Want to improve at golf? You can play a round every day, all season long, and never get any better. The most effective path to take is to find a golf instructor and take a lesson. But how do you find the right golf instructor for you? Guest writer, Sheila Clark shares her insights.
As you probably know if you’re reading an article like this one, you’re only going to get so far as a golfer without a personal instructor. Sure, group lessons can do you some good, and getting tips out on the course from a friend or family member who’s more experienced can help you to make minor corrections. But one-on-one instruction really can’t be beat! The idea of a professional teacher observing and critiquing every aspect of your game goes above and beyond all other options, and it’s the fastest and best way to advance your abilities.
Unfortunately, this poses a tricky question for those of us who want to get better at the game. How exactly can you find the right instructor? It’s certainly easier said than done. Golf Digest went so far as to say that finding the right teacher is a lot like choosing a spouse. That’s probably going a bit too far, but the point is fair enough. You want to enjoy each other’s company, respect one another, and have the ability to communicate openly. So how do you go about finding someone quite like that?
Sadly, there’s no Match.com for golf instruction, so the relationship metaphor pretty much falls flat once you get past the fact that you need to be compatible. However, there may be something closer than you expect. You can look up golf instructors anywhere from Craigslist to a local country club or course website. But through Play Your Course’s search features, you can also look for a coach who more specifically fits your needs. Players are able to input their goals and skill level and be paired with an appropriate instructor.
In addition to finding a coach that works for you on a personal level, you’ll want to make sure that the coach you wind up working with has the skill and experience that you expect. PGA released a comprehensive checklist of things to look for in an instructor several years ago, and a decent portion of the article was dedicated to accreditation and experience. It’s certainly possible to find an amateur who happens to have a good eye for helping other people’s games, but when you’re dealing with strangers you’ll likely want to rely on résumés to make sure you’re dealing with a pro. These things aren’t too hard to check on—just make sure you don’t gloss over them in search of a convenient option.
Finally, once you’ve found an instructor with good experience and a timeframe that’s convenient for you, you’ll want to conduct a sort of interview. This is something that was suggested in the same Golf Digest article that compared the search for a coach with sparking a relationship, and it’s something worth keeping in mind. Before you jump into a lesson, it’s best to sit down with a potential instructor and go over things. You’ll want to explain your level, express your goals, and make sure the instructor will be available as often as you’re hoping to take your lessons.
The rest comes down to each specific situation. It doesn’t always happen overnight, but there are a whole lot of golf instructors out there. By approaching the process carefully and thoroughly, you can find the right one for you.
Sheila Clark is a personal trainer and golf enthusiast. She lives in Florida and occasionally contributes articles to blogs and websites dealing with health, fitness, and golf.
Q. Have you taken golf lessons? Alone? in a group? Share you insights in the comment section below.