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Lessons v. Self Taught

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I certainly believe in the learning process,and less in ability.I truly think if you have good physicality then that's just a natural product of your genetic inheritance from your own family.

The point is we all have a silent intelligence in our bodies that is far smarter than we are,it's all about getting out of the way of it and allowing it to learn.I find looking at images and videos are the greatest way of learning,if I'm reading an over wordy text on this position and this position then I just switch off.

I think you can make golf more complicated in your mind than it needs to be.I would love to use a teaching pro but I really think you need an extended period of time and a meeting of minds on how to build a golf swing to really benefit,just taking the odd lesson doesn't get it done.In an ideal world I would probably use someone like Bob Rotella or Timothy Gallwey paired with someone like Jim Hardy or Leadbetter who seem to have simplified golf mechanics to the essentials.

Until then I keep learning my swing to a simple formula and ignore lots of tips as there are just too many different ideas.It's like everybody giving you different directions to a city and saying their way is the quickest.I think that more than anything confuses most.

Tennis instruction could be quite contradictory between instructors but golf has been another story completely,but again everyone is trying to make a living and needs a unique approach or they wouldn't attract new students.

If you can learn the main fundamentals yourself and use a mirror or video and pay attention to your ball flight,then you should be able to hit the ball solidly enough.If you want to play at competiton level then you may need that extra edge that a great instructor will bring you.

After all it's only golf not brain surgery,learn have fun,don't complicate it.

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I never had a lesson in my life until recently.

Recently? With a handicap index of 2 and change, I'm wondering what you were expecting--aside from an honest $60 bucks worth, of course, to which you were entitled? Seriously, if a player as good as yourself is taking lessons, you're going to be looking at sourcing an instructor who can take you to scratch. That would have to be some pretty serious teaching talent. Did he come recommended?

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First of all... great discussion so far... it's nice seeing that I'm not the only one who thinks that there are some benefits to going at it on your own, and that it is not impossible.

Everyone's swing is different, so its important to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. This is something a book or magazine cannot teach you.

No, but it is something you can teach yourself... EXAMPLE: do you have an early release and loose power... videos will show you such, and if you understand the swing you can see and identify it. I think we CAN identify strengths and weaknesses in our swing... I've corrected a slide of my hips, comming over the top, created more lag, and straightened my left arm to create more power (among many other things)... all by diagnosing my own problems.

It depends on the golfer. For me, I played baseball for many years. The mechanics and principles of hitting a golf ball are almost identical to hitting a baseball: swing down and through the ball, weight on back foot, push off with back foot and full hip rotation, get hands through, etc. It made it easier for me to understand the golf swing.

Baseball can help for sure... I'm a hockey player, but also played a few years of baseball and several other sports. Just being athletic is a huge advantage, my brother-in-law is not naturally athletic, and I can see how he struggles with changes more than I did.

When my 11 year old son started showing interest in the game at age 4, I put him in some Junior clinics. Since about age 8 he has been taught by our local pro who is fantastic with children. He is definitely farther along in his swing and ballstriking than I was at age 11.

I can totally see puting children (will probably do the same with mine) in lessons/clinics, etc. I want my children to reach their full potential in time for scholrships and otherwise, and with children it is probably the easiest way for them to learn.

I think it is much easier to learn the game on your own now. You can go on youtube and find a plethora of videos on how to swing a golf club. Some are quite good. I have really learned the ins and out of a golf swing through watching all the lessons on the internet.

This is a good point... I haven't used them much, but I'm sure there's some good stuff out there... probably some bad stuff too, just know what to avoid.

As of late though I have enlisted the help of a teaching pro because I believe I have hit a plateau and can no longer improve without some help.

I know a lot of people who go to an instructor for this reason. I have not hit my wall yet (I'm not that good), but when I do I will likely start taking some lessons from a pro who I feel comfortable with. I think for those of us in single digits, it is important to find an instructor who can work with someone of this nature... some instructors are better with beginers, while others are really good at fixing and improving the last few things that will take you to the next level.

Lastly... I think lessons and clinics are great for children, easiest way to get them a good start. My question is now this... for those that pick up the game a 25, 35, or 50... why not try on your own a bit... you're not going to become a pro, and it gives you something to do when not playing. I think the start might be a little slower, but in the end you will know so much more about swing mechanics. I actually think someone who is self taught might have an easier time applying lessons later in life because they understand their swing better then others. Maybe I'm off base here... what does everyone think?

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i think if tiger uses a swing coach... the average everyday play can also benefit from a pro's advice... being self taught is great but why limit yourself unless you are satisfied with where youre at?

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i think if tiger uses a swing coach... the average everyday play can also benefit from a pro's advice... being self taught is great but why limit yourself unless you are satisfied with where youre at?

I think that is oversimplifying it a bit... Tiger's swing coach is a pretty extraordinary instructor. Also, just because someone isn't taking lessons, doesn't mean they aren't improving. Sure, I could benefit from lessons, but how much would the "right" guy cost, and is he even available. Plus, I don't feel I've reached a point where I need him yet.

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I think what he was trying to say was that if the greatest golfer in the world takes lessons then anyone below him would/should benefit from them as well. If you find the right instructor, lessons will improve your game immensely.

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The mechanics and principles of hitting a golf ball are almost identical to hitting a baseball: swing down and through the ball, weight on back foot, push off with back foot and full hip rotation, get hands through, etc. It made it easier for me to understand the golf swing ... With golf, it's not that simple as the ball does not move.

For those of us who have played ball, or maybe still do think about how upsetting this is ... We can take a baseball, coming at us at 70+ MPH and slice it down the Firstbase line (behind the runner on first) to avoid a double play. Or, we can pick a spot in the right-center-field gap and drive that same pitch there for an RBI double (or tripple for those quicker guys), or we can even drive that same pitch 375 feet over the left-center wall ... but give us a stationary ball and we can't do

with it ...
You can teach yourself how to do anything: checkers, golf, calculus, or even brain surgery. However, it's much easier (and probably more effective) to be taught how by someone who knows what he or she is doing. Taking lessons with a teaching pro should speed up the process of getting a "good" swing.

Yeah, most of us can teach ourselves to do just about anything we want (umm, yeah, except for that whole brain surgery thing ... I can just see the commercials now, "are you a brain surgeon?" "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night ... ") and many people will have pretty good success this way. It really comes down to knowing how YOU learn best. I have approached this whole thing the same way I approach most learning situations, learn as much as I can and apply it the best way I think is right and then, if something is going horribly wrong I will ask for help. I have yet to ask for help and I am at an 8 HCI, and nothing is going terribly wrong for me right now ... but I am thinking about trying to find someone to do a CHECK-UP with ...

Which leads to another thought ... you have to find someone that you can get along with in regards to their teaching styles. Think about your school days, those classes with teachers/professors that kept you interested you did well in (usually) and the teachers/professors that didn't grab your attention you probably had a harder time with their material ... Golf pro's are going to be the same way ... just because you had a bad experience with one, don't think that they are all bad (are all school teachers bad because 1 or 2 in Florida had inappropriate relationships with their students ~ umm, no!). Just my two cents worth on this topic.

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Recently? With a handicap index of 2 and change, I'm wondering what you were expecting--aside from an honest $60 bucks worth, of course, to which you were entitled?

Yeah, maybe I expected too much. I had to figure out everything on my own an got myself down to a +2. I honestly don't have the money to pay some top instructor 200$ for half an hour.

I'll just keep doing my own thing until I make it on the European Tour.

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I see so many threads with 30 cappers asking about a club and people saying "go get a lesson instead, you are terrible at golf and no club will help you until you improve."

this is a great topic and i totally agree with the OP. ive been playing golf since i was 12 years old (Im 40 now), and i have never had a "lesson". granted, my grandfather was a very good golfer in his day and showed me the basics here and there, but i have never taken an official lesson. also, one of my regulars i play with is totally self taught as well and he is carry a hcp index of 10 right now after only playing for close to 3 years. like the OP, i learned by trial and error, tips from others, and reading about the game.

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No, but it is something you can teach yourself... EXAMPLE: do you have an early release and loose power... videos will show you such, and if you understand the swing you can see and identify it. I think we CAN identify strengths and weaknesses in our swing... I've corrected a slide of my hips, comming over the top, created more lag, and straightened my left arm to create more power (among many other things)... all by diagnosing my own problems.

How do you know that your doing all of this? Sure videotaping will help, but the average person knows practically nothing compared to a pro. A teaching pro can help you with your swing and get you to become a better player much faster that your going to be able to.

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If you're just taking up the game, dedicated and have some ability, you'll learn much faster if you take lessons from a good teacher who suited you.

With golf, it seems many are easy to admit they never took a lesson, don't intend to or don't need to. I think quality of instruction has to do with some of it. Probably the mindset of golfers too. People who want to learn a language, paint, play the piano, most would readily acknowledge the need for lessons.

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I'm totally self taught. I had a HS golf coach who gave me about 3 tips ever, and I had a pro look at my swing once and tell me what to adjust, which was back to my original swing before my coach tried to mess with it.

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Fortunately I beleive I was born with above average hand eye coordination. As a former framing carpenter I guess I am used to hitting things, I can drive a 12d nail in usually 1 hit and was an above average athlete in high school and college, was a state finalist in shot put and discus my junior and senior years, ..which taught me a lot about rotation and release which I use today. Never had a lesson, but damn sure have nothing against them, it's got to be the right pro that can work with what is given them. Many golfers that are better than me have given me tips that I have practiced and it has made a difference, so I guess it could be a lesson.

I think it's mainly mental, best golf book i've read is "The Little Red Book" about 10 years ago, really helped my game from being a 15 hcap to shooting scores that I am proud of, best round ever for me is a -2 on a 127 slope course.

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I think what he was trying to say was that if the greatest golfer in the world takes lessons then anyone below him would/should benefit from them as well. If you find the right instructor, lessons will improve your game immensely.

thank you so much... thats exactly what i wanted to say in a nutshell

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Why does everyone take someone saying "go get a few lessons" as "You suck at golf, you need to go get lessons"? Lessons from a good pro can save you hours of trial and error. I'm a big fan of video lessons because you can see how you doing things and what you need to correct. My older brother is pretty much entirely self taught. His grips too strong, his swing path is off, and he changes clubs to compensate for a tendency to hook the ball. He and I are about the same but if he could see what he's doing and how to fix it then he could be around a 5 or 6 handicap just because he's stronger and more athletic. He too has read every book he can get his hands on. They're great but a book can't see your swing and make suggestions on how you might improve. Thats why I recommend lessons.

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Something tells me the people who absolutely refuse to get a lesson are the same ones who hate it when they're told what they're doing wrong.

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Then it's their problem. I've improved loads with practicing on my own. Pretty much cured my slice. If I hit a bad shot today, it'll be a pull or hook most of the time, but the consistency has also leaped forwards.

A combination of lessons and learning things yourself is what I find ideal. How much you will learn depends on the instructor. For me, it's just as important to understand the swing as it is to make it better. If I can understand it, doing changes will be much easier.

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Something tells me the people who absolutely refuse to get a lesson are the same ones who hate it when they're told what they're doing wrong.

It's because 95% of the time the person telling me something isn't better then I am. Next time you're at the practice range take a look down the line and I bet you a round of golf that the better players are keeping to themselfs.

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Note: This thread is 3171 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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