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Your experience with lessons.

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, just thought I'd put up a thread dedicated to everyone's experience with lessons whether good or bad. I'll start with mine.

 

First, I'll give you a little of my golfing background. I've been hacking away for about 8 years, playing about 3 to 5 times a year, total. This past year was my first year where I decided to start taking the game seriously because of my passion for it and my willing to learn. I got a membership at a local course and took a lesson from a local pro. It helped quite a bit with my distance. I started playing about 3 to 4 times a week and after about 2 months, I was shooting in the mid to low 80's at my course. I found (as well as other people) that I had some talent and some potential. I kept this rate of play going for most of the summer and was consistently shooting in the low 80's. I love this game and consider myself a fanatic.

At the end of July I got a new job and I didn't play a single round for about a month. It was killing me,  then I finally had a chance to play again. This time out, I didn't even break 100. I played horribly. I was skulling the ball, hooking, slicing, hitting it fat, thin you name it. This kind of play kept on going for every round up until recently. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong and I was at the end of my rope. I decided to go for some lessons from a CPGA certified professional. He has a fully equipped studio in a detached garage at his house with the V1 system, cameras set up at 3 different angles, optishot, etc., just a great set-up. He told me that I had a really nice swing but that there were some issues. One major one was that I was casting the club, not creating any lag. He taught me how to create lag, how to swing wide and then basically drop my right elbow tight into my side, creating lag. He taught me about grip, stance, posture, ball position and it has been an amazing transformation. He gives you a DVD of the lesson to take home and study and to prepare for the next lesson. Just by teaching me these simple fundamentals, my swing looks completely different (on the downswing). I didn't realize that an early hinge at the wrists can kill your power. Swinging wide and then dropping your right elbow to create that lag has improved my swing tenfold. I went from having no lag to creating too much lag. My instructor taught me to find a happy medium because the lag I was generating was Daly-esque and could potentially create problems. A happy medium was found and my swing looks incredible and I'm hitting the ball pure. One thing that he noticed that I had the gift of doing was being able to have my club be in the exact same position at impact as it was at address. I mean EXACT. He super-imposed the 2 positions on the DVD and showed me. I'm still taking lessons and it has been the best money I have ever spent when it comes to this game. I highly recommend lessons from a teaching professional.

I have all of this on DVD if anyone is interested to see how much lessons from a pro can improve your swing.

post #2 of 64

My experience with lessons was not as good as yours. I was taught some things that I still find useful so it was not a complete waste of time, effort and money. More than likely, I fall into the category of "un-coachable".   To his credit, my instructor is the reason I have a basis for a good short game.

 

In my first lesson, I was shown the interlocking grip (which seemed awkward at first but I stayed with it until it started to feel normal) and I was given some drills to improve my flexibility. At the time i was very excited about learning golf the proper way. When we would meet for a lesson, he would have me hit balls into a net for the entire hour. He'd give me a few suggestions during the session like keeping my head still and not slide my hips back, and then later would email me what to work on like keeping my weight forward, finishing in balance - all good things to know.  But he was a very vague with some of my specific questions (swing path, swing plane, how far to bring my hands up on the backswing…).

 

Ok, so things were going at a slow pace but I figured he had a reason for this. I would practice like a madman but was guessing on most of it. Again, most lessons consisted of me hitting balls into a net. For what was being taught, I thought my swing must have been perfect (jk).

 

Anyway, on the last lesson, my swing was horrible. I was shanking, topping, hitting the ball off the toe, you name it. He didn't really give me anything as a suggestion. During that hour, he spent a lot of time bullshitting with some of the guys who were practicing at the range and talking on his phone. So that was that.

 

I am back to using the 10 finger grip and trying to learn the game without imposing on anyone else. I'm always grateful when someone shows me something and I read as much info as I can get ahold of.

 

I've said this before and I'll repeat it, I don't blame anyone else for my inability to play golf. Hopefully, I'll develop a decent swing on my own. If so, I may hire a pro to help me work on specific areas. But I don't buy into the "I can teach anyone to break 80" claims by instructors.

post #3 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonMA1 View Post

I've said this before and I'll repeat it, I don't blame anyone else for my inability to play golf.

You shouldn't blame yourself. You should blame your lousy instructor. He was terrible.
post #4 of 64
Quote:

Originally Posted by JonMA1 View Post

 

Anyway, on the last lesson, my swing was horrible. I was shanking, topping, hitting the ball off the toe, you name it. He didn't really give me anything as a suggestion. During that hour, he spent a lot of time bullshitting with some of the guys who were practicing at the range and talking on his phone. So that was that.

