Golf instruction and golf lessons...

CorvetteGuy

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Lessons are an important ingredient to a lower handicap. What I have found best is go to 3 or so different instructors, only then will you get a full range of instruction. Most golf instructors focus on one aspect thinking the rest will follow along. well, it doesn't.
And just because you own the latest and greatest and got fitted - you are still limited by your skill - which can't be improved by going to the store.
 

Duffer Seamus

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TMG's method probably seems "odd" for folks who have the mindset of "If I just get this one extra thing down I'm going to break 90", or for those who believe hitting balls at the range will cure their swing issues.
The next-door-neighbor that got me into golf falls into that latter category. In his view the only way to learn is to spend hour-after-hour on the range and on the course, hitting ball-after-ball. Well, I've tried that and found it... unproductive. It seems to me kind of like throwing darts blindfolded. I'm sure it can work for some--if they spend enough time and money doing it. But ISTM it can hardly be the most efficient way to learn.
 

CorvetteGuy

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The next-door-neighbor that got me into golf falls into that latter category. In his view the only way to learn is to spend hour-after-hour on the range and on the course, hitting ball-after-ball. Well, I've tried that and found it... unproductive. It seems to me kind of like throwing darts blindfolded. I'm sure it can work for some--if they spend enough time and money doing it. But ISTM it can hardly be the most efficient way to learn.
correct - just hitting ball after ball does nothing but perfect improper technique. If one goes to the range one must know what they are practicing - if they dont know what they are practicing then don't waste the energy.
 

DG_1234

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I once asked Michael Breed "if an instructor taught address technique fundamentals, grip-posture-alignment, and the student learned-practiced same, would the student end up with a good looking effective swing?"
Breed replied "absolutely, yes".
I then asked him "so why don't you and other instructors just teach grip-posture-alignment?"
Breed replied "students pay money and expect complicated teaching, they don't want to be told simple fundamentals work well".
Seamus reacted to my post about Michael Breed with a "mind blown" but I believe Breed's perspective is very common within the golf instruction industry today.
Rather than teach time tested and proven address technique fundamentals today's instructors make things way too complicated, giving the student unnecessary and counter productive swing position thoughts . Also, it is common for instructors to teach whatever is the "flavor of the month' on Tour; such as "X-factor" 20 years ago, followed by variations of stack-and-tilt, followed by one-plane, and most recently "use the ground for leverage-power".
 

GolfLivesMatter

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I can't remember how many times I've heard "I'm going back to my old swing" when a guy is struggling on the course. I ask "what old swing would that be?...,,the one that you didn't like?". The fact is these types of guys never really applied themselves to actually take the time to learn the golf swing. Sure, there's a lot of moving parts, but let's face it, there's only so many ways to swing a golf club, so the process of trial and error to figure out what's going on doesn't require one to be a rocket scientist. To swing consistently, round after round, is another thing, but then again, even the like's of NFL QB's practice on a regular basis to make the same throws they have made since high school.
 

uitar99

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I think more students need playing lessons. Only on the course can an instructor see where does your game go awry under pressure - trees, lies, hazards, etc. My instructor did a 6 hole playing lesson and I played what I thought was the correct shot. Then he had me play what was a much easier shot to execute - for example a 9:00 swing with my PW rather than a full sand wedge. Or punching out with a driver rather than a 4 iron. Really helped so my bad hits were reasonably playable.

It's about the score, not how good your swing looks on the range.
Thats a very good point. Interesting reading the posts here. It goes to show how differently, individuals look at instruction. We all learn differently. Some want electronics, some do not. Some want to see improvement through lower score. Some want to see improvement through a particular swing look.

If we are new to instruction, we don't know what to expect from an instructor...but...we expect him or her to know exactly how we learn and what we want.

Now add in the instructors differences. Some work with what you have. Some want to change your swing under s specific program. Some use electronics. Some, not so much.

From my experience, golf instruction is still the Wild West.

I started later in life. 58. Took lessons. He really stressed set up. Play a fair amount and practice fair amount.

