Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Unrealistic Expectations

Sign in to follow this  


The scramble turned out to be disappointing.  When it came down to it, I couldn't hit the ball cleanly.  There was an obvious difference between hitting off of mats like I had during practice and hitting off of grass.  Most of my shots were fat but unlike on a mat where the club just bounces and hits the ball I was taking up clumps of sod and dirt before making contact with the ball.  I had a lot of practice at fixing divots that day.  With the exception of a few good shots I didn't do much to help my team.

I was frustrated but at the same time inspired by some of the great shots I saw my teammates hit.  It's different when you see a regular guy hit a really good golf shot versus a pro on television.  I realized it was unrealistic of me to think that in only five weeks I'd be playing well and decided that I'd need to continue to practice and take lessons if I was going to improve.

I went back and met with Bill (my instructor) and told him how badly I played during the scramble, he didn't seem surprised.  I signed up for more lessons and range time, with the understanding that I wanted to learn how  to be a good golfer and I was willing to work hard to get there.  He said he got it and that he'd help me build a solid swing foundation.  I don't know if it was just words on his part or he forgot what I wanted, but at my next lesson we kind of just picked up where we'd left off after my last lesson.  I was just hitting balls off the mat, no real instruction or correction to my swing, just an occasional "add more salt" which was Bill's way of telling me to use a stronger grip on the club.

At the same time I was taking lessons I was also reading books on the golf swing and spending a lot of time here on The Sand Trap.  I was reading about ball flight laws and proper swing techniques, etc. but when I'd try to discuss them with Bill he'd dismiss them as being too advanced or unimportant.  I was also spending a lot of time at the range and while I felt I was making progress hitting off of mats I knew that grass was different from mats.

After my 8th lesson I told Bill I was kind of disappointed with my results, I still wasn't hitting my 7i 150 yards as he promised, I still felt awkward swinging the club and was hitting shots fat and thin.  He seemed kind of dumbfounded and said he thought I had unrealistic expectations.  He explained that it would take at least a full year of lessons and practice before I felt comfortable and would be able to play a round of golf on a course.  I asked him if my swing was technically correct, he said that I had some bad habits he was trying to work with.  I reminded him that when I signed up for new lessons I told him I wanted to learn to swing a golf club properly not just patch up my bad habits.  We went back and forth but overall he didn't seem interested or capable of teaching someone how to swing a golf club properly he just wanted to patch them up.

I found out a few years later the swing Bill had me committing to muscle memory included almost zero hip or shoulder turn, it was almost 100% arms.  He also had never told me that I swayed on both my backswing and downswing which explained why I was having difficulty making consistent ball contact.  Overall I had wasted an entire golf season and $800 on lessons and practice of a flawed golf swing.

Sign in to follow this  


Recommended Comments

Just reading this entry gets my blood boiling. We either had the same first instructor, or they learned the same teaching technique.

Of course, why would we (newbies) think it was anything but our own fault when we don't progress? In retrospect, I now believe mine had given up after our initial lesson. How anyone can approach their job with that kind of indifference is beyond me. I wish he had simply told me he wasn't interested in taking me on as a student.

Oh well, live and learn.

Share this comment

Link to comment

That's a shame. I hate to hear those types of experiences. It's amazing how many awful instructors are out there. I got to know a guy I saw frequently giving lessons at my old range. I overheard some pretty terrible advice he'd give different students  i.e. "Don't worry about your clubface so much...it's the path that will direct your ball flight." He'd have new students on the green all day and say " We'll get to the range..that's your least concern right now...it's right here on the green that separates the good golfers and the bad golfers" just killed me. You're right though, live and learn. I hope you haven't lost faith because there are some really good instructors out there. Just do some research and you'll find one.

Edited by Vinsk

Share this comment

Link to comment

I was very eager to learn and wrongly assumed that because he was a certified PGA Instructor that he was qualified to teach me how to properly swing a club.   I spent at least 10 hours per week practicing what he was taught me only to find out a few years later it was a completely flawed swing.  

I found a great instructor at the end of last year who took video of my swing when I first walked in his door (the first instructor of the four I've been to ever use video analysis).  He was pretty amazed that after taking lessons for 3 years my swing was so fundamentally wrong and that none of them used video as part of their lessons.

Share this comment

Link to comment

Wow @newtogolf, that is an incredible story, my sentiments echo @JonMA1 and I would be extremely upset.  I do not understand how that person could be a PGA certified instructor with his main advice being to "add a little salt".  One would think that the swaying would be part of the first set of major issues to notice and address.  That the instructor thought you should purchase and spend that kind of money on instruction for a full year before you would be comfortable and able to play a round on a course would have sent me over the edge.  I don't understand how a pro could think that people would pay that type of money and make that type of commitment to not see good improvements in a respectable time frame.  

I love the video that my instructor takes, (once I have a few more things worked out I will probably start a my swing thread). One of the very first things I noticed was the swaying I was doing, and just seeing it helped me out tremendously to remember to keep my head steady and to coil. 

For everything you went through starting out it's good to see that you still love the game and stuck with it.

This is a great set of blog entries, thank you for sharing with the group.  :beer:

Share this comment

Link to comment

This hits home here as well.. My first instructor told me I had no swing flaws to fix... As I'm hitting them left right and rarely center...  I'm glad those days if ignorance are gone!

Share this comment

Link to comment

Unfortunately, all of us have similar beginner's stories. Newer people will probably make the same mistakes many of us did.

The real crux of the matter is that we all have unrealistic expectations of ourselves in the beginning. Most of us thought or think "How hard can it be to put a ball into a 4" hole from 400 yards away in 4 strokes?". The game is deceptively hard, and some people reading this are probably thinking "I'm an exception and hit farther than everyone else and can chip and putt like a pro. . ." We don't.

Really, this game is hard, but can be played at any level of proficiency on the same course. Scratch players and 36 handicaps can even play from the same set of tees. The double bogey golfer hits one good shot (not necessarily with a good swing), and thinks that with a little more practice and or lessons that he can easily be as good as the scratch golfer someday. Every time you miss a shot, do you think "I can hit better than that because I did it 10 times in a row at the driving range." We should really ask ourselves, "Could I, really?"

I think real improvement only comes when we realize what we can actually do on the course, and how good those better players really are than us.

The key is in your title.

Share this comment

Link to comment
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...