 

 

Why in the world did you not walk up to him and say: I'm not paying you to chat up your buddies or talk on the phone.  If you want my business you need to do your job, if not I'll go elsewhere.  I am simply amazed at how many people are willing to pay for shoddy customer service. 

post #5 of 64
I blame the instructor as well..no such thing as a "bad student"..only teachers that bring across the info poorly

So this is another reason why I'm doing this on my own now..
post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by c peterich View Post

no such thing as a "bad student".

Yes there is.
post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Yes there is.


Explain?
post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by c peterich View Post

Explain?

Nope. Off topic.
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonMA1 View Post

My experience with lessons was not as good as yours. I was taught some things that I still find useful so it was not a complete waste of time, effort and money. More than likely, I fall into the category of "un-coachable".   To his credit, my instructor is the reason I have a basis for a good short game.



 



In my first lesson, I was shown the interlocking grip (which seemed awkward at first but I stayed with it until it started to feel normal) and I was given some drills to improve my flexibility. At the time i was very excited about learning golf the proper way. When we would meet for a lesson, he would have me hit balls into a net for the entire hour. He'd give me a few suggestions during the session like keeping my head still and not slide my hips back, and then later would email me what to work on like keeping my weight forward, finishing in balance - all good things to know.  But he was a very vague with some of my specific questions (swing path, swing plane, how far to bring my hands up on the backswing…).



 



Ok, so things were going at a slow pace but I figured he had a reason for this. I would practice like a madman but was guessing on most of it. Again, most lessons consisted of me hitting balls into a net. For what was being taught, I thought my swing must have been perfect (jk).



 



Anyway, on the last lesson, my swing was horrible. I was shanking, topping, hitting the ball off the toe, you name it. He didn't really give me anything as a suggestion. During that hour, he spent a lot of time bullshitting with some of the guys who were practicing at the range and talking on his phone. So that was that.



 



I am back to using the 10 finger grip and trying to learn the game without imposing on anyone else. I'm always grateful when someone shows me something and I read as much info as I can get ahold of.



 



I've said this before and I'll repeat it, I don't blame anyone else for my inability to play golf. Hopefully, I'll develop a decent swing on my own. If so, I may hire a pro to help me work on specific areas. But I don't buy into the "I can teach anyone to break 80" claims by instructors.




I would've never paid him..and walked away. Or if u paid beforehand, ask for your money back. Call the club owner or his boss if you have to.. Sure there is better pros around your area.,keep on shopping and treating it as a learning process
post #10 of 64

You're probably right about him. But my point was I have to not only learn a correct swing, but also memorize it to the point of it being second nature and then be able to execute it. IMO, a good instructor can help with the first, maybe help a little with the second, but as a student I have only myself to blame if I cannot execute what's being taught. And if I choose not go with an instructor, I'm solely responsible for my lack of progress. I hope that makes sense.

 

As far as my opinion on the profession, based on the posts I've read, the majority of TST members (I would venture to guess 90%) have benefited from instruction - many of whom are very good players. Hell, touring pros hire swing coaches. It just isn't for me right now.

post #11 of 64

I don't generally have a problem with confrontation (some may say I even enjoy it). And while I will rarely ask for my money back, I will at least get my money's worth tearing them a new one if I think someone has done me wrong.

 

But I had no point of reference from which to judge in this instance. As I noted, the lesson on pitching helped my game substantially. Had he taught a full iron swing in the same manner, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

post #12 of 64
I have had only a handful of lessons in my life, but they have all been positive experiences.

When I first started playing, I took lessons with the pro at my local big box store. The pro there was very knowledgeable and the store had high speed cameras set up that they filmed my lessons with. At the end of the lesson, the pro would record a video that he would email me so I can take it home to learn from. He built the basis of a lot of my swing even though I wasn't really prepared to understand the knowledge at the time. I can remember some drills we did where he would hold my head while I swung to get the feel and he showed me how to pivot (it took years for that to sink in). He told me from day one that the golf swing starts with a hip bump and I've been doing it ever since. I stopped taking lessons with him because the store changed their lesson availability (I remember talking to him once about it and I think it was the store's way of scheduling fewer people by having their pro on the floor). It became harder for me to meet with him at a convenient time, so I stopped going.

The only other pro I have taken lessons from is the head pro at the college near my house. I went to her because I had a case of the hooks. She fixed that and showed me a few drills about slotting the club that I still use from time to time. I also took short game lessons from her and they were a lot of fun. I learned a couple of different ways to hit shots from the same spot, which really gave me a few tools to choose from. I think it formed the basis of my experimenting with different short game shots. One of the things I learned is that while it's nice to pull off a long drive down the middle of the fairway, but it pales in comparison to the feeling I get when I chip or pitch one inside three feet.
post #13 of 64

The general problem I see with lessons is most people go into lessons not knowing how to tell the difference between good instruction and bad instruction.  Most newbies are clueless to what makes a good golf swing, they may have read a few golf magazines, maybe a book but overall they aren't in a position to challenge a "pro" on what they tell them to do.