Thing that really helped me was swinging a golf club indoors, no ball. Slo mo. Everyday in the winter. One guy told me its all physics. Get the club face back to where it started. Resonated with me . That slo mo really helped me figure out where/what my club face was doing/going. Where it bottoms out. Physics. A real eye opener for me.

But not for everyone.
 

SHIFTY

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In 3 years I went from "which end of the club hits the ball?" to a 12.2 Handicap. 12.2 might not be great, but it's better than average and I'm proud of it. I am on a quest for single digits and I am confident I will get there.

I'm still on a quest for improvement, and probably always will be.

I believe you will get to single digit man.
 

DataDude

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I went for my first lesson in 23 years yesterday. My instructor watched me hit about 10 balls. He asked me what my handicap was. I said around 17. He said you hit the ball fairly well and it sounds like you can play ok too so the first thing I want to tell you before I even charge you for this lesson is that you need to make a lot of changes. Your score is going to get worse before it gets better and it will depend on you for how long it takes to get better. Are you willing to go through that or do you just want to keep being a bogey golfer? You're already better than half the people that play golf in the US.

This hurt a bit, but it's the truth I needed to hear to be serious about what he was teaching. He seems to be taking me step by step through a rebuild. We started at posture, grip, and takeaway. I live on a golf course so no need to hit range balls I can take what he wants me to do right to the golf course. I played 6 holes last night. I definitely hit some bad shots, but I can see where we are going. The funny thing is first step has really accentuated that I early release. When I use proper posture and takeaway I hit the ball sky high. He was not worried about that though he just wanted me to get used to setting up and starting the swing correctly for 2 weeks.
 

Desmond

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I went for my first lesson in 23 years yesterday. My instructor watched me hit about 10 balls. He asked me what my handicap was. I said around 17. He said you hit the ball fairly well and it sounds like you can play ok too so the first thing I want to tell you before I even charge you for this lesson is that you need to make a lot of changes. Your score is going to get worse before it gets better and it will depend on you for how long it takes to get better. Are you willing to go through that or do you just want to keep being a bogey golfer? You're already better than half the people that play golf in the US.

This hurt a bit, but it's the truth I needed to hear to be serious about what he was teaching. He seems to be taking me step by step through a rebuild. We started at posture, grip, and takeaway. I live on a golf course so no need to hit range balls I can take what he wants me to do right to the golf course. I played 6 holes last night. I definitely hit some bad shots, but I can see where we are going. The funny thing is first step has really accentuated that I early release. When I use proper posture and takeaway I hit the ball sky high. He was not worried about that though he just wanted me to get used to setting up and starting the swing correctly for 2 weeks.

Your instructor is correct -- it will get worse before it gets better. But the more lessons you take quicker, the quicker the scores will improve. Give yourself a couple of weeks, at least, between lessons to get the new stuff down - do something every day, inside or out. I take 2 hr lessons now because there is less of a rush and you learn more.
 

camden_kid

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As a beginner I feel a need to take lessons with an instructor. Their physical presence and being on the range or course with them are very important. At the moment I don't see video lessons as a help but after a while it will be worth considering.
 

JonMA1

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As a beginner I feel a need to take lessons with an instructor. Their physical presence and being on the range or course with them are very important. At the moment I don't see video lessons as a help but after a while it will be worth considering.
I think you are correct in wanting the hands-on instruction early on @camden_kid. If I had to do this all over again, I'd have taken lessons from day one instead of trying learn the game by myself. I believe my biggest struggle towards improvement has been falling back into what can only be described as a poor natural swing that came about from too many years of engraining poor habits. Maybe I'm wrong, but if I had developed just some basic, full body moves correctly, the smaller adjustments might have been easier to change???

