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Why Don't You Take Lessons?

post #1 of 173
Thread Starter 

I'm still floored by the fact that most golfers have never or rarely ever taken lessons.  I went through 2 frustrating seasons before I decided to take lessons because I thought I could just practice my way out of it, but ultimately finally decided I couldn't fix it myself.  I'm interested to hear why other golfers are not taking lessons or why you may have put off taking them in the past. 

 

Thanks

Chris

post #2 of 173

Well, my quest into golf was about 15 yrs ago, but my reasoning may still exist..?  In my younger yrs, I played sports, snow skied, surfed for 35 yrs. When I was introduced to golf, like most I struggled big time just to make decent contact with the ball. So my cure was to hit 100's of balls on the range, as I though I could be "self taught" just as every other sport I did. Well after about 6 months of being stubborn, I booked a lesson with one of the teaching pros at my local public track.

 

After the 1st lesson, I was doing better, after the 2nd lesson which was a week after the 1st, and a ton of Good practice I was much improved. Then after my 2nd lesson and more structured practice, I got down into the 90's, and progressed from there.

 

I think there may be some ego involved, at least with guys, or maybe they don't think lessons are worth the $$$, I can assure that taking lessons from a well qualified pro is definitely worth every cent and will make learning the game much easier. I think that like most things in life a person needs to find a teacher that they can connect with. That's the way I see it, I may be wrong, but Hey..

post #3 of 173

It's all about lack of time. Most of us work all week and the only time we escape is on the weekend.

 

Most that have taken lessons realize that they are useless if you don't have time to practice what you learn.

post #4 of 173

I have to agree.  I've bowled for awhile now and just recently picked up golfing, but when I regularly bowled more I actually took a few lessons.  I will say that I learned a lot of good information and had I had the time to practice would have helped me a lot more then it did.  With golf I realize that the practice is just as important as the lessons.  This being said I can only go to the course once a weekend and can either afford a round of golf or lesson.  To me spending the money on a lesson that I know I can't practice between then and the next session just seems a waste.  I know it's not the same but I have the books, the video's so when I can I'll practice their techniques in the back yard, but as the game is more about having fun spending time outside with friends and shooting the sh**, then it seems the better investment.

post #5 of 173

It's all about the MONEY.  

post #6 of 173

Just finished my 3rd season ... always been athletic, and there are so many resources available today online to learn the golf swing - bottom line, I just like the challenge of figuring things out on my own.    Besides, I am too old to compete, so it's just for fun and exercise & the personal challenge of trying to play the smartest & best golf with the body I have left.      I may only ever be a bogie golfer having started so late in life, but I think I can lose a few more points if I really focus on a few specific aspects  of my game & incorporate more focused practice/less playing.

 

PS - for many casual golfers that I've known, they rely on lessons rather than putting in the time and studying the game - seems like the easy way out to me.      For a lot of people, the first thing they think of when they think about taking up golf is how much lessons are going to cost them.      For the serious/competitive golfers, sure lessons can obviously help really dial in your swing, but I see so many beginners run out to get lessons because it's easier than trying to figure it out.   But then again, I tend to totally OCD out on things I get into anyways (played over 300 rounds so far in 3 years - most being after work) ... maybe most people don't get as nuts with things as I do and lessons are beneficial to get them on the right track from the start - it's all good, different strokes.


Edited by inthehole - 11/23/13 at 10:34pm
post #7 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReviewMyGolfPro View Post
 

I'm still floored by the fact that most golfers have never or rarely ever taken lessons.  I went through 2 frustrating seasons before I decided to take lessons because I thought I could just practice my way out of it, but ultimately finally decided I couldn't fix it myself.  I'm interested to hear why other golfers are not taking lessons or why you may have put off taking them in the past. 

 

Thanks

Chris

 

I think there is a decent percentage of golfers that think if they take a lesson they have to "start from scratch".  I'm sure there are some pros that like to go that route but not the good ones imo

 

I also think golfers don't take lessons out of pride, they think they know enough and can figure it out by themselves.  

post #8 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

I also think golfers don't take lessons out of pride, they think they know enough and can figure it out by themselves.  

 

Yep, and I found that was a huge mistake...:-(

post #9 of 173

For myself personally, I have had 2 lessons so far and neither one of them have been great help.  I know that it is down to the golf pros in question and there will be some good coaching ones out there - but that's kind of put me off for a while.

 

I have played golf properly for 2 years now (I'm 26) and I have really good hand - eye coordination.  What with studying Biology at university and there being a large amount of biomechanics involved - I pretty much taught myself my swing.  Added to the fact in the last 2 years I have probably been averaging 5 rounds a week, I have managed to shoot some really good scores.  

