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Billy Z

How Many Golf Lessons?

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With the access of professional golfers who give quality lessons, why don't people take more lessons instead of complaining how bad their game is. I think many people would rather go out and buy new equipment that cost hundreds of dollars, thinking this will cure their ills, rather than to spend a little bit on actual golf lessons. Can you imagine how many quality lessons you could get for the cost of today's brand new driver? What I would like to know is a  brief history how many years you have played and how many lessons  have taken over the course of time. Have these lessons helped you? At age 65 I am satisfied with my game right now that I don't feel like I have to take a lesson to improve. I have been playing 45 years now and probably have taken lessons on five different occasions. How about you?

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I have been playing for 4 years. I took lessons 3-4 times a month during my first year. They definitely helped me from not being able to make contact at all, to actually playing golf and breaking 100 after a few rounds. I did practice daily during my first year. Second year was 1-2 times a month to make sure I didn’t develop bad habits and to refine my short game. Third year was maybe once/twice every 2 months at Golftec, mainly to correct issues and to improve on specific things. It really helped me with my game and my instructor helped me dropped to single handicap. This is year 4 and so far I have taken 3 lessons - all to learn hitting/controlling draws and fades at will.  I have had 3 different instructors so far. 

I am still using clubs from 4 years ago, except for a new driver last year (TM M5tour) and a new driver this year (TM SIM). I don’t need new clubs, just happened to try them and they felt right and gave me extra distance. 

Edited by FlyingAce

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I've been playing about 7 years.   During the winters my golf instructor would offer a group of lessons for cheap and I've taken him up on it 3 times.    He is now focusing on First Tee and has decided to quit teaching.   This spring I decided to call upon a highly acclaimed local PGA teacher and was very disappointed in his approach, style and lesson.  One lesson, no more from him.  

In all fairness to any instructor, I haven't put in the effort to really improve this year with everything that is going on.  

I use to play with a guy that always told us he didn't want to correct his swing, he just wanted to buy a swing.    I believe that is more common than not, everyone looking for a magic club/clubs.

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I am 63 and done with lessons.  I used to go in for a tune-up, every 6 months or so, but while reading the OP I realized that it has been quite some time since I felt the desire to do so.  I'm still trying to improve and I enjoy reading, watching, practicing, playing, and talking about the swing.  

That being said...I've taken a lot of golf lessons in my life.  Many of them are with me today.  In a sense...every round, and every practice session, is a lesson...if you are paying attention.

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1 hour ago, Billy Z said:

why don't people take more lessons instead of complaining how bad their game is. 

Because it's easier and cheaper to complain about how bad their game is instead of paying for lesson(s) followed by devoting hours of practicing properly to change and improve their swing.

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1 hour ago, Billy Z said:

Can you imagine how many quality lessons you could get for the cost of today's brand new driver?

Probably 5 hours or so.

1 hour ago, Billy Z said:

I have been playing 45 years now and probably have taken lessons on five different occasions.

I bet you've paid more for equipment than lessons during those years. 

Your points seem to be contradicting. You say that people should take more lessons, but you yourself haven't taken many at all. While I agree that lessons are important for improvement, I don't think that they are necessary for enjoying the game.

I personally have never had a lesson, but that will change in about 2 weeks. I think that if I end up taking long term lessons that I would try to balance it with 1 hour of lesson for every 10-20 hours of practice (rounds not counting as practice).

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I've been casually playing golf for 20+ years, but I only started trying to improve my game for the last 2-3 years. Started lessons about 2 years ago after a horrendous bout of shanks.

With the state of my swing right now I try to take a lesson once a month. I feel like this frequency gives me enough time to work on the priority piece(s) from the lesson before more instruction. I'll check in with my instructor and send a video via email between lessons to get feedback on my progress. Some lessons are just tune ups to polish things that have gotten sloppy. Other lessons involve more complex changes. Overall I've been really impressed how my instructor was able to deconstruct my old swing, and build a better swing at a pace that works perfectly for me.

