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To get or not to get golf lessons? - Page 3

post #37 of 42

iacas,

 

 I admit my criticism of the golf instructing profession is sweeping, because I believe that, as a rule, golf is badly taught.

 

It looks like golfjunky has a very good golf pro. He solved Junky's swing problem, and he recommended a short game lesson. Junky is getting his money's worth and, if he improves his short game and, with the new info on his swing, his scores will drop.

 

. I still maintain that to get the most out of his game, he needs to learn golf strategy. And the only way he'll come across it will be from Johnny Miller on TV, discussing golf strategy for touring pros, which will actually hurt the game of a mid-to-high handicapper.

 

In fact, ask any golfer how he can improve his game, and many, even most, have no idea. If they regularly shoot 90 to 105, I believe they hit the ball well enough to shoot in the mid 80's,occasionally, and break 90 almost all the time. The difference is simple, as I've said specifically before, forget playing for birdies. Play for bogeys.

 

Most golfers' swings reach their competence level early in their careers, and level off. Some, who are dedicated and work to improve their swings by taking lessons and hitting balls get better...some much better. But the statistics show that over half still never break 100. 

 

The golfing industry solves this situation by trying to influence these golfers that more distance is the solution, or 3 wedges in their bag, or spending $1,000 on a new set of irons, or taking an expensive set of lessons. I get it. Nobody wins if there is no profit. I'm a retired businessman.

 

On the other hand, wouldn't it be better if someone at Golf Digest or The Golf Channel started teaching some realistic golf strategy for the high handicapper, Like:

  • Don't try to cut the dogleg, most likely you'll wind up in the woods or the water ot the trash and waste useless strokes.
  • Just hit 2 easy shots to somewhere near the green in regulation, chip or pitch to somewhere on the green and 2 putt for a good bogey. Play for bogey. 17 bogeys and 1 lucky par is 89.
  • 200 yards in the fairway off the tee, and a 4,5, 6, or 7 iron, whatever you hit 125-130 yards, will put you close. If you practice pitching and chipping occasionally in your back yard, you can be on the green in 3. Then 2 putt for bogey. You don't need to hit the ball 300 yards.
  • By the way, unless you're sure you'll break 85, play the shortest tees allowed. You should almost never play a par 3 over 175 yards or a par 4 over 400 unless your talent level gives you a sporting chance. OR A CARRY OVER 150 YARDS.
  • Ask yourself, what's the worst thing that can happen to me here? Woods? Sand Trap? Water? Waste area? Being long of the green on the right side? Then avoid that! If avoiding the hazard requires a shot you might not make, lay up, lose one stroke instead of 2 or 3 strokes.
  • Here's one my Pappy taught me..."It always amazes me that a golfer who misses a fairway 50 yards wide, thinks he can hit the ball between two trees 18" apart". Get out of the woods the easiest, surest, way possible through the widest gap in the trees, whichever direction that is.
  • Practice chipping and pitching in your back yard and putting on a rug at home. Those are the shots that even the touring pros use to save shots.

 

As for improving golf swings, you're right, that takes work and practice, and I'll grant, lessons. The overwhelming majority of high handicap golfers aren't even going to the driving range to warm up before a round. Most think 3 or 4 putts on the putting green, if it's convenient, and a little stretching is enough. They don't have the time to devote to improving their swings very much.

 

As for pushing books, the only book I've got on this site is Tommy Armour's, an old best seller form one of the recognized best golf pros of all time, in which he backs up what I say. In fact, that's where I learned to improve my scores from100-105 to 78-82. And except for a tip from a stranger on a public driving range one night about how to cure my slice, and a lot of short game practice, none of that improvement was in my swing.

 

And by the way, iacas, how many golfers at your club never expect to shoot 85?

post #38 of 42
Mr. Fields,
Just thought I would add to your last comments. The orig question was if it was worth the money for a lesson, and although you can learn a lot from books, only a professional player who earns his living from golf can help you improve your game at some level. Another good example is wrestlers or baseball players... Why do you think the kids who go to these camps play so much better than kids that haven't been, its because of the information they learn at these camps and usually the teachers at the camps are just veterans of that particular sport. As far as course management and being a smart player goes, you can be the smartest player and play the safest shots you like, a bad swing will not get you consistently in the fairway or hitting your irons a consistent yardage or flight pattern, but yes it's true when the golf pro shows you how to correct just one or two things you will be on the right track to hitting lower scores. The two biggest problems that most amateurs struggle with is grip and hitting down on the ball, this info based on instruction of course, and once you get consistent with that you can work on being smarter on the course.
post #39 of 42
Response to the Minutiae, but it's OT so It's In a Spoiler (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

I admit my criticism of the golf instructing profession is sweeping, because I believe that, as a rule, golf is badly taught.

 

Good for you. We agree. Unlike you, I try to give specific examples, while you are on here making massive blanket statements in an attempt to sell your ebooks or whatever while offering little to no actual substance.

