Should I Get Golf Lessons – Are They Really Worth The Money?
Golf can be an expensive sport. There are so many things that we can spend our hard-earned cash on that will “revolutionise our game”. New drivers can cost between £400-500 nowadays, is there a better way of spending that kind of money on your golf game though?
Today, we are going to look at golf lessons and if they are worth your investment. Maybe you don’t need that new driver and you can spend your money learning how to be a better golfer. This is an investment of both time and money, should you take the jump?
Who should consider getting lessons?
Every. Single. Golfer. It really is as easy as that. If we change the word lessons to “coaching” then maybe it will sit better with better players, but the crux of it is that we all need help from a coach.
Rory McIlroy, world number one at the time of writing this, has a coach and gets lessons. That means that no matter how good you are, you can always learn more and be better. Is this not one of the main reasons we all love golf in the first place?
What are the benefits of lessons?
You’re just starting your golf journey, now is the time to get the fundamentals locked down. A great coach will teach you the basics and keep the learning fun. There is so much to learn that it really is important to find a coach you get along with. I have been going to the same coach for 25 years, pretty much continuously!
When you are a little further into you golf game, a coach could help you out of any bad habits that you’ve picked up as we all inevitably do in golf. They can assess your game and help give you new targets to aim for and work towards. This is a really rewarding time to get lessons as you can very quickly go from an okay golfer to a good golfer, it’s an exciting time in your golfing life.
Getting lessons as a junior is the way to learn. Every single golfer wishes they had taken up the sport younger and at this time you learn quickly. You will also gain a mentor as your coach becomes someone who guides you through this new sport.
Benefits Of Golf Lessons For Beginners And Improvers
More confidence and consistency
Getting lessons will always result in a few days of inconsistency. This is to be expected as you learn a new move and your body gets used to this change. Once you have this change ingrained, you will see the benefits, this will make you feel great and inspire confidence in your game.
You will also be more confident as your game improves. As long as you listen to your coach and practice what he/she tells you then you will get better. Golf can be a simple game.
As your game develops, your coach and you can come up with plans and targets to meet as you learn. This could be small challenges on the range or on the course but they will really help you focus and drive your game forward. You will be breaking 100 on the course in no time, that’s the first big milestone to aim for as a beginner.
You will then start to seek out harder challenges to push your game. Eventually, you will be looking towards a single-figure handicap and even scratch. The golf journey is so rewarding and every step forward makes you even hungrier for improvement.
This is an important point and often overlooked. Most people, when you think of coaching, think of swing mechanics and getting better at full shots. However, it is arguably more important to work on putting.
Golf is about getting the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. Improving your putting skills is by far the best way to do this. You play shots with your putter far more than any other club in your bag so work hard with a coach to become excellent on the dancefloor.
This one goes without saying really, your swing will improve. One of the most beneficial things about learning from a qualified coach is that you learn your bad swing habits too. This empowers you to learn your game more thoroughly and can help you when that bad shot starts creeping in again.
By learning how to swing better and what moves cause what ball flights, you just become a better all-round golfer. Improved swing fundamentals really contribute to that increase in consistency and in golf that is a huge benefit. You will start to miss less and miss smaller ones.
Improved driving, irons, wedges and bunker play
Embarking on a proper coaching program will bring huge benefits to every part of your game. If you dedicate the time, you will improve everything that you have your coach to help you with. It really is that simple.
Golf is a game that gives back what you put in and getting golf lessons works in the same way. No-one likes to look bad, however, sometimes you just have to get over yourself. Once you have worked on your full swing and can see the improvements bearing fruit, pick something you struggle with and focus your efforts there.
Keep statistics during your round and you will learn where your weak spots are. Share these stats with your coach and he/she will be able to build a plan to directly target those problem skills and make your game more bulletproof.
Learning and perfecting the fundamentals
Grip it and rip it
Your only physical interaction with a golf club is through the grip, so it always baffles me how often golfers don’t get this right. This is one of the absolute foundations in your golf game so make sure it is correct. It is one of the first things your coach will assess too.
