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Poor Instruction Is Very Common. Why?


Jack Watson
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Quite a few of the golfers I play with have taken local instruction and by far the majority agree they were not helped.  For example one guy quit the game after developing a horrible slice and saw 2 pros multiple times and couldn't get a handle on it.  One pro even had him back for free and still failed.

Why is it that there's so much ineffective instruction out there?

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6 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Quite a few of the golfers I play with have taken local instruction and by far the majority agree they were not helped.  For example one guy quit the game after developing a horrible slice and saw 2 pros multiple times and couldn't get a handle on it.  One pro even had him back for free and still failed.

Why is it that there's so much ineffective instruction out there?

I don't doubt there are tons of bad instructors out there, but I think the above is too little information to know whether those are example of that.  Specifically most people can't fix their slice by seeing an instructor, good or bad.  They fix their slice by seeing a good instructor then working their asses off on what he has them practice.

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29 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Why is it that there's so much ineffective instruction out there?

Golf is hard.

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There are a lot of golf professionals that think only about the money and less about the quality of instruction.  They enjoy playing golf and don't care to teach but do because there are those willing to pay him/her for a lesson.  You also have those that genuinely care about the game and want to teach, but don't know how to effectively relay the information to the student.  Then there are those who come up with an idea that are so convinced is right, but turns out to be ineffective or just wrong, and they won't listen to others who tell them it's wrong.

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Maybe part of it is that it's been so long since most pros were hacks that they have trouble relating to people who are very poor.  

Maybe they are too inflexible in their ideas.

I don't think it's lack of understanding.

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My wife and I were introduced to a local instructor, by a friend of a friend.

We took 6 lessons each from him (the wife took a few more). He asked us what our goals were. What we thought we needed to work on. and then he gave us instruction on stance, ball position, grip. He the worked backwards, takeaway, hips , legs, arms. Just broke it down in little steps.

He then sent us home, with home work, practicing the things he showed us.

We both practiced and are both still golfing. We think, at least passable.

The key for us was that he asked us about our goals and how we best learned.

I've been in the company of other instructors who just tell people what to do, then tell them they are doing it wrong.

I don't know shite from canola on the subject, but perhaps students need to find instructors who teach in a manner in which they learn, then practice, otherwise they don't.

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Sometimes the instructor can be quite good, but the student is not smart enough to understand what's being instructed. The student walks away thinking the instructor is at fault. 

It's a 2 way street. 

Now I do agree there are golf charlatans out there scamming their students, but not all instructors labled "bad" are bad instructors. Some students are just bad students. Some student can't comprehend good golf instruction. 

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8 minutes ago, uitar9 said:

My wife and I were introduced to a local instructor, by a friend of a friend.

We took 6 lessons each from him (the wife took a few more). He asked us what our goals were. What we thought we needed to work on. and then he gave us instruction on stance, ball position, grip. He the worked backwards, takeaway, hips , legs, arms. Just broke it down in little steps.

He then sent us home, with home work, practicing the things he showed us.

We both practiced and are both still golfing. We think, at least passable.

The key for us was that he asked us about our goals and how we best learned.

I've been in the company of other instructors who just tell people what to do, then tell them they are doing it wrong.

I don't know shite from canola on the subject, but perhaps students need to find instructors who teach in a manner in which they learn, then practice, otherwise they don't.

I think there should be many more stories like this out there than there are.

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Just now, Patch said:

Sometimes the instructor can be quite good, but the student is not smart enough to understand what's being instructed. The student walks away thinking the instructor is at fault. 

It's a 2 way street. 

Now I do agree there are golf charlatans out there scamming their students, but not all instructors labled "bad" are bad instructors. Some students are just bad students. Some student can't comprehend good golf instruction. 

A good teacher should still have the skills to help those that do need the bare bones explanation and can't understand anything too heavy.  The student shouldn't adjust to the teaching style of the teacher.  The teacher should adjust his teaching to the learning style of the student.

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4 minutes ago, Patch said:

Sometimes the instructor can be quite good, but the student is not smart enough to understand what's being instructed. The student walks away thinking the instructor is at fault. 

It's a 2 way street. 

