven't hit any balls either, and broke 80 at least... only play like 10-20 rounds/year now that i live in nyc.