Are Golf Lessons a Scam?
I’ve taken golf lessons for years from many different instructors, some of them quite well known. That said, I never get better. My question: Is it just me or are golf lessons the biggest scam ever thought up?
Jitterbug Gang Fan
Roger, I can feel your frustration. And, I can see why you think golf lessons are a scam. For many people, taking instruction IS a waste of time. But, before passing judgment on the entire industry, let’s pinpoint why and under what circumstances golf lessons are less than beneficial.
First of all, most people want a quick fix. The desire for this is fueled by the catchy headlines on the cover of golf publications: “Fix Your Slice in Ten Minutes,” or “Discover What The Pros Know But Won’t Tell You.”
Headlines such as these sell magazines, but in doing so, ingrain the false notion that greater performance is the result of what you know, rather than what you practice.
To give you an example, when I was a young boy Mr. Vaughn taught me about swing sequencing. Mr. Vaughn said, “The shoulders take the club back, and the hips return it through impact.”
Immediately following, I squared up behind a ball and said, “Let me see if that works.”
Mr. Vaughn screamed, “Don’t you dare hit that ball! This ain’t no tip! This is a fundamental of ball striking you have to ingrain.”
So, he watched me swing back and through for over an hour with no ball. Throughout the hour, he’d say things like, “Shoulders back, hips through. Smooth, Jitterbug. No pulling with the arms during the downswing. Them shoulders must be lifeless on the way down. Smooth it out, Jitterbug.”
Most teachers, it appears, are less strict than this. They’re good at reciting the commonly regarded fundamentals, but not as good at disciplining the lesson. In other words, teachers too often set the student free before any muscle memory has taken hold.
So, Roger, before you decide golf lessons are a waste of time, ask yourself how disciplined you’ve been in truly ingraining that which you’ve learned.
I don’t remember ever screaming, Jitterbug. You’re gonna hurt my reputation.
Lookie here, Roger. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now. I don’t teach most folks because most folks won’t abide by the discipline. Knowing what you’re supposed to do on an academic level is not what you need. Having correct motion grooved to the point it is easier to do than not do is where real improvement resides.
The irony is crystal clear. Golfers are so eager to try out what they learn in a lesson that they bring it to the testing grounds (golf course) too soon. The result is poor performance and the belief that what was taught is incorrect.
If this sounds like you, Roger, then golf lessons are a waste of time.
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