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TheArtfulDodger

The benefit of lessons

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Hi all,

Just wanted to share my experience with golf lessons. I know a lot of my friends feel like they are too expensive or maybe they feel a bit defeated having to admit they need someone else's help but I cannot recommend it enough. Yes, they can be pricey, especially a good teacher, but usually if they know you are not a 'one and done' person you can get a deal. Because it really takes more than one lesson to really get some work done. I mean I spend at least $100 on a normal day on the course in the summer with friends, and I can get a 45min lesson for $50 right now. My main point is that it is worth it. My teacher as been invaluable to my game.

What makes golf so frustrating often is that many times what we think are problems are not problems at all and what we are not thinking about at all are the issues. Case and point, at my lesson today, I was thinking there was something in my back-swing and path that was off and letting the blocked right shots sneak back in. However, after seeing a few swings, he says "No, your back-swing is fine, great even, you just need to get your release earlier". He then went on in detail about getting that 'whip' sound a lot earlier in my swing and showing me good drills. I never thought of this before and would't you know it, I started hitting the ball a lot purer and much much straighter.  

So for all those still on the fence about getting lessons, do yourself a favor and get a few, you will be surprised at how much better your game will be. I would caution though that not ever tour pro is compatible with everyone. The first guy I got a lesson from was pretty awful and didn't help me at all. 2nd time was the charm :) 

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Golf instruction does not have to be expensive. Obviously, the other issue is the golfer gets what he paid for, and sometimes they don't. There are alot of imposters out there. 

Most community colleges have group lessons available in the evenings and weekends. These lessons are usually pretty reasonably priced.

It still boils down to the instructor/student relationship, and how they interact with each other. If the student learns something, then the price is no big deal. If the student fails to learn, or the instructor fails to teach, then even a $20 half hour lesson is a waste of money. 

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50 minutes ago, Patch said:

Most community colleges have group lessons available in the evenings and weekends. These lessons are usually pretty reasonably priced.

Ugh.

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58 minutes ago, Patch said:

Golf instruction does not have to be expensive. Obviously, the other issue is the golfer gets what he paid for, and sometimes they don't. There are alot of imposters out there. 

Most community colleges have group lessons available in the evenings and weekends. These lessons are usually pretty reasonably priced.

It still boils down to the instructor/student relationship, and how they interact with each other. If the student learns something, then the price is no big deal. If the student fails to learn, or the instructor fails to teach, then even a $20 half hour lesson is a waste of money. 

Agreed. As I mentioned the first guy I sought a lesson from was not very helpful at all. I could just tell it wasn't going to work from the get go. On the other hand, my instructor currently was just the opposite. I could tell right away that we would work well together. :) 

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Breed had an interesting show today regarding lessons. A number of callers suggesting one of the common problems many students had with instruction...was that the student didn't practice what the instructor was suggesting/advising...thus, nothing changed and the instructor was not worth the money.

 

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Lessons are about communication and communication take 2 people working towards understanding. I have taken lessons from at least 8 different instructors and 3 of them for long periods. I have had instructors who were very method driven and others who were about optimizing my swing. Some who used K-vests, trackman, video and devices while others have been all about feel and flow. But the good ones had many things in common.

The 1st lesson and periodically we discussed:

Physical limitations

Expectations and goals

Time to practice and access to facilities

Every lesson had a focus with 1-3 points (usually 1 major)

I left every lesson with very specific homework and how to assess success and failure

Each one of them recognized when other things in my life might be interfering with my learning

I communicated well with everyone of them

 

Remember that if you are taking lessons you are trying to change something and change means not doing the same old thing and that takes practice even if it is mental.

 

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Got down to a 13 by the end of last year, which is the lowest I've been in my 7 years playing. I picked up the game after retiring at 55, and I knew my home made swing had issues, but the goal this year is single digits. I signed up for a series of lessons at the local pga store. So far, I have taken the proverbial one step back. I was horrified when I saw my swing on video for the first time. I'm committed to fixing a severe inside, then over the top move. My instructor is happy with my progress after 2 lessons, and the video he sent me after the 2nd lesson shows vast improvement  from where I was, at least visually. The problem is, I'm so impatient, and it all feels so mechanical right now. Not the feeling I want in any sport. On the course I'm having problems with anything not a straight forward full swing shot. My 'cap is trending over 15 now, but I'm determined to see this thru. I've played enough sports in my life to know I won't be happy at the mediocre 13 level I was, and at my age there aren't a lot of other sports that will satisfy my love of competition. So the grind is real, LOL. 

