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Jeff Gibson

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Hey everyone, I am new to the forum.

I was looking for a good site for golf related ideas and questions and it led me here! I am happy to participate and lend an ear (and comment) to anyone that has anything to ask an old pro.

It is also a way for me to get to know the common golfing population, and what you all REALLY want from your teaching professionals. So I guess my question is, what is your stance on paying for private lessons from certified teaching professionals? No feeling will be hurt on my end - I am merely curious as to what I could do to help my academy thrive in the community I am in (a college town - USF). What might convince the skeptics out there to try out a lesson or two? Or attend a beginner's clinic?

I understand that the majority of player's are weekend, just for fun types. But what might motivate these higher handicappers to come out for clinics, etc?

Any ideas for marketing or community outreach are appreciated. And no, I am not trying to spam. If you want us professionals to do things different, now is the time to let us know.

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have you tried corporate outreach?  i'd imagine that's a pretty big market.  my gf's cousin works for goldman sachs, and a teaching pro networked with a few people, and ended up giving lessons to a bunch of beginners.

as for my stance on paying for private lessons, i'm undecided.  i've never taken a lesson myself.  one of the reasons beginners may shy away from lessons is because (imo) some pros come off arrogant and unapproachable; that can be very intimidating to a new golfer.  maybe use a gimmick like planet fitness uses with their whole "judgment free zone."

future consulting fees will be billed @ $225/hr...haha jk.

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I'm a die-hard golfer who plays WAAAY MORE than just weekends..........I'm probably far from the norm.   I've never had or considered a golf lesson.  I just like to play!!   I haven't hit a bucket of balls since 1995 and I have unlimited range privileges where I play.  LOL...I am definitely not normal.

With that said, building a school depends on advertising in the right places.   What do I know about that?  (nothing?)  My uneducated 2 cents..... For 1......I'd have flyers up around campus!!  I'd talk to the golf coach too...who knows what he might suggest?  Ads in local golf publications too!!!!  Surely there are some local golf magazines or papers in south Florida.

Good luck!!  A couple clinics near me pay for TV commercials during PGA/LPGA events.   Of course...that is more expensive but it reaches a larger audience too.  Good luck with the school....  I really do appreciate what you guys do.

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A few suggestions and thoughts. 1) I would make sure you have a good social media presence. It will allow you to market more effectively. It will also allow you to share testimonials from satisfied clients. People are much more likely to take a lesson if they see positive feedback from other golfers. 2) I don't think it's a question IF people will pay for private lessons, I think it's a question of why they would. I am a 6 handicap and growing up I took many lessons. I even took one recently. I know the value of a lesson and more importantly I knew the person I took it from could make me better. I think many golfers need to be convinced of the value of the lesson and how you or other teachers can help them. This brings me to point 3. 3) I would do a bunch of things to promote paying lessons. Offer free clinics to the public. Offer chances to win free lessons. Work with lots of local businesses who are always looking for ways to entice customers. People are more likely to attend and use these which becomes your platform to convince them to pay for lessons. Probably have some other ideas and I will add them to the post later.

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Corporate networking is a great idea that someone above mentioned.  I work in the corporate world and started golfing for networking reasons.  People would always ask me to play and I would have to say no, so I eventually went out and got some clubs.  People don't like being terrible and looking silly, so lessons are a must.

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I haven't had a lesson in a number of years, but have definitely considered taking some.  My worry is that the instructor would try to change too many things and make me uncomfortable.  I guess that's the point though, but still I'd only go to an instructor who would work with my current swing rather than try to get me doing something completely different.  I know there are a lot of bad instructors out there as well, so I worry that I'd get started down the wrong path.

Someone suggested a social media presence to market yourself, which is a good idea.  I would definitely Google my instructor, probably before starting lessons, to make sure I wasn't wasting my time.

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Originally Posted by dhy8386

A few suggestions and thoughts.

1) I would make sure you have a good social media presence. It will allow you to market more effectively. It will also allow you to share testimonials from satisfied clients. People are much more likely to take a lesson if they see positive feedback from other golfers.

2) I don't think it's a question IF people will pay for private lessons, I think it's a question of why they would. I am a 6 handicap and growing up I took many lessons. I even took one recently. I know the value of a lesson and more importantly I knew the person I took it from could make me better. I think many golfers need to be convinced of the value of the lesson and how you or other teachers can help them. This brings me to point 3.

3) I would do a bunch of things to promote paying lessons. Offer free clinics to the public. Offer chances to win free lessons. Work with lots of local businesses who are always looking for ways to entice customers. People are more likely to attend and use these which becomes your platform to convince them to pay for lessons.

Probably have some other ideas and I will add them to the post later.

Free clinics and lessons are a good start - but in a college town it is hard to convince hardworking student to pay (what is realisically a decent price) for a private lessons. Clinics are the way to go. Our Junior Clinic averages about 10 on Saturday mornings for only 20 bucks, and a beginners clinic for the same averages about 6. Our biggest money maker at our old location was ladies clinics - but in Tampa, alot of mom's work and could only do it late in the afternoon - so most will not commit. I have been in this business of teaching for years and years - and I feel like I am still learning.

