Golf Lessons Taboo

Title revision, June 2013

The term “golf lessons” is a necessary evil in the business of teaching. Personally, I hate the term because to most golfers, having a lesson conjures up all kinds of bad things. The list of reasons players stay away from lessons is long and you’ve heard them all before.

As a professional golf instructor, teacher, and coach, I do become dismayed at times by the number of people who clearly want help but are afraid of having a “lesson.” I don’t blame them. Unless one is famous, teachers are quite often viewed as an enemy, as one who is just trying to fill up a lesson book, make some money, and could care less about whether or not you actually get better.

Here’s a better way to think about lessons:
Keep it really simple and realize that you probably could use help in some area of your game. Time with a qualified instructor doesn’t always mean just working on your full swing and changing everything. A real teacher wouldn’t, or at least shouldn’t do that anyway. There are so many areas of the game that continually need some sort of attention, it’s practically impossible that a student couldn’t use some sort of help.

Here’s a sample conversation that could get you started:

“Hey Dan, my golf swing has gone to hell and I think I know what the problem is. Could you spend a little time with me and help me sort it out?”

“Sure, I’d be happy to help you, we’ll have some fun and work it out. Do you think you want to see it on camera in the studio”?

“No, I’ve been using my phone so I know what it looks like. There’s just one spot that looks funny to me.”

“OK, sounds like you’ve been working hard. How about tomorrow afternoon? We’ll spend 30 minutes or so and see what’s happening.”

“OK, thanks pro. See you tomorrow.”

Here’s another sample:

“Hey Dan, I’m playing pretty good these days but I just don’t have the confidence I know I should have. How about I buy you lunch and pick your brain about some stuff I’ve been thinking about?”

“Wow, I love lunch and golf talk. I’d be happy to do that with you. That’s why I’m here.”

All golfers need some sort of help – the game is just too hard to always go it alone. Hell, I’m a golfer too and I am aways learning something new, even after 30 years of teaching. . I bust my ass everyday teaching, doing research, being on the golf course, talking to people, and hitting balls when I am able. I learn from all sorts of places and in all sorts of ways. I especially learn from my students – I mean really, it’s mostly the students who have taught me how to teach.

That said, here is something I learned just yesterday from a student: “Golf is like one of those construction jobs that never gets finished.” Very funny and very cool. Golf is like that isn’t it.