 

We go to our local course or range meet the person that's called the "pro" and sign up for lessons.  We listen and follow their instructions and when things don't seem to improve we assume it's just our fault.  It's like a bad doctor or lawyer, you usually don't figure out they are incompetent until it's too late.  After we've spent a significant amount of money we get frustrated that the results weren't better.  Some give up, others take a break, some try to figure it out and others like me, join another range and find a new pro.

 

I went to 2 instructors before I found this site and got an idea of what good instruction should consist of.  My first instructor probably wasn't bad, but he wasn't right for me and I probably wasn't a good student for him.   He was used to teaching more experienced golfers that belonged to the course, I was completely new to golf and had no idea how to swing a club properly.   The package I signed up for and the time I had to commit wasn't right for me and it was frustrating for both of us.

 

The 2nd instructor was just bad, he was more concerned with coining catchy names and phrases for parts of the swing and finding a silver bullet to the golf swing than he was teaching people how to make a proper swing.  It's taken me almost 18 months to undo the damage from his instruction.

 

My current instructor isn't probably the best, but he understands the swing, the current ball flight laws, believes in using video and trackman data (first two didn't).  He's helped me undo the casting the 2nd guy engrained in my swing, basically we had to start from scratch with me practicing in a mirror.  He takes pride in seeing students improve, he's not just about the money.  His instruction is pretty consistent with the teachings in 5SK, though he prefers I maintain more flex in the rear leg on the backswing than is suggested in many threads here.  He's become a friend and my swing and scores have greatly improved working with him.

 

It's hard to say if the 3rd instructor benefited from my belonging to this site and the knowledge I've gained from Erik, Mike and all the other great contributors here.  I know this site has helped me and I know much more about the golf swing, ball flight laws and how to better determine if a "pro" is teaching a swing method I believe in.

post #14 of 64

Most lessons I have had have been positive and the best ones have been when the instructor only tries to get me to do only 1 or 2 things, I just hate being overwhelmed and I know I already have a decent enough swing that I don't need complete overhaul.

post #15 of 64

Lessons had been positive so far. First instructor is ok but I was so new that progress was so slow. 

 

Tried another instructor to fix my driving and he did. I usually hit line drives and short, OB or bad slice. This new instructor saw the wrong setup and fixed the line drives, then I thought my drives were too high after the lesson :-)

 

I think an hour lesson/session is too long. You can only correct so much in 1 session, as previously mentioned.

post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post
 

The general problem I see with lessons is most people go into lessons not knowing how to tell the difference between good instruction and bad instruction.  Most newbies are clueless to what makes a good golf swing, they may have read a few golf magazines, maybe a book but overall they aren't in a position to challenge a "pro" on what they tell them to do.

 

We go to our local course or range meet the person that's called the "pro" and sign up for lessons.  We listen and follow their instructions and when things don't seem to improve we assume it's just our fault.  It's like a bad doctor or lawyer, you usually don't figure out they are incompetent until it's too late.  After we've spent a significant amount of money we get frustrated that the results weren't better.  Some give up, others take a break, some try to figure it out and others like me, join another range and find a new pro.

 

It's hard to say if the 3rd instructor benefited from my belonging to this site and the knowledge I've gained from Erik, Mike and all the other great contributors here.  I know this site has helped me and I know much more about the golf swing, ball flight laws and how to better determine if a "pro" is teaching a swing method I believe in.

Agreed.

post #17 of 64

I don't recommend any pro that doesn't use swing analysis video to make or not to make adjustments to swing.

 

Very hard for the eye to capture the intricate motions at such high speeds.  Maybe back in the day that was easy to do, but now a days I'm sure teachers are very hard to find!

 

I went to a teacher that saw that I hit the ball nice sometimes and basically told me not to change anything, when I know and can see from high speed camera video that there are things I need to work on.

 

I think teachers are better if you go to them and say, listen I know that I am coming down and across with my driver and slicing.. how do I eliminate that and what are some exercises that you suggest.

post #18 of 64

I took a few lessons locally, and had posted about them here. The first was really great - good advice on grip and stance, and starting the backswing to immediately put me in a better downswing position. My stance was far too hunched over with my weight on my heels.

 

But when I went back for a few more lessons, I explained that not only was I uncomfortable, I was actually experiencing some lower back pain with the stance they wanted me in. I got a "oh ho ho golf isn't supposed to be comfortable, if you're comfortable in your stance then you're not doing it right!" response... and that was my last lesson. Full credit to Erik and a few others here who saw that happening after I posted about my first lesson.

 

There are a decent amount of PGA pros in my area working out of some courses, however my problem is scheduling. So I'll be looking to take some online lessons once early spring hits.

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