Lessons. What are they good for?


#1

The great part about golf is that there are an infinite amount of ways to be introduced to it. Many people on the refuge have described in length how they were introduced to the game of golf, but how many of you were taught formally.

Have you ever taken lessons? When? What was your experience?

I was taught the game in tandem by my grandfather and my dad. My grandfather taught me all the good things, my dad taught me how to pound the ball and get mad at the game (thanks!). I have never taken a formal lesson. I’ve read extensively on the way the golf swing works, watched countless videos, read more instructional articles than I should have and still have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. However, I HAVE been on launch monitors multiple times with people who know what they’re looking at. I’ve been given countless tips, drills and program pitches on how to improve my swing, but I’ve NEVER taken a legitimate “lesson”. I’ve gotten my cap to high single digits, and honestly I’m pretty proud of that.

So, fess up. Were you taught at a young age by an old, sage pro? Was your father the local pro and you grew up dragging a pitching wedge? Did you learn how to play golf by swinging a baseball bat?

Crack on :v:


#2

Dad taught me how to hold the club when I was probably 8 (and thank God he showed me Jack’s grip instead of his own baseball grip!) Self taught from there to a scratch. Never been one to refer to instructional tips in print, but have picked up a lot in the short game simply watching the setup and actions of tour pros. I can replicate those motions with practice, doubtful I could ever replicate Adam Scott’s swing so I don’t bother trying!


#3

so%20jealous

Very cool though.


#4

My grandparents were both low single figures and I used to hack around on their farm when I was a kid.

Fast forward 20 years and I’m trying to adapt a childhood/early adulthood of cricket to a golf swing - baseball grip and massive out to in path included.

I’ve had probably 10-15 lessons, but the majority of my learning has been trial and error. I played football (soccer) to a high level so have a good understanding of the mechanics of moving that ball in the air - translating that to a golf swing was much harder than I thought, though!


#5

Honestly, 90% of the of the progression happened by the time I was 17. Be far more impressed with the guys that pick up the game in their 20s and get down to single digits within a few years. There are a couple refugees in that camp we might hear from in this thread.


#6

Honestly, my only regret is that I didn’t play frequently and didn’t get “good” young.


#7

Didn’t even factor in the cricket angle! No idea how that would translate into a golf swing. I preferred rugby anyway…


#8

I learned how to golf pretty young from my dad. Took about 10 years off and got back into it at 27. I’ve learned a ton through instagram videos and really just understanding the physics of a swing.

I took one $65 lesson from some guy and didn’t learn shit. You get what you pay for (unless your local pro is really good and charges less than <$100/hr).


#9

Cricket is a TERRIBLE training ground for golf, every decent batsman I know is constantly fighting the cover drive, closing the club face to target and getting very hooky.

I’ve come back to golf after 12yrs away. Never really used to have lessons but have them regularly now and am single digits for the first time. Trackman has revolutionised coaching, years gone by the pro was having a good guess what was going on, how could it be otherwise when you guys are swinging a driver at 110mph? Now they can spot the problem straight away and demonstrate the improvement to the player. I actually really enjoy it.


#10

I played a little bit when I was younger, but it was basically my mum dropping us off at the muni in the summer holidays and picking us up 5 hours later.

I then took up golf in 2011 at the age of 26. Made a major tactical error by not getting any lessons or tuition for 3 years and basically hoping for the best, thinking that I would just improve via regular play and a bit of practice. In hindsight, a block of 3 or 4 lessons would have probably set me off on a decent path.

In early 2014 I was fed up with playing rubbish golf, not improving and being a 24 handicapper. I had 7 x 1 hour lessons and at the end of 2014 I was down to 17 handicap.

I have read the Ben Hogan book - the 5 fundamentals - which I believe is a great coaching manual and if all you were able to do was teach yourself that method and maybe have a pro just give you a few fixes here and there, it would give you a very sound basis for the full swing. I think it is very easy however to read it and focus on one or two elements when in reality, the whole thing is important, hence why I would be a big advocate of getting lessons.


