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Yet another wasted golf lesson


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I suppose I'm the one to blame here: I was on groupon and saw a one-hour lesson on there for 29.00. The instructor was the head pro at a course I've been interested in playing so I figured "why not". I went there yesterday. Long story short, it turned out to be another half interested, cliche laden session where the instructor demonstrated nothing more than a mis-informed knowledge base.

2 days prior to showing up, I sent him an email... giving him my athletic background, my short term/long term goals for golf, a little bit of recent medical background, and links to my swing videos posted on youtube. I was really hoping he would in turn match the enthusiasm for instruction, ask questions, or at least extend the dialogue going into the lesson. Nope, didn't even respond. No sooner than I had arrived did he reveal he barely even skimmed over my email and didn't look at one swing video.

At that point, I was really turned off but proceeded with the "lesson" anyway. It was basically an analysis of my swing in which he observed my ball flight to determine my swing issues. So for an hour, I got to hear what adjustments I needed to make to hit the ball straighter, "ball lands where the face is pointed, path determines starting direction..." blah blah blah. Even the drills he offered were drills I have easily found with 10 seconds of google research. What really did him in (in my mind) was his advice to open my stance relative to the target, especially after I told him that my misses were usually slices.

I dunno, perhaps he was having a bad day (I actually asked him if he was tired because he seemed like he was somewhere else mentally) but I left feeling really disappointed that all he (among the other two "pros" i've taken lessons from) had to offer equates to nothing more than golf jargon without any serious analysis. And perhaps I should have adjusted my expectations... after all, it was a groupon lesson, for cheap.. I'm guessing he was using the groupon offer as bait, but he really failed to set the hook.

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My goodness, I WISH my future students would send me an email and swing videos before I see them. I'd get to slow the video down and really study it, and put together a tentative prognosis before he e

I wish I knew a solid answer to the sort of problem you are describing, and which I have seen a number of times in the short time I've been hanging around this forum.  I feel really blessed that I sor

I agree. I always respond to emails (unless they're of the type that don't need a response, like someone sending me an email that says "sounds great!" or "the second one please."), I just don't always

That is frustrating to hear. I've come across a few different types of club pros. There is the one who is enthusiastic and really wants to help you play better golf. It's almost as if they feel bad that you're not striking the ball well. And then there is the one who just does it because its required of his position. He can play solid golf, but has no interest in helping others play well. He's just there to pick up his paycheck, play the skins matches with the members, and talk about the days he "almost made" the Tour. I've been fortunate and the only lessons I've received were from the head pro at the course I worked at. He was the type who would take the time out of his day to just spend 10-15 minutes with me if I mentioned something was wrong. It can be difficult to find an instructor who works well with you. It's almost like a bonding chemistry when you find that right instructor. I feel for you though. Hope you can find a pro that works well with you.

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Unfortunately there's a lot of bad golf instructors out there.  $29 for an hour lesson reeks at worst case of a desperate act to make some quick cash from one time students, or best case a loss leader campaign that helps him sign up new suckers.   Not reading your e-mail or watching your swing video was probably a good indicator of how the rest of the lesson was going to go.

I think it's great this site is run and moderated by top golf instructors so they can act as the standard for what we should be looking for in a local golf instructor.

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Originally Posted by divot dave

I suppose I'm the one to blame here: I was on groupon and saw a one-hour lesson on there for 29.00. The instructor was the head pro at a course I've been interested in playing so I figured "why not". I went there yesterday. Long story short, it turned out to be another half interested, cliche laden session where the instructor demonstrated nothing more than a mis-informed knowledge base.

2 days prior to showing up, I sent him an email... giving him my athletic background, my short term/long term goals for golf, a little bit of recent medical background, and links to my swing videos posted on youtube. I was really hoping he would in turn match the enthusiasm for instruction, ask questions, or at least extend the dialogue going into the lesson. Nope, didn't even respond. No sooner than I had arrived did he reveal he barely even skimmed over my email and didn't look at one swing video.

At that point, I was really turned off but proceeded with the "lesson" anyway. It was basically an analysis of my swing in which he observed my ball flight to determine my swing issues. So for an hour, I got to hear what adjustments I needed to make to hit the ball straighter, "ball lands where the face is pointed, path determines starting direction..." blah blah blah. Even the drills he offered were drills I have easily found with 10 seconds of google research. What really did him in (in my mind) was his advice to open my stance relative to the target, especially after I told him that my misses were usually slices.

