“How did your golf lesson with the pro go? Great, he sold me a new golf bag!” – Old golf shop cartoon
By Ian Hardie
The other day, I was asked by a golfer who was enquiring about taking a few golf lessons
“What should I expect?”
They certainly weren’t the first person to ever ask me that
My simple answer was – improvement to your golf
To me – improvement of the golfer in front of me – is the only purpose of teaching golf
While the golfer is committing time, effort and money – with I assume
A similar goal of improvement
Otherwise, why would they bother?
But this is not what most golfers actually expect
If you tell other golfers you are going for a golf lesson – they will all say to you in their ‘wisest’ voice
“Oh, you won’t be playing well for a while after that”
The ones who tell you that the loudest – probably have never had a golf lesson in their life
It’s just another bit of public information about golf – that is inaccurate at best
Or they will tell you about the time ‘Uncle Joe’ had a lesson many years ago and he never played well again
We don’t know what went on with ‘Uncle Joe’ all those years ago – possibly he went to someone who was taught in the old ‘this is the correct and only way to do things” method of teaching golf
But if you use that same logic
If Uncle Joe had got a bad haircut – then he probably never had a haircut again
Whereas, the rest of us would just go find a better barber!
So, put aside any preconceived ideas and start with an open mind
The vast majority of golf teachers you will meet
Simply exude “GOLF”
A good teacher will have a passion and energy for the game that will have you walking away afterwards
Inspired by the possibilities that have been opened up for your golf
And wanting to go back for more!
A good teacher will challenge you to do the best that you can with what you have
There is no – ‘changing everything’ to the point where you can’t hit
There will simply be improvement gained by
Building on your current skills and past experiences
To illustrate – here is my basic philosophy on the golf action
In playing with and teaching golf to thousands of different people over the years I have noticed 2 main things;
Firstly, all golfers are physically and mentally different from each other
Which means there is no one correct way to move the club or hit the ball
The challenge for the golf teacher is to find a way for the golfer to improve by working with what they already have
Not showing them what ‘tour player x does’ or making them try to conform to whatever the latest “correct theory’ is
This is the art of golf teaching
In a very early piece of writing I did, I explained it like this;
“The key to golfers finding enjoyment in golf is not following a lot of theoretically correct positions and actions, it is about finding ways for them to use whatever their physical abilities are, to play consistent shots that lead to consistent rounds of golf at whatever level they strive for.”
Like most other crafts, teaching golf can really only be learnt with thousands of hours of practical experience – combined with exceptional communication skills from the teacher
Secondly, and most importantly
Most golfers – do not play to their true potential
In fact – too many give up very soon after starting or become frustrated golfers
This is due to the information they are given (or more correctly a lack of good information) and the way they are ‘helped’ when they start
It’s normally not a lack of ability that the golfer has
It’s a lack of good information
So, what can a golfer expect from a lesson?
To be inspired and given good information about golf
Information that is easy to understand and that helps them use their current physical abilities to improve their golf immediately
Yes, you read that right
So will a golfer play worse after a lesson?
No, of course not
Otherwise why would you bother?
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