The Importance of Golf Lessons!

Jane Chanik, PGA head golf professional, SaddleBrooke One, conducting a lesson (photo by Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg)

Mary Jo Bellner Swartzberg

Most people are nothing if not lazy when it comes to practicing golf. Further, people are somewhat lackadaisical when it comes to taking lessons to improve their game. What is the point, they think, as they see their friends on the driving range with a pro. But perhaps their friends know something they don’t know.

So, exploring why golf lessons are important is in order here. Let me provide some stats:

The National Golf Foundation estimates that in 2021, more than 25 million people were on the golf course, while more than 12 million were at a driving range, at a simulator, or at a golf entertainment venue. However, only 17% of golfers take lessons!

If you are considering being a part of this 17%, here are some considerations:

It is important to ask yourself what are my goals for taking lessons, and should I take private or group classes or clinics? In addition, do I have any physical challenges of which my golf instructor needs to be aware?

And, to be sure, during and then after your lesson, ask yourself:

* Is my golf instructor communicating in a way that I understand? If not, ask for clarification.

* Am I understanding the concepts he or she is explaining? Again, ask that the concepts be clarified.

* Am I going to practice between golf lessons?

* Am I willing to take my new golf tips onto the course?

The bottom line is, if you are struggling with a specific issue, your golf pro can help. Further, your golf pro can help with course management, mental game strategies, putting, and short-game issues. Ostensibly, a weak mental game or a weak short game can lead to high scores. But, of course, all of the parts of one’s golf game have to come together to play one’s best.

So, if you are a beginner or a seasoned player, keep these tidbits in mind (according to Ball Flight Academy):

* Golf lessons build confidence.

* Learning the rules of golf is essential.

* Pay attention to unwritten rules (e.g., quiet please, etc.).

* “Build” your bag—or tailor your bag—with the clubs with which you will be playing (maximum 14!).

* Have confidence in your golf pro (re: swing style, club choice, grip, etc.), as small changes can get results!

* Try to avoid or, at the very least, correct bad habits!

* Practice makes perfect!

Some additional advice:

* Data shows that players—at all skill levels—can lower their handicaps by taking at least three lessons per year.

* Taking golf lessons is like going to the gym. It’s going to feel uncomfortable until it feels comfortable.

* Learning is not linear—there will be ups and downs.

* But, remember, the swing’s the thing!

This I have learned.