Over the last few years, I have seen all types of golfers with different attitudes come to the lesson tee — some people are excited to learn, while others are in full-scale panic mode. Whatever your state of mind, I will tell you that even the best teachers in the world can only do so much if you bring the wrong attitude.
As I have often heard, “the only thing worse than a bad golf swing is a bad attitude!” Nothing could be truer, in my opinion. As I’ve always said, learning anything new is NOT easy and if you think it should be you are in for a long, long day.
Remember the following things when you take a lesson. You’ll have more fun and improve much quicker.
*Golf is hard. It takes time to become proficient, just like any other motor skill. You can’t learn to play the guitar instantly, so why should golf be any different?
*The golf ball does not care how old/young you are, how much money you have made, how many widgets your company sells, etc. Therefore, NO ONE is exempt from the learning process. NO ONE!
*In order to master the complete golf swing with any proficiency, you must give yourself the proper amount of time to learn and require of yourself a consistent effort to ensure your practice time is efficient.
*There is a marked difference between hitting balls on the driving range and actually practicing. Most people are on the tee merely getting exercise, and not doing anything productive.
*To overcome a fundamental flaw in your swing or set up, you must make a high number of correct repetitions, not just a high number of repetitions.
*In order to master the golf swing, you must break it down into stages so you can master smaller sub-skills before you move on. Everything in golf relies on what happens before it. If you make a major mistake during the takeaway, you will have to make up for it on the downswing.
*There is no such thing as a “perfect” swing. Everyone has idiosyncrasies that makes their swing unique, thus we are not looking for perfection on the lesson tee, but rather manageability.
*Most people have no realistic idea of what their current talent level is when they come to see their teaching professional. Just because you were a 3-handicap ten years ago does not mean that you can do so instantly once again. Your time allocation, your body and your talent level has changed over the years — some can get it back, while some cannot. Be realistic with yourself!
*If you have taken lessons from “everyone in town” and had little success, it is not the fault of the teaching professionals you have employed — it’s time to look in the mirror.
*Throwing clubs, slamming clubs, and yelling on the lesson tee does nothing to help your cause with your teaching professional — it only looks bad on YOU. I didn’t say you couldn’t get upset, I only said you can’t lose your emotional equilibrium during the learning process.
*If your clubs are not fit (at least on the most basic level), you will be working too hard from the start, and will slow your rate of improvement.
*The reason why you hit it so well with your teaching professional watching and so poorly during your own practice time is usually attributed to the fact that we make you practice more efficiently by giving you instant feedback if you are “forgetting” what you need to do.
*Relax and you will have more fun. Having fun helps you learn more effectively.
*If I had the magic dust, I would have given it to you a long time ago — I’m not withholding information. I can only go as fast as your mechanics will let me.
*Sometimes it’s good to get another opinion if you feel like you are stalling out with your current teaching professional, but take the new thoughts with a grain of salt before you implement fully.
*You must take ownership of your own motion and your own swing. Do your due diligence before you sign up for a lesson. Research and ask questions. All teachers have positives and negatives to their instructional style, so you must find one that meshes with your ideals.
If you are focused only on hitting the ball better, then spend more time on the range. If you want to score better, spend more time around the green.
*If you don’t understand something, or question the direction your teaching professional is going, just ask! It’s YOUR golf swing. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s a work of art and science between you and your teaching professional.
*Technology is helpful on the lesson tee without a doubt, but ONLY if used correctly by the teaching professional.
*The professionals make it look easy for a reason — they are at the top 1 percent in the world at their profession!
Just a few random thoughts I have learned over the few years on the lesson tee. It’s just a game, but that’s hard for all of us to remember from time to time!