If you aren’t gripping the club correctly it will either lead to bad shots or your body fighting bad shots, neither of these is good things. Choosing the correct grip between the three classics baseball, Varden (overlap) or interlock is your starting point.
Once you know what grip suits you best, then you need to learn how to do it properly. If you are getting this bit wrong, and you fix it, you will very quickly see your game improve. You will also have sore hands for a bit and maybe a few blisters, however, it is worth it.
Posture: stand and deliver
The second of the key fundamentals in golf is posture. How you stand at set-up has a huge influence on how you hit the ball. One of the factors that posture can affect most is your consistency.
If you watch the best golfers in the world, you will see that they all have very similar postures. Whilst their body shapes may vary, they all address the ball in a similar way, there is a good reason for this. Your coach will make sure that you’re in the right position to make a swing and this will also deliver great improvements.
Alignment: ready, aim, fire!
This is one that often troubles me. Having played golf for over a quarter of a century, you think I’d be able to aim, yet my alignment always needs checked. Yours will too. No matter your skill level, a coach will always need to look at your alignment.
Like your grip and your posture, these are the factors in your golf game that are fully under your control. It is entirely your responsibility to get these parts right to give yourself the best chance of hitting a good shot.
Feedback From Your Coach
This is really what coaching is all about. The golf swing is a very dynamic thing and, for reasons only the golf gods know, your game constantly changes. You need a coach to keep a watchful eye on your game and your skills to help keep you in check.
In golf, it is so easy to lapse into old habits or create new bad faults. This can happen out-with your control and is just something to be mindful of. Having a coach that you see regularly can help you stay on top of this and keep you on a good path.
How effective can I expect my lessons to be?
Well, this is a factor that frustrates a lot of coaches because the answer to this question is that lessons will be as effective as the effort you put into them. You will be given drills and tools to make the changes needed in your game but it is then on you to work at the changes to ingrain them.
Trust me, nothing frustrates coaches more than having to reteach the same fault-fixes to the same student because they haven’t practiced. Not working on your faults means that you are wasting money, it is like going to the doctor and then not taking your prescription, it is a waste of everyone’s time. It will also mean that you don’t see the benefit and you will stop getting lessons.
Your game will stagnate and you will lose your love of golf. This is the worst-case scenario so when your coach tells you what needs work, work at it! Do what you are told and reap the benefits on the course.
What do golf lessons involve?
The most effective lessons follow a program so you usually know what you will be going to work on before you show up. They often start with a catch-up chat about how you have been working on the last lesson and how you feel your game is. Think of this bit as the consultation and maybe your coach will ask to see you hit a few shots to check your progress.
Then you will start working on your next objective. Lessons should follow a general plan so you can progress your game but they should never be so set in stone that you can’t work on something “off-plan” that you’re really struggling with.
It is good, if you can, to commit to a series of coaching sessions. If your coach knows that you will be there for five lessons, for example, he/she can develop a plan to bring your game to the next level. The more effort you put in between your lessons, the more effort a coach will give you as it is reciprocal.
You should always try to fit in playing lessons too. This is when you go out on the course and your coach comes with you to watch and analyze your game rather than just your swing. Here you will learn so much more about getting the ball around the course.
Will I improve my putting with golf lessons?
You will improve whatever you want to improve with lessons and practice, it is as simple as that. Depending on your skill level, you may want more than one coach. Some professionals out there specialize in the various skills that make up a golf game and there are many specialists putting coaches.
Whilst any professional will be able to help you improve your putting, if you want to be unbeatable on the greens you may want to go to a specialist. Putting is a different set of skills and a lot of it takes mental strength so specialist coaches are often the best way to go.
How often should I get lessons?
This is a tricky one because, like your golf swing, it is very individualistic. This is a decision you really have to make for yourself and there are a number of factors that you have to consider. The first thing to think about is your budget, how much are you willing to spend on improving your game?
Then you really need to be honest with yourself and think about how much work you are going to put in between your lessons. If you are really serious about taking your game to the next level then one lesson every two weeks is a good target. This gives you time to knuckle down and make the changes you need to. Once per month is also a good regular programme if you have a bit less time to practice.