I dunno, perhaps he was having a bad day (I actually asked him if he was tired because he seemed like he was somewhere else mentally) but I left feeling really disappointed that all he (among the other two "pros" i've taken lessons from) had to offer equates to nothing more than golf jargon without any serious analysis. And perhaps I should have adjusted my expectations... after all, it was a groupon lesson, for cheap.. I'm guessing he was using the groupon offer as bait, but he really failed to set the hook.

If he told you the info I set in bold then he is incorrect. The club face determines the start direction and the path determines the curve of the ball.

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It sounds like you were the lady at the driving range in Happy Gilmore and you had Chubs sitting there reading Golf Weekly and mumbling "Thatttt's rightttt.... veryyyy gooooddd.... it's allll in the hips... goooooddd..."

Sorry to hear this in all seriousness.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

Unfortunately there's a lot of bad golf instructors out there.  $29 for an hour lesson reeks at worst case of a desperate act to make some quick cash from one time students, or best case a loss leader campaign that helps him sign up new suckers.   Not reading your e-mail or watching your swing video was probably a good indicator of how the rest of the lesson was going to go.

I think it's great this site is run and moderated by top golf instructors so they can act as the standard for what we should be looking for in a local golf instructor.

exactly

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Originally Posted by EverythingGolf

If he told you the info I set in bold then he is incorrect. The club face determines the start direction and the path determines the curve of the ball.

i know that.... and part of my disappointment was that I've heard that jargon from all of my previous instructors. I just don't understand how someone who makes a living as an instructor of the sport can be so detached from accurate information concerning it.

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Originally Posted by Spyder

It sounds like you were the lady at the driving range in Happy Gilmore and you had Chubs sitting there reading Golf Weekly and mumbling "Thatttt's rightttt.... veryyyy gooooddd.... it's allll in the hips... goooooddd..."

Sorry to hear this in all seriousness.

hilarious, that is EXACTLY how i felt... i thought of the same illustration while driving home.

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I wish I knew a solid answer to the sort of problem you are describing, and which I have seen a number of times in the short time I've been hanging around this forum.  I feel really blessed that I sort of stumbled right into a pro that I seem to have a pretty good rapport with and who doesn't seem to tell me to do stupid stuff.  However, if at this point I wanted to find another pro I don't think I'd be looking for coupon deals.  (For what it's worth, my current pro's rates are VERY fair, though more than twenty-nine bucks an hour.)

I would go to the club/course/range (whatever) and have a chat with the guy/gal.  Discuss my current game status and what I was hoping to improve and accomplish and count on intuition, if you will, to tell me if I'm talking to someone that is willing and able to help me.  There are a lot of different sort of golfers, and so a lot of different sort of teachers I'm thinking.  I suspect there are quite a few pros out there that make a career of sorts out of helping hackers finally break 110.  That's okay, there are a lot of people that would like to break 110 one day.  I suspect there are others that would be candidates to coach PGA pros if only they had a PGA pro to coach and are deeply frustrated by the parade of hackers they are faced with day after day.

Here's the deal though; after you interview some pros and find one that you feel pretty good about, you need to make a commitment of your own to work with that person for a while.  Taking one lesson and deciding that you didn't get what you wanted may not be indicative of probable future results.  Take the lesson, practice what is suggested, and come back next week.  Next week, tell the pro what you are hoping to accomplish (again, if needed) and how last week's lesson may have helped to get there. (It never hurts to stroke people a bit, even golf pros.)  Be sure to try to focus the next lesson in the direction you want it to go, and if it's not, try to find out why the teacher doesn't think that is the right thing to focus on.  Maybe they are just an idiot.  But there's also a good chance they see things in your swing that are more important to focus on just now.

You may be in a very different place with your game than I was, but the handicap indicated in your profile doesn't show it.  But it is worth keeping in mind that it is unlikely that any teacher will sort out all of your problems and make you a low single digit handicapper after the first hour.  One of the things that has become clear to me on my own road to a decent swing is that things my pro has been telling me to do have built on each other.  I could not have begun trying to practice B without first solving problem A.  Thus, once you find a teacher you feel pretty good about, continue to build that relationship, and take the lessons.  How many lessons?  Who knows.  Tiger still takes lessons.  I took a lesson a week for a while.  Now taking maybe one or two a month.

Good results on the course are, for me, worth the price of lessons.

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Originally Posted by divot dave

I suppose I'm the one to blame here: I was on groupon and saw a one-hour lesson on there for 29.00. The instructor was the head pro at a course I've been interested in playing so I figured "why not". I went there yesterday. Long story short, it turned out to be another half interested, cliche laden session where the instructor demonstrated nothing more than a mis-informed knowledge base.

