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

post #37 of 68

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 68
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 68
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 68

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 68
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 68

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.

post #43 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post
 

 

Your doctor gives you medical advice based on a profile you fill out? 


what seems to be the problem with this?

 

filling a profile for a golf instructor  is about the same as describing symptoms by speaking...

 

Surely you always describe your problem, and your symptoms to your own doctor? Why not describe yout swing feelings and problems to your  golf instructor

 

IN most cases, the doctor will attempt to assuade your feelings about your problem and also diagnoze and fix the problem. It's called communication between patient and doctor.

 

Doctor's in the military use profiles all the time etc... (presumably?)

post #44 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fields View Post
 

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.

 

 

And just how many Instructors do you think would want to go to a bar after a long day of teaching..? Oh, and what if your lesson was at 10:00 am..?  Meh!!!

post #45 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer 4 View Post

 

 

And just how many Instructors do you think would want to go to a bar after a long day of teaching..? Oh, and what if your lesson was at 10:00 am..?  Meh!!!

 



Ha ha! I don't know. They might be looking for the closest bar at the end of the day.

But probably without the student tagging along. a2_wink.gif
post #46 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer 4 View Post
 

 

 

And just how many Instructors do you think would want to go to a bar after a long day of teaching..? Oh, and what if your lesson was at 10:00 am..?  Meh!!!

 

Well actually I know one ... He and I eat out once a week and have couple of beers out with our wives ... I actually learn a lot from those sessions ...

 

However, I am fully aware that is the exception to the rule ...

 

I for one am a BIG proponent of getting a instructor that you can relate to ... the instructor I mentioned above is actually the third i have had ... the other two could only teach on way .., their way.  I have a damaged left hand ... missing a finger or two ... so I needed someone that could work with me.

post #47 of 68

Well I'm pretty new to the sport....really been only playing for about 3 months now. Here is a newbie perspective on the subject at hand.

 

I bought a package deal for 6 half hour lessons for $150. The instructor was the local course pro and claimed he had caddied on the tour for 8 or so years. First the positive:

 

1st lesson = putting

 

The instructor basically said I was too stiff and that I needed to relax, bend the elbows to the side, and stand over the ball a little more. This was helpful....I didn't incorporate every single suggestion, but it definitely helped me identify some incorrect assumptions I had about what a good putting technique should be.

 

2nd lesson = chipping

 

Prior to this lesson I had the habit of trying to keep the club face square throughout my entire back swing and follow through....the instructor showed me the idea of opening the club face and keeping my right elbow tucked away. The lesson was helpful....my chipping has also improved, however I clearly have a long way to go.

 

Now the negative:

 

3rd-5th lesson = Irons

 

This is where I started to become extremely frustrated. My golf shot needed major work and it was pretty shocking to even attempt to do what he instructed was the proper swing. I'm fairly athletic, but I felt pretty uncoordinated and silly during my 1st iron lesson.The instructor wanted me to incorporate more of my lower body and hips, which was just like pulling teeth for me considering I was to this point kind of an arms and sway swinger (if that makes sense). I also have a slow back swing and a very fast down swing.

 

Anyways, the 2nd lesson was more of the same and I started to become pretty frustrated with the whole thing. I used to have a lot of fun walking the course after work and just hitting multiple balls while practicing. Once I started taking lessons and trying to incorporate the new swing on the course ALL fun was gone.

 

On the range one day, I started focusing on hitting a draw and nothing else. I started to develop a pretty consistent swing and became excited that I had finally had a break through. Last weekend I shot a 94 (44 on front 9) which was by far and away my best score to date.

 

Yesterday I have my 3rd Iron lesson, and the pro basically says everything I'm doing is completely wrong and that I haven't made any progress at all. Back to square one....I attempt to make the corrections he is instructing and feel like I'm no better than the 1st Iron lesson I had 3 weeks ago.

 

Went to the range today and continued to try and "flip the switch" and walked away so frustrated I seriously considered quitting for awhile. I've since calmed down a bit, but I'm almost a hundred percent certain I won't be signing up for another batch of lessons once my last session is over with.