 

Make no mistake about it - we do not tolerate spammers.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

I still maintain that to get the most out of his game, he needs to learn golf strategy. And the only way he'll come across it will be from Johnny Miller on TV, discussing golf strategy for touring pros, which will actually hurt the game of a mid-to-high handicapper.

 

I agree that he'll want to learn strategy. I disagree completely that the ONLY way he'll come across it is from Johnny Miller on TV. We discuss it here. Books have been written about the subject. He can think, reflect on his statistics, talk to better players, observe better players, experiment, and do all sorts of things.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

In fact, ask any golfer how he can improve his game, and many, even most, have no idea. If they regularly shoot 90 to 105, I believe they hit the ball well enough to shoot in the mid 80's,occasionally, and break 90 almost all the time. The difference is simple, as I've said specifically before, forget playing for birdies. Play for bogeys.

 

I don't know that I agree with your belief. You have to suck pretty bad to shoot 100. And I don't think people will enjoy playing for bogeys, as it gives them almost no wiggle room and almost no joy the one time they stick one close or stripe a drive.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

Most golfers' swings reach their competence level early in their careers, and level off.

 

Most golfers don't take instruction, so that's why they level off. If they truly cared about getting better, they'd find a good instructor and work with them, on all facets of their game.

 

They don't, because a good chunk of instructors aren't great, and a lot of golfers simply don't want to spend $50+ for a sport that already costs a fair amount to play. Many of these golfers might drink a beer. They don't want to "play for bogey."

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

But the statistics show that over half still never break 100. 

 

That's counting everyone who ever plays golf, even a round or two a year. Look up the ones who are serious enough to get a handicap (and you don't have to be that serious - a lot of clubs give you one, include it in the league fee, etc.).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

The golfing industry solves this situation by trying to influence these golfers that more distance is the solution, or 3 wedges in their bag, or spending $1,000 on a new set of irons, or taking an expensive set of lessons. I get it. Nobody wins if there is no profit. I'm a retired businessman.

 

Let the sweeping generalizations continue! Is this about instruction or the equipment industry? Focus, dude.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

  • Just hit 2 easy shots to somewhere near the green in regulation, chip or pitch to somewhere on the green and 2 putt for a good bogey. Play for bogey. 17 bogeys and 1 lucky par is 89.

 

Playing for bogey and ****ing up a few shots a round is a great way to never break 90.

 

You seem to believe there's some mythical golfer out there that can be improved by 10-15 shots simply with course strategy. This golfer almost never mishits a shot, apparently, because they're able to play for bogey and GET 17 OF THEM (and a par!!!) to break 90.

 

More likely that guy's shooting 102 than 89.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

  • 200 yards in the fairway off the tee, and a 4,5, 6, or 7 iron, whatever you hit 125-130 yards, will put you close. If you practice pitching and chipping occasionally in your back yard, you can be on the green in 3. Then 2 putt for bogey. You don't need to hit the ball 300 yards.

 

Most of the people struggling to break 100 (or even 90) don't hit their driver 200 yards. I'm not sure where you're getting 300. Duh. You don't have to hit the ball 300 yards to be a +4. Or, you know, to win a Major Championship. Most golfers who can't break 100 or 90 would be HAPPY to consistently drive the ball 200 yards and "in the fairway." Hell, I'm scratch and I'd have to seriously consider trading my occasionally long balls for a shot that went 230 and found the fairway every time. I'd probably keep the same handicap.

 

Again, you've conjured some mysterious golfer in your mind - he doesn't make mistakes, he can make 17 bogeys and a par, and so on. Good luck finding that guy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

  • By the way, unless you're sure you'll break 85, play the shortest tees allowed. You should almost never play a par 3 over 175 yards or a par 4 over 400 unless your talent level gives you a sporting chance. OR A CARRY OVER 150 YARDS.

 

Seriously? So your advice is "play from where grandma plays"? Have you ever actually been able to convince someone that this is the way to play golf? Someone - to be clear - who isn't called "grandma" or "grandpa" by some people?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

  • Ask yourself, what's the worst thing that can happen to me here? Woods? Sand Trap? Water? Waste area? Being long of the green on the right side? Then avoid that! If avoiding the hazard requires a shot you might not make, lay up, lose one stroke instead of 2 or 3 strokes.

 

Again, you seem to have conjured some mythical sucky golfer who can "avoid" things. That's why they suck - they have no real idea where their golf ball is going. Many of these players sometimes almost miss the golf ball. If they could "avoid" these hazards, yes - they'd shoot better scores, but your causality seems backwards. It's not like the guy struggling to break 100 says "pin right, water right, short, and long - I'm going for it!" He aims left, because he doesn't want to lose his golf ball, then thin-shank-slices it in the the drink.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

  • Here's one my Pappy taught me..."It always amazes me that a golfer who misses a fairway 50 yards wide, thinks he can hit the ball between two trees 18" apart". Get out of the woods the easiest, surest, way possible through the widest gap in the trees, whichever direction that is.

