Golf can be compared to a marathon. It’s a learning process that requires a great deal of commitment and training to improve. Unless you are the next Scottie Scheffler, you will be eaten alive if you walk onto a golf course unprepared.
Let me take you through my experience with coaching and why I suggest every amateur invest in a quality golf instructor. Plus, I’ll explain how many lessons you should take, depending on your level.
Table of Contents
- Why Golf Lessons Are Worth It
- How Many Golf Lessons You Should Take as a Beginner
- How Many Lessons You Should Take as an Intermediate Player
- How Many Lessons You Should Take as an Advanced Player
- Extra Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Golf Lessons
Why Golf Lessons Are Worth It
Coaches are effectively golf doctors. They can identify your challenges instantly and enable you to improve your swing fundamentals.
As a result, you spend less time hacking around the links and more time improving your golf game.
In addition, golf lessons teach you to detect flaws in your backswing, downswing, and transition. This means you can fix the problem yourself during your round of golf. Naturally, takes years to build up this knowledge, but it is worth the time and effort. When you hit a bad golf shot, you will know where you went wrong, to not make the same mistake next time.
Even golf professionals have a coach. There is always something to improve in your game, even when one is a major winner. So, if professionals consistently work on their game, what does that mean for amateurs?
New golfers need all the private lessons they can afford. As tempting as it is to take advice from your 28 handicap buddy, I strongly suggest against it. Those kinds of players have developed numerous bad habits that you do not want to learn.
Golf lessons help you learn the correct approach to playing the game and guide you through treacherous terrain. It further enables you to identify your own weaknesses and make immediate corrections.
How Many Golf Lessons You Should Take as a Beginner
I am often asked how many lessons a beginner golfer should take, and there is no correct answer. However, I generally recommend starting with 10 and seeing from there. If you have the resources, I suggest hiring a golf coach once a week, consistently, to keep the momentum up and your handicap down.
I have seen authors recommend 3 to 5 lessons, but I disagree. In 3 to 5 lessons, you can teach a player how to grip a golf club, stance, ball position, alignment, posture, and swing plane. At that stage, a golfer has little idea about their distance capabilities club selection, nor have you gotten them into the intricacies of the short game.
The first lesson alone focuses on elementary factors, such as etiquette and alignment. Plus, a coach explains the functions of each golf club in the bag. After 10 lessons, you should have basic knowledge of how to strike the golf ball, where to aim, and your swing path.
Once your 10 introductory lessons are up, I suggest booking weekly golf instruction with your local pro. You still have a long way to go at this point and need to constantly improve your game. If you stop lessons, you lose the momentum and start to make unnecessary mistakes on the golf course.
Should a beginner golfer be on a budget, I suggest asking about group lessons. These are more affordable, but the coach obviously cannot pay as much attention to your struggles in this setting.
How Many Lessons You Should Take as an Intermediate Player
Intermediate golfers do not need to spend as much time addressing the fundamentals that a beginner needs. As an intermediate golfer who knows how to hit a golf ball, you have had some success around the golf course. However, you are not perfect and have a long way to go until you reach a scratch handicap.
At this level, you should still visit your coach once a week to address the weaknesses from your previous round.
This approach enables you to receive feedback and correct the challenges as you go instead of developing a bad habit and letting it cripple your game. Regularly checking in with the golf doc is the best way for amateur golfers to continuously improve and lower their strokes.
Whenever you are consistently hooking or slicing your golf shots, walk off the golf course and book a lesson with the pro.
How Many Lessons You Should Take as an Advanced Player
As an advanced player, it depends on your ambitions. If you are happy to knock around the golf course and have no desire to go pro, you don’t need lessons. I still recommend having one a week, but as an advanced player, you know what you are doing on the golf course.
However, if you have your sights set on a professional career, you need to work with your coach a minimum of 3 to 5 times per week.
The ambition of low handicappers is different from a beginner. Superior golfers need coaches to help them maximize their distance and optimize spin rates.
In my prime, when I played competitive junior golf, my coach did not have all this technology. But we made it work. Here was my schedule, which included 3 coaching sessions per week.
|School matchplay league – 9 holes
|1 hour private lesson
|9 holes with my coach
|1 hour private lesson
|2 hour range session
|Weekly club tournament: 18 holes
|Inter-club league: 18 hole stableford
Extra Tips to Get The Most Out of Your Golf Lessons
The first step to maximizing your golf lessons is to set yourself goals. Start with basic goals, such as getting the ball in the air 70% of the time or hitting 60% of your shots straight.
