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NEhomer posted a topic in Golf TalkI watched Zach Johnson yesterday taking an ungodly amount of time over an 8 footer. I thought to myself, if anyone in my 4some did that I'd wrap a f***in' club around his neck. So yes, the pros have slowed to a crawl these days. At the same time, I've never seen any professional just step up to the ball and strike it as many amateur players do. Of course there's a happy medium but sometimes when I play with high handicappers, it disappoints me that they're so self conscious that they rush their shots to get out of everyone's way. Hey man, you paid your greens fees or membership fee so you deserve a little time to settle into your shots. Were were all at your level at some point. I'm definitely not a slow player because I play ready golf but I also play my best when I don't rush things.
Personal trainers often schedule their clients to come in and work out with them for a low per-workout cost, but commit the student to thrice-weekly, monthly packages that might include three workouts per week for three or six months. This works really well for many people because, left to their own devices, they'd skip out on their scheduled workouts, but because they'd be "disappointing" their trainer (and many will pre-pay), they go to the gym and do their workouts. There are golf pros who do this same thing: they charge less, but commit people to a block of regularly scheduled lessons. Let's say that Instructor A schedules golfers for a weekly 45-minute lesson that costs $45. That's $180/month for three hours of instruction. If you're serious about golf, $180/month isn't too bad. Instructor B charges $120/hour… and will see you as often as you want to come in, but strongly urges you to go work on the instruction he's given you and come back in a few months when you've had the chance to work on it. It doesn't take high-level math to figure out Instructor A is both more (per month) and less (hourly) expensive than Instructor B. But which plan is right for you? There's no one right answer, but most people should opt for Instructor B. You see, unless golfers are working on something simple in, they can't make changes in a week. Often I'll sell a series (four lessons, I just ask that they use them within about a year or so) of lessons to a student and after the first lesson we'll have this exchange: Student: Wow that was great! Same time next week? Me: Well, let me ask you this. If you came back in an hour, would these changes be ingrained or would you get the same lesson? Student: Uhh, the same lesson, of course. Me: And in a day? Student: The same lesson, yeah. I'm not gonna be able to practice between now and tomorrow at this time. Me: And in two days? Student: Okay, I get your point. Me: Right. I don't want to waste your time or money working on the same thing. How about this: practice for a few weeks, and come to see me if one of two things happens: you start to struggle and need a reminder or a tune-up or another feel that you can use to keep working on this piece, or you feel you've got it and can replicate it well at full speed without giving it too much thought. I'll talk with them about not "searching" for some other answer, and note that if I see them they should feel free to ask me for a five-minute mini-refresher or to watch them hit a few balls (happy to do it), and to stick with their "priority piece." Change takes time. Golf isn't math: you can't "learn" something and then just be able to do it. There's no "light bulb" moment, really, in golf… not in terms of making your body actually change an ingrained habit or pattern. Most students are better off taking lessons spread out three, four, even six, eight weeks. For those who want to do something a bit more frequent… I offer "supervised practice" at a lower cost to students, often in small groups, and I think that's a good way to have check-ups. Other students see me in person every few months and mix online lessons for $39/month in there. We also offered "Lesson Blocks" at Chautauqua last summer: two students at once for just over half the cost of a single lesson. A bit more than supervised practice, and a bit less than a full-blown lesson. Long story short: beware of the weekly lesson. You're not getting the full value, even at a lower cost, and you might actually be getting worse instruction if the instructor truly tries to teach you something new each and every week. Oh, and by way of a postscript… I will let you in on a secret. I have had series students come back as quickly as a few days later… to work on their putting or some other completely different area of their game.
Golf is hard™. Change is hard. If you want to get better at golf, it takes time, it takes effort, it takes motivation, and it takes a commitment. It's not something that's going to come easily. Now, I do encourage golfers to work smarter, not harder. There are a LOT of drills you can do hitting a cotton ball, or making swings against a wall, or in a mirror, in five or ten minutes a day at home or in your office. But you've gotta put in at least that much time. Golfers who come to lessons and then almost never practice outside of their lessons are wasting their money and time.