So you’ve taken the plunge and got in touch with your local PGA Professional using the PGA Play platform – but what next?

Firstly, congratulations on a great decision! Whether you’re totally new to golf or an experienced player looking to address certain aspects of your swing, lessons with a fully-qualified expert are a sure-fire way to improve.

With that in mind, what are the do’s and don’ts for a lesson? What should you expect if you are a complete beginner and how best to approach lessons if you’re a more experienced player?

The saying goes ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and, when it comes to a golf lesson, there are so many simple things you can do to prepare. If it’s your first lesson, try to have an introductory conversation with your Pro beforehand – they will be able to advise on what to bring, what to wear and offer some tips for warming up so that your body is nice and loose. If you don’t have your own clubs, the Pro will usually be able to provide clubs for the lesson. Approach the lesson with an open mind and don’t expect too much – golf is hard to start with!

For more experienced players, the key preparation is to really think about what you actually want to get out of the lesson. What has prompted you to seek the help of a PGA Professional? Are you just wanting to improve or are there certain aspect of your game that you’re struggling with? Think back over recent rounds and try to identify where shots have been lost. Is it the driver or long game? Are you missing greens? How’s the putting and short game been?

Knowing shot trends or clubs you don’t like hitting will enable your Pro to tailor the lesson so that you get maximum benefit.

The Lesson
Always let the professional know you have arrived; they will likely be in the Pro Shop or they may already be on the range/putting green. Hitting a few balls before the lesson begins will almost certainly help – not only will you be warmed up but it will also save an extra few minutes of the lesson, meaning you can maximise the amount of time spent working on your game.

Once you start talking to your PGA Professional, it’s crucial that you are as honest as possible with them; if you’re not, then you won’t be getting the full potential out of your lesson. The Professional will want to watch you hit some golf balls, so keep things as normal as possible and don’t change anything. By keeping it natural, the Pro can diagnose and help fix the faults.

And don’t worry about hitting bad shots in front of your Pro – they will not be bothered in the slightest and will be more concerned about trying to improve your swing, knowing that good shots will eventually follow.

As mentioned before, outlining any particular issues, shot patterns or destructive tendencies will help shape the PGA Pro’s plan of action, but it’s also important to approach the lesson process with a positive mindset. That way you can work proactively with the Pro to improve in certain areas that are holding your game back.

After the lesson, there are two things that you should do; one is to note down all the drills and details that the Professional has told you, whether this is on your phone or on paper. This will enable you to refer back if you start returning to old habits. Plus, they are also useful when practising as you can look over them and know you are doing everything correctly.

The second thing is PRACTICE. So often we see golfers finish their lesson and not apply what they have been taught, leading to frustration that they aren’t improving. A simple tip would be to practise the movement in the garden or try to visit a driving range or practice areas to work on the coaching points you have been given, to become more familiar with them, helping the transition from hitting balls in practice to playing on the course'.

Above all, keeping a sense of realism is vital. The greats of the game, from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods to Rory McIlroy, have all been coached all their lives, no matter how they are playing, so try to manage your expectations and embrace the challenge of making small improvements over time. Patience and dedication are among the most important traits for a golfer! And most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy it… golf’s meant to be fun!

Inspired? Find your PGA Professional here