Golf Lessons? Arguments for and against
Are you someone that likes to take golf lessons? Some people swear by them yet others could do without. Choosing an instructor could be a very important decision if you are relying on him or her to help you with your game. Time is of the essence so the last thing you want to do is waste half the summer, plus all of the money you spend, on somebody that doesn’t work out. On the other hand, with well-crafted and tailored instruction to fix some crucial errors that could be seriously holding you back, your game could go to the next level and your scores drop so low you that become a serious contender in any local tournament.
Choosing to take lessons in a serious way is a personal choice. Here are a few arguments both for and against and a recommendation on what would work best for the average golfer who wants to get a lot better. So should you take lessons? Here are a few arguments to help you weigh things in your decision:
You can’t see yourself – No one can see what it is that they are doing and how it looks. Even Jim Furyk, known for his lopsided, funky swing, says that to him it feels like he is bringing the club up and back down on the same plane which is obviously not the case. You could be doing something really wrong that only a trained eye can see.
Even the pros rely on coaches – Tiger always has a coach and they seem to take just as much heat as Tiger does when he doesn’t perform well. This is the case for most other pros making the likes of David Ledbetter and Butch Harmon household names in golf.
They know more than you do – Golf is not your specialty. They know more than you do and are also objective about your strengths and weaknesses.
You can OWN your swing – If you have built your swing like most people, then you have more insight into it, and your personal tendencies than anyone else. Bubba Watson has never had a lesson. AND IF YOU OWN IT it will always be yours at every round and every tournament. Outsourcing it to a teacher or coach requires some amount of trust and faith that you might not have right away and that will need to change if you switch instructors.
Instructors can try to change too much – How many times have you gone to an instructor and he changed your grip, your posture, where you stood in relation to the ball, plus everything else?
You can’t change everything in one lesson! Share this quote
>>>The rule of thumb for working memory is 5 plus or minus two. That means people are able to store 3 – 7 different pieces of information for a short period. That rule also applies when people are in a comfortable laboratory setting with distractions removed. This is probably not the case when people are physically exerting themselves and completing unfamiliar body movements while hot and sweaty. Arguably, most golfers may only be able to process 1 or 2 things while being taught on the range, not 5.
Instructors may try to box you into their version of a typical swing – There is more than one way to skin a cat. No one swing is perfect and everyone’s is different, you can look at the pros for evidence of that. Yet some instructors get into “their way” of doing things and are not able to accommodate differences in people’s body types, preferences, personal assets, and style.
It’s okay to have quirks and things you do that are not technically correct because it’s more important to be able to replicate your swing. Consistency is more important than perfection. Share this quote.
It’s expensive – $50 – $100 per hour to have a lesson with the pro at a local golf club is average. Add this to membership/playing fees, equipment, and clothing costs and that’s one more added expense you could do without. A little practice goes a long way if you’re not just looking for a quick fix.
There can be a disconnect in goals and objectives – He or she could think they are giving you a “generic” lesson with some things you might want to do to improve while you think you are there to fix your slice and are not really interested in changing every other swing flaw. Unless you tackle this immediately you two could be headed in different directions with different objectives while it’s your game that pays the price.
All of that being said, there could still some value in getting someone to help you with golf.
#1 Choose a coach not an instructor – If you are serious about moving your game to the next level you need someone you can partner with. Just like choosing and employee, babysitter, or place of worship, this is an important relationship with some considerable ramifications. Unless the local person happens to be stellar it would be in your best interest to shop around. Your objective is to get buy-in from them on your goals. This needs to be a long term relationship because quick fixes don’t work.
#2 Set goals – You should not go to an instructor, and drop hundreds of dollars on lessons, for them to “take look at your swing.” This is your time and your money so you better get something worthwhile out of it. Set goals for each lesson and get buy in from the instructor on reaching them. Don’t be vague. When it comes to setting goals be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and timely.
- Drop 5 strokes in two months
- 225 yards avg. driving distance by Oct. 1
- Hit 50% of fairways in the next 3 rounds
Not SMART GOALS:
- Get better
- Fix my putting
- Bomb it
#3 Communicate. He or she doesn’t intrinsically know what you want. This is good because you are an open pallet to them. They probably have no pre-conceived notions about how dedicated you are and what you are capable of. This is bad because the onus is on you to be open and honest about what you are trying to achieve. Don’t be afraid they will laugh. Instructors are hopelessly positive and WANT to see you succeed, or get as close as possible, because that means they have succeeded.
Things to tell a COACH/TEACHER:
- I want to qualify for the A flight of our county amateur which is in several weeks. Can you please work with me to correct one or two major flaws that increase my score high and suggest a practice and play schedule for me to achieve this goal?
- I have less time to play this year because of life issues, but I want my game not to drop off too severely. Please help me to find the one or two most important things to do when I play and practice that will maintain my scores while I deal with everything else that is going on.
- I realize that I am most likely to make it onto the green in two shots when my drive is very long. I think this is because I can use an iron rather than a fairway wood on the second shot. Can you help me increase the distance of my drives by an extra 20 yards?
This will help them and the two of you can work out a joint program with a series of steps, the number of lessons it will take, and communicating with them along the way. Now is not the time to be sheepish. They can also help you choose goals that are realistic. That way everyone has a clear idea of what to expect and he or she will be invested in you.
Lessons are not for everyone so if you choose not to take them that is perfectly fine. Others flourish with good instruction and that too is good. Follow the advice above and you are more likely to get the most out of your time and money with an instructor.♣