Jump to content
LeaderRyan

First lesson experience and benefits

Recommended Posts

Our Sponsors

Hey all! I was hoping to get a little feedback on the need/benefit of a few lessons for someone that has never had a formal lesson, but is still a decent golfer. 

I probably average 15-18 rounds a year, with a decent number of those rounds in the mid to low 80s, but I have never broken 80. I play with a buddy pretty often who is a 2-3 handicap, so he has been able to give me some tips over the last few years that have brought my scores down about 6-7 strokes on average. For me, consistency seems to be key since I don't play a ton and practice maybe 5-6 times a year. So my question is, are there any folks out there who play/practice a similar amount and have received lessons? In your experience are lessons going to provide much benefit for someone who isn't grinding on a regular basis? I feel confident I could shoot in the 70s now without any swing tweaks... Just more time on the course and at the range, but I'm trying to get a feel for if my scores can come down with some swing tweaks even if I don't get to play or practice anymore than I do now. 

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

Share this post


Link to post
10 minutes ago, LeaderRyan said:

Hey all! I was hoping to get a little feedback on the need/benefit of a few lessons for someone that has never had a formal lesson, but is still a decent golfer. 

I probably average 15-18 rounds a year, with a decent number of those rounds in the mid to low 80s, but I have never broken 80. I play with a buddy pretty often who is a 2-3 handicap, so he has been able to give me some tips over the last few years that have brought my scores down about 6-7 strokes on average. For me, consistency seems to be key since I don't play a ton and practice maybe 5-6 times a year. So my question is, are there any folks out there who play/practice a similar amount and have received lessons? In your experience are lessons going to provide much benefit for someone who isn't grinding on a regular basis? I feel confident I could shoot in the 70s now without any swing tweaks... Just more time on the course and at the range, but I'm trying to get a feel for if my scores can come down with some swing tweaks even if I don't get to play or practice anymore than I do now. 

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

Ask my grade-school piano teacher how effective lessons are without consistent practice.  In my mind, if you can't practice at least a couple of times a week, not play but practice, lessons are likely to be a waste of time and money.  Actually, if you have a reasonably decent swing, I think you're more likely see greater improvement with practice and no lessons, as compared to lessons and no practice.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

If you aren’t going to practice you can just PayPal me the lesson money. Based on what you shoot you will probably be able to improve your scores by improving your short game and putting. 
 

Some options instead of lesson would be to pay a one time fee for some sort of online video series or maybe find a YouTube instructor that you can relate to in how they teach and then use their info to work on something the few times you practice 

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

If you aren’t going to practice you can just PayPal me the lesson money. Based on what you shoot you will probably be able to improve your scores by improving your short game and putting. 
 

Some options instead of lesson would be to pay a one time fee for some sort of online video series or maybe find a YouTube instructor that you can relate to in how they teach and then use their info to work on something the few times you practice 

There is at least one (semi-rival) golf forum where some analysis and instruction based on swing video is made available for free.  I don't promote rival sites here, even though MGS is very tolerant of just that.  But even that "free" instruction isn't likely to be productive without practice. 

Personally, I do NOT recommend browsing Youtube instruction.  Virtually none of is has the ability to accurately diagnose the root causes behind any perceived swing flaws, let alone select the right cure from the millions of different and contradictory recommendations available.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, LeaderRyan said:

I play with a buddy pretty often who is a 2-3 handicap,

Above is something I've always encouraged people to do if they can. As for practice - playing - lessons... there are gillion opinions out there and none of them are better or worse; right or wrong. Personally, I prefer to play more than practice. I also take an occasional lesson as a tune-up. I've just never been a range guy all that much. It bores me. If I'm going to actually practice I'd rather go play a few holes or 9 by myself and setup various shots - scenarios on the actual course. This option isn't always available.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Personally, I do NOT recommend browsing Youtube instruction. 

I kind of disagree and agree with Dave. I disagree only because I sometimes like to watch a few golf YouTube instructors just for entertainment mostly. There have been a few times I've picked up a Tip I thought made sense. To me. I agree with Dave that if you're really interested in working on your swing - making improvements or a swing change; an internet golf instructor isn't IMO the thing to do.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I think we should consider what practice means.  Does practice means going to the range or short game area and spending a couple of hours every week?  Or can practice be ingraining a new swing move or a drill with a club in the backyard for a half hour or so.  If you are up front with the pro and let them know the practice limitations they may be able to suggest some simple drills.

