You are just getting started in the game of golf – you are hooked and want to get better as quickly as possible. How do you go about it? What steps should you take to ensure you continue to improve? One quick answer is you pay a professional teacher for lessons, but are golf lessons worth the money?
Typically, one-hour sessions where they watch you hit range balls, discuss different techniques and recommend some different focus areas for your game. The tricky part – they can be expensive and is this the correct investment for you?
The quick answer: getting some help from an expert is a good idea, but you cannot buy a golf game. Solid training will be more important than having the latest driver or coolest bag so take some of your equipment budget and invest it in training. After all, new “better” equipment comes along all the time, great foundations to your technique will last forever.
But, don’t forget, you will need to balance lessons with putting in the practice time.
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Clinics, Packages, and Group Lessons
When you pick up a golf club for the first time, a lot can go wrong. Just like a house, your golf game needs a strong foundation and proper fundamentals are key. That being said, you do not need to pay hundreds of dollars for one-on-one lessons.
Many golf courses and driving ranges have programs to grow the game and introduce more people to golf, you can find beginner clinics or group lessons. These are great for several reasons.
First, they are typically much cheaper than a private lesson and you might even find a free one.
Second, you get the chance to learn with other people who are also just getting started. You might even find some great playing partners when you are ready to hit the course.
Third, you can find sessions focused on the fundamentals. Search for sessions focused on the proper way to grip the club, proper posture, and short game. We recommend building your game from the green back to the tee. In other words, learn how to putt and chip, then iron shots, and finally the driver.
If you have done a few group sessions or just prefer one-on-one learning, check out lesson packages. Golf instructors will give you a break on the price if you buy multiple lessons at a time (maybe 5, 7, or 10) and you can space them out over several months. This is much better than a one and done session.
As you take multiple lessons with the same expert, you will build a relationship and strong communication. You can discuss goals and track progress with him or her. If your instructor tells you to work on your “attack angle” during one session, you can check during the next lesson to see if you were able to implement what they recommended.
There is nothing wrong with having a consistent partner with you on your quest to play high quality golf.
Develop a Schedule
We all have busy lives and have a limited amount of time to spend at the course, but more important than any lesson or clinic is practice. You will not improve if you do not practice.
One of the biggest mistakes golfers make is they pay for a package of lessons, have a great session with their instructor, get a couple things to work on, and then don’t practice until their next lesson. Your instructor will get frustrated and you will not improve.
Our recommendation would be to come up with a schedule or routine and do you best to stick with it.
Make sure you practice schedule is realistic. One player might be able to practice for 3 hours during the week and play two rounds of golf on the weekend, while someone else might only have time for 1 hour of practice and 1 round every couple weeks. Either player can be successful if they use their time wisely.
How much time can you invest in your game? Set a schedule and do your best to follow it each week.
When you Practice, Practice – When you Play, Play
You have come up with your golf schedule. You have decided how much time you will practice each week and how often you will play 18 holes. How should you practice? First, listen to your golf instructor. You pay them for lessons, right? So don’t go to the range or short game area and ignore their advice.
This sounds like common sense, but so many golfers make the mistake of thinking “they know better”.
Second, diversify your practice time. It is great if you practice for two hours every week, but not good if you spend all 120 minutes hitting the driver on the range.
A nice simple rule is 50/50. Spend half of your practice time on the range and half in the short game area working on chipping and putting. While on the driving range, make sure you work through your entire bag, hitting all of your clubs.
When you go play 9 or 18 holes, play the game. It is always a good idea to take a swing thought to the course, but don’t get bogged down in too many different things. It can be hard to play a round if you are too focused on your mechanics. When you are on the course, enjoy your afternoon and try to shoot the best score possible.
Use the driving range to perfect your swing, use the course to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Do you hit the ball better on the range than you do during your round? Do you make more putts on the putting green? This is very common. Talk to your golf instructor about different techniques to relax on the course and simply play. They can be just as helpful on the mental side as they are with fixing your physical swing.
Are golf lessons worth the money? Final thoughts
No two golfers are the same and you will need to find what works for you but getting some level of instruction from an expert will help you improve quicker. Find the correct learning path for your style (group vs. individual lessons) and develop a consistent practice routine. Invest time and potentially some money in your game and you will start to see your scores and handicap drop. Enjoy the journey.
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