 

I have gone through a few different swings in a couple of years Stack and tilt, one plane swing etc., at the moment I have just found the swing that works for me and although it took me a couple of years to get there, I couldn't ask to hit the ball better in the last couple of weeks (70% GIR, although that's probably down to nice. soft greens in the winter).  For the last 2 months, I have been using some of the square - to square methodology and it really has been good for my game.

 

Whilst, it definitely would of been quicker in terms of time, to get lessons; one of the negative aspects of getting coaching is that pros can teach you their idea of a perfect swing, rather than one that suits you.  For example, whilst I am quite strong - flexibility wise I suffer in the shoulders (dislocated both of them) - so I tend to have lower arms than most.  However, one of the pros was trying to get me to raise my arms higher, that was definitely not good for me.

 

What could of helped me a lot more was getting coaching for my putting and my rhythm of my swing.  Both have taken the longest time to get right.  Putting, I think maybe gaining more experience has helped me improve and with regards to rhythm, I need to remember not to hit at the ball.

post #10 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

I think there is a decent percentage of golfers that think if they take a lesson they have to "start from scratch".  I'm sure there are some pros that like to go that route but not the good ones imo

 

I also think golfers don't take lessons out of pride, they think they know enough and can figure it out by themselves.

 

I haven't taken any lessons in a few years and the primary reason is money. I've mentioned this in another thread, but I stopped going to my first instructor because of scheduling problems. I stopped going to my last instructor because of money.

 

Honestly, now, I don't know if I'd go back. There is a lot of good information out there; with diligent research, one can educate themselves fairly well on the golf swing. Combine that knowledge with video analysis and I've kind of become my own instructor, with some helpful pointers every now and then (I'm looking at you, @mvmac :beer:).

 

There are also a number of reasons to be wary of taking lessons, too. There are teachers out there that teach the wrong information, or they try to turn your swing into some PGA Tour professional's swing, or they just give you generic pointers and clichés. Some are simply bad at teaching. There are enough negative possibilities for me to balk at spending the money on lessons.

 

The other problem, now, is that I wouldn't be in the right state of mind to take lessons from anyone I don't really know. Because I spend a lot of time learning about the swing, I kind of feel like I know more than the average instructor. It may not be true at all and I'm probably thinking too highly of myself, but it's still a terrible attitude to have going into a lesson.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

I also think golfers don't take lessons out of pride, they think they know enough and can figure it out by themselves.

:whistle:

post #11 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

I think there is a decent percentage of golfers that think if they take a lesson they have to "start from scratch".  I'm sure there are some pros that like to go that route but not the good ones imo

 

I also think golfers don't take lessons out of pride, they think they know enough and can figure it out by themselves.  

I would have to add that there are a lot of bad instructors out there, which scares people off too.  I took lessons from one local guy, who was pretty well spoken of and I did not like his methodology.    He had no explanation of why he was telling me to do whatever.  Just do it.  I politely stopped taking lessons from him because he was a nice guy at least.

 

I did a bunch of reading, studied a lot of info from this site and then went to a clinic with Erik, Dave and James which was much better.  I got lucky.

 

I have friends that have taken lessons and what they tell me the instructor has them doing is just incomprehensible.

post #12 of 173

I'm open to lessons, but believe you need to temper expectations.

 

I promised myself a proper assault on reaching single figures this year - and resolved to give up the self-analysis and get proper lessons.

 

The guy I found locally is well-regarded at every level of the game. We get along well and there's no communication problem.

 

His lessons were clear and I worked on his instructions - but hit a point after maybe 4 or 5 lessons when I could see he was more or less scratching his head.

 

We're looking at my swing on video, and by the time I'm at A6 he's saying "there's really no reason not to hit good shots from there...." Believe me, I was NOT hitting consistently good shots, although, even if I say so myself, it looked OK on video.

 

From there, and from similar experiences with other teachers, I've drawn the conclusion that there's more to ballstriking than technique, or at least the technique that can be viewed and analysed on video. I've put in enough time and effort this year to get my swing in line with what my teachers have recommended - but not so much time playing the course, practicing out of different lies, hitting into different winds, shaping the ball etc etc.

 

Maybe a lesson from someone who teaches with trackman, or a swingvest or similar, would open up a different perspective on what I need to work on - but those guys are a bit thin on the ground in my area.

 

I absolutely don't want to knock the work of teachers in general, or the guys I've worked with directly. The advice has been good - but I am coming to believe that it takes more, whether its hand-eye co-ordination, timing, talent or practice, to improve your scoring game than just to improve your swing on the practice tee.

post #13 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post
 

It's all about the MONEY.  

Same with me. There's little ego involved nor misconceptions about getting good from simply teaching myself. 