Now I do agree there are golf charlatans out there scamming their students, but not all instructors labled "bad" are bad instructors. Some students are just bad students. Some student can't comprehend good golf instruction. 

To me incomprehensible instruction is bad.  You definitely do not need beyond average intelligence to be a good student or golfer imo.

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12 minutes ago, phillyk said:

A good teacher should still have the skills to help those that do need the bare bones explanation and can't understand anything too heavy.  The student shouldn't adjust to the teaching style of the teacher.  The teacher should adjust his teaching to the learning style of the student.

Yea. If two students have the same exact swing flaw, student A may need a ten word explanation, and student B may need a 500 word explanation. I think a good instructor can at some point recognize this after getting to know them a bit.

20 minutes ago, Piz said:

There are more poor students than there are poor instructors.  

I agree there are a lot of bad students out there, but only because regular golfers severely outnumber golf instructors in population size. But I also think that most people who we could classify as bad students tend to not seek out instruction much at all. It's the unfortunate good students who actually try to do what the bad instructor tells them to do that really suffer. And think this happens to a lot of people. 

Edited by JetFan1983
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21 minutes ago, mvmac said:

Biggest reason IMO is because there isn't much incentive to being a good instructor. It's tough to make a six figure income and you have to work a lot of hours. Typically most golfers think a golf lesson should be $40, are looking for a quick fix and they don't value the information the instructor provides. Golfers don't put the time and effort it takes to improve their game.

You would definitely know better than me in that department. No doubt @Piz and @Patch aren't wrong when they say there are a lot of bad students out there. 

21 minutes ago, mvmac said:

Having said all that, I believe there are more quality instructors than there have ever been and there is more motivation to become a competent instructor. It's no coincidence that most (if not all) the good instructors I know are great people. They genuinely want to help their students and spend a decent amount of their free time honing their craft.

Definitely in the last six or seven years I think we've seen a positive change towards better instruction for various reasons that include the advent of better technology, easier communication through social media, and thus more and more bad ideas being challenged publicly. 

And typically nowadays, if you find one good instructor, you can see who they are connecting with on social media and see that there's an entire network of good instructors across the globe who tend to keep in touch with each other on some small level. 

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My thoughts are in line with others here.  To me, there are two large components to golf instruction.  First is the ability of the instructor to analyze the swing and understand how to go about improving it (yeah, i know this is a big one.)  The second is the ability to effectively communicate with the student.

In some instances the second is more important than the first.  If one is not able to tell their student exactly how they need to change then its quite hard to achieve any goal.

5 minutes ago, mvmac said:

Biggest reason IMO is because there isn't much incentive to being a good instructor. It's tough to make a six figure income and you have to work a lot of hours. Typically most golfers think a golf lesson should be $40, are looking for a quick fix and they don't value the information the instructor provides. Golfers don't put the time and effort it takes to improve their game.

Excellent point here.  I was faced with a choice in college to work in the business world or take the long hard road as a club and teaching pro.  I chose the former because I could make a lot more money, benefits, etc in a lot less hours.  Assistant/teaching pros do not have an easy life.  I still wonder quite often if I had made the other choice where would I be...but I don't have regrets.  Also, it doesn't mean I can't still teach later in life when I'm closing on my other career.  :-)

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20 minutes ago, NCGolfer said:

My thoughts are in line with others here.  To me, there are two large components to golf instruction.  First is the ability of the instructor to analyze the swing and understand how to go about improving it (yeah, i know this is a big one.)  The second is the ability to effectively communicate with the student.

 

2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Golf is hard.

There are a lot of valid posts, but these two kind of go together and sum it up for me.^^^

 

1 hour ago, Jack Watson said:

To me incomprehensible instruction is bad.

I don't necessarily agree. As @Patch stated, I believe it is a two-way street.

I am simply a poor student...not saying this to be modest or self-deprecating. And while I may the worst of the worst, there are many others of varying degrees who have trouble comprehending, or trouble putting into action that which they do understand.

To your point, perhaps, a really, really good instructor may find a way to help those of us less-than-stellar students. But an instructor who fails to get through isn't automatically bad. There are only so many hours in the day after all. ;-)

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  • iacas changed the title to Poor Instruction Is Very Common. Why?
Note: This thread is 1499 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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