7 Reasons Why Golf Lessons Won’t Improve Your Game
Of course, a golf lesson should help to improve your game, but you have to have the right mindset for it to be beneficial, as PGA pro Emma Booth explains
Slicing, fatting, even the odd dreaded shank! You are simply not living up to your golfing potential and know you are capable. So, it’s time to book a lesson, where in just 30 to 60 minutes all of your golfing prayers will be answered.
You will enter that teaching bay a mere mortal and leave the golfing rock star you truly are. Tonight, Matthew I’m going to be (insert your favourite player’s name here). Except all the smoke, mirrors and even ITV’s makeup and wig department will not be able to transform your swing and game that quickly, that’s the simple truth of it.
So dear reader, my gift to you, as a PGA pro with years of coaching experience, is to help manage your expectations of what can be achieved through lessons and some reasons as to why you are maybe not properly capitalising on your precious lesson time.
1. You Expect A Quick Fix
Unless you’re having golf lessons at Hogwarts, don’t expect any pro to be able to perform a magical quick fix. Yes, a small tweak of the stance here and a nudge of the ball position there, can lead to better ball-striking, but if you have any type of fundamental flaw in your swing, it will take some serious practice on and off the ball to consciously make and maintain the recommended changes.
2. It’s Not You, It’s Me…
Good news, it might not be all your fault! You may just not be compatible with your pro. Although PGA pros undertake the same training, we are far from the same in our teaching methods and beliefs when it comes to delivering lessons. Working with a pro you don’t click with will hinder your progress hugely.
Prioritise finding a pro that listens to your goals and works in a way that resonates with you, that way even the toughest of lessons will feel manageable and you’ll form a true partnership to keep you inspired and on track.
3. You Don’t Do The Work
Back to you. You have your lesson and leave with a refreshed and determined resolve to practice and put into play the recommended changes but then… life gets in the way. Apparently, going to work to earn money for food and somewhere to live is more important than putting in the hours to finally get rid of those shoulders starting the downswing sequence!
It’s frustrating, as you know if you just had the time you could really make some inroads, but that’s life. The key is to accept that progress may take more time due to other priorities. On the bright side, it’s good to remember that practice for golf doesn’t have to be hours of hitting balls, it can be as simple as five minutes here and there in the garden rehearsing swing movements with purpose. Progress is progress, however slow it may feel.
4. You’re A YouTube Expert
So, the pro you’ve paid your hard-earned money to see may have thousands of real-world coaching hours under their belt, but you’ve clocked up hundreds of hours of the finest golf content YouTube has to offer, which makes you an expert of sorts surely? Sadly, no, because watching does not equate to doing.
You may have some nice ideas about what you’re doing wrong or need to work on, but like needing a mirror to brush your hair, you need a pro to provide that reflection to guide your own specific changes. By all means chat about what you’ve enjoyed watching and how you think it could be relevant, but make sure you leave enough room for the input of the pro you’ve actually paid for.
5. You Lack Goals And Purpose
As Peter Drucker said: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This statement is usually applied to business scenarios but is equally apt for golf too. If you begin a lesson with no idea or objective of what you would like to achieve and plan during your time, you are wasting it.
The more information about your golfing history, where you are at currently and what you would like to achieve the better! Effective goal setting doesn’t have to be all about winning the next club champs or adding 20 yards to your drive. It could be as simple as wanting to understand the importance of a good pre-shot routine, or how to effectively practice your putting. It’s far better to have small and specific goals that lay a brick down on the path to a bigger destination.
6. You’re Too Comfortable
You’ve had a lesson and the pro has made the outrageous suggestion you change your grip ever so slightly, but it feels terrible and gross and you don’t want to do it, so you’ll stick to your way thank you very much! All change is hard and a grip change is one of the hardest. Change goes against our very nature as human beings, but in order to improve you must embrace the discomfort. It is through striving and trying things slightly beyond our current capabilities where true improvement lies.
7. I Only Need To Work On…
I’m going to cut in and stop you right there because no one in the history of the sport has only ever needed to work on one area. This never ends; it’s the blessing and curse of this beautiful game. You never stop working at, or trying to improve at any of it. It’s all too easy to think, 'I don’t three-putt too often, so I don’t need to work on that anymore', but you do to keep up that momentum!
It can be an overwhelming feeling to know it all needs constant work, but a good pro invested in your improvement will help you to take stock of your current ability for each area and then look at how you can move the needle to ensure you keep making improvements.
Are you guilty of any of the above? If you are this could be the sign that it’s time to change your ways! Now you know some of the common mindset pitfalls when it comes to having golf lessons, you’ll be empowered to embrace where your current ability lies and articulate where you want to go with your golf, and to a pro who complements your learning style. You never know, your golf lessons might even end up being fun, which is exactly how they should be!
Emma has worked in the golf industry for more than 20 years. After a successful amateur career, she decided to pursue her true golfing passion of coaching and became a qualified PGA Professional in 2009. In 2015, alongside her husband Gary, who is also a PGA Professional, they set up and now run Winchester Golf Academy, a bespoke 24 bay practice facility offering not only all the latest technology but a highly regarded bistro. Emma is happy coaching all golfing abilities but particularly enjoys getting people into the game and developing programs to help women and juniors start and improve. Her 2022 Get into Golf program saw more than 60 women take up the game.
Emma is a member of TaylorMade’s Women’s Advisory Board, which works to shape the product offering and marketing strategy with the goal of making it the number one brand in golf for women. When not changing lives one swing tweak at a time Emma can be found enjoying life raising her three daughters and when time allows in the gym.
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