Share this post


Link to post

Champions are not made in the ring they are only crowned there. They are made in the gym through hard work, dedication and yes......practice. IMO if you only play once a month and never practice a lesson will most likely not have the desired effect. Golf is hard. Shooting in the mid 80s without practice on a reasonably tough track is darn good but moving into the 70s is much more difficult. Natural ability will only take you so far. If you decided to take some lessons you also need to set aside the time to ingrain the newly acquired knowledge.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, PlaidJacket said:

I kind of disagree and agree with Dave. I disagree only because I sometimes like to watch a few golf YouTube instructors just for entertainment mostly. There have been a few times I've picked up a Tip I thought made sense. To me. I agree with Dave that if you're really interested in working on your swing - making improvements or a swing change; an internet golf instructor isn't IMO the thing to do.

With the exception of Mike Malaska I tend to agree. It's easy to get a good laugh at most YouTube"instructors". 

Share this post


Link to post

I'm on the side of getting a few lessons. Even if you don't have a lot of time for a lot of practice, you can get some professional eyes on your grip, setup, takeaway, etc that can be very helpful.

I've shared this anecdote before but I think it's relevant here too - I had a big slice and tried every single YouTube idea I could. Closing the face, rolling the forearms, motorcycle grip, swinging to right field, etc. 4-5 swings into one lesson and the pro pointed out that my shoulders were pointed 30 yards left of the target. No one I played with noticed that. So a few lessons to make sure you have a solid repeatable foundation (which you may indeed have shooting low 80's) can help out a lot in the long run. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Well I'm pretty lucky I play a lot. I also am not a range rat. I like to play. But I wouldn't enjoy the game as much if I didn't feel like I was playing up to my own standards. Everyone has there own. I make myself go to the range and practice so that I can enjoy my rounds. There is something to be said about instructors. I actually showed up for a lesson and my instructor was himself getting a lesson from a mentor of his! Instructors are great if you need someone to physically help you maintain positions and proper mechanics. i.e. hands, shoulders, hip turn etc... But, if you feel like your swing is pretty good already then go with that! Some people just have naturally good swings. I don't have a problem with online stuff. But I also immediately run to an area I can swing a club and try whatever technique the person was trying to teach. It takes less than a minute to figure out if its worth taking to the range. Most is the same stuff told different ways. All that being said. If you feel like you can shoot in the 70's and don't want to many lessons, (like most here have said already) work on chipping and putting. Go buy a mat to putt on and keep it in your house. Go buy a chipping net and keep it in your back yard. If you don't want to spend any money then find some smooth carpet in your house, get a dime, throw it on the floor and try to hit it. Go get a bucket or trash can and chip balls into it. Stand in front of a full length mirror and check your form. ( I've been known to do this anywhere from Target to Home depot) These are just easy ways to shave a few strokes, not turn you into club champion. On a side note. I've shot below par a few times but my most memorable and eye opening round was a 72 at an old local municipal course. I tend to mark up my card for data purposes to look at what I should work on later. On that card I had 7 one putts and no three putts. In college I used to watch TV and putt to a dime on the floor for hours. (Which is why I graduated in 6 years). Hope this helps. Cheers.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I'd suggest a playing lesson. Work with someone who really understands course management and can help you think your way around the course using the swing you already have.  Club selection, where to miss, proper lines to take etc.... This can really have a big impact on your game and you may start to think/play differently when another set of eyes opens you up to something you haven't thought of before.  Combine a playing lesson with a properly fit putter and breaking 80 could be closer than you think. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, SmoothG said:

I'd suggest a playing lesson. Work with someone who really understands course management and can help you think your way around the course using the swing you already have.  Club selection, where to miss, proper lines to take etc.... This can really have a big impact on your game and you may start to think/play differently when another set of eyes opens you up to something you haven't thought of before.  Combine a playing lesson with a properly fit putter and breaking 80 could be closer than you think. 

Above comments are all good. @LeaderRyan, if your desire is to improve to whatever your goal is, then you will need practice.  Extremely few people have the natural talent to shoot close to par without some guidance and continual practice.  Clearly, you have some talent for the game and the tips from your buddy have helped.  To get to the next level will require changing something; what that is may be one thing or many things.  When you make the change, you will need to practice until that change becomes your new normal, otherwise you will likely revert back to what's comfortable.

I like @SmoothG comment here because the playing lesson with a pro will provide you with an overview of your game from different conditions, not just on the range.  A change might be as simple as a setup change or identifying areas of the game that you should focus on.  If I had to guess not knowing how you swing and assuming that your clubs fit you fairly well, spending more time with short game practice from various lies and course management will get you sub-80.  

My rounds in the 70's come when my short game is working; if it isn't then I shoot in the mid 80's.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
On 2/28/2020 at 11:41 AM, Kenny B said:

My rounds in the 70's come when my short game is working; if it isn't then I shoot in the mid 80's.