That said, I also like to buy new equipment. I'm not delusional in thinking that new equipment will magically make me a scratch golfer, but sometimes it's fun to buy a new, shiny thing.

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Age 32. Been playing since I was 8. No lessons until I was 17 (didn’t know any better). Could shoot in the 80s but I sucked.

Got lessons before my senior year (he was a good instructor) and all the sudden could shoot in the upper 30s for 9 and sneak into the 70s in high school tournaments or matches.

got back into golf in my late 20s and got the duckhooks bad. Tried to redo my swing which didn’t work. Got a couple lessons (4 over a summer) from a PGA professional that made me even worse. Turned into a slicing maniac.

then I found this site and got lessons that actually helped again. 

2 out of 3 helped me.

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I've been playing for just over 4 years.

My first lesson will take place on August 1st at TheSandTrap Chautauqua meetup.

I think I was able to teach myself a ton from this forum as my primary source of information regarding the golf swing. I played collegiate level tennis, and the process of improving at tennis vs golf is actually quite similar. So when you combine strong knowledge of the process of improving at a highly technical sport plus the beacon of knowledge that is TheSandTrap, you get a decent recipe for self-improvement.

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I've been taking lessons and working with online oversight for 5 years now. 10 years before that I was like lot of other folks who learn a few things here and there or take a lesson or two and then just resolve to 'teaching' themselves. 

Things turned around fairly rapidly for me (I was 18-20 hcp before that) since taking lessons. 

3 hours ago, Billy Z said:

why don't people take more lessons instead of complaining how bad their game is. 

I don't think most of these people realize how uncommitted they are to really improving. And then there are some bad instructors out there, if these poor golfers are unfortunate enough to run into them make it easy for them to determine 'lessons-don't-help' for good.  

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I'm 33 and this is my second year back after a 10 year break. Played from about age 10 or 11 to about 21 off and on through school. I've had 3 total lessons, one from way back before I stopped playing and two since I started playing again last year and I plan to keep taking lessons!

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Even many people who take lessons really just want band-aids or magic. They want to hear something, understand it, and instantly be "better."

Those can happen — understanding the ball flight laws can do something like that — but they're rare. Most lessons require work because you're changing a VERY built-in "habit."

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7 hours ago, Billy Z said:

With the access of professional golfers who give quality lessons, why don't people take more lessons instead of complaining how bad their game is. I think many people would rather go out and buy new equipment that cost hundreds of dollars, thinking this will cure their ills, rather than to spend a little bit on actual golf lessons. Can you imagine how many quality lessons you could get for the cost of today's brand new driver?

To be fair, there are plenty of people out there to whom spending money on lessons would be a waste. I'm talking about the people who wouldn't put in the time and effort of practicing effectively to make good use of those lessons. They're better off buying a new driver; at least they'll be able to trade it in for store credit towards another driver in a couple of years.

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10 hours ago, Billy Z said:

With the access of professional golfers who give quality lessons, why don't people take more lessons instead of complaining how bad their game is. I think many people would rather go out and buy new equipment that cost hundreds of dollars, thinking this will cure their ills, rather than to spend a little bit on actual golf lessons. Can you imagine how many quality lessons you could get for the cost of today's brand new driver? What I would like to know is a  brief history how many years you have played and how many lessons  have taken over the course of time. Have these lessons helped you? At age 65 I am satisfied with my game right now that I don't feel like I have to take a lesson to improve. I have been playing 45 years now and probably have taken lessons on five different occasions. How about you?

I’m 62, have played for 50 years, 35 of which as a single digit hcp with a low of 4.

I’ve never had a lesson, nor do I practice.  I just play.  That’s what I enjoy.

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9 hours ago, iacas said:

Even many people who take lessons really just want band-aids or magic. They want to hear something, understand it, and instantly be "better."

Wait. That's not how it works?

Wait What GIF by State Farm

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9 hours ago, billchao said:

To be fair, there are plenty of people out there to whom spending money on lessons would be a waste. I'm talking about the people who wouldn't put in the time and effort of practicing effectively to make good use of those lessons. They're better off buying a new driver; at least they'll be able to trade it in for store credit towards another driver in a couple of years.

