By Ian Hardie
Over the years, I have always been puzzled as to why it is that when most golfers go through a bad patch with their golf game, they assume that whatever the problem is that they are having, can be solved with a single golf lesson.
‘I want a lesson to fix my driving or slice’, ‘I need a putting or chipping lesson to get rid of the yips’, ‘I want to get rid of the shanks’.
Those things are the most common requests I’ve had over the years but as you can probably imagine, there are many other things that golfers think can be solved during a single golf lesson as well.
Now, while the cost of golf lessons from a good golf coach and the idea that the golfer needs to pay someone to help them solve a problem (which not many people really like to do) are no doubt factors behind this mind-set.
The main thing that I’ve observed that when golfers request that one golf lesson, is the expectation that it will somehow magically over-ride years of poor technique, a lack of grounding in the basics of the game, weird ideas that golfers come up with, an inconsistent approach to the game, contradictory advice from other golfers…………..the list goes on and on.
In less time, than it takes for most golfers to play a few holes!
Very occasionally that can happen but the reality is that very few golfers problems can be solved in a single golf lesson, although the exception to that may be the session I call ‘The Sand Experience’ which does seem to be able to solve most golfers problems with the sand in one go - you can find out more about that at https://ianhardie.net/
The reality is though, that depending on the problems the golfer is looking to solve in their golf game, it’s probably more likely to require quite a few golf lessons over a period of weeks or months.
In my experience over the past 30 or so years that I’ve been coaching golf, the golfers who have best been able to overcome whatever problems they were having with their golf game, lower their golf scores and as a result find an increase in their enjoyment of the game of golf.
Were the ones who understood that while a single golf lesson won’t hurt anyone, it generally doesn’t exactly help most golfers either.
It usually takes a few lessons and a bit of time to effect lasting improvement in anyone’s golf game, which I assume is what the golfer wants, otherwise they wouldn’t be asking for a golf lesson in the first place.
To illustrate this idea, I recall sitting out the back of a golf pro shop many years ago when a golfer rushed into the golf shop after what I assume must have been a poor round of golf.
‘I want a lesson to fix my slice’ was his request to the very experienced Golf Professional.
I expected the Pro to simply book the golfer in for a lesson but instead he said to the golfer.
“I’ve seen you hit a few shots on the course over the past year and if you want me to fix your slice in a single lesson – it will cost you $10,000”.
‘$10,000 spluttered the golfer – you can’t be serious – why so much?’
“As I think it would take a miracle to fix your slice in a single lesson and if that’s possible then $10,000 would be a fair price.”
‘Are you saying you can’t fix my slice?’
“Not at all, in fact I think that an initial series of say 6 golf lessons over the next 3 months would enable me to sort your slice out in a manner that would allow long term change along with an overall improvement in your golf scores”.
‘How much would that cost?’
“Much less than it does to perform a miracle”.
I happened to be back at that course about six months later and I asked the Pro what happened to that guy who was asking for the miracle last time I was there.
“Since he had the series of lessons his handicap has dropped from 19 down to 13 and he has just asked me to put a plan together to get him down to a single figure handicap”.
That experience many years ago has stuck with me to this day and countless times, I have seen how effective a series of golf lessons can be for most golfers.
So, if you have struck a problem with your golf game, don’t expect the single lesson miracle.
Be prepared to take a series of golf lessons that will allow long term change while you overcome whatever problems you have been having with your golf game, lower your golf scores and as a result, increase your enjoyment of the game of golf.
You can find out more about golf coaching with me at https://ianhardie.net/ or you can find your local PGA Coach at: https://www.pga.org.nz/find-a-pga-pro