2 days prior to showing up, I sent him an email... giving him my athletic background, my short term/long term goals for golf, a little bit of recent medical background, and links to my swing videos posted on youtube. I was really hoping he would in turn match the enthusiasm for instruction, ask questions, or at least extend the dialogue going into the lesson. Nope, didn't even respond. No sooner than I had arrived did he reveal he barely even skimmed over my email and didn't look at one swing video.

At that point, I was really turned off but proceeded with the "lesson" anyway. It was basically an analysis of my swing in which he observed my ball flight to determine my swing issues. So for an hour, I got to hear what adjustments I needed to make to hit the ball straighter, "ball lands where the face is pointed, path determines starting direction..." blah blah blah. Even the drills he offered were drills I have easily found with 10 seconds of google research. What really did him in (in my mind) was his advice to open my stance relative to the target, especially after I told him that my misses were usually slices.

I dunno, perhaps he was having a bad day (I actually asked him if he was tired because he seemed like he was somewhere else mentally) but I left feeling really disappointed that all he (among the other two "pros" i've taken lessons from) had to offer equates to nothing more than golf jargon without any serious analysis. And perhaps I should have adjusted my expectations... after all, it was a groupon lesson, for cheap.. I'm guessing he was using the groupon offer as bait, but he really failed to set the hook.

If you want to spend $30 on really good golf instruction, look no further than http://evolvr.thegolfevolution.com/whatis

or make the trip to Erie http://thegolfevolution.com/locations

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Originally Posted by mvmac

If you want to spend $30 on really good golf instruction, look no further than http://evolvr.thegolfevolution.com/whatis

or make the trip to Erie http://thegolfevolution.com/locations

I grew up just north of Erie in Chautauqua County, NY. Trust me, if I don't make the trip this summer, you'll probably find me on evolvr.

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Best $40 bucks I ever spent were for the Evolvr lessons!

Ditto. I just started but it's really nice to have the confidence that you're not wasting your time and that as long as you supply the discipline the lessons will get you there.

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I am getting back into golf and find lessons a huge help. Granted I asked around for a pro and found one at my local CC who was not only good, but also one of the nicest people I have ever met.

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Quote:
And perhaps I should have adjusted my expectations...

Bingo.

I'm not sure its reasonable to expect him to do prep work outside the lesson and so forth for $29.  If you had shown up and he'd handed you a $100 invoice for four hours of prep work, you'd be on here complaining about that.

Finding a teacher is very difficult.  It is not like buying something off a shelf at Wal-Mart.  Some martial arts diciplines consider choice of teacher as important as choice of spouse in one's life.  The relationship has to work.

You had a bad experience.  I will say thank you for not saying his name on the forum because i think that would have been bad form.

I go to a pro I think is great.  I referred a friend there for a lesson and he hated it and the pro.  Its just a total personal connection thing IMO.

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Originally Posted by johnclayton1982

Bingo.

I'm not sure its reasonable to expect him to do prep work outside the lesson and so forth for $29.  If you had shown up and he'd handed you a $100 invoice for four hours of prep work, you'd be on here complaining about that.

Finding a teacher is very difficult.  It is not like buying something off a shelf at Wal-Mart.  Some martial arts diciplines consider choice of teacher as important as choice of spouse in one's life.  The relationship has to work.

You had a bad experience.  I will say thank you for not saying his name on the forum because i think that would have been bad form.

I go to a pro I think is great.  I referred a friend there for a lesson and he hated it and the pro.  Its just a total personal connection thing IMO.

I don't consider reading an email and spending 16 seconds looking at a swing video "prep work". His website invites guests to send him correspondence so I wasn't making an inappropriate assumption by sending him an email.

I've worked as a coach before, both as a volunteer and as a paid assistant (different sport). I have also been coached by many different instructors spanning several disciplines over the years. The good ones have certain qualities in common, namely an evident excitement for teaching their craft, and an enthusiasm for students who demonstrate a similar passion to learn the craft. This guy demonstrated neither, and my disappointment was a compounding one based on previous experiences with PGA certified pros.

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Originally Posted by johnclayton1982

Bingo.

I'm not sure its reasonable to expect him to do prep work outside the lesson and so forth for $29.

I have to disagree with you regarding this statement. While I don't necessarily think the instructor had to look at the videos atleast reading the e-mail description of what the OP is looking to accomplish and a bit of his background should have been expected. I mean how is reading that e-mail different then talking with someone before they get the lesson. It give the instructor and idea of where the client is so they can have a plan of attack going on.

Regardless of the cost showing interest in your students shouldnt be out of the question.

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