The end of the golf season is approaching for many Golfers. As most Golfers in North America and Europe start to clean their clubs before putting them away in storage for the winter (you do clean them … don’t you?), the question that must be asked is: Did you have fun playing golf this past summer?
If your answer is yes. Excellent – that’s what it should be – then there’s no reason for you to read any more of this article.
Yet, if it’s no. Then there needs to be a follow-up question – Why didn’t you enjoy golf this summer?
As many Golfers start each season with hopes of playing better than the year before – many end the season not seeing the results they were hoping for.
So the question now becomes – what hindered you from seeing these improved results?
Was it that you didn’t play enough?
Was it that you didn’t practice enough?
Was it that the golf lessons that you thought were going to help – really didn’t help?
If it was the question above (about golf lessons) – Was it that you reverted back into old habits and regardless of what you tried to do – you couldn’t get out of them?
Each year, as spring approaches, many Golfers get excited with the thoughts that they’re going to play a lot of “Good Golf” during the summer. Yet, in many cases, you start playing a few rounds of golf in the spring; however those rounds became so frustrating – you decide that you’re going to take golf lessons before the season really kicks into gear.
Unfortunately, many Golfers fall into the trap of thinking that a Golf Instructor is a Golf Instructor is a Golf Instructor. I mean – “All Golf Instructors are equal. One is just as good as the other. Right?” And this misconception causes many frustrated Golfers that are looking for a little more consistency in their golf swing to go for the easiest, least expensive golf lesson option – the infamous 30 minute golf lesson that costs around $35. And – as a bonus – if you sign-up for 6 lessons – you get a discount … usually 6 lessons for the cost of 5.
What a deal!
This seems to be the most popular way Golfers get their lessons. Unfortunately, many of these Golfers are still just as inconsistent after their 6 lessons. I can’t tell you how many emails and phone calls we get each week from Golfers that have been taking this sort of lesson program for years – yet haven’t gotten any better. And are now on the verge of quitting because they don’t believe that they’ll ever improve.
Think of it this way: If you wanted to learn a language … say you were planning a trip to China and you wanted to learn Mandarin Chinese. So you signed up for 6 – 30 minute language lessons. Do you think that after those brief lessons that you would be able to say much more than “Can you tell me where the bathroom is?” – “Thank you” and/or “I’ll have the duck.”
It’s the same with 30 minute golf lessons. And I say this even though it will upset some fellow PGA Professionals who teach 30 minutes lessons. Yet, I have to be honest – 30 minute lessons don’t work. But, maybe, just maybe this will be the kick in the pants that some Instructors need to start moving towards 1 hour minimums. (If you’re a PGA Member that’s not happy with what I’m writing – please call me, I’d be happy to discuss it with you.)
So because I’ll probably get death threats and so forth directed to me – I better explain why I believe that.
You may be taking instruction from a talented Pro or even with the greatest Instructor in the world, someone that can help you to see and feel what you need to do better, along with helping you to make improvements in your golf swing. Yet, if you’re taking a 30 minute lesson and finally get the concept, the feel and the ability to do what your Instructor is asking you to do fairly quickly – 25 minutes into the lesson: then you have only 5 minutes for your Instructor to watch you do it by yourself.
Now, is 5 minutes enough time for you to make your golf swing consistent, repeatable, automatic and free from old habits slowly creeping back in? Hardly. As soon as that Instructor’s next lesson arrives and you move to another area of the range tee to continue your practice – within 2 or 3 swings you’re most likely going to slowly start reverting back to your old habits (a little more every swing) without even knowing it.
The new habit wasn’t ingrained enough while the Instructor was there to make sure that you’re able to repeat it swing after swing or there to make the little adjustments necessary after every swing that included the smallest speck of your old bad habit that slowly creeps back in a little more every swing and/or there to work with you to train you to be able to diagnose this yourself.
30 minutes is not even close to enough time!
Most Golfers (including Tiger, Annika, Phil, Jack, etc.) need an Instructor watching them for more than 30 minutes to make sure that they’re doing what’s necessary every swing. And those guys know their golf swing a heck of lot better than you and I know ours. Because it’s amazing how many Golfers take a 30 minute lesson, do well during the last few minutes of that lesson, then as soon as they go to practice on their own or go on the golf course – they play worse than before the lesson.
Has that ever happened to you?
Why? Well, the easiest answer is that you start to revert back to your old habits – but it’s even worse than that … you get stuck between your old habits and the new instructions that your Instructor just worked with you on. So if you’re depending on a 30 minute lesson once a week to help – you’re often going backwards.
Again, it’s like learning a foreign language: after 25 minutes of trying to say “Can you tell me where the bathroom is” in Mandarin … your language Instructor will finally say – “that’s it, you got it. Try it again.” Yet, as you practice saying it to yourself on the car ride home – even though you think you’re saying it correctly – you’re probably not saying it exactly as you did in front of your Instructor those last 5 minutes.
And as you keep practicing it – you’re continually getting farther and farther away from saying it correctly because your Instructor won’t be there to correct you until your next 30 minute lesson in 167.5 hours later (6 days and 23.5 hours). And how many times do you think a motivated student will be repeating that sentence the wrong way in those 167.5 hours?
Probably just as many times as you go over the golf swing and the corrections your Instructor worked with you on. So now, when you go out to the range to practice by yourself – you’re probably not swinging like you were in front of your Instructor at that 25 minute mark of your lesson. You’re probably reverting back to old habits – and there’s no one there to let you know that you’re ingraining even more bad habits into your golf swing?… or even worse – there’s no one there that can help you relieve the frustration of getting stuck between the old and new.
How do I know this? Experience
The Experience I had as a Golfer growing up as I started my quest to become a Pro.
The Experience I had as a young Golf Professional that started out teaching 30 minute lessons (because that’s what Golf Professionals did and I didn’t know any better). Which I quickly changed to a 1 hour minimum.
The Experience I had with the number of Golfers that secretly came to see me because they didn’t improve with the Instructor at their home golf course. And listening to the stories of their frustrations over the time and money that they had wasted.
And now – The Experience of the last 10 plus years of speaking to 1,000’s of Golfers (each year) that have called GMS because they became so frustrated taking normal golf lessons and going through the scenario written above.
And as one gentleman (who inspired this article) recently put it: “I have been getting 6 – 30 minute lessons for approximately $200 – every year for the past 8 years, and have not improved one iota. I have calculated that I have spent $1,600 and wasted 8 years of golf. I had a friend that just started playing golf last year, he went to GMS this past spring – and is now beating me. He spent about the same amount of money as I did – yet he improved more in 3 months than I have in 8 years (96 months). Sign me up!”
The Monkey will ……. well, just reread the article above to find out what the Monkey does
The Player knows that a sustained session with his/her Instructor is critical in order to be able to see Results that stick
Go ahead, Be A Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life