Baseball legend Hank Aaron once described the frustration he experienced playing the game of golf.
He said, "It took him 17 years to get 3, 000 hits in baseball, but he did it in one afternoon
on the golf course. "I'm sure Mr. Aaron was exaggerating his score, but he was on target in
identifying golf as a game that can humble even the greatest athletes. I've been fortunate in
my career to work with some of the greatest professional athletes in the world from a variety
of sports. As good as they were in their particular sport when they took up golf initially they
were in for a real dose of reality. Thinking that your good at one sport and transfering those
athletic skills as they applied to golf was wishful thinking. However, with the proper
understanding of the fundamentals, constant practice, and a commitment to learn, its possible
to develop a skill level that will allow you to feel comfortable playing with anyone.
First, learn the game. Notice I didn't say, "Take lessons immediately. "There are many
ways to learn golf. Some halfway decent players have never taken lessons. Many start at
the driving range hitting balls with their friends or on their own. They read books,
watch videos, subscribe to golf publications, internet searches, or watch the pros on
television. Use whatever method you like. But be aware that there is a lot of conflicting
information out there and it can get pretty confusing to say the least. It can take a lot
longer with this trial and error method. Books and videos as good as some can be with
information can't give you the one-on-one attention and feedback necessary that you get
when you take a lesson from a qualified professional. Learning to feel what is the
correct motion in your golf swing is much more important than having pure knowledge
of what to do.
Before you decide to take some lessons try to give some thought to the type of golf
experience you are looking for, and the level of commitment(money and time)you are
willing to make. Let me give you some examples:Group lessons versus Private lessons.
If your just starting out and haven't really made a commitment to the game yet you
want to learn more, you'll probably want to consider group lessons. Here are some of
the advantages, including:
First, the cost is lower. Sharing time with your instructor with other people in
the same boat as you will keep financial investment lower.
A more relaxed atmosphere. Because your teacher's time is divided among several
students, there is a lot less pressure on you to perform. The added benefit is
this gives you time to practice on what your learning while the teacher is helping
Meeting new golfers. Taking group lessons allow you to spend time with people on
the same skill level like yourself. A lot of new golfers don't stay with the game
because they don't have someone to play with. Unfortunately, many times better
golfers don't like to play with beginners.
Group lessons are a great way to test the waters of your interest in the
game without making a big commitment. My experience over the years tells me
that many people enjoy the camaraderie learning with others in group lessons.
As golfers begin to improve they move onto private lessons to get more focused
on their own individual needs. Private lessons do cost more, however there are
many advantages once you've decided to move forward learning the game. They Include:
Having individualized attention. Your instructor works one-on-one with you and
only you. This scenario alone caters to your needs and helps to eliminate any
bad habits you might be creating. There is no substitute for having this type
of situation where someone is totally focused on you and your golfing needs.
Lessons are tailored to your needs and abilities. You can work on a particular
skill area that you desire. Many good players I work with take lessons to work
on correcting a problem they might be having with a particular shot. A good
instructor learns how to deliver information in a way that the person they are
working with can best comprehend.
Private lessons are often videotaped. Watching your swing and having it
correctly dissected by a skilled professional can be an extremely valuable
experience. Also, you and your instructor create a unique dialouge of trust
and respect building your game.
Whatever route you decide to take in your journey to playing good respectable
golf just remember to have fun along the way!