Whether you’re an avid golfer or just started playing, chances are you’re trying to improve and get better. How good would it feel to get out on the golf course and suddenly be shooting three shots lower than your friends?
Regardless of your age or experience level, golf lessons can help. Of course, you can also do golf instruction by yourself, but at the end of the day, having a golf professional take a look at your game is almost certainly going to make you play better.
That said, golf lessons aren’t cheap. Depending on if you’re taking your lesson from a full-fledged PGA professional or an amateur golf coach, you’re looking at spending around $60 – $150 per hour! How can you make sure that you’re getting the most out of your golf lessons so you can truly take your game to the next level?
That’s what this post is all about. In it, we’ll dive into how you can make the most out of your golf lessons as you learn to play golf. Ready to make the most out of your golf training? Let’s dive right in.
The first thing you’ll need to understand is why exactly you want to improve. Maybe you want to win more golf tournaments, or perhaps you want to stop missing your short putts. Whatever it is, be sure to make it clear for yourself. Being motivated to put in the work is half the battle, and figuring out a definite reason for why you want to improve accomplishes this perfectly.
Once you’ve found your motivating factor, it’s time to set some golf goals for yourself. Do you hope to cut down strokes from your average round of golf? Are you intent on making a swing change? Does your chipping need a lot of work? Depending on what you’re trying to achieve with your game, you’ll want to seek out different instructors.
Find the Right Instructor for You
The next step is to find an instructor who will help improve your golf game. That is a crucial step, as who you choose will largely determine how instructional your time with them will be. Make sure that your instructor is PGA of America certified. A great way to do this is to check the best instructor lists in a golf magazine like Golf Digest. I highly recommend you schedule a chat with each potential instructor (either in person or over the phone) as part of the interview process.
Here are some questions that can help guide your chat:
Where will you teach? (Do you have a golf academy/golf school, or are we going to be visiting local driving ranges?)
Do you teach small-group lessons, or do you do private lessons?
What is your rate?
Do you have any testimonials / current students who can attest to your teaching abilities?
How long have you been teaching golf?
What is your teaching philosophy?
Do you use video analysis to teach?
If you do use virtual golf (a golf simulator) to teach, and if so, what is the brand of the launch monitor (Trackman, Foresight, etc.)?
What learning environment do you provide for your students?
What is the typical skill level of the average golfer you accept?
(If going out on the course), do I need to pay the green fees on top of the lesson fees?
This chat will give you a sense of the instructor’s personality and help inform your final decision. Ideally, you’ll end up choosing a golf instructor who suits your needs, works nearby, and gets along with you.
Go to Your Golf Lessons Prepared
The first lesson is typically very laidback. That is when the golf instructor will try to gauge where you’re at ability and knowledge-wise: Are you a seasoned golfer, or are you still confused about how many golf clubs are in a set? Do you like to play relaxed, easy-going golf, or are you wholly dialed in, to the point of knowing the exact size of the golf ball and hole?
Though the first lesson is typically introductory, it’s still a good idea to show up prepared. Some suggested tips are:
Bring some water, a few snacks, and make sure to wear some comfortable clothes (as long as it’s proper golf attire).
Bring a small journal to keep track of what the instructor teaches you.
Prepare a few questions that you want to ask the instructor.
Arrive 15 minutes beforehand so you can stretch and get loose.
Be Honest in All Your Golf Lessons
This tip is something that beginners often get wrong. The goal of a golf lesson isn’t for you to impress the golf pro. The purpose is to improve your game, so make sure, to be honest during your lessons. Be open about how often you engage in golf practice and how long you’ve been playing. An instructor’s approach to professional golf vs. beginner golf vs. junior golf will differ heavily.
All of this candidness will help your instructor better diagnose your golf game and help you play better golf.
Take Videos and Take Notes
Regardless of whether you’re working on bunker shots, full-swing, or short-game, be sure to ask your instructor to take some videos for you. Golf coaching is very subjective and varies a ton from person to person, so the best way to capture what you’ve learned is to take videos. You can then review these videos in the future when you’re playing golf and better implement the strategies that you’ve learned.
Another way to do this is to take notes during golf lessons. Jot down all the golf tips you receive from the instructor in a handy little notebook so you can review them in the future. Does the instructor tell you to work on posture? Write that down. Do they think that you should tee it up lower? Write that down. They inform you that you need to get a new putter? Write that down! That is all vital information that you’re likely to forget post-lesson unless you jot down some notes.
One of the best ways to learn is to be candid about asking for advice on things you don’t understand. That applies to school, work, and the game of golf all the same. Some questions you might want to ask during your lessons are:
Do I need to get a club fitting?
What do I need to work on the most? Is it striking with irons, my putting stroke, pitching?
What is proper golf etiquette?
How can I lower my handicap in the least amount of time possible?
Do you have any course management tips for me to implement?
Do I need to work on my golf stance/golf grip?
What is the difference between professional golfers and me?
How can I improve my golf swing speed?
How should I adjust my playing strategy for different golf courses?
Do you have any drills that you recommend I do in my own practicing time?
Practice Immediately Afterwards
After you finish up your golf lesson, don’t just book a tee time and head out (hoping you’ll all of a sudden play like Jack Nicklaus). Instead, take some time and practice what you’ve learned.
Review the instruction video footage that your instructor took and all of the notes, and try to recreate all the motions you learned during your lesson. If you worked on putting, go back to the putting green. If you did golf swing training, spend some time on the driving range. The best way to solidify your learning is to practice it as much as you can, as soon as you can.
Recap: Improve Your Game with Golf Lessons
Taking golf lessons is one of the best ways to improve your golfing ability in a short period drastically. Why do you think all the golf pros on tour spend so much time with their coaches?
At the end of the day, though, golf lessons are expensive, and not everybody makes six figures, so it’s essential to make the most out of every single one (to make your money’s worth). As a quick recap, here are some ways that you can make the most out of your golf lessons:
Set realistic golfing goals for yourself (that you feel motivated by).
Find the right instructor for you.
Go to all of your golf lessons prepared.
Be honest in all of your golf lessons.
Take notes and ask your instructor to take videos of you during your golf lessons.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Practice immediately afterward.
There you have it: how you can make the most of your golf lessons and improve your golf game a ton. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and take some golf lessons; you’ll be grateful you did when you’re out on the course beating your friends in the future.