 

And then miraculously save bogey to shoot your 89.

 

Yes, that's fine advice on a whole, but you know what else is true, too: people love the hero shot. They can forget that 9 times out of 10 they'll nail one of those two trees. But that tenth time, the time they hit the gap and the ball rolls onto the front edge of the green? THAT one they can talk about for a few weeks or months.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

  • Practice chipping and pitching in your back yard and putting on a rug at home. Those are the shots that even the touring pros use to save shots.

 

Meh, I've talked about this before. A short game will only take you so far. Players are better off improving their full swing so they don't have to RELY on their short game as much. Players who shoot low consistently tend to have a better full swing game than their peers.

 

There's a limit, is all I'm saying. You can practice 20 footers until the cows come home, but you're never gonna make more than about 15% of them. The average PGA Tour player doesn't even scramble two times out of three. The average guy struggling to break 100 doesn't even hit the GREEN from 50 yards HALF the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

As for improving golf swings, you're right, that takes work and practice, and I'll grant, lessons. The overwhelming majority of high handicap golfers aren't even going to the driving range to warm up before a round. Most think 3 or 4 putts on the putting green, if it's convenient, and a little stretching is enough. They don't have the time to devote to improving their swings very much.

 

Right. They might not (or might not think they do).

 

They're happy to be outside, drink a beer, play with their buddies, get away from the wives and kids, and every now and then pull off an amazing shot or something.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post

And by the way, iacas, how many golfers at your club never expect to shoot 85?

 

The hell if I know.

 

So here's what I suggest you do at this point.

  1. Stop taking this thread off topic. It ends now.
  2. Start a new thread where you actually contribute IDEAS and INFORMATION. The key word is contribute.

 

Hmm, thought I had three things, but I forgot the third or never had it. So, okay, that's that.

 

And since all of the above is OT, I'm going to hide it behind a spoiler tag.

 

P.S. Dave and I are working on a "strategy" book, but it's going to be unlike any of the others that exist. So the topic interests me. Fantasies about guys who can't break 100 but magically hit the ball really well do not.

post #40 of 42

IMHO lessons would help you if you are shooting in the high nineties, low 100s. Take them before you develop bad habits. I play to a 15 but want to improve, like everyone else, so I am taking lessons. We are working on fundamentals again given I have developed a few flaws in my swing. Two lessons have already made a difference, I'm hitting my long irons longer and more constant. Swing feel good again, he has me shorting my backswing and getting my body into it again, something I lost along the way. I would recommend you take the lessons.

post #41 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmigolfer84 View Post

Hello everyone Im a 28 year old golfer, been playing about 7 years and the last two years Ive been playing about once a week. My usual scores are anywhere from about mid 90's to lower 100's. Im finally thinkin about getting lessons this year but was wondering just how much they will help. So far Ive been reading books, watching videos, and alot of time at the range. At then end of last year however it seemed like I took a huge step back and got really discouraged. I love playing golf and have a passion for it, but am also very competitive!!! I also have two children so Im just wondering if lessons will be worth my time and also money. If you have any opinions it would really help. Thank you! Also does anyone know of a good instructor i.n the Des Moines,Iowa area.. Thanks again!!!!!


Hi dmigolfer84,

 

You have been playing golf for 7 years, read books, watched videos and spend a lots of time at the range, yet still at mid 90's to lower 100's?

You also have the passion and competitive yet with two kids, you are probably limited with time to practice, no?

 

It is obvious that you want to play better like all golfers. However, you are not quite sure if you should take a plunge and get a lesson or two?

Well, why don't you look up TGM's basic motion, acquired motion and total motion in youtube section. Practice that.

Then, work on to find the low point and hit the ball first and take a divot which you should be able to do if you understand and practiced basic TGM.

Further go on to seek some 5SK videos; weight forward, steady head and diagonal sweet spot path.

And if you like what you see and how it might improve your swing and game, try some online lessons via evolr. Maybe if you upload your swing, some of them might even give you some free tips. As I found out most of the pros are very gracious and willing to share their knowledge.

 

Lastly, think about this. The information you get whether from Sean Foley, Leadbetter, Butch Harmon or any of the 5SK instructors, if you do not practice to incorporate it into your swing and game, it is futile to take any lessons.

 

Wish you best of luck!

 

post #42 of 42

Dear Golfjunky,

 

I'm glad you started us back on the original topic. I agree with you. Golf teaching professionals have an imporatnt role in golf. Your pro obviously is doing a good job helping you with the lessons he's giving you, and I'd recommend you take his advice and take a lesson on your short game, and be sure to ask him to help you by including greenside trap shots in the lesson.

 

They're the easiest shots in the game...you don't even have to hit the ball.

 

After the lesson, ask if you can take him to the bar for a coke or a beer, and ask him to suggest some strategies which, in addition to improving your swing, as he had already done, might help you reduce your scores.

 

The lesson in the bar, could take 5 strokes off your average score...or more.

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