Ditto. I'm usually a mid to low 80's player. I hit the 70's a  handful of times during the season, for the same reason you cite.... short game is on.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
21 minutes ago, silver & black said:

Ditto. I'm usually a mid to low 80's player. I hit the 70's a  handful of times during the season, for the same reason you cite.... short game is on.

And this is one reason to work on improving full swings.  Short game or putting work generally offers the fastest impact with the least work, but full swings will limit how low you can go.  And of course individual strengths and weaknesses can alter that general rule.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 minute ago, DaveP043 said:

And this is one reason to work on improving full swings.  Short game or putting work generally offers the fastest impact with the least work, but full swings will limit how low you can go.  And of course individual strengths and weaknesses can alter that general rule.  

In general, I agree, but my individual weakness is an aging body.  I have been working on improving full swings; still going through a swing change.  However, unless I can gain ~12 mph swing speed and maintain my accuracy, I will still have to rely on my short game to score in the 70's.  Depending on the wind, there are two par 5's that I can't reach in regulation, and I'm hitting 3W or 3H into three par 4's.  Moving up to the "senior tees" only gains me maybe 10 yards on each hole which means I'm likely still chipping, not putting unless I'm very lucky.  Maybe I can pick up a few mph, but at age 73 I'm just trying not to lose speed!!

If I put in the hard work and being retired I can do that, I can get to mid-70's.  I shot 73 a couple of years ago, and I hope later this year I can do it again to shoot my age.  However, that's on my home course; scores are mid-80's when I travel because the turf is different and greens unfamiliar.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

And this is one reason to work on improving full swings.  Short game or putting work generally offers the fastest impact with the least work, but full swings will limit how low you can go.  And of course individual strengths and weaknesses can alter that general rule.  

I agree. I'm just not able to play or practice as much these days.

Share this post


Link to post

Several good suggestions here.  What I'd add is some sort of tracking system.  Whether it's a highly automated system like Arccos (what I use) or Shot Scope (also well reviewed and significantly less expensive), or an app like GolfShot GPS or a Strokes Gained spreadsheet, this will help you focus on the areas of your game that need the most work.  Whether you decide that you just want to practice or take lessons, this is a huge help in focusing your efforts.  

One thing that automated shot trackers give you out of the box that a Strokes Gained spreadsheet wont is insight into where your misses are going.  But it's easy enough to track that yourself.  You might see that you miss most tee shots to the right, or that a significant number of your approach shots are coming up short.  You can use that info to change your strategy and improve your scores without actually improving your skills.

Share this post


Link to post
On 2/12/2020 at 3:02 PM, DaveP043 said:

There is at least one (semi-rival) golf forum where some analysis and instruction based on swing video is made available for free.  I don't promote rival sites here, even though MGS is very tolerant of just that.  But even that "free" instruction isn't likely to be productive without practice. 

Personally, I do NOT recommend browsing Youtube instruction.  Virtually none of is has the ability to accurately diagnose the root causes behind any perceived swing flaws, let alone select the right cure from the millions of different and contradictory recommendations available.

 

... Dave excellent points and I will add to those thoughts. First thing I told all my students was their lesson was their lesson and would only apply to them. A good instructor has to find what works for every individual student. Often that involves saying the same thing as many different ways as possible until it clicks with the student. And as I have stated before, often that involves instruction that would be very bad advice for the majority of golfers but is necessary for that particular student. 

... As an example, say a student is doing a reverse pivot and at the top of their backswing their head and shoulders actually lean forward, toward their target which forces them to lean away from the target on the downswing. Most had no idea they were doing this. I would often have that student attempt to move their head away from the target by 3 feet. Now 3 feet seems like an obscene amount of movement and of course it would be if the student actually moved their head that far. But just keeping their head in the same position feels like 3 feet backward to that student. Sometimes I had to say move your head 6 feet! This would be disastrous advice for most golfers but my goal was to eliminate their reverse pivot and would have time in future lessons to get them to understand their new movement was not backwards at all, just a balanced position at the top of their backswing. 

... So again, a really good instructor does not teach one method, but finds a way to help each student understand what they need to do to improve. And even that varies from student to student depending on what that student wants to accomplish. Maybe going from hitting embarrassing shots and shooting 110 to hitting decent shots and shooting 95, but not willing to practice at all or no more than once a week. Or going from hitting decent shots and shooting 95 to hitting solid shots and breaking 80 and willing to put in as much time and practice as it takes. The first student only needs to improve their flaws like turning a whopping slice into a more manageable 10 y-15yd fade. The second student needs to change their swing mechanics to eliminate their flaws. So teaching each of them will be very different. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...