Then, look at the bigger picture. Do you want these lessons solely to prepare you for life on the golf course, or are you trying to break a particular score? Maybe you have a specific handicap target in mind that you would like to reach in a certain period.
For example, if you are a beginner and wish to be a 24 handicap in 12 months, make that your goal. Explain that to your instructor, and they will work out a roadmap to help you get there. Objectives give your training purpose and help you remain committed to the cause.
Find The Right Instructor
Do not sign up with the first instructor you find. Seek out the services of the ideal coach for your needs. Make sure you are compatible and that they are experienced, patient, and have the technology and gear to analyze your game.
My first coach was the most miserable human being to walk planet earth. I understand he held a grudge against the world for failing to make it on the Sunshine Tour. Although he gave me a few excellent pointers, the vibe was toxic, and the coach didn’t seem committed to his work.
Your coach does not need to be your best friend, but you need to be compatible as a team. Plus, they need to be patient and willing to take the time to provide detailed explanations about your weaknesses and solutions.
A bad instructor can put you off from the first golf lesson. This can derail your plans of playing golf as your hobby or make you hesitant of taking another class.
Get Some Video Analysis
Your instructor is trained to detect issues with your golf swing and correct them. However, sometimes it is difficult for amateurs to understand what mistake we are making and how we can solve it. The instructor’s jargon has a tendency to implode the minds of us amateurs.
That is why I always suggest employing video analysis. That way, you receive a visual representation of your mistakes, giving you a clearer picture of how to solve your predicament.
Your coach should have the gear to record a video, but I recommend you to use your phone. That allows you to repeatedly watch the video in your free time and helps you avoid mistakes on the golf course.
Mobile applications, such as Swing Profile Golf Analyzer, allow you to run your swing in slow motion and add layers to the video.
Trust Launch Monitor Data
Using a launch monitor during your lessons is another to gain invaluable insight into your performance. The device detects information such as your club path through impact, clubhead, and ball speed. In addition, it determines your apex and spin rates.
This technology helps you and your coach identify weaknesses and possible hazards after each shot. Therefore, you can work on the solution during your next shot.
Furthermore, the launch monitor provides carry and total distances. This boosts a golfer’s ability to select the correct club. Plus, it improves your distance control.
A launch monitor eradicates any guesswork from your performance. It highlights the facts and allows you and your instructor to deeply analyze each shot and make improvements where necessary.
When you are searching for an instructor, see if they possess this equipment, which they should. However, you can always take your own device along if you are more comfortable with the numbers it registers.
Work on Your Short Game
I often see golf instructors giving lessons from the hitting bay. Usually, the student is taking a full swing and working on their mechanics. I am all for this and do not question a coach’s method. However, there is a tendency to stay away from the putting and chipping green, which I cannot figure out.
It is hard to master the chip shot or read the line of a putt. This is where most amateur golfers implode. Ask your coach to take time out to work on your putting and short shots. Get them to teach you how to read the green, and align your putter face.
You can strike the golf ball purely and hit the ball a country mile. However, if you cannot putt or chip, you stand little hope of success on the links. Take advantage of the practice time and become a master of the short game.
Look at your golf lessons like school. You have to do your homework to improve. There is no point paying for lessons and then not refining your skills. After every session, go away and work on what you learned. Do not be afraid to try what you learned in training on the golf course.
Not working on your game after a lesson undoes all the hard work put in with your coach. Ultimately, that is a waste of your money. Put the time and effort into mastering your training, and you will see results in the form of fewer strokes.
If you don’t have the luxury of a home golf simulator, you should make time to fit in one or two range sessions a week to work on everything from training.
Use a Golf Simulator
I understand that not every amateur has the resources to acquire a golf simulator, but if you can, it will make a world of difference to your game. The technology itself will not boost your performance.
However, the platform it gives you to work on your game at any time is bound to improve your performance. Whether you are using the virtual driving range to loosen up or playing a round of golf, a simulator is a suitable option for enhancing your training regimen.
Fortunately, these days golf simulators are more affordable than previously. That makes them more accessible to the average golfer on a tight budget. There is the option to build your own golf simulator setup, or you could opt for an entry-level package like the OptiShot2 Golf In A Box.
Apply Training to The Golf Course
Where I see amateurs go wrong, is not transferring their training to the course. For example, golfers learn something in a lesson, but do not have the confidence to execute it in a casual round.
You will make mistakes, and it will not be pretty at first. However, you have to work on every area of your game to improve it. There is no point paying money to an instructor to guide you, only to never employ their teachings.
Golf is a marathon, it takes time to improve, and your game will suffer as you adapt new elements to it. The important part is to remain patient and continuously employ your training in actual situations on the links.