#11

I learned the basics from my dad when I was six years old, but after playing for a few years, took lessons from a few different pros. Through middle school/high school I took lessons from the same guy who ran a pretty successful junior program that attracted a big chunk of the top junior players in the city. Most of the time spent with him was in a group lesson/camp-like setting, but I’d sometimes schedule a private lesson with him at the beginning of the season. He definitely helped my game, and although I haven’t seen him in a few years (mostly because I’m never in KC during the golf season), we’ll still keep in touch via email/social media. I’ll also do some of the short game drills we used to do when I feel like I’m not putting or chipping well.


#12

IMO lessons are rarely helpful if they are not frequent and you are not practicing frequently. Without your own knowledge about the golf swing most lessons are an expensive band aid. If you can’t look at your own swing and fix something a lesson will probably be worthless in a short amount of time. I think most people would be better off practicing and taking time to learn their own swings if they are worried about changing mechanics. With that said, I think infrequent lessons can help beginners. If you know nothing, some knowledge and fundamental help are necessary. Once you know the game, if you are not learning how to fix your own swing or are willing to make a huge investment for consistent lessons, your time and money is better spent elsewhere.


#13

I think for a swing coach, that is probably true. Changing swing mechanics, takes time and it is potentially very disheartening to the regular player to have to take a step backwards to take a few forward. You need to be regularly practising and getting feedback or follow up lessons. It is definitely not a quick fix and going for one lesson hoping to fix a big slice is unrealistic. Best fix is to aim left.

But a good golf coach would probably be able to give a few quick fixes to most regular players in terms of chipping and pitching techniques that could save most handicap golfers a few strokes a round without rebuilding their swing.


#14

I would agree here. I think full swing lessons vs. short game are definitely a different story. Paying for an hour on chipping and putting is the much better bang for your buck for almost anyone than a one off lessons hitting only 6 irons


#15

I think lessons have been helpful for me as long as I hit the range frequently for the next week or so. Through the last couple of years as I have been getting into golf seriously I’d take a lesson if I am struggling with a certain miss that I can’t seem to figure out. It all depends on the instructor too. I’m sure there are plenty of people who give lessons that waste your time but the guy I’ve been going to is pretty good.


#16

I think it’s important to have an instructor that takes video of your swing and compares it to a proper swing. There’s lots of instructors that can explain in words what you’re doing wrong but until you actually see yourself and see where you should be, the lightbulb doesn’t really turn on.

The golf swing can be a complicated thing to explain and often it’s confusing to people, even really good players. You shouldn’t leave a lesson feeling confused (I’ve felt this way and it’s not fun). Ideally the instructor will give you one thing to focus on that takes care of 3 other things automatically. If the lesson only lasts 15 minutes but you feel confident about what to work on and why, that is way more productive than an hour lesson where you work on 5 different things.

To answer your question, lessons can lead to drastic improvements with a good instructor.


#17

Some of my earliest memories are teeing off half way down the 6th fairway - just behind my home - with my father at the age of 4. He exposed me, in one way or another, to everything I know about the game and the swing. But one thing that has been difficult to come to terms with is that his insight - his philosophy (as he owned a golf shop in our area and gave many lessons to many people) - is just his and does not represent the complete encyclopedia of golf knowledge that may benefit my game or someone else’s.

Moral of the story: “taking lessons” is much like attending college or university. We presume all your professors are experts in their fields (to some redeemable degree), but you are bound to resonate better or worse with each one. In that same vein, you are then destined to work more or less diligently depending on how you take to that professor and his subject.

Lessons in and of themselves DO NOT guarantee any level of lasting improvement. BUT, the right teacher, conveying information in an ideal way, in the right environment, can absolutely push something to click and inspire someone to work harder and properly at their game.


#18

… when students are willing to then practice frequently in a deliberate manor.


#19

Often lost in this conversation is a great coach’s ability to teach you how to think your way around the golf course as well. Or to instill a quality pre-shot routine. Or to limit expectations (which can drastically wreck experiences). Being an impactful coach entails so much more than just being a swing doctor.


#20

Also, want it to be known that I don’t think a great instructor is able to take someone who won’t practice and make them a player. I actually have spent more time hitting range balls than I’d care to admit, but I think there’s something romantic about the “dig it out of the dirt” method of learning. I also like playing alone, so maybe I’m just an introvert?