My instructor watched me hit about 10 balls. He asked me what my handicap was. I said around 17. He said you hit the ball fairly well and it sounds like you can play ok too so the first thing I want to tell you before I even charge you for this lesson is that you need to make a lot of changes. Your score is going to get worse before it gets better and it will depend on you for how long it takes to get better. Are you willing to go through that or do you just want to keep being a bogey golfer? You're already better than half the people that play golf in the US.
I love the honesty of this instructor. Sounds like he puts professionalism and the student's success ahead of making a quick buck. And, he wants to make sure you as a student are going to make the necessary commitment.
 

tahoebum

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Lessons are an important ingredient to a lower handicap. What I have found best is go to 3 or so different instructors, only then will you get a full range of instruction. Most golf instructors focus on one aspect thinking the rest will follow along. well, it doesn't.
And just because you own the latest and greatest and got fitted - you are still limited by your skill - which can't be improved by going to the store.
Most of my low single digit or better friends of mine have had limited instruction from a PGA professional. They started young and may have had some instruction as a kid from a dad or golf coach but many never have had regular instruction. Out of the 20 best golfers at my club, only a handful have had more than a dozen lessons and the same was true at my last club. The common element is they were all great golfers as a teenager. I know only one + index golfer that started golf after the age of 25.

I do think the best way to maximize your golf potential is through professional instruction but seemingly all the great golfers in my circle haven’t taken that route.
 
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DataDude

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Most of my low single digit or better friends of mine have had limited instruction from a PGA professional. They started young and may have had some instruction as a kid from a dad or golf coach but many never have had regular instruction. Out of the 20 best golfers at my club, only a handful have had more than a dozen lessons and the same was true at my last club. The common element is they were all great golfers as a teenager. I know only one + index golfer that started golf after the age of 25.

I do think the best way to maximize your golf potential is through professional instruction but seemingly all the great golfers in my circle haven’t taken that route.
I think playing as a kid/teen forces you to learn the game at a high speed. You go out with your dad and his buddies and they are grown men, but you want to be hit it as far as them so you swing hard. Also while they may have their own faults they can see your swing and give you better pointers than you can give yourself.
 

Et Tu Brute?

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What percentage of golfers do you reckon have actually taken a lesson from a qualified instructor in the past 90 days?

Do you imagine it’s anywhere near 10%? I’m guessing probably more like one or two percent.

I don’t mean watching a video on YouTube then going out in the backyard to do a drill and I don’t mean taking advice from some guy that hangs out at the driving range you go to. I mean actual, in person golf instruction from a instructor who knows what he’s doing and knows how to teach it.

You say the average golfer is not getting any better but the average golfer isn’t actually taking lessons, at least not on any serious basis. So my question is by what mechanism do you think the average golfer would get better, osmosis???
 

GoldenBuff

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Nice to feel like my lessons over the years are taking root. I am on the slow grind learning process with a couple of lessons each year starting in 2016. Looking back I always thought I was better than I was and wanted the full Monty of improvement in a quick fix. :p But each step was more like a gentle nudge in a direction. I am happy that I have stuck with the process and multiple instructors/coaches. More work ahead, and that is a part of what I love about golf.

Latest nudge: reigning in the right hand and whittling away at the extra loft I deliver. Probably a 5-12 year process. :cool:
 

NeverWiff

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100% in agreement with @McLovin that we don't practice enough, we don't play enough... that is the bottom line and it's a race against time as we get older and our abilities start to degrade. I think we also struggle to connect with teaching pro's. Partly their fault, partly our own.

Some instructors want to rebuild us from the ground up. Others want to work with what we've got and maximize what we can do.
It depends upon the golfer, and his/her individual abilities, which method will be effective. Choosing the wrong one can be a disaster.

Like in school, we all learn in slightly different ways (and some of us in drastically different ways) and it takes a while for us to either "get" what they're teaching OR find a teacher who can get through to us.

No doubt in my mind i could get close to being a scratch player, even now, at 55 years old. Between my business, family and other responsibilities, i just don't have the time to make it happen... and i think i'm ok with that.
 

Cmontgomery

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I made the commitment to invest in lessons about 1.5 years ago and I’m really just now feeling like I am seeing the fruits of its labor.

