Who Should Take Golf Lessons?
The answer is simple: Any golfer who wants to improve should take golf lessons. But having said that, I find there are several key elements required in order to learn the most from taking golf lessons:
- Time to practice
- Find a skilled golf instructor
- Have the patience and an open mind to learn from skilled golf coaches with a willingness for change.
If you are a beginner, you can benefit the most from correct golf instruction or be hurt the most from improper golf instruction. I can understand wanting to save money by not taking golf lessons from qualified professionals especially since you are not sure if you will really have an interest in golf. Don’t do it! Taking wrong advice could ruin your golfing potential.
If you are not willing to pay for PGA qualified golf instruction until you are ready to commit to the game, then don’t take any golf swing tips from anyone from your relatives or friends etc., they will almost certainly hurt your golf swing even though they are well intentioned.
Do you really want to improve your game?
Even Ben Hogan once said in an interview that most golfers aren’t willing to “go the distance” – they aren’t willing to work through the frustration that is an inescapable result of improving a faulty swing. Instead, golfers try the band-aid approach to golf improvement, which is relatively painless, but is also ineffective because they aren’t fixing the root of their swing faults, they’re just treating the symptoms.
A golf swing is not learned by buying new equipments nor by practicing something for only a week or two. It doesn’t come quickly and it doesn’t come without effort, yet golfers seem to think or hope that it will. If you want to improve, be prepared – Sometimes you will hit the ball badly and your swing will feel very awkward and uncomfortable until you have practiced it enough to develop coordination with whatever part of the swing you were trying to improve.
My Way Or Not?
Frequently, golfers or students tell me that they would like to take a golf lesson, but they want me to work with the golf swing they have i.e. they don’t want me to make any major changes to their golf swing.
I think it boils down to the fear of change. If you ask me to make you a better golfer, but won’t let me change your golf swing, just what is it that am I supposed to do to make you better? The quality of your golf swing is the major component determining the level of your play.
Here is a simple method to help you decide if you should be willing to change your swing – if you shoot 95 and you’re happy shooting 95, then obviously your swing is good enough. If you shoot 95 but you want to shoot 85, then your swing is not good enough – you have to change something. Either work on your short game, which will possibly shave a few strokes off of your score, but not 10 strokes, or improve your golf swing. It’s really that simple.
There are a lot of golfers out there who shoot 95 but think they have a swing that should be producing scores of 85. This isn’t an accurate view of the situation. The sooner these golfers realize that their golf swings need work, the sooner they can begin to improve, if they really are prepared for the learning process.
When will learning stop?
When a student first begins to work with a Teaching Pro, the student is given new information and is asked to make changes to their swing. This is the revolutionary stage of the golf improvement process, which is fairly short but can be intensely frustrating at times.
After a number of lessons, the instruction shifts from new information to refining the movements the student has already begun to learn. This is the evolutionary stage. In this stage, you are in the evolutionary stage, focusing mostly on giving feedback with much less emphasis on teaching new information.
It isn’t until the students gets to the evolutionary stage that they can begin to get significant benefits from instruction. Once they do reach this stage, they work on things that they have already worked on before so it becomes less difficult and less frustrating. The more instruction a person gets in the evolutionary stage, the easier it becomes and the better their swing becomes
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get to the evolutionary stage, which for my students generally means getting through the first 6-8 lessons. The reason people don’t make it is simple, far too many of them expect instant results.
Feel vs. Reality – Can you tell the difference?
Unfortunately, sensation of muscle movement rarely bears any resemblance to reality. It’s very important for you to realize that what you feel or think you are doing in your golf swing is a misperception – it’s not really what you are doing. If you understand this, then you will understand one of the reasons why it is very difficult to teach yourself.
How Can You Tell You Have Had A Good Golf Lesson
Video: The video camera is an essential tool for my lessons. By seeing your golf swing on video, you are able to visualize your errors and it is a tremendous help in learning how to swing properly.
Thorough Explanations: I always explain a concept thoroughly that there is no doubt about what I am attempting to teach you during the lesson.
Proof: The explanation is offered as proof to the validity of what is being taught during the golf lesson.
How To Get The Most From Golf Lessons
During the Golf Lesson
- Listen carefully and be sure that you understand what you are being asked to do. Ask questions.
- Be able to visualize the movement because feel is unreliable.
- Be patient. Learning a golf swing, whether you’re a beginner or have played for 50 years, takes time and is not without its frustrating moments. You will probably leave the golf lesson hitting the ball badly and will continue to do so for awhile. The reason for this is simple – your brain is telling your body to do something it hasn’t done before. At this point, you have no coordination and you won’t be developing any until you learn the new movement.
- Step-by-step: Even the best golfers can only work on one concept at a time, so don’t rush to get more which might end up learning less.
After the Golf Lesson
The best thing you can do after a golf lesson is practice your new golf swing (the more often, the better). The way to teach your body something new is to swing slowly, without a golf ball. Stop frequently at the new position you are trying to learn so that you can show your body where it should be and so that It can develop a feel for that position. Once the new movement is somewhat comfortable, you can put more emphasis on trying to learn the move while actually hitting the balls.
When you do hit practice shots, make three to four practice swings for every ball you hit, you want to get conscious thought out of the act as soon as possible, and video yourself to see if the positions are changing.
Take a Golf Lesson, but will you swing correctly?
One of the biggest mistakes a golfer can make regarding instruction is thinking that after a lesson they will practice a certain number of times and will then be performing the movement correctly. Realize this: After the lesson, you will practice some aspect of the golf swing, but you will not do it correctly 100%! Therefore, your goals need to be realistic. Take the information you get from a lesson and practice with the understanding that you are going to try and do it as well as you can and that perfection is the long term goal.
If you think that you will be able to do something 100% correctly after a lesson is a huge mistake, but unfortunately, one which is made by many golfers. It creates unattainable expectations and the only possible outcome is dissatisfaction with one’s progress.