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Originally Posted by golfaddiction

I haven't had a lesson in a number of years, but have definitely considered taking some.  My worry is that the instructor would try to change too many things and make me uncomfortable.  I guess that's the point though, but still I'd only go to an instructor who would work with my current swing rather than try to get me doing something completely different.  I know there are a lot of bad instructors out there as well, so I worry that I'd get started down the wrong path.

Someone suggested a social media presence to market yourself, which is a good idea.  I would definitely Google my instructor, probably before starting lessons, to make sure I wasn't wasting my time.

Thats a great point - most players do not recognize that a great instructor knows that there are more than one way to teach a golf swing! If it works for you - it works for me! Getting that across in the first lesson is a priority for me. I want you to see results, not make your swing look like Tiger. Realistically, most players do have a few swing flaws to work on, but just one at a time.

So would you say you would be interested in hearing more about his philosophy before taking a lesson? Maybe through a video or seminar?

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Originally Posted by Sandy Trap

Corporate networking is a great idea that someone above mentioned.  I work in the corporate world and started golfing for networking reasons.  People would always ask me to play and I would have to say no, so I eventually went out and got some clubs.  People don't like being terrible and looking silly, so lessons are a must.

I am actually trying to work with USF to include golf classes in their business masters program. I teach the golf classes at USF on the side. It is a lot of fun, good money, and a lot of new contacts. Business and golf really do go together. Big business is done on the course - thats what my dad always told me.

I have also thought about reaching out to a few local businesses that have company tournaments and pitching them a company clinic, at a reduced price,on a Saturday or something. I would think people in the business world would be wanting to get involved in it.

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I actually just bought a lesson off of groupon. I have wanted to take lessons as I am really trying to improve my game this year. I took one about 5 years ago and found it a waste of time. I know it was because of the instructor. I've wanted to take more since but have found it difficult to find a good one. Anyway, the other day I got an e-mail from groupon with the option of a one hour range session, 9 hole, or 18 hole lesson. Customer has to pay the instructors greens fee if it is at a course other than their own. I believe it was $35 for range, $45 for 9 hole, and $75 for 18 hole (I got the 9 hole). I figured if it didn't go well, at least I got to play a nice course (Fox Hills for the Michigan folks).

So I guess my advice is groupon, not sure of the costs though and too bad you'll miss out on the Father's Day frenzy.

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Also, maybe giving away a free lesson as an award at local outings might help. The idea is like a drug dealer, the first one is free and hope they are hooked for life, haha. The outings I have played in, there are plenty of terrible golfers out there (myself included) that might find value in the first one and would gladly pay additional money for more.

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I had one group lesson once, and the pro commented after watching me swing, "Your club is pretty shut at the top". I had been playing about 10 yrs at that point so I knew what he was talking about (that was my way of eschewing slices), and I asked "So you think I should hang the toe more?". He then stopped the other participants and said, "He wants to know if you should hang the toe at the top." He turns to me and says, "Let me ask you this - if you want to drive a nail into a wall would you hold the hammer like this (knuckles towards wall), or like this (palm towards wall)?....OK then". And then he turns and walks down the line before I can respond. I was like, what the...?

Ever since then I have stayed away from lessons. When I do consider taking some lessons, I am always concerned that the pro is going to enforce his idea of the golf swing over mine and totally retool everything rather than work with what I already have.

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I took 1 30 minute lesson years ago. I was thoroughly disappointed. Not sure what I expected but I am visual learner and really wanted him to just show me the correct way to swing and then I would go work on it. My general feeling is that golf instructors are like pharmaceutical companies. The money is not in the cure, the money is in the medicine. I am afraid of a lesson now because I don't want someone changing what I have worked a decade on. It may not be some classic form but it works for me. If I was confident that an instructor was going to work with me on MY swing and not try make wholesale changes I might take the plunge for a few pointers or problem areas.

Bottom line is there are lots of ways to successfully swing the golf club and if an instructor is only teaching one way and trying to mold everyone to that swing then that's a problem. I am a "Hands" golfer. Weak grip. Very active hands. I like to work the ball using my wrists. It takes timing and strength but at least right now I have both. It is very different from the "Modern" golf swing so that is why I avoid lessons.

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Originally Posted by Remark37

Also, maybe giving away a free lesson as an award at local outings might help. The idea is like a drug dealer, the first one is free and hope they are hooked for life, haha. The outings I have played in, there are plenty of terrible golfers out there (myself included) that might find value in the first one and would gladly pay additional money for more.

One of the local golf courses does this.  They have a day where they offer free 10 minute lessons to anyone that shows up.  Seems like a good idea to me.

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Quote:
Not sure what I expected but I am visual learner and really wanted him to just show me the correct way to swing and then I would go work on it

The problem is, he might show you himself, but his swing might not work for you. Golf is alot of trial and error, with some key fundamental's that are pretty much standard across all good players.

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I've wanted to take a lesson but it isn't cheap, and there is plenty I can learn from reading online and taking video of my swing to see what I need to correct. If i was given a lesson as a gift I'm sure I would take it and probably by additional lessons if what I learned helped and the instructor was good and nice.

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Note: This thread is 2649 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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