Choosing the Right Golf School
Are golf schools worth the money?
Andy Vander Meer
Jitterbug Gang Fan
It all depends on what you want out of it.
A dramatic drop in your handicap? Entertainment? The opportunity to spend a few days with a pro? Non-stop golf?
Golf schools are not like a one-hour lesson, where the teacher works hard and fast so the golfer leaves with one or two good thoughts.
The golf school is usually an accompaniment to a vacation, where the overall objective is to relax and have fun. In this type setting, the instructor must read the situation and judge, early on, how much discipline each student will abide by.
For instance, let’s say you have a golfer who flips his wrists at chip shots, and can’t, in the presence of a golf ball, curtail this habit.
The cure is simple. You bring him apart from the rest of the group and have him dry swing the proper chipping motion. With some ambition, he can perform in one morning 20 sets of one hundred dry chips, and in three days lose all tendencies to flip at the ball.
Having carried out as such, the student will benefit greatly—certainly more than most—as losing the flip tendency will dramatically improve every shot in his bag. But, you’d be hard pressed to find an instructor willing to subject a vacationer to such a work regimen.
Who would agree to it? Can you imagine the student’s reaction? “You mean I don’t get to hit a single ball for three days? Nothing more than dry swings? I didn’t come on vacation to dry swing!”
The instructor would get so many bad comment cards he’d soon find it easier to compromise his values, and going forward, allow students’ desires to dictate how the school proceeds.
This is an interesting point Jitterbug raises. For whatever reason, golf is taught different than other sports.
For instance, in football, you drill until you throw up. And, should you dare say, “Hey Coach, wouldn’t it be better if we just tried this…” you get beaten even harder. And this, for the betterment of the student, nothing else.
But, in golf, rather than insisting the golfer drill, teachers take the nice approach. Happy to have the business, golf teachers teach the way they hope will please the student. This can be frustrating for some instructors as they attempt to strike a balance between student satisfaction and what is required for the student to improve.
It’s made worse by all the golf publications. The golfer who betters a 20 handicap is familiar with nearly every swing theory available, most of which are based on ideas, not commitment. So, when the instructor presents a single movement that must be ingrained past the point of simple understanding, the student can feel overworked.
In answer to your question, Mr. Vander Meer, I should point out that most golf school attendees are return customers. This is evidence, at least to my satisfaction, that most instructors successfully strike the aforementioned balance so to combine fun with satisfactory improvement.
Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by 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: www.bobbysteiner.com or firstname.lastname@example.org