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My frustration with the teaching pros I've worked with is a lack of direction for practice following lessons.  I'm sure the good ones will structure specific practice sessions.  x number of balls with drill #1, y number of balls with drill # 2, etc.   My last two local pros, I've asked them both specifically for that guidance and they don't seem able or willing to provide it.  Frustrating.  Before that I'd tried lessons with 3 different pros as I was first learning and, frankly, didn't know enough to ask for that guidance, but it wasn't volunteered.  So, 0 for 5 with what seems to me like a basic requirement for student improvement. 

I look at the range at my club and almost no one (less than 5%) is doing any sort of drills.  All just beating balls.  Interestingly, it is the lower handicappers who are doing drill work.  Chicken or the egg, eh?  Are they lower because they do drill work, or are lower handicappers more apt to do drill work? 

I think a pro needs to figure out when you are next coming for a lesson, and provide specific practice instruction and templates based on what your schedule permits.   That has the pro and the student invested and probably makes for a more profitable and successful endeavor.  Probably more enjoyable for the pro too. 

 

 

Edited by tdiii

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Another thing that I think is a turn off for some students is percieved , or real arrogance by the instructor. They sometimes tend to talk down to the student. I know myself, I have no use for arrogant people. I don't care how good they are.

Of course the same can be said that the student can also be some what arrogant, and dismiss what the instructor is trying to get across to them. 

Someone mentioned communication error being a problem. It made me think of an old quote from some golf instructor. "What is said, vs what is meant, vs what is heard". He went on to say that quote had all the ingredients for a perfect can of worms. 

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On 17/02/2018 at 1:36 AM, uitar9 said:

Breed had an interesting show today regarding lessons. A number of callers suggesting one of the common problems many students had with instruction...was that the student didn't practice what the instructor was suggesting/advising...thus, nothing changed and the instructor was not worth the money.

This is almost always the issue with people who gripe about lessons, IMO. Obviously, there are some poor instructors out there but I bet the percentage of people who don't practise between lessons is worryingly high.

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27 minutes ago, b101 said:

Obviously, there are some poor instructors out there but I bet the percentage of people who don't practise between lessons is worryingly high.

+1

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On 2/15/2018 at 7:58 PM, iacas said:

Ugh.

HehHehHeh! Now that's communication.

2 hours ago, Patch said:

Someone mentioned communication error being a problem. It made me think of an old quote from some golf instructor. "What is said, vs what is meant, vs what is heard". He went on to say that quote had all the ingredients for a perfect can of worms. 

When I came back to golf, my instructor and I just could not communicate. He had a whole vocabulary of illustrations of what the swing was like. He would speak an illustration of what the saw or wanted, but I would have go home and Google it until I saw it. I needed to see it and even better, hear someone say what it might feel like, mentally, visually or physically. Finally, we did some video...Oddly, I could both see and feel what he thought needed to be changed as well as when it changed. But then I'm odd. In the end, he moved, and I will find an instructor when I am able to get out again. One with a video setup, Trackman and a sense of humor. Good topic all, -Marv

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if you play a lot or plan on playing a lot definitely get lessons.  i know most people don't play enough to justify lessons and just out there to cut it up with friends. more like hanging out with friends while playing golf. lessons are good, but practicing a lot after the lessons is the key.

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A lot of good points here that I won't repeat but I will say that the best thing I ever did was signing up for multiple lessons from the same instructor.  I'm not sure I would have benefited much from a single lesson since the real improvement for me came after many sessions, each building off the ones before.  The multiple lessons also gave me an inventory of drills that worked for my specific needs so that I always had something to work on at the range. 

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On 2/18/2018 at 1:19 PM, Patch said:

Another thing that I think is a turn off for some students is percieved , or real arrogance by the instructor. They sometimes tend to talk down to the student. I know myself, I have no use for arrogant people. I don't care how good they are.

Of course the same can be said that the student can also be some what arrogant, and dismiss what the instructor is trying to get across to them. 

Someone mentioned communication error being a problem. It made me think of an old quote from some golf instructor. "What is said, vs what is meant, vs what is heard". He went on to say that quote had all the ingredients for a perfect can of worms. 

Good quote. My wife and I were taking lessons from our first and only instructor. He seemed to have a knack for figuring out a learning style; with our permission he said what he wanted us to do but also used his hands and moved our body parts the way he wanted when we didn't understand. My wife doesn't understand golf speak, but show her and she gets it.

I've heard pros telling students what not to do, ad nausium, but not what to do.

I've seem them trying to completely change a swing , based on a fixed program...not just based on what a students body "can" do.

Doesn't make sense to me, but What the heck do I know

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53 minutes ago, Dufferpauly said:

I find that reading and absorbing Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book is 1000x better than lessons, once basic grip, takeaway etc is learned

While reading a philosophy or swing plan is great, one of the key benefits is to be able to see what you can not. You can use video to help see yourself but if you don't see or understand the issue you can not fix it.

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