Help for a Bad Golf Teacher

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

There is a young assistant golf professional at our club who plays extremely well, but could use some help as a teacher. He tries hard, but ties his students in knots with what he says about the golf swing. My question is do you know of a book on teaching the game that might help him? I realize he is still an apprentice, but he charges $70 per lesson, and I just don’t know how long people will continue to seek his help.

Lindsay Worrell

Jitterbug Gang Fan


I have a friend in southern California who recently won the Teacher of the Year Award. He often says, “I should look up the first five hundred people I gave lessons to and give them their money back. They taught me more about teaching golf than I taught them about the golf swing.”

This is more often the rule than the exception. Simply put, beginner teachers over-teach. As if to justify their fee they try to share every thing they know. Instead of saying one thing and letting the student take ten swings, the beginner teacher says ten things and lets the student take one swing. And the beat goes on.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a book a starting teacher can read so as to skip this part of the process.

Mr. Vaughn:

I might compare teaching golf to cleaning your house. Let’s say you throw a big party in your home tonight, and tomorrow morning every room is a mess. You hire a housekeeper.

The more experienced housekeeper, with the hope of giving you the most for your money, will likely clean one room entirely before moving on to the next. Then, the next room, and so on.

This is how the expert teacher teaches golf. Rather than taking one piece of trash out of this room, and then jumping over to another room, the expert teacher works on one thing at a time. After polishing the grip to perfection, he/she moves on to posture. Then alignment, and so on.

Following a well-organized lesson, the student should clearly understand one or two things, not partially understand a hundred other things.

Lord Berry:

Teaching and playing are two different skills. Just like the advanced player worked tirelessly to become proficient at the game, so must he to become regarded as a good teacher.

Asheville Golf Home

Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner

Ask Jitterbug - Author Bobby Steiner

About the Author

The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.

You can reach Bobby at: or

All the Same Distance

I hit all my clubs, seven-iron and longer, the same distance. Do you know of a cure?

Bad Rhythm

My swing rhythm gets fast when I play. Do you have any suggestions to help me slow down?

Bad Teacher

There is a young assistant golf professional at our club who plays extremely well, but could use some help as a teacher. Any suggestions that might help him?

Ball Position

Can you explain your take on ball position? Forward for longer clubs? Back for shorter clubs?

Die or Lag

Do you think it is better to be a firm putter, or to putt the ball so that it barely drops into the cup?

Fanning the Club

My tendency is to fan my hands to the inside on the takeaway. When I use a straight takeaway I can't hit the ball.

Fix is the Problem

My friend has a knack for giving me helpful tips when we play. It works for about six holes, then I totally collapse. Have you heard of this?

Get the Ball to the Hole

I have a very difficult time getting my putts to the hole. Can you help?

Golf Schools

Are golf schools worth the money?

Guide the Ball

My golf instructor tells me that I try to 'guide' the ball too much. I've never heard this term, is it a bad thing?

Hip Slide

Can you explain the proper way to pivot during the backswing?

How Many Hours

I'm currently a solid 8-handicap, but I've reached a plateau. How might I rework my practice regimen to improve steadily like I used to?

Kids Learning Curve

My thirteen-year old son and I took up golf four years ago. Now, I am still struggling to break 100 while he shoots low 80s. How do I catch up?

Length of Backswing

I've read that the putting stroke should be the same length going back as going through. What is your take on it?

Long and Slow

I have great touch, and play standard chip shots quite well, but I can't hit a soft pitch of any length to save my life.

Make Practice Swing

I have a beautiful practice swing, but it doesn't carry over to my real swing. Any Suggestions?

More Distance

I'm a good athlete, but don't get the distance I think I should. How can I hit the ball farther off the tee?

No Scoop Chips

I suffer from the chipping yips; I can't prevent my right hand from taking over and flipping under the ball. How do I avoid scooping the ball?

No Touch Short Game

I have no short game touch, and I'm a good athlete. Everything I hit feels like a jab or punch. Any help?

No Whiffing

Golf is frustrating to me because I hardly ever get the ball up in the air. Please help!

Range Brilliance

I'm a great range player, but can't get it together on the course. Do you have any advice to help me?

Sound Swing

An assistant pro refers to some swings as "sound," and others, "not sound." Can you compare and contrast the two?

Taking Lessons

I've taken golf lessons for years from many different instructors, but I never get better. Are golf lessons the biggest scam ever thought up?

Teacher a Good Player

Do you think it is important that a teaching professional be a good player?
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Bad Golf Teacher