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Is it better to take lessons from a friend who got better at the game than a pro?

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I think many pro instructors have been playing the game from a very young age and never really went through the frustrations many hacks like me went through.

I think those who made so many mistakes through the years and finally figured it out would be able to relate to people going through the same thing and explain better at fixing these things.

If you look at motivational speakers for instance the most successful are those who came from nothing to success because their target audience can relate to them vice versa.

The top tier pro teachers have their market and thats the scratch  golfers. But for the hack out there - i think they are better hooking up with a buddy who got better and who can relate to their mistakes.

Thought pls

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I think finding the right instructor can be a challenge.  If the friend is very knowledgeable, it may work.  Or is could just lead to more frustration.

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I think many pro instructors have been playing the game from a very young age and never really went through the frustrations many hacks like me went through.   I think those who made so many mistakes through the years and finally figured it out would be able to relate to people going through the same thing and explain better at fixing these things.  If you look at motivational speakers for instance the most successful are those who came from nothing to success because their target audience can relate to them vice versa.  The top tier pro teachers have their market and thats the scratch  golfers. But for the hack out there - i think they are better hooking up with a buddy who got better and who can relate to their mistakes. Thought pls

I couldn't disagree more. Unless your "buddy" is also a qualified, experienced instructor, neither his playing ability, nor the path he took to get their matter at all. FWIW, I doubt that there are very many instructors out there that can't remember what it's like to struggle at golf.....and scratch golfers are such a relatively rare breed that extremely few instructors could make a living solely teaching them!

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No.

Unless your buddy, who I'm sure is very well meaning, just randomly happens to understand how to teach golf as well as how to play golf this isn't a good idea except as a last resort because you live in a rural part of Montana and the only golf pro within a hundred miles is a proven idiot.  While a good pro may indeed give you a bit of a motivational pep talk along with your lesson, teaching golf and motivational speaking aren't the same thing.

I'd suggest sticking to the pro for swing technique training.  However, your friend can still be of immense help to you if you can get him to coach you on the various strategic aspects of playing the game.  In other words, how to make good decisions about what kind of shot to hit, when to "go for it" and when the smart move is to lay up and hope for a good pitch to the green.  If he's a good golfer he has developed some skill with this part of the game and that is what he can best help you with. (IMHO of course.)

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You can end up with the worse instructor either way. There are bad pros and there are bad good players. Not bad at the game, but bad at instructing.

If I've learned anything from these years at TST, it's that instructing in golf is not something to be taken lightly. Especially if you want to keep improving and not just put a band-aid on your slice.

In general, I would recommend a pro/instructor over a good player any day. There are probably professional pros that would struggle with teaching an amateur and got where they are because they managed to do the right thing with their professional customers, but they are still better at instructing than professional players. I think this was discussed in some topic in here; that the players don't really want to know too much about the golf swing (ref. the stupid monkey thread). Many are better off being told to do this a bit more or this a bit less by their instructor, and let him or her do the thinking and deciding what to work on.

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My opinion is that as long as the instruction makes sense, and makes the student a better golfer, it matters little who gave the instruction. There are charlatans in all walks of life, both professional, and non professional. If your friend's information is helping you to a better score, then stay with that instruction until it no longer helps you. Then look else where if you need more. Just don't ruin your friendship, based on your friend's instruction.

Now if you are lucky enough to find a quality, professional,  swing guru, that you can understand, and work with, that instruction most likely will get you to a better score, in a shorter period of time.

There use to be a wanna be web instructor years ago on a golf web site. He gave out some of wierdest information to a better game that you could ever possibly imagine. All kinds of gimmicks. Clothes hanger, a foot ball, even a scythe. He even claimed to have helped a well known NFL QB with his golf game. People on the forum gave him a terrible time, including the resident swing pro. The non professional, opinionated poster, to his credit, stood by his info.

I just happened to be in the area he lived, and paid him a visit, with his prior permission. As it turned out he was living in a seniors home, and his life line to the outside world was his internet connection. He was a retired rail road engineer who love to golf for the fun of it. Long story short. His opinions on the golf swing, even though some were out there in the ozone, were actually quite sound. I spent a few days with  him, and we even went golfing together. He showed me some stuff that day that actually helped my own golf game.

And yes he did work with a famous super bowl winning QB on his golf swing, just by accident. Seems they both showed up to golf, and were put together by the starter to share a cart.

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I would go with the pro ... While I take advice from my buds ... I certainly listen, but try to verify ...
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Generally I would take a Pro and take advice from your friend, but as isukgolf mentioned, try to verify. There are so many different swing philosophies and it could be for instance that your Pro wants you to exaggerate a movement in your swing to learn it better and your friend thinks that's a mistake. So you have to be careful. The biggest challenge is finding a good Pro. Unfortunately you can forget the majority...
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I'm leery of anybody (pro or not), in anything, that thinks a cookie cutter is the best instructor's tool.