I think some of the difficulties could be that we’re a society wanting instant results and without those, we give up or move on too quickly.

We changed some things early on that we’ve ultimately moved on from as we continue to develop my swing. In hindsight, those early adjustments were more to help me enjoy the game a bit better and experience some sort of progress.

Now that we’re this far in we’re really fine tuning the mechanics and trying to tighten up the consistency in my swing. My progress is certainly more noticeable when I put forth the effort between lessons to work on the specifics gathered during a lesson.

All of that being said, my HC has dropped about 6 strokes over the last year and still trending the right direction but entirely depends on my level of commitment between lessons
 
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Duffer Seamus

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Seamus reacted to my post about Michael Breed with a "mind blown" but I believe Breed's perspective is very common within the golf instruction industry today.
My "mind blown" wasn't because of your comment, per se, but because so many instructors teach ineffectively--and, I suspect, often know it.

I've told the story somewhere around here before: Was in my LGS, talking to my club guy. Told him about how TMG was teaching me to develop an effective swing. He looked at me like I'd started speaking in tongues and said (paraphrasing): "We could never teach golf like that here. People want to get out there and start hitting balls right away."

He said you hit the ball fairly well and it sounds like you can play ok too so the first thing I want to tell you before I even charge you for this lesson is that you need to make a lot of changes. Your score is going to get worse before it gets better and it will depend on you for how long it takes to get better. Are you willing to go through that or do you just want to keep being a bogey golfer?
This is why I'm forgoing hitting anything at all until TMG's program has me hitting balls. Because, if I go to hitting balls right now, before my swing is rebuilt, all I'll accomplish is to keep ingrained the bad habits I'm trying to eliminate.

It's difficult to do, particularly because I've new clubs I've yet to have hit, but I'm going to do this right--even if it takes halfway into the season.
 

leftshot

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What percentage of golfers do you reckon have actually taken a lesson from a qualified instructor in the past 90 days?

Do you imagine it’s anywhere near 10%? I’m guessing probably more like one or two percent.

I don’t mean watching a video on YouTube then going out in the backyard to do a drill and I don’t mean taking advice from some guy that hangs out at the driving range you go to. I mean actual, in person golf instruction from a instructor who knows what he’s doing and knows how to teach it.

You say the average golfer is not getting any better but the average golfer isn’t actually taking lessons, at least not on any serious basis. So my question is by what mechanism do you think the average golfer would get better, osmosis???
Your points are well taken. In answer to your question there are other ways, but in terms of how many actually do them or what commitment it takes, I think it's even more on the lunatic fringe. I include myself in that category.

I'm a lifelong learner. So, for me, I really wanted to learn all the physics, biomechanics, and phycology behind playing golf. I also, spent a fair amount of time researching, discarding, selecting, applying, and in some cases developing and applying training aids, drills, and other learning systems that would help me improve. How many people do that? Again, lunatic fringe.

There are also visual learners on the lunatic fringe. People who are incredible in that if they see someone make a motion can replicate it with amazing accuracy. Some tactile learners are people that you can take them through the golf swing positions and they can then replicate them with amazing precision. These folks also benefit most from feel type of instruction. But again, we aren't talking about the average visual or tactile learner. We're talking about people on the lunatic fringe.

All these you and I have mentioned have a common thread. There is a commitment required to achieve the goal. If you aren't willing to make the commitment required to achieve the goal, it's useless.

That last point is not meant to be critical. Many, many golfers, including many on this site, have decided they are okay with their current skill set. There are so many other reasons to love this game that have nothing to do with the score on a card.
 

InTheRough

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It's because people will plateau. People have limited talent levels.... and limited incomes. It costs money... and time to practice and take lessons. An instructor can show you so much, after which you should know what you have to do. The golf swing isn't complicated. You're swinging a club.

