Really interesting read. I think lessons are a really interesting topic. I have been playing seriously for about 5 years and I have had a range of experiences from worthless to really good. In that time I have managed to go from an 18 handicap to 5. Some key learnings (i.e. the best lessons I had) were:
- Early stages, focus on:
1. Fundamentals - setup (grip, posture etc.) - still in the top 2-3 lessons I have had
Note - I naturally knew how to hit a ball with reasonable power from the start through my sporting history so these provided me a foundation to get better
Next I would do a gapping lesson, understand the distances you hit (not what you think you hit, what you actually hit). This plus a putting lesson got me to single figures
From a quick improvement standpoint, the best lesson I have ever had was a putting lesson. I was a terrible putter, I found out that I aimed left and swung right and also my putter was too long for me. The pro helped point this out and gave me drills to help fix it as well as drills to maintain it (and cut down my putter on the spot).
Having got myself to about an 8 the next step was building consistency (full swing). As per the original discussion this is where you can go backwards quickly and things can get really frustrating! I found changes to improve one part of the game impacted others. Positions and swing flaws were easy to spot and difficult to fix and marrying up a swing thought to the issue felt really tough. Some issues I had was early extension, flipping the club on the back swing (which led to going over the top - pretty much like everyone).
The lesson that turned my fade to a draw (sometimes hook) was a simple one. It was around the back swing. Basically when your hands are above your trail foot, make the clubface point to the ball. Initially I would move the club to that point and stop (coach would check) then I would make the swing from there. Do this for all clubs, longer ones to have to move you hands further before having any wrist break...We tried things after this but nothing helped and we ended up moving back to this principle above.
Funnily enough after working on being able to hit a draw my coach and I agreed that focusing on hitting a fade as my stock shot was the way to go. The changes I did above really helped make me more consistent and essentially built on the above.
The key thing is having an open mind, actually practicing the changes and then reporting back the findings. And if a certain coach isn't clicking go elsewhere (if you can). Also stat tracking apps and shot tracking products are good because it allows you to provide a coach with meaningful information and help guide the development focus.
That's my 2 cents anyway. Great post and interesting topic.