I'm even more leery of the "I'm better than you are so I'm automatically qualified to teach you" approach.

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My opinion is that as long as the instruction makes sense, and makes the student a better golfer, it matters little who gave the instruction.

No. Here's why.

1) What "makes sense" is not always what's best, nor the highest priority item, nor even necessarily the correct information. After all, people thought for decades that the ball started on the path… it "made sense" to people. Often it resulted in precisely backward information.

2) The student may get better, but may also be building in something that will take more time later to unravel and go about the right way. For example, a guy learns to compensate for his flip by moving the ball back in his stance. He no longer fats the ball, but now he has to flip more and leave his weight back to get any height under the ball. That could take a long time of dedicated practice under a good instructor to fix, yet in the short term the student may get "better."

At the end of the day, the "friend" is likely only going to be able to tell you how to swing his way, and what's worse, he'll be using his feels to do it.

If your friend's information is helping you to a better score, then stay with that instruction until it no longer helps you.

Again, the student could be taking a dead-end road that will take a long time and a lot of effort to back out of. It's not a guarantee, but I'd call it a likelihood.

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I would go with the pro ... While I take advice from my buds ... I certainly listen, but try to verify ...

Interestingly, the better players in our happy little group tend to not offer swing advice to others.  It's the 12-15 hcp guys who, having played 2 consecutive holes well, will "coach someone up" in a heartbeat.

:-$

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Interestingly, the better players in our happy little group tend to not offer swing advice to others.  It's the 12-15 hcp guys who, having played 2 consecutive holes well, will "coach someone up" in a heartbeat.

:-D That reminds me of a round last year where there was a very low handicap player in our group and another guy that will likely never break 90 but stayed at a Holiday Inn Express the night before and read the latest copy of Golf Digest while he was there.

(You know the type).

The good player wasn't having one of his better days (but still could beat the rest of us). The Holiday Inn Express guy kept telling him what he was doing wrong after every shot and I could tell it wasn't being received very well. Finally at the end of his rope the good player looked at him and said "I'll tell you what. The day you can beat me I'll let you tell me about my golf swing."

That did the trick because there wasn't another peep about his swing for the rest of the round.

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I'd consider this - (I teach/coach in a different sport both in entry level, and advance skills - I see in action to benefits and downsides to amateur mentoring.)

an individual that doesn't teach often can usually only speak from their own experience, their own anecdotes.  As good as they are, and as much info as they have, they are only practiced in communicating a concept from their own viewpoint

a "good" instructor, has a lot more experience, and understands that each person 'gets it' in a different fashion.  You don't just teach one concept.  You need to be able to communicate each single concept with a handful of different communications and techniques - even better, if you observe how the student learns, a 'very good' coach will be able to figure what teaching example and presentation will have the best chance of working right away.  This is because what works for one student doesn't mean it'll work for them all.  A "good" teacher is able to figure out which method of relaying a concept will resonate with each student.

Work with a good friend and it 'might' work.  Some guys are naturals at teaching.  But if not, I have no idea if you have the same starting point as that guy, or if you will learn well from his specific anecdotes from the path he learned to get where he is.....Which is really the main basis in what he has to share....

On the plus side - a friend helping out is usually - very motivated, very sincere, and extremely well intentioned.  One can learn a lot from observing a good player and good habits can be picked up.  Many times, it's easier to take the input from someone you know well.  And, at times, communication can be easier from someone you've already developed a sympatico with.

I worry most about a friend teaching scenario - the friend has the correct mechanics, but have no clue why they, or they even understand it completely backwards - , it's pretty impossible to teach it at that point ------- I see this a TON (beware of lessons from "Feel" players) :-P

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At the end of the day, the "friend" is likely only going to be able to tell you how to swing his way, and what's worse, he'll be using his feels to do it.

OK - this is a shorter version of what I was trying to relay.  But I'd also say, this is also a trait of really poor formal instructors too.  A genuinely good teacher is a real find.

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I think many pro instructors have been playing the game from a very young age and never really went through the frustrations many hacks like me went through.

I think those who made so many mistakes through the years and finally figured it out would be able to relate to people going through the same thing and explain better at fixing these things.

If you look at motivational speakers for instance the most successful are those who came from nothing to success because their target audience can relate to them vice versa.

The top tier pro teachers have their market and thats the scratch  golfers. But for the hack out there - i think they are better hooking up with a buddy who got better and who can relate to their mistakes.

Thought pls

While instructors tend to be good players they also see A LOT of high handicap players and a lot of high handicap commonalities. Not sure why you think only scratch golfers get lessons. There are plenty of bogey golfers getting lessons from Butch Harmon. If only scratch golfers took lessons, instructors wouldn't be able to make a living ;-)

So I would recommend seeing a pro, someone who has worked with and helped "average" golfers numerous times.

At the end of the day, the "friend" is likely only going to be able to tell you how to swing his way, and what's worse, he'll be using his feels to do it.

Yep agree 100%.

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