But it takes time. Chambers Bay practice range costs $25 for the day. That's great if that's all you have to do. You can hit 400 balls if you want. They keep them coming. You can go up to the restaurant and eat lunch. When you're doing that you're not at your job. The average golfer has a day job. The average golfer has a family. The average golfer gets to the range maybe once a week and the course on weekends. Us old folk play once or twice during the week. That's why the average golfer doesn't get better. It's time... and money.

When I go to the range I go alone. I don't go with friends. Because my friends get a large bucket and wail through them in about 45 minutes. I get a small bucket and it takes me about 90 minutes to hit half as many balls. Because I'm practicing. I also take breaks to think about what I'm doing. I work on what my wrists are in positions, where the club is in the positions. Am I clearing my hips? Friends get impatient and start rushing me. So I leave them home.
 

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What's wrong with todays golf instruction....the average joe is not getting any better,,,
Besides being overly expensive.....LOL!, I think golf instruction is lacking and instructors are not getting their message across what do you think instructors could do better or the students could do better.....maybe instructions is a waste of resources!?!
Granted there are plenty of instructors out there who don't know how to teach, however, it takes a lot of patience and discipline to incorporate a new move(s). In our instant gratification society many people lack both and opine that golf lessons don't work for them. In addition, people are constantly changing their golf swings. It's hard to develop a consistent swing if you are always changing it.
 

leftshot

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Granted there are plenty of instructors out there who don't know how to teach, however, it takes a lot of patience and discipline to incorporate a new move(s). In our instant gratification society many people lack both and opine that golf lessons don't work for them.
I call that the search for the magic pill.
 

titleist981

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I call that the search for the magic pill.
LOL! I had a move that I could go to when my swing abandoned me. Not only is my swing gone but my emergency move is nowhere to be found either. Guess I'll go back to fundamentals.
 

gmiller598

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It's because people will plateau. People have limited talent levels.... and limited incomes. It costs money... and time to practice and take lessons. An instructor can show you so much, after which you should know what you have to do. The golf swing isn't complicated. You're swinging a club.

But it takes time. Chambers Bay practice range costs $25 for the day. That's great if that's all you have to do. You can hit 400 balls if you want. They keep them coming. You can go up to the restaurant and eat lunch. When you're doing that you're not at your job. The average golfer has a day job. The average golfer has a family. The average golfer gets to the range maybe once a week and the course on weekends. Us old folk play once or twice during the week. That's why the average golfer doesn't get better. It's time... and money.

When I go to the range I go alone. I don't go with friends. Because my friends get a large bucket and wail through them in about 45 minutes. I get a small bucket and it takes me about 90 minutes to hit half as many balls. Because I'm practicing. I also take breaks to think about what I'm doing. I work on what my wrists are in positions, where the club is in the positions. Am I clearing my hips? Friends get impatient and start rushing me. So I leave them home.
I don't know that time is a factor, it is just how you utilize the time. When I go to the range I'm probably there about an hour. You can be slow and methodical or you can be quick and precise but it is about how you use the time.

That time for me is trying to utilize what I work on at home in my backyard without hitting a ball. I'm just not one of those guys that can take 5 minutes between every ball and analyze every motion I make. I work on my motion at home and maybe take a couple of brief checkpoints during my time at the range. Otherwise I go there and hit and make sure what I'm doing is working for me and continue to reinforce the muscle memory through repetitive motion. I can work on technique at home for free without even touching a crappy range ball.

I teach high school drumlines for marching bands. My phrase to them is practice is what you do at home, rehearse is what you do when you are with me. At home I practice my swing mechanics. When I go to the range is when I rehearse what I practiced at home. The rehearsal time at the range is preparation for a performance that occurs when I'm actually one the golf course.
 

Scott F

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I appreciate all the responses that say how much work guys put in on their game. If the only thing you knew about most golfers came from internet golf forums, you’d think that they expect that the equipment is going to make them better golfers, not the work it takes to get a swing that takes advantage of what a golf club is designed to do. You can’t buy a good golf game just by paying for lessons or buying new clubs. You must invest in the time it takes to incorporate the lessons into your swing.
 

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