 

Here is my beef....I'm a results driven person. I'd rather an instructor tell me what my shot shape and distance should be for a certain club and then go from there versus "this is the way you are supposed to swing a club and we will worry about results later". I at one point asked the instructor why my current swing which produced a pretty consistent 7 iron 150 yard draw was no good and he claimed that if I master his technique I will be hitting a 9 iron 170 yards.....all I could do was shrug and continue with his method.

 

Maybe I'm just not meant to be a scratch golfer....I had a great time shooting 94 (considering my previous high was 100) and I think trying to break 90 as my next goal will be a blast. Completely breaking my swing apart to where I couldn't even make it through a round is pretty tough at this point in my golf journey.

post #48 of 68

Double Tee, sometimes not all instructors are a good match for all students, and it may be possible that either, you 2 don't click, maybe some communication problem, or you may not fully understand what he's trying to convey..? Also, and I'm only asking, are you doing your part ?

 

I've had 1 instructor that just didn't fit me, i.e. lack of verbal skills, and really didn't seem like he was interested in what I was trying to do. I went through 2 more PGA pro's, the second was a great teacher. That was way back in the late 90's. I stopped playing for 10+ yrs. I now take lessons from Mike aka mvmac, we get along really good, he explains things in layman's terms and guides me through the moves I'm suppose to do, of course, I fail sometimes, but Mike gave me drills, to ingrain the good moves, as I'm kind of a show me guy, and Mike does that.

 

 

So, it might be that you and your instructor just aren't compatible, and maybe you should interview a couple other pro's. This is just a suggestion, also sorry for the long winded response..I hope you find the answer.

post #49 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer 4 View Post

Double Tee, sometimes not all instructors are a good match for all students, and it may be possible that either, you 2 don't click, maybe some communication problem, or you may not fully understand what he's trying to convey..? Also, and I'm only asking, are you doing your part ?

I've had 1 instructor that just didn't fit me, i.e. lack of verbal skills, and really didn't seem like he was interested in what I was trying to do. I went through 2 more PGA pro's, the second was a great teacher. That was way back in the late 90's. I stopped playing for 10+ yrs. I now take lessons from Mike aka mvmac, we get along really good, he explains things in layman's terms and guides me through the moves I'm suppose to do, of course, I fail sometimes, but Mike gave me drills, to ingrain the good moves, as I'm kind of a show me guy, and Mike does that.


So, it might be that you and your instructor just aren't compatible, and maybe you should interview a couple other pro's. This is just a suggestion, also sorry for the long winded response..I hope you find the answer.


Just about to write basically the same again ... Well stated!
post #50 of 68

I'm worried about sinking hundreds of dollars into an instructor and getting a dud too.

post #51 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strandly View Post
 

I'm worried about sinking hundreds of dollars into an instructor and getting a dud too.

 

 

There are lots of great instructors out there, your job is to find one of them..ask around, ect..I would suggest talking to a few, before committing. I'm not really a fan of buying blocks of anything, unless your happy after a couple of lessons, then by all means, if you can save a few bucks, by buying say 6 lessons, then go for it.

post #52 of 68

Please suggest me some good training lessons on golf.

post #53 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason F6321 View Post
 

Please suggest me some good training lessons on golf.

 

This article is old but it still mostly applies: http://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/the_instructor_quiz_nine_questions_youve_gotta_ask .

post #54 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

This article is old but it still mostly applies: http://thesandtrap.com/b/playing_tips/the_instructor_quiz_nine_questions_youve_gotta_ask .

 

I've had multiple college instructors who were absolutely brilliant at retaining information and ideas and absolutely atrocious at teaching it so this article is not encouraging at all as far as I am concerned.

 

Spine tilt?  Clubface angle?  Hand path?  Who cares?  Say I ask my instructor about all these things and he answers them correctly.  How will I know he's utilizing any of it during my lessons?  What people need is someone to tell them the dumb things they are doing and to be shown a better way.  That's it.

 

Anyway, I tend to judge my instructors based on my results.  I'm paying them to make me better at something, not to memorize books.

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