 

I'm completely on board with taking lessons from a pro who has at least some level of passion for what he or she does. The folks at Evolvr seem to qualify as a few others online do. At some point in the future, I'll be in better financial shape to spend the money. For now, I will do the best I can with what I have and try not to complain as much about the lack of progress.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post
...believe that it takes more, whether its hand-eye co-ordination, timing, talent or practice, to improve your scoring game than just to improve your swing on the practice tee.

 

My experience is too limited to have an educated opinion, but I believe that while lessons would likely get me to the level of bogey golf, I'm not sure I have what it takes to get much lower. As the last two years have progressed, I've had to fight my initial desire to get really good. However, making progress is a big part of the attraction/addiction that this game offers.

post #14 of 173

All sorts of reasons why, but having taken lessons from many different instructors far and wide and gone through all sorts of forums, books and video, I believe that if all instructors were as good as the few I've encountered, the collective handicap would drop significantly. It's not to say that most instructors are incapable or aren't trying (although I've encountered quite a few who were "dialing it in"), it's just that the art of teaching, really knowing the swing, that's something very few people have. I would say one of the reasons most people don't take lessons is that they intuitively sense this, at least the most instructors don't help much, or to a limited degree part, which makes them doubtful that there are teachers who "get sh*t done".

post #15 of 173

I took about 6 lessons a couple of years ago and found them to be helpful. But my problems (in my opinion) were primarily things that couldn't be corrected through instruction. I had a pretty good swing, but I couldn't translate it to the course, especially under pressure situations. If you saw me on the range, you might have guessed I was 6-8 handicapper, but I was sporting a 12 index because when I stood over a real shot, I would get tense, seize up and hit all sorts of horrible snap hooks/fat shots that rarely plagued me in my range sessions. It got so bad that I actually came to the conclusion that I could never play competitive golf, and I stopped taking lessons, because I questioned the point of developing a great swing that couldn't be reproduced on the course.

 

I made a mini "breakthrough" earlier this summer, largely due to committing to a preshot routine that worked for me. I also read a few books about the mental game that I believe helped hone my thought process. I am now comfortable that my index accurately reflects my swing and my potential.

 

If I ever have the time and resources to commit to getting my index down to sub 5, there is no question that lessons will be an integral part of that process. As it stands now, I am comfortable with my game. And given the time I am able to commit right now, I can't justify the expense.

post #16 of 173
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by joekelly View Post
 

It's all about the MONEY.

 

Lots of great responses.  A couple of thoughts on some of the major themes so far:

 

On the quote above, I wonder if its about the money or the fear that the money wont be well spent.  I think for many, if they KNEW it was going to mean markedly better golf the money would be easily parted with.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lowkie View Post
 

With golf I realize that the practice is just as important as the lessons.  This being said I can only go to the course once a weekend and can either afford a round of golf or lesson.  To me spending the money on a lesson that I know I can't practice between then and the next session just seems a waste.

 

Would it make a difference if you were given drills you could do at home.  I found mirror work just a few minutes a day made a huge difference for me.  Work I would never have done without the help of my instructor.  If I knew going in that practice of that type and time would be part of the equation I would have started sooner.  Also trying to fix it myself with the help of online and offline contest made me a real mess...

 

Quote:

I would have to add that there are a lot of bad instructors out there, which scares people off too.

Well we are clearly out to help people differentiate between those that are good, really good, and maybe not so good so those who are interested have more information then the recommendation of one golf buddy.  We are a ways yet from achieving that goal so I hope that some of you who have taken lessons will also share a review of some of your past pros on reviewmygolfpro.com

post #17 of 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReviewMyGolfPro View Post
 

 

Lots of great responses.  A couple of thoughts on some of the major themes so far:

 

On the quote above, I wonder if its about the money or the fear that the money wont be well spent.  I think for many, if they KNEW it was going to mean markedly better golf the money would be easily parted with.

 

I wonder how many golf pros would make that sales pitch. I think some are, rightly, wary of over-promising. Too much of the benefit of their advice is contingent on the pupil putting in the work.

 

The guy I go to now for online lessons talks about practicing changes that will have you playing better golf six months down the line.

 

I can see the changes in a week or so, and I can see the results on the range. But translating those changes into better scores on the course is still challenging. This year, the most noticeable thing I saw was that my worst scores were much less damaging. But I didn't see any dramatic breakthrough in my handicap. That's not a complaint - but it's recognition that what we're trying to do is not easy.

post #18 of 173

I have a complete golf instruction video from Jim McClean where he breaks down the entire swing, with drills for each part.  I practice those in front of a mirror between weekend rounds.  While yes I could probably take one lesson a month and give up a round of golf for it and then practice in-between the monthly sessions, but call me selfish I don't want to give up the weekly round.  Again golf for me is more about the fun and time spent with friends then anything else.  So I do practice with the video's and have improved a lot, I still never really expect to be PGA or Amateur level I just let it be and have fun.:beer:

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