Here are a couple of reasons why players often shy away from lessons:
First there’s the ‘lessons will mess up my game’ idea. It has three very common variations:

• My friend took lessons and got worse
• Lessons will mess up my swing
• Lessons are too expensive

Second there’s the ‘invasion’ idea. It’s a pretty unknown concept in golf that goes like this:

  • The thought of allowing anyone inside your personal space – let alone following their directions – can be difficult, nerve-wrecking or even scary. Generally, the invasion idea is true for both men and women. If you’ve ever been tortured by a “back-seat driver” or been told that “you’re not doing that right” you are familiar with the invasion idea.

REGARDLESS OF YOUR SKILL LEVEL or gender, the way YOU go about playing the game, how YOU swing, what YOU feel, and how YOU see yourself as a player, is EXTREMELY PERSONAL!

So, the thought of getting worse or otherwise being subjected to a teachers’ bland or hair-brained ideas isn’t very inviting. When you combine the ‘invasion’ and ‘getting worse’ ideas, pulling the trigger on a call to an instructor is about as likely as you shooting your career low round today.

In the end, an interesting dynamic is going on here. One that easily reinforces the above premise. Consider this:
You’re a passionate 28 handicapper and you want to improve your game. But you’re also worried that lessons will “mess up” your game! Seems kind of silly doesn’t it? Maybe not.

Even as a high-handicapper, you’ve probably worked pretty hard to get where you are. You hit practice balls; play fairly often; read magazine articles and books; watch the Golf Channel; scour the internet, and get tips from your friends. You feel like you’re in control of your game and in a sense, you are. You have “formed” your golf game and have come to learn that what you do even has a measure of predicability. Yes, you pretty much know what’s going to happen when you go play. You are comfortable and you don’t want some golf teacher kicking you out of your favorite chair!

Have golf games and swings gone bad because of lessons and/or teachers? Yes they have. If there wasn’t a measure of truth to the assertion that “golf lessons will mess up my game” the belief wouldn’t exist in the first place. It’s often been said that golf is the only game that has more teachers than players. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know. I do know that the general quality of instruction, as related to YOU, is in fact generally questionable. There are “factory” teachers and facilities, there are teachers who have been great players but don’t really know anything about how to teach, there are teachers who come from “learn to teach golf” schools and there are those who just have no business teaching at all.

If you want to improve you game, it’s your responsibility to do some homework and find out who the best teachers are in your area. Ask about their qualifications and experience. Don’t be shy. Any great teacher will be happy to have a phone conversation about your game. The very best will want to meet you in person at the course over lunch or coffee.

Not to be combative but I would presume this: if you’re not willing to do a little screening you’re probably not really serious about improving your game. Deciding what you want from your game is your responsibility. If you want to live and die by stereotypical beliefs, that’s up to you. There are great teachers out there who can really help you. You just gotta’ go do a little work. The hot tip that will fix all things is not realistic and no player should expect an instant cure from any instructor!

If golf is a big part of your life, AND you have an actual desire to improve your understanding of the game, then a qualified instructor should definitely be part of your team!

Having your game messed up because of lessons can, unfortunately be true. In elementary psychological terms, the fear of golf lessons is very real and is rooted in an idea called the Approach-Avoidance conflict. To learn the basic definition, click this URL.