I am not one of those.

6 hours ago, David in FL said:

I’m 62, have played for 50 years, 35 of which as a single digit hcp with a low of 4.

I’ve never had a lesson, nor do I practice.  I just play.  That’s what I enjoy.

I am envious of your natural ability. 

16 hours ago, Billy Z said:

What I would like to know is a  brief history how many years you have played and how many lessons  have taken over the course of time. Have these lessons helped you? 

I've been playing golf since 1992. I started in my 20's. I literally bought a boxed set of golf clubs on my lunch hour before playing in my company's golf league that same evening. That's how I started. 

I wish I was one of those people who can say "I've never had a lesson and I got down to a single digit handicap. ... Alas I am not. 

  • I am not particularly coordinated. I can't even snap my fingers left handed. 
  • I have no rhythm
  • I have terrible balance
  • I can't dance
  • I can't jump high
  • I can't run fast
  • I've never thrown a baseball over 60 mph. 
  • I enjoy sports, but God decided to give me natural talents making me much better suited to be an electrical engineer than an athlete. 
  • Without lessons I would never have broken 100. 

Over my golf life of close to 30 years. I have had tons of lessons, I'm sure its well over 100, maybe 200. Many times in my life I've gotten my handicap down into single digits. I've had 2 really good golf coaches. One of them back in the early 00's, and the guy I've been using for the last 4-5 years. I really like my current guy (even though I cheated on him for a little while last year.)

I know for a fact there are a lot of folks who can roll out of bed, pick up golf clubs for the first time, and be better than I am the very first time they play 18 holes. Personally, I think that sucks, but there's nothing I can do about that except work on my own game. If I don't work on my game for a while it goes to Hell in a hand cart very quickly because of ... well, see the list above. 

2 years ago I was playing the best golf of my life and nearly shot par a couple times. Since then my real life has interfered a lot. This year I've hardly played or practiced at all. I'm sure my game is far uglier now than I'd like it to be. My goals remain: First; Shoot par for 18. Second; get to scratch. I had a plan to get there that I worked out with my coach. We made the plan before the world changed. I'm looking forward to getting back to that plan as soon as I can. 

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17 hours ago, Billy Z said:

I have been playing 45 years now and probably have taken lessons on five different occasions. How about you?

I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast instructors I’ve had over the years .... a number is my rating on a scale of 1-10.

  • Gary (1). Tour pro. Terrible instructor but lots of charisma. Best part was all the LPGA players who visited for tuneups. Always nice scenery on the range.
  • Will (6). Master PGA Professional. Played the Tour early in his career. $500 for 5 lessons, finishes with a playing round. Good guy, would recommend.
  • David (3). Golf Digest Best in state. PGA Instructor. Tons of awards. $125/half hour. Video analysis (one of the first). Has so many students it’s all about hours. His range is in terrible shape and his reply is, “The parking lot is full isn’t it?” Financially very successful, but little else.
  • Barry (4). 3 Day Golf School. Fun! Fixed some flaws, but nothing sustainable.
  • Jan (4) LPGA Instructor. Big into fitness and kinetics. Average. 
  • Derek. Former Jimmy Ballard instructor. Had four keys to the swing and could RIP it. No system for playing just “Here’s my take on the swing”.
  • Stan (9). Former D1 player, retired Tour player. Started with assessing goals, looked at my equipment, swing, etc and provided video feedback. Taught the basics of the swing, putting and short game. Included input on course management and mental approach to the game. Current instructor.
  • Jeff (7). Local college coach with a national reputation. Extremely knowledgeable but provides band-aid instruction. No systematic approach to improvement.

My game has become very consistent because I’ve got an instructor whose philosophy I buy into and we’re working a plan. Many of the others were Bandaid instructors. I would recommend anyone taking lessons to think long term and first, learn how to select an instructor and then, find one you want to work with. My two cents.

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