Listen, you're going to have players who take lessons, and those who don't. Everyone has their reasons. The very reason anyone is reading this means they're much more serious about golf than the few times a year player. It's pretty clear after participating in this forum for a couple years that (most) better players feel lessons are important & I respect that. Many of those guys compete & take their game to another level & coaching helps get every bit out of their game.
I just object to the line of thinking that everyone starting to play golf needs to factor in the cost of lessons - I've known a few people that don't want to give golf a try because of finding the time & expense of take lessons - they think it's necessary. These are also the people that rely 100% on what their instructor tells them & don't do any research on their own, put in any personal effort and try to figure out the golf swing.
However, there are an awful lot of resources available today that enable a person to to learn how to play golf well that weren't available years ago when all a person had were books (youtube videos, discussion boards, golf channel instruction, launch monitors, video cameras on cell phones, etc). IMO, it comes down to what you want to get out of the game ... lessons or not .... those that really like the game will put in the time to get what they want out of golf