How long does it take to be a good golfer?
It depends what you class as “a good golfer” but for the sake of this argument let’s say that’s a single-figure handicap, ok? This is a target for many out there and one that people who get there should be proud of. If you work hard at your game and take regular lessons, there is nothing to stop you going from beginner to single-figures in two-three years.
Can I get better without lessons?
Of course you can, YouTube is a wonderful thing and you could learn a bit there. Without lessons and with some general reading you can certainly learn things like course management so that you make fewer mistakes on the course. Bubba Watson claims he’s never had a lesson in his life, so yes you can get good without lessons. Coaching will undoubtedly get you there faster though.
How do I hit the ball flush every time?
This is where consistency shows itself the most. If you have a nice consistent swing then you will be a good ball-striker. A consistent swing is built through a lot of practice and some coaching. Even after working at your game for years and years, you won’t hit it flush every time, not even the best players in the world can do that so relax and just enjoy your golf.
Why am I topping the ball?
The simple answer to that is that your club is missing the ball high and glancing the top of it as you swing through. However, this is the exact kind of thing that a coach will sort out quickly. There are a few problems in a golf swing that can result in you topping the ball so let your coach have a look and you’ll be over that quickly.
What do I bring to golf lessons?
Your clubs and a “can do” attitude. These are the most important things to bring but if you have been keeping stats on your rounds or your practice sessions then bring them along too. This is information that your coach can use to help diagnose your swing faults and help you work through them.
Should I practice at the range as well as taking lessons?
You really should be working on whatever move or swing-thought your coach has given you after your lesson so that you are ready for the next lesson. Coaches know when students are being lazy and they can see that you’ve not been practicing. If you’ve been given something to think about on the course then get out and play rather than going to the range, it’s more fun anyway!
The simple tip is to work on whatever you’ve been asked to work on first. Then go about your normal practice so you’re not neglecting any other part of your game. It takes time but when you start to beat your friends, it is so worth it.
How can I practice at home?
As golfers, it has never been as easy or as cheap to practice at home. The amount of products on the market that will help you take your game to the next level from the comfort of your living room is incredible. You literally have no excuse not to get better if you invest in just a few pieces of kit.
Practice nets have become very affordable and you can now buy fold-away nets so you can use them in your back garden. This way you can always jump outside for a bit and get a few swings in before your next lesson. Whilst not perfect, you will learn how you are striking the ball and what that would mean for a full shot.
You can also get chipping nets so that you can keep your feel and creative shots nice and sharp when you can’t get to the practice area. These nets are so small and compact that you could even use them inside your house, if you are allowed. I take no responsibility for any broken ornaments or arguments caused by this article.
Putting has always been something you can and should do at home. You can get putting mats that give you skills challenges which will test your feel and nerves. There is no excuse for not practicing your putting at home and this really is the most important part of your game if you want to become a better golfer.
Some fantastic training aids on the market will give you the chance to work on tempo and rhythm which will really benefit your consistency. The Sklz Golf Trainer will really help your swing mechanics whilst also increasing your swing speed as this is a bit of a weight-trainer.
For working on your game at home, the Zepp Golf analyser is an incredibly powerful piece of kit. You clip a small sensor on to your glove and download the associated app. Then you can just start swinging your club, you don’t even need to hit a ball, and you will get some great data that can help you develop your game.
If you want to take it a step further, you can get a mini-launch monitor to analyse your shots into your net. The FlightScope MEVO is astounding for its size and will show you everything you need to see in terms of ball flight. You can even compete with the community of users and make your practice competitive.
The beauty of golf is that you truly get from it what you put in to it. It is a sport that will humble you and will always remind you that you can be better, it is a constant pursuit of improvement no matter what level you play at. Golf lessons are a big part of that as they help guide your journey.
Finding a good coach is something to cherish and when you have someone that you like to work with, you must put your all into doing what they say. The question posed in this article is “should I get golf lessons”? The answer is yes, definitely. Find your local pro and get a lesson, now is a perfect time.
We also recommend a lot of the programs from consistent